Talk:JSL romanization

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Maybe JSL should be made into a disambiguation, especially considering the fact that JSL (romanization) is not a very popular romaji system anyway. —Tokek 21:37, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

I'm no expert on Japanese, but the statement "represent long /o/ and /u/" would be better written "represent /oː/ and /uː/". --Tydaj 02:03, 31 August 2005 (UTC)


I have the textbook Beginning Japanese which explain's the author's system. I found it a big help dealing with kana, as a language learner.

It's not any good for writing out romaji for non-students, because TI + E + KO would not signify Chieko to anyone who's not interested in learning Japanese. You'd be tempted to read it as Tigh Koh (or Taeko)!!

The strength of her system is for expressing Japanese grammar or spelling rules, I guess.

One benefit of the clunkiness of a series like TA TI TU TE TO vs. Ta Chi Tsu Te To is that it motivates you to get off your butt and start memorizing the actual Hiragana and Katakana! :-)

Perhaps a chart would be good. I hope there are no copyright problems. --Uncle Ed 16:01, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Rules such as pronouncing "t" as "ch" or "ts" may indeed make the system look clunky or bizarre to English speakers, but are explainable through the rules of Japanese phonology (more specifically, this section). In other words, "ch" and "ts" are written as "t"s because they perceived as "t" sounds to native speakers; they sound starkly different to English speakers only because English can contrast them as separate sounds (e.g., "tease" vs. "cheese").
I think JSL is intended as a means for getting students used to the sound system of Japanese, in terms of Japanese phonemes, and not as a tool for learning kana. The JSL book series never even touches kana, and the article already lists cases where kana makes orthographic distinctions and JSL does not, and vice versa.
A chart could be nice, but if the system is so regular, do we even need one? Maybe we could just give a list of common terms and how their spellings diverge from Hepburn romanization and kana? -- Calcwatch 22:20, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
No, you're right; we don't need a chart. I was thinking of a chart for a computer program I'm writing which converts Hiragana into Romaji. That would not be relevant here.
I'm more interested in your observations about affricatives, and about the sound system as opposed to the writing system. I do very little Japanese writing: just names of new acquaintances in Hiragana. Nearly all my Japanese communication is in speech. --Uncle Ed 17:02, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Uselessness of JSL, or any Other "Phoneme-based" Romanization System[edit]

I find it nausiating to read about all these romanization systems for Japanese and why one is "better" than the other. What utterly useless discourse. In the end what is the purpose of JSL, Nipponshiki, Kunreishiki, Hepburn, etc? What is the purpose of ANY romanization, period? Is it to "learn" Japanese, or is it a gateway for people who don't know Japanese and would never be interested in learning it?

It is my deduction that any romanization system that is not made for non-Japanese speakers fails for any of their intended purposes. Japanese already HAS a "phoneme" system. It's called hiragana and katakana. Japanese is not in any need of a romanization system. It is those who are not Japanese speakers who need some sort of gateway into Japanese pronunciation. Why in the world must linguists learn this entirely different way of using Roman letters with pronunciation rules that apply only to JAPANESE, which they could only use amongst themselves?

JSL, Nipponshiki, Kunreishiki, or any other Romanization system that is NOT based in the Roman Letter pronunciation system of the non-native Japanese learner (IE, Spanish for the Spanish-speakers, English for the English Speakers, German for German-Speakers) is DESTRUCTIVE. It serves no other purpose than to screw up actual Roman letter usage in the learner's language, and to make scholars sound sophisticated.

Take Japanese students, for example. Today, a great majority of Japanese elementary schools still teach Nipponshiki "Romaji" to students. They learn early on that there is no difference between the tsu and tu sounds found in the English language. The language to which any kind of "Romaji" matters. No "chi," only "ti." No "shi," only "si." No ra, ri, ru, re, ro, only la, li, lu, le lo. They learn early on that the F sound doesn't matter, so just spell it "hu." WHAT IN THE ****. Young Japanese students are taught early on to mispronounce things. NO WONDER THEY CAN'T SAY ANYTHING RIGHT. This Nipponshiki crap cements incorrect associations in their heads, and they can't say anything right thereafter. No wonder they can't differentiate between L and R. This system teaches them there isn't a difference. And the kicker; their mispronunciations are "correct" according to this "phoneme" crap. Which they then try to use for actual English. They already have kana. WHY do they need to learn an entirely new and wrong way of spelling in Japanese?

Show any English-speaking person "meidiya." No, you are not going to get "meijiya," "may-jee-yah" or anything close to it. You will only get "meiDEEya." Nothing else. Ask a gaijin to read Mt. "Huzi" for you. They'll tell you that such a place does not exist in the world, but that they recommend you visit Mt. FUJI.

Hepburn still fails in many aspects, but I say it is a **** of a lot closer to Japanese pronunciation than JSL. Eleanor Jorden didn't do anyone a favor. This system is a disgrace and a disservice. It should have never been invented. It doesn't make sense to conjugate verbs in ROMAJI, because it's JAPANESE, and should be done in KANA. "tat-u?" "tat-a-?" "tat-o-?" "tat-i-?" "tat-e?" There is no physical way to spell "tat" in kana. Ta, chi, tsu, te, and to are all separate syllables in Japanese. JSL attempts to treat Japanese as if it were a language based in Roman characters. What a horrible way to teach Japanese! What a piss-poor excuse to sanction a system that sanctions blatant misspelling and mispronunciation. I feel sorry for any student of Japanese that is humiliated by a teacher that forces this crap down his throat.

As someone who learned Japanese from HEPBURN-based Romaji and has excellent command of all three Japanese writing systems, not to mention holds an 1kyuu in the JLPT, and as someone who teaches English for a living, living in JAPAN of all places, it is my deduction that JSL, Nipponshiki, Kunreishiki, and all their derivatives are utterly destructive to education, if not entirely useless. Only stuff-shirt, snob-nosed scholars use them to sound look more important, it screws up learning for native Japanese speakers that learn it, and there should be no reason why anyone else should have to learn them. Romaji was made for non-Japanese users of Roman characters (Ie, speakers of English), and no system does this better than Hepburn, or anything with actual pronunciations in the Japanese learner's language. I will gladly join any movement that wants to abolish it. Sorry for the long rant. *edited 10/15/2008, 14:13*Kogejoe (talk) 05:14, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

From what I can deduce from your incredibly long rant, I can tell you don't like JSL. Now JSL isn't my fave either, but I'm assuming we're both biased towards it by learning Hepburn. Truthfully the r/l kana's is pronounced in between r and l. The Japanese don't have a phonetic system exactly the same as the English language does. Pronouncing "ら/ラ" as "la" is completely fine in Japanese, but yes, for an English speaker it's completely confusing. Plus if you ever heard a Japanese person say "ふ/フ" you'd be able to tell that it's also in-between f and h. Hell, I've heard it most of the time more closely sounding like "hu" than "fu". The kana's "ち/チ" are pronounced AGAIN in-betweeen Ti and Chi, along with "つ/ツ".
Now the one thing that I HATE about JSL is their romanization of "おう/オー". They romanize it as "Oo", and that is extremely incorrect. It's helpful to a non-Japanese speaker, because of course it might be odd to see something as "ou", and they might pronounce it as "o-u", not "ō" (of course some Japanese speakers do pronounce it as "o-u", like in songs to fill up areas where they need another syllable, or need something to rhyme, which is fine). But it just pisses me off.
Also the Nihon-shiki romanization has pretty much been replaced by Kunrei-shiki, which is taught in Japan (Nihon-shiki I'm pretty sure was abolished by the late 19th century).
In general you need to be more open towards JSL, Kunrei-shiki and Nihon-shiki, and not just Hepburn. It help to have a variety. Moocowsrule (talk) 21:15, 11 November 2008 (UTC)moocowsrule