Submitted by Dyske  •  January 9, 2005

Tsunami

Why do English speakers use the Japanese word “Tsunami”, when there is a perfectly usable word “tidal wave”? Not just English speakers, even Germans, Italians, and French use “Tsunami”. Does Tsunami happen most commonly in Japan? Personally, I don’t remember any Tsunami incidents when I was living in Japan.

Also, why do some people pronounce it “Sunami” when it starts with a “T”?

Comments Sort by:   Oldest first  •  Latest first  •  Rating

I think you are being over sensitive. :p

Though most people use the words interchangeably they really describe two different phenomena. A tsunami is a large wave of up to about 10-15 meters that is caused by a change in the level of the sea floor due to an earthquake. A tidal wave is a rise in the water level due to a combination of tide and winds or extreamly large storms with a maximum of around 3-4 meters.

It is fitting that tsunami comes from Japanese because being an earthquake prone island nation, Japan has had much historical experience with them.

Most Americans don't pronounce it properly because they can't. English has no words with an initial consonant cluster of "ts". Pronouncing "cat soup" is no problem, but I've had a very hard time getting my father to pronounce tsunami correctly.

4 votes Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

A tsunami is a seismic sea wave, not a tidal wave. I wince every time I hear someone refer to the recent disaster and mention tidal waves. Please remember that tides are caused by the gravitational effect that the Moon (and to a lesser extent) the Sun have on the Earth. TIdal waves occur daily and have nothing whatsoever to do with earthquakes. A tsunami, however, is the result of the displacement of water following a seismic event.

3 votes Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

There are numerous reasons why words are mispronounced when the Japanese borrow them from English.
The Japanese language pronounces their 5 vowels only one way. When you see an A it is always pronounced AH. The same applies to all other vowels EH, EE, OH, OO, and very short.
All of the consonants (except final n) must be followed by a vowel. Therefore when they see a word, for instance, "mac", they will pronounce it mah-koo (very short and clipped.)
In addition, their language does not have an L, so they do the best they can to get close to the sound, and it comes out sort of like an R.
There is also no TH, so they substitute closely with an S.
Their R is pronounced somewhat like the L in English.
They do not have diphthongs, so they always break vowels apart into two syllables.
These are the major problems the Japanese have in pronouncing English words. There are also other minor reasons for mispronunciation.
So when they attempt to pronounce MacDonald (only 3 syllables in English) it comes out as 6 syllables in Japanese because they add the needed vowels at the ends of each consonant.
While the Japanese language may seem short of sounds, the English language is oversupplied with variants in vowels, not to mention the multitude of diphthongs and ways to pronounce many words that look alike. Words that have "ough" in them can be pronounced so many ways, what would a Japanese do?
We can easily pronounce "tsu" correctly if we desire. Try "He gets Super Bowl on TV." Most Americans will run the words together instead of stopping after "gets" and pronouncing Super separately. That melded sound is the same as tsumani. Try "He gets tsunami."
So what excuse do we Americans have for mispronouncing Japanese words? Ours is an abundant language, able to reproduce nearly every sound in Japanese, however it will take some practice to attempt their Rs. I believe it is simply arrogance and incomplete education. The American soldier promulgated many of the mispronunciations we hear today such as geisha, usually pronounced poorly as gee-sha, and karaoke as car-ry-oh-ky, and bonsai as bahn-zai. Ughh!
However, we don't do much better with Spanish. All those cities starting with San are really pronounced as sahn in Spanish. We truly murder Los Angeles and many other cities names. I was born in San Jose where it was always pronounced "sanazay", but there's no turning back now. We have truly "Americanized" so many cities' names, even their natives would not recognize them.
So be it

2 votes Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Tsunamis are not tidal waves. They are a series of waves of extremely long wavelength and period. They are not associated with the tides.

2 votes Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Languages borrow foreign words all the time-- It's a kind of linguistic fashion. Some words go out of fashion, and others stick. It's pretty much the story of how the English language evolved.

Some words, like 'coffee', sound pretty much the same in several languages: Chinese people say "Ka Fei", French say 'Cafe',etc. etc.---even Japanese people use a foreign word for Java, don't they?

Dyske, Japan is the land of foreign borrowed words! From convenience stores (konbini), to computers, (konpyuutaa), the Japanese language is PACKED with foreign loan words for which perfectly good Japanese words exist. Foreign words are taken in, changed a bit to roll off the Japanese tongue, and voila! If people like it, a word-fashion is born. Sometimes the word is used to convey a slightly (or totally) different meaning.

Are you really so surprised that English speakers would want to borrow a Japanese word? Personally, I think it's kinda cool-- but some might argue otherwise. Another memorable Japanese word that English speakers have corrupted is Kay-Ri-o-kee (Karaoke)--have you heard people say that one?

Using a foreign word offers a certain "Je ne sais quoi" (boooooooooo) that is all the more appealing when when others actually understand what you're talking about. If you went around quoting Caesar in Latin, someone would probably punch you.

You wanna hear something funny? Japanese (borrow?) use the Chinese characters for 'hand' and 'paper' together to mean 'a letter' (tegami), as in "I'm going to write my friend a letter". However, those two characters together mean 'toilet paper' (shou zhi) in Chinese.

Don't be too hard on Westerners for poor Japanese pronunciation. The human tongue is a creature of habit, and while the 'ts' sound is one that English speakers can easily reproduce, flattening it out into an 's' is easier--- the same reason people say 'liddle' not 'little', and 'ouda' not 'out of'......

fuggedabowdit.

1 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

we pronounce the word "tsunami" that way coz it's the way the japanese pronounced it. and why shld we pronounce it any different?

btw, ray, "karaoke" is pronouced KA-RA-O-KEH by the japanese and not the way u said it is meant to pronounced. the way u suggested is a corrupted form of pronouncing the word by westerners. :)

1 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

The reason it is spelled "Tsunami" is because you are actualy prenouncing the letter "T" yet it is still silent becausw you don't recongnize it. like the word "Tsuki"
think about it-
"TS" + "Nami"
ありがとう。
Love, Samantha Yamaguci
13/f/Kyoto, Japan

1 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

naeboo,

I was indeed trying to imitate the way most English speakers say Karaoke--sorry if that wasn't clear.

btw, I heard that karaoke is a bit of a loan word-- 'kara' being Japanese for 'empty', and 'oke' being a truncated version of the English word 'orchestra' (oh-ke-su-to-ra).

forgetting, for a moment, that 'orchestra' itself probably comes from another language, we now have an english word that was taken into Japanese, and then borrowed back into English. The whole argument over the 'correct pronunciation' can start to get pretty weak.

I'm curious--does anyone here speak a language that tends NOT to borrow foreign words, and instead imagines new 'native' words for new things? Or is the world simply moving too fast for this to be practical?

1 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

I had just recenlty made a very similar comment to my friend about this very thing. It seems as though, by using a foreign word, it makes Westerners feel as though it's not so much a force of nature as much as a "force of nature of the Eastern kind". I don't consider myself all that racially sensitive - I'm not the most politically correct Asian woman around, believe me. I have laughed at my share of Asian jokes. But there is something about the use of this Japanese word that doesn't sit right with me. It's as if something this devastating simply cannot be left alone without a scapegoat. Americans especially need a black to every white. Every movie has to have an antagonist. Oh well. I think I AM being overly sensitive for no reason. What happened is certainly a huge travesty, something which boggles my mind. I simply cannot comprehend the amount of devastation that this force of nature has brought about. Put in perspective, the use of this word bothering me is of no consequence. I should count myself to be exceptionally lucky to have not been effected by this global tragedy.

1 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Wendy, "tsunami" is the technical term for it. Why on earth must you be so oversensitive?

Dyske, I was informed (can't find the link anymore) that the word was coined by seismologists (earthquake scientists) quite recently. They needed a specific word to describe what happened in the special case of a tidal wave caused by an earthquake at sea. Although the word is derived from Japanese root elements, I was under the impression that it was not a "natural" Japanese word. Does this confirm what you know?

1 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

The term tidal wave can refer to:

* A tsunami. <b>Tidal wave is a common name for the occurrence, however this traditional usage is considered incorrect by oceanographers and other scientists since no tides are involved.</b> Although the term "tidal wave" was formerly more popular with the general public, news media reporting of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake used the term "tsunami" almost exclusively, as a result of which "tsunami" is now much better known than it was before.

1 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Pronunciation seems to be an issue.

http://www.davezilla.com/index.php?p=217

Asian Chew Mommy?

1 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

It's just fine to import words into the English language, as long as they are modified to be compatible with our basic spelling and pronunciation conventions. Even though "tidal wave" connotes, in the mind of the average English speaking person, nothing more than a huge wave (without regard to the technicality of how it may have been produced), nevertheless I can see the value of being able to differentiate between waves produced by tidal forces and those produced by seismic activity.

Yesterday I heard more than one reporter on PBS/NPR - which seems to have a preponderance of commentators with British and other foreign accents - pronouncing tsunami without the leading "t". And that is the way it should be. The consonantal blend "ts", appearing at the beginning of a word, is not native to the English tongue. The spelling of this word should be "sunami".

Another example is "Sri Lanka". When that country's name was changed from the perfectly fine "Ceylon", English ought not to have been affected. "sr" at the beginning of a word does not belong in our language any more than does "ts", and from what I understand, the two words are closely related variants meaning nearly the same thing anyway.

Do we call the country whose capital is Berlin, "Deutschland"? Of course not. We call it Germany.
And conversely, Do the Germans refer to us as The United States. Of course not. They say "Die Vereinigte Staaten". And somehow we manage not to take offense at that.

And when the Japanese, upon importing the English word "computer", chose to say "konpyuutaa" do we get all bent out of shape? Of course not. So why the hell is it we think that we have to accomodate to alien pronunciations?

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Actually, susan, me, a tidal wave IS a tsunami, at least one of the definitions. It may be a misnomer, but that is the definition. Yes, a tidal wave may have nothing to do with tides.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Chiyaka entirely true. Your entire post is full of truth. Thank you, you have just made my day. I was taught when I was younger by my school that in the "t" in tsunami is silent because it is silent in Japanese, which is definitely not true. My mom was taught the same thing, but I don't know who taught her that. English (US) speakers [i]can[i] say "tsu". In fact they can say many things in other languages, some are harder to pronounce than others. If one can't pronounce "tsu" practice is really all that is needed. I watch a lot of Japanese shows (non-Anime included) and listen to a lot of Japanese music and hearing the words over and over again is what helped me. Now I can pronounce and spell in the Japanese language better than I can in English. Which isn't exactly a good thing, I might add. I even have their "r"s down. So let me say it is possible for English people to pronounce "tsu".

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Quoting Caesar in Latin isn't that rare. One example is "ueni, uidi, uici".

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Et tu, Persephone? I stand corrected.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

We don't pronounce "tsar" with distinct sounds for the t and s...in fact we tend to pronounce it more like its counterpart spelling "czar" in which the /z/ is the sound we pronounce...when words are borrowed they take on the characteristics of the language they are borrowed into. I think it's as simple as that.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

well if you're talking about english speakers butchering japanese names... remember that it goes both ways. my name is steve and in japan i have to settle for suteibu (pronounced steeb) and my last name, corbett is written as korubetto. so don't forget that the language and phonetic barriers are responsible for that... it's not american ignorance. calling it that is taking the easy way out.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Does it matter?

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

I donot use Tsugar in my koughpy

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

By the way, the "T" IS PRONOUNCED in Japanese, so the reason is not that the T isn't pronounced in its native form.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

I wish to take issue about the use of COMMUTE and COMMUTER to describe travel on a regular basis. In this context, COMMUTER actually refers to the state of being a season ticket holder, not a traveller, the person concerned having commuted their daily return tickets for a season. I see no reason why somebody could not be a commuter purely by virtue of using a car park or going to a cricket match, as long as they had a season ticket.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

tidal waves and tsunamis are different. a tidal wave is caused by the tide, wind and stuff, its just really big. a tsunami is caused by movements in the earths crust under the ocean and is much more destructive.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

the word tsunami is commonly used to describe large tidal waves in the same way huge is used instead of big to describe something particularly big. They mean the same technically but are viewed as part of some kind of size hierarchy with big being smaller than huge and huge being smaller than gigantic. Seemingly to do with the imagery the words conjour up. Tsunami sounding more dramatic and dangerous than tidal wave.

I think the t is generally not pronounced due to the pause it creates. English is a very flowing language and pronouncing the t in tsunami doesn't fit with the rest of the language as a whole, it sounds rough and disjointed compared to the smooth flow of the rest of the sentance.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Who gives a damn?

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

I don't know if this has been said because I'll be damned if I'm going to read through everything, but I'm pretty sure the word "tsunami" is regional. That is, it's not of a regional dialect, but it refers to the natural disaster in question only when said disaster occurs somewhere in SE Asia. In America, the same occurrence would be called a "tidal wave." It might be something else elsewhere. Compare with: prairie-pampas-savanna-steppes (all mean the same thing but each is on a different continent). Also, typhoons and hurricanes are the same thing, but hurricanes are born in equitorial Africa and do their thing in Florida. Typhoons are born in like, um, somewhere in the pacific and do their thing in Japan, Australia, etc.

zing.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Although I may be wrong about the recent coinage; see this Language Log entry:

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/arch...

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

I read in a few places online that it means in japanese - tsu (harbor) nami (wave)

Apparently, right before a tsunami strikes, water is sucked out of the harbors and comes rushing back in with amazing force.

It can result from an earthquake or landslide or something like that, but not the tides. I saw a television show about tsunamis a few years ago and I remember seeing a landslide on the show.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Oh yes, volcanic eruptions can be another cause of them.

Check out Wiktionary...
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Tsunami

This is very interesting and informative too.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Indian_Ocean_...

It has some historical information.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Maybe it's like hurricane. In the atlantic ocean it's considered a hurricane, in the pacific it's a typhoon.

Maybe Tsunami is for one general area, while tidal wave is for another.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

OK, On the subject of pronunciation: If you google "tsunami pronunciation" or "tsunami pronounced," it will come up with pronunciations that both include and exclude the "t" (just as pronunciation of the "t" in "often" is optionial). I think it is acceptable either way, but the "t" seems to be included more often than not.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

All of the 10+ dictionaries I consulted clearly specify that the T should be pronounced. The Merriam-Webster 10th Online, however, seems to indicate that the T is sometimes optional (not, I gather, that it should be optional).

Dictionaries are good for this sort of thing. Google is good for other things. It's good to know the difference.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Always a pleasure, Speedwell.

I know what google is good for; it has a search engine that can find various reputable government, scientific, and educational websites, online DICTIONARIES, other useful and fun websites, and a LOT of questionable and crappy websites. You just need to know how to pick out the junk and find the good stuff. My point was to use the searches to find websites that HAVE pronunciations, figure out which are reputable, and view the pronunciations that they list.

Maybe a little back and forth conversation, questioning what I meant, instead of a backhanded insult might have been a more civilized way to handle your frustration with my inability to be as perfect as you. TOLERANCE!!! I was in a hurry.

Peace, for crying out loud!

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

I asked the same question. A very pedantic person explained to me that there is indeed a technical difference between a tsunami and a tidal wave in that TIDE plays no role in tsunamis. Tsunamis are huge waves. Tidal waves are a subset of them -- huge waves caused by tidal anomalies. I have no idea if that is true or not, but he seemed quite certain.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Ladylucy, the comment in question was intended as general helpful advice to the readership, not as a personal offense tactic directed at you.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Nice try, Speedwell.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

In Japanese "T" is definitely pronounced. "TSU" and "SU" are two clearly different syllables in Japanese. I should know because my last name is: Suematsu.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Another example of English butchering tsu: Yankees left fielder Matsui Hideki. Nearly every time I've heard his name announced it's pronounced Mat (rhymes with bat) sui.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

"tidal wave" is a misnomer - tsunamis have nothing to do with tides.

Also, English phonotactics doesn't allow a "ts" sound at the beginning of a syllable, whereas Japanese does. When the word was adopted into English, the initial "t" was dropped to fit English phonology. This is the same reason we don't pronounce the "p" in psychology: English syllables can't start with "ps".

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

I never bought the argument that English people drop the T because they can't pronounce it. The fact that the ts in "cat soup" is in the middle and therefore somehow different is ridiculous. Because I have experience Japanese I always wince when I hear "sunami" because, just like dyske said, it has a completely different meaning! I would tend to think "wave of vinegar".

It might be interesting to note that typhoon is also a Japanese word, though a badly pronounced one. (Originally taihuu or taifuu.)

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

For the record, "typhoon" did not enter the English language from Japanese. Most etymologists agree that its current meaning comes from Cantonese ("toi fung"). The word itself probably originally entered English via an Indian language (most likely Hindi), which used the word "tufan", borrowed from Arabic, meaning a strong, violent storm. The Arabic word was borrowed from the ancient Greek word "typhon", meaning "whirlwind", after the Titan who controlled the winds. To quote the American Heritage Dictionary, "Taaîfung, meaning literally &ldquo;great wind,&rdquo; was coincidentally similar to the Arabic borrowing and is first recorded in English guise as tuffoon in 1699."

Incidentally, Chinese and Japanese share the same characters for the word "tai feng/tai fung/tai fuu" (Mandarin/Cantonese/Japanese), strongly suggesting that "tai fuu" is actually a Japanese borrowing of a Chinese word (admittedly, many centuries ago), its pronunciation modified
to fit their phonetic system.

This is yet another (rather tortuous) example of how loan words are accommodated into other language sby changes in the pronunciation. Loan words which retain their "original" pronunciation are by far the exception rather than the rule. To press the point further, even words that have entered English relatively recently from Japanese - for example, "sake", "kamikaze", "Kyoto", "Tokyo", "manga", "karaoke", "bonsai" - are all pronounced differently in their original tongue.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Tsunami isn't the only "foreign" word us westerners have assimilated into our lexicon. There are tidbits of different languages everywhere. Latte, escargot, chili con carne… Maybe because it sounds better than creamy coffee drink, snails cooked with butter, or chili with meat… Tsunami (I pronounce the clustered ‘ts’) sounds better than “huge wall of water caused by an earthquake”. Some of us might say ciao and we all know what a Ménage au trios is…

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Luckylady said: "I read in a few places online that it means in japanese - tsu (harbor) nami (wave)."

The first character &#27941; (the "tsu") means something like "overflowing" or "innundating."

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

I understand your point of view. However, that is just a part of language. English (American English or UK English) do not have the sound 'ts' as in 'tsu' as the Japanese do. This makes it difficult to pronounce.

English, along with all languages include words that are not of their origin. English (US) used words from many othre languags as common as their own (such as French words).

English (US) speakers may have this same complaint about Japanese use of English (US) words. Many Japanese pronounce English words they commonly use incorrectly as well. I've seen commerical products for exampe use "clover" instead of "lover", I hear songs use English words in all sorts of incorrect ways. I am not one to personally complain that this is a a great injustice. I love the Japanese language and culture and that of several languages/countries. I listen to music in 7 different languages, and there is not a day I don't enjoy Japanese entertainment their native language.

I simply see this as a basic problem when introducing another language into your own. It is not unheard of to intergate words into your own pronouncation. All languages do it, and in this case, so do the Japanese.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Although I can understand your point of view to some extent, I tend to disagree that this is a real problem.

This is a basic language issue, not with English, but all languages. When one language borrows a word from another language, it is common to modify the pronoucation. Further, all languages are countinual evolving.

This same complaint may be made against the Japanese use English and other languages. I am not one to actually make this complaint, as I am against this type of thinking and understand the issue at hand. Further, I love the Japanese language and culture - I also work in Japan 4 months a year. I listen to music from 7 different countries. I enjoy Japanese entertainment everyday. However, to make my argument, I have seen Japanese use "clover" instead of "lover", they've also modified the pronouncation of words they've borrowed or mispronounce them.

This is an global issue, it would be great if we all spoke every language in the world like native speakers, it would make my travels much easier.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

To Picky (comment from Jan 29, '05)
I digress with this post, from the discussion on tsunamis, because you said something that is very true and always interesting to me. Now PLEASE, no one else take this up as an affront. Just try to read this and take it as is. Consider too that all nations and races have their "common traits".
Americans, with exceptions along the way, have a tendency to want to make sense of everything and fitting it into a 1, 2 pattern or else they change it to what makes sense to them. Many words in the English language have been assigned a different spelling just because someone didn't get the original spelling.
Etymology is the beauty of English. In much the same way this country is built on its history of immigrants and all of what they brought with them, all English isn't latin. It borrows and benefits from other languages. It's the context that primarily gives meaning to the word and therefore justifies what it is. If that makes sense to us, then we really don't need to do surgery on a language that is more beautiful for its ins and outs and its range of inclusion.
Recently, in a back-handed manner, the President declared English the official language of the US of A. This because someone clearly pointed out that you cannot decree that all immigrants learn and speak a language when your country doesn't list it in officialdom. Well, some of us are still laughing because - double whammy! - you don't speak English either. You speak and write something, which if we were to pick it apart for all the ways in which it has been set apart - just to be different - from English, it would be fair to coin another name for it that specifically denotes its Americanism.
Again, no offence meant here. This is just an objective, unbiased comment based on close observation over more than 20 years.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

My phonetic understanding of 'tsunami' is that the T is a 'wet' T, not a hard T, like in tack.
I've come across wet 't's in romantic languages, but not many in American English.
Maybe thyme is a good example? The correct pronunciation does not sound the same as 'time.' because it's softer, blended with the 'y.'
So, the T is pronounced, but not Tee-sunami or tuh-sunami. You'd come much closer to the pronunciation with a 'th' sound than the 't' sound, although neither is correct.
As to why the large majority of Americans mis-pronounce it? Because they don't know any better. ;)
A, from America

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

This question was asked in KBC in India a game show ..from where this word has been taken..Thanks for telling me the answer..Sonia

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

THANKS U THIS QUESTION WAS ASKED IN KBC WHICH LANGUAGES DOES TSUNAMI WORD TAKEN FROM THE ANSWER I GET THROUGH IT.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Either they don't know any better or the word just doesn't fit neatly into the "pronunciation scheme" of the languages. By which I mean the set of phonemes used in the language. Last night I watched part of a television program on "mega-tsunamis", which reminded me of this question.

Even though "ts" is not used at the beginning of words in English, it does turn up in other positions and it can be pronounced by English speakers without any difficulty. While the scientists and narrators of the television program could easily have pronounced the "ts" in "mega-tsunami" correctly, I think conceptually they would have had to envision the word as "megat-sunami". The syllables of the compound word would have to be broken the wrong way to remove the foreign phoneme. I think there's a bit of a mental block people have doing that kind of thing, even though in this case it would lead to a more correct pronunciation of the word.

Or then again, maybe they just didn't think about it.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

who ever made this up is a hoe

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Your Comment