Not kiyoto

Here's something I've noticed but have never mentioned here: how English speakers say "Kiyoto" [kee-yoto] instead of "Kyoto." Even the Japanese characters 京都 do not allow for the "ki" sound because the first one is "kyo" (or more precisely, "kyou" because the vowel sound is long).

I think it's because the "kyo" sound isn't common in English, or really exists in English words (I don't think--I haven't done a word study on it), so to say "Kyoto" is strange for English speakers. "Kiyoto" allows for alternating the consonant and vowel sounds and is more comfortable, it seems.


Lilly said...

I think that most speakers of a foreign language who encounter sounds that are not part of their own language will try to approximate* that particular sound to fit their own language.....because that is all they know....does that make sense? I think that goes for grammer too. Often I hear English speakers using grammar characteristic of the English language directly translated into Danish. I find myself doing it too at times.....both ways!
* I am lacking the English equivalent of the Danish word 'tilnærme'...

Anonymous said...

That makes total sense--I should've mentioned that in my post. The grammar thing is common--when I teach different language groups English, I notice they make certain mistakes depending on what their native language is. It's a good way to figure out how to help them.

Lilly said...

Glad it makes sense :-)

Anonymous said...

bem, eu li no seu perfil que voce traduz portugues, entao vou escrever na minha lingua, pois meu ingles é bem ruinzinho.

achei muito interessante seus comentarios sobre kiyoto. nao entendi por que voce comentou justamente esta palavra, mas gostei por que é meu nome.

outra hora vou ler seu blog com mais calma, parece interessante.

Margaret Larkin said...

Obrigada! But I can't really write Portuguese (at least quickly), so I'll ask you in English: your name is Kiyoto?