-Z- (Z@Gundam.Com)
Sun, 19 Dec 1999 13:46:20 -0800


At 11:51 12/19/1999 -0500, you wrote:
>On Sun, 19 Dec 1999 14:35:09 +0800 Joshua <joshua@egis.net> wrote:
>>I was just wondering why all the Gundam related sites call him Bright Noah,
>>while on the Bandai 20th anniversary box set of 1/20 character figures,
>>he's called Blight Noah?
>
>I believe it is from translation and phonetics problems. In Japanese, the r
>and l sounds are similar or something like this (at least this is what I've
>always heard). Thus it is sometimes hard to get accurate tranlsations. For
>another example, Miria Jenius from Macross and Macross 7 is often translated
>as Milia instead. This is also a problem for other letters as well, but I
>can't remember the exact ones right now.

Quite simply, the Japanese language doesn't have an /l/ phoneme and uses
the /r/ phoneme as a substitute.

Other missing phonemes are /th/, for which /s/ is substituted; /v/, for
which /b/ is substituted, and soft /j/, for which both /z/ and /d/ may be
substituted.

"Lilith" is thus rendered in Japanese as "Riris"....

As for Milia versus Miria, I was once given a rule of thumb to the effect
that, if the name is feminine, assume /l/ and, if masculine, assume
/r/. In that case, "Milia" would be the preferred transliteration.

The big problem for the Japanese is the /rl/ phoneme, common in many
European languages, and words or names (such as "Larry" and "Rally") with
both /r/ and /l/ phonemes in close proximity.

Oh, what fun it is to elide....

-Z-

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