elmie7072 wrote:And how can you figure out how to do the same with other places and names?
Is there a rule to this?
Basically you forget about the way a name is spelt, concentrate on how it's pronounced and try to reproduce the same pronunciation as close as you can using Japanese syllables.
Japanese syllables don't end with a consonant but you can get quite close to the required sound by using syllables from the 'u' row (such as ku
etc) because the 'u' sounds have the most de-voiced vowels. If you need a T or D sound you can't use tu
because they're pronounced tsu
, so you have to use to
L and R sounds are both done using the ra-ri-ru-re-ro
There is no SI in Japanese, but shi
is close enough for most purposes.
TH is usually done using su
. V sounds are usually done using the ba-bi-bu-be-bo
sounds. There is a katakana compound that represents the V sound but since Japanese doesn't have a V sound it's difficult for Japanese speakers to pronounce so I think it's maybe more polite to choose something that's going to be easier to pronounce.
It sometimes helps to use a double consonant where a name has a 'hard' consonant, like, for example, the 'd' and 't' sounds in 'Brad Pitt'. And you need to decide whether or not a long vowel sound improves the pronunciation: for example, piitaa
sounds much more like 'Peter' than pita
sounds like 'pitter').
Finally, although you can theoretically choose how you spell your name, there is often a well-established spelling for many foreign names and it's probably wiser to stick with that if it applies to you. And like any other language, Japanese already has names for all the countries, so you just have to find out what the Japanese name for your country is.
My qeustion now is how would my name and where I am from be pronounced:
Elmie van Niekerk
I am from Pretoria, South Africa
Pretoria breaks easily into p-re-to-ri-a, and we only need to substitute 'pu' for 'p', giving us pu-re-to-ri-a
, or プレトリア in katakana. We can check if this is correct by consulting Wikipedia Japan
(looks like it is).
I'm not sure how your name is actually pronounced, but to me it looks like I would pronounce it el-mee van-nee-kur-k. For Japanese syllables I'd go for e-ru-mi-i ba-n-ni-i-ka-a-ku
, which is エルミー・バンニーカーク.