Manjikana – A syllable based system
According to their phonetic constructions, the “Manjikana” letters/sounds are grouped in positions according to the scheme below.The letters and the special sings are positioned in such a way that allows the entire group to be placed inside an imaginary 5:7 rectangle.
Position 1 – the consonant (horizontal – in the middle)
Position 2 – the mark of lengthened vowels
Position 3 – the vowel (vertical – in the middle)
Position 4 – each consonant or the stopping point
Position 5 – the palatalization mark “J(Y)” or “V(W)”
Position 6 – the accent mark (on the top)
According to the types of the syllables, the letters are placed ONLY in their own positions. If any element is missing, the latter place is left empty.
As an example we can take the word “manji”, which has two syllables:
The first syllable “man” starts with the consonant “m”, which we place in the position 1. The vowel “a” is placed in the position 3. The consonant “n” is placed in the position 4.
The second syllable “ji” starts with the consonant “j”, placed on the position 1. The vowel “i” is placed on the position 3. This syllable has not any other consonant, so the position 4 is left empty.
The japanese syllables
In the table below are written the syllables of the first three categories: V (vowels only), CV (consonant + vowel), CyV (consonant + y(j) + vowel)
The lengthened vowels are written with a macron (a short line above the letter).
The theory which represents the language with a sum of 104 syllables is false, because the 104 particles are smaller than a syllable.
The further combination of these particles gives a sum of 206 syllables.
This table contains empty squares, because there are syllables (like “Si”) that do not exist in the Japanese language.
If an “n” is added to each of the 206 basic syllables (the categories 4,5,6), then 206 other syllables are earned.
Also a stopping point can be added to each one of them (the categories 7,8,9), making it 618 syllables.
The basic syllables (the categories 1 (V), 2 (CV), 3 (CyV)) according to “Manjikana”.
The basic syllables (the categories 4 (Vn), 5 (CVn), 6 (CyVn)) according to “Manjikana”.
The basic syllables (the categories 7 (Vx), 8 (CVx), 9 (CyVx)) according to “Manjikana”.
The syllables of the Ainu language
In the table below are listed the basic syllables of the first two categories: V (vowels only), CV (consonant + vowels)
These facts have been considered in the making of the table above:
1. The Ainu language
- It contains the cons.: “k”,”s”, ”t”, ”c(ts)”,”n”, ”h”, ”p”, ”m”, ”j(y)”, ”r”, ”v(w)”.
- It contains the vowels: “a”, “i”, “u”, “e”, “o” no matter long or short.
- At the end of a syllable the consonants “c(ts)” and “h” do not appear.
2. Other dialects
- The consonant “h” may appear at the end of the syllable.
- There is a difference between short and long vowels.
All the possible variations offered by each dialect are involved. There are 116 basic syllables of the first two categories (V – vowels only) and (CV – consonants + vowels).
Since the consonants “k”,” s”,” t”,” n”,” h”,” p”,” m”,” j(y)”,” r”,” v(w)” can appear at the end (3rd category – VC and 4th category – CVC), then the total of the possible syllables goes up to 116 x 10 = 1160 syllables.
1. The combination of “c” + “i” is not read “ci” but “çi(chi)”.
2. In case the letter “s” appears on the end, then is read “sh”. (ex/ “kas” is read “kash”) Since there is no exception to the normal rule, in order to not overload the writing, a compromise can be reached.
The basic syllables of the Ainu language and its dialects.
The combinations “yi”, “yii”, “wu” and “wuu” do not exist in these languages. They rarely consider differences between short and long vowels. In the words‘ meaning’s behalf, they do not make any difference.
This being the case, the table above can be reduced to half itself, giving only 58 basic combinations. In the other hand, there would have been a total of 580 different possible combinations.
All possible syllable combinations of the Ainu language and its dialects (categories V, VC, CVk, CVs, CVt, CVn, CVh, CVp, CVm, CVj, CVr, CVv)
If the syllable is divided into three main parts:
- the beginning (C1),
- the middle (V),
- the end (C2)
then, the basic rules of combination are:
- “C1” and “V” cross in such a way that C1 takes the horizontal position (position 1 – according to the previous scheme) and V takes the vertical position (position 3 – according to the previous scheme). “C2” remains in a horizontal position under the C1 and V cross (position 4 – according to the previous scheme), so that the cross and C2 do not intersect.
- All this composition must be placed within an imaginary 5×7 rectangle.
- If any element is missing, its place is left empty.
The lengthening of the vowels
In the Japanese language there is a difference between the short (A; I; U; E; O) and the long vowels (AA; II; UU; EE; OO). Since it is meant a lengthening and not a repetition therefore, the long vowels can be distinguished by adding a certain mark and not by being written twice, as it actually occurs.
This mark is a short horizontal line in the upper edge of each long vowel. This mark is always directed to the left side.
For example, the only difference to be found between the word “Soto” (meaning: outside) and the word “Sōtō” (meaning: few) is the length of the vowel “o”. To write the long vowel you start from the mark and then the letter.
According to the “Hiragana” writing the lengthening of the vowels “e” and “o” are made by adding respectively the vowels “I” (Sensei) and “u” (Toukyou). Since “ei” and “ou” are read “ee” and “oo”, they can be written as “Sensē” and “Tōkyō”.
This rule is based on the principle of adapting the writing system to the spoken language.
The lengthening of the consonants
Even though the term is “lengthening”, there is no such thing as long consonants. In Japanese exists a stopping point, a “mute sound” denoted by “x”. The word “Nippon” (Japan) consists of two syllables: “nip” + “pon”. The first syllable does not end with the letter ‚p‘, but with a stop “nixpon”. During the articulation of the word, you begin with the particle “ni”, then comes a stop (the mute sound) and at the end the other syllable. During the transcription at the stopping point the consonant with which the next syllable starts is placed. (“Kippu” – “Kix-pu” / “Kissaten” – “Kix-sa-ten” / “Zettai” – “Zex-tai”)
The mute sound is represented by a wide horizontal line, ending with a short vertical line on its upper right. According to the acquired space, the short line takes a vertical or a little turned within position. This character is always written in position 4.
According to the actual writing systems, “Hiragana” and “Katakana”, palatalization is expressed by adding the syllables “ja” (ya), “ju” (yu) and “jo” (yo) to the consonants of the colon “i” from the table of “50 Sounds”. This means that to form the syllable “Kja” (Kya), is needed to add the syllable “Ki” to “ja” (ya).
“Manjikana” marks this phenomenon in the correct way, since there is no need for two special characters where the amount of syllables remains the same and it can be easier represented with a special sign inside the syllable. This special sign takes the form of a minus in a 45° anticlockwise, placed always on the upper right, according to position 5.
The word “Ningyō” (diploma) consists of two syllables: Nin + gyō. The second syllable contains a palatalization, where a “j” (y) is pronounced after the “g”. According to “Hiragana” this word is written: “Ni + n + gi + yo + o” (5 characters & 5 spaces).
With “Manjikana” this word is written with only two characters and two spaces, since it contains only two syllables.
To help the writing of the foreign syllables (mostly Anglo-Saxon origin), the letter “v” can be placed in position 5.
The syllables can be pronounced with an upper or lower accent. Thanks to the considerable amount of homographs, the wrong pronunciation of the accent gives the word another meaning.
“Manjikana” easily fixes this issue by adding a special sign marking only the upper accent. This takes the form of a minus in a 45° clockwise, placed always on the upper left, according to position 6.
In case the accent does not affect the word’s meaning there is no need for it to be written at all. For example: The word “Hashi” has two versions: “Hashi” (bridge) and “Hashi” (eating sticks). In this case the accent affects the word’s meaning, so it is necessary for it to be written. Since every syllable has two versions of itself with a lower or upper accent, we earn these results:
In conclusion, the Japanese language contains 1236 syllables (excluding the artificial ones (…33), created to simplify the writing of the foreign syllables).