Teach Yourself Japanese
Subject: Re: pronunciation for ふ/フ
From: TAKASUGI Shinji (tssf.airnet.ne.jp)
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 02:40:04 GMT
References: 1, 2
> So, when reading ふ, it's always that soft 'who', but in Katakana, use a hard FU, unless you know it takes the Japanese sound.
It doesn't matter whether a word is a native Japanese one or an imported one. The consonant of ふ/フ is either the voiceless bilabial fricative [Φ] or the voiceless glottal fricative [h]. I personally use the latter. The voiceless labiodental fricative [f] would be understood equally, but it sounds a little odd.
When the vowel of /hu/ is devoiced, [Φ] is always used, because it is more audible than [h]. In addition, the /hu/ without an accent fall tends to be pronounced weakly, and [Φ] is preferred too. The /hu/ in 分 has an accent fall, while the one in フランス doesn't, which explains why the latter sounds more like [f] to English speakers.
ふぁ, ふぃ, ふぇ, and ふぉ are clearly pronounced with [Φ], because they must be distinguished from は, ひ, へ, and ほ, which use [h].
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