[LMB] Re: Haikus

Erin horsybird at gmail.com
Tue Dec 13 02:47:29 GMT 2005

>>In Japanese, canonically, three: Ha-i-ku.
>>In other languages, usually two: Hai-ku.
>>The difference is that Japanese (technically) doesn't have diphthongs.

Yes-- Japanese doesn't have syllables quite the way English does; they're
more like beats or time-counts.  Therefore a single syllable, like "to,"
would be counted as one, but if the vowel is doubled (by adding an "o" to
the end), it becomes two syllables, and the sound is held for twice as long
as the single "to."  (The city Tokyo, which Americans pronounce as "to - kee
-yo," for example, is actually "to - o - kyo - o," with four Japanese
syllables.)  So haiku would be ha - i - ku, three syllables, by Japanese
count.  In English, though, I'd stick with calling it two, since I would
guess few people are aware of how the Japanese language counts syllables.

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