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In phonetic terms both languages, the Japanese and the Spanish languages share various similitudes. Both languages are syllable-timed languages with a 5 vowel system.
They coincide in four of them, just having a small difference of pronunciation in their respective "u" vowel (the Spanish U is a close back rounded vowel while the Japanese U is a close back compressed vowel). For the native Spanish speakers, the Japanese U although similar to its U, tends to have an inherent weak B-like sound, similar to their /β/ voiced bilabial approximant, caused by the lips compression. In the case of the native Japanese speakers, the Spanish U is pronounced as a う with the lips protruded, in the same way as the お.
The main difference in the vowels aspect is the absence of the Diphthong in the Japanese Language, being one of the aspect that need take care when you attempt to make a Japanese Vocaloid sing in Spanish. While in the case of the Spanish there isn't the marked patalization phonemes of the Japanese.
In the aspect of the consonants, although both languages don't share the same consonant phonemes, many of them are perceived as allophones of the other language, or at least are the enough similar to be used as them. The main difference in this aspect is the realization of the liquid consonants in both language (remember the Japanese language has an undefined liquid consonant), and the absence of the Rolling R in the Japanese Phonetic System.
Is important stand out due the Japanese Language has a CSV (Consonant-Semivowel-Vowel) syllable configuration which tends to favors the CV syllables, its Phonetic system is intended to be encoded ideally with ["Consonant" "Vowel"] syllables/notes. For this reason when a user attempts to use a Japanese Vocaloid sing in another language can occur, depending of the the voicebank utilized, this one will struggle with consonants in coda position (at the end of the syllable/note) or with some consonant clusters, causing those ones will be weakly pronounced or even not pronounced at all (Example: GUMI & Rin ACT1). This also affects the way of work and can alter the pronunciation of some consonants combinations used to mimick the target language. Anyway this problem has been resolved for Vocaloid3 with the addition of new phonemes.
Japanese to SpanishEdit
One of the things that more work requires when a Japanese Vocaloid sings in Spanish is the Diphthong. The Japanese Language often is referred as a pure vowel language, without diphthongs or glides (unless you consider the palatalized consonants as glides). This added to the problem of the choppy vowel combination of some voicebanks causes the user will need work around this for achieve a smooth pronunciation, requiring use some techniques.
Use a Blending PhonemesEdit
Use Palatalized PhonemesEdit
Phonologic note: Hiatus that aren't HiatusEdit
Lexically talking , the Spanish classifies its 5 vowels in two groups: the "strong vowels" (a,e,o) and "the weak vowels" (i,u). The diphthong only occurs between an strong vowel and a weak vowel, or between two weak vowels, causing the weak vowel becomes a semivowel or glide.
In the practice there also occurs diphthongs between the the "strong vowels" of the Spanish. This occurs often in the fast speech and generally the most affected vowels are the [e] and [o], which become non-sibilant vowels. When this occurs, the [e] and [o] tend get some characteristic of a [i] and [u] respectively.
- The word poeta ('poet' IPA:[ˈpoeta]) is a 3 syllables word [ˈpo.e.ta]. However isn't rare that in the colloquial speech or fast speech is realized as a 2 syllables word [ˈpo̯e.ta], when this occurs the non-syllabant [o̯] can be replaced unconsiently by a [w̝] or a raised voiced labiovelar approximant (which is a semivowel with a pronunciation between a [w] and a [o̯])
Knowing this, is possible apply the glides [j] and [w] for the case of th [e] and [o] respectively (probably it going to be need to adjust the accent or attack of the glides to get a smooth pronunciation).
The Japanese R (represented as  in the Vocaloid Phonetic System) is an undefined liquid consonant with various rothic and lateral allophones, often varies between a /ɺ/ alveolar lateral flap and a /ɽ/ alveolar retroflex flap. The native Spanish speakers perceives it as an intermediate sound to their /ɾ/ alveolar tap or "ere" (rhotic liquid consonant) and their /l/ alveolar lateral approximant or "ele" (lateral liquid consonant). Due this, is necessary work the phoneme , to achieve a better distinction between both Spanish liquid consonants.
In the case of the alveolar tap is possible intercalate an alveolar plosive ([d], [t]) between the  phoneme and its vowel. This makes the sound of the  harsher.
- the Spanish word aro 'ring' ['a.ɾo], can be typed as [a][4 d o] or [a][4 t o]. If the user types the  alone, this means [a][4 o] then the word will tend to sound closer to a L than a flapped R, making it sound as halo 'halo' ['a.lo]
In the case of lateral approximant, generally the phoneme  alone works well as a Spanish [l]. Anyway, is possible utilize the Gemination Techniques for extend a bit the phoneme , giving it a more lateral release if is required.
Some vocaloids tends to pronounce weakly the consonants at the end of a syllable. If you're attempting do the word algo 'something' ['al.ɰo] is possible that typing it as [a 4][g o] can generate a weak or short sounding L sound. If this is the case the user can type the word as [a][l e_0][g o]'.
Now, for the consonant clusters, in the Spanish language the are few consonant clusters. Of the few ones, one of the most common are the clusters of a consonant followed by liquid consonant, which occurs at the beginning of a syllable. The initial consonant can be /b/, /k/, /d/ ( this one always followed by the liquid consonant /ɾ/), /f/, /g/, /p/ and /t/. Due their nature those can be a kinda difficult needing to be worked carefully to achieve a good pronunciation.
The first alternative is type directly both consonants in the same note, however doing this causes that the sound of the  will sound closer to an /l/, which makes this method more suitable for the consonants cluster formed by a consonant followed by an /l/.
- Example: For the name Clara ['kla.ɾa] you can type the word as [k 4 a][4 d a].
Another possibility is separate the cluster in two syllables, realizing the first consonant as a really short syllable containing a devoiced vowel, followed by a the syllable containing the liquid consonant. Following the previous example the name Clara can be realized as a ['ka.la.ra] with a short [ka] (This trick is quite used by audiologists to correct the speech problems related with the consonant clusters). This can be applied to the synthesizer, however doing this tends to make the sound of the  harsher making it sound closer to a /ɾ/, for this reason this trick tends to work better for the consonant clusters formed by a consonant followed by a /ɾ/.
- Example: Crema 'Cream' ['kɾe.ma] can be typed as [k e][4 e][m a] with short [k e].
The alveolar trill or Rolling R isn't a natural phoneme in the Japanese Language. Despite this the native Japanese Speakers occasionally produce it, realizing their own R as a trill. This phenomenon is called 'rolled tongue' (巻き舌 makijita) and generally is used as a vulgar or derogatory nuance in speech.
Exists various technique, developed in parallel, among the Japanese and Spanish users for achieve this articulation using a Japanese Vocaloid. Despite the differences basically all aims to the same: the use of successive short syllables containing the phoneme . When is doing correctly the successive short flaps will blend in a thrill, generating a Rolling R.
The use of short ru syllables seems to stem from the onopatopeya ルルルル (rurururu) which usually is used to represent the rolling R. Although it works well, the use of the phoneme [M] can cause a "u-colored" sound in the Rolling R, sounding funky in certain occasions. When this occurs, is possible replace the [M] vowel for the vowel which accompanies the trill, sounding more natural in certain occasions. Example: if your rolling ra sounds weird, replace the successive ru repetitions for successive ra repetitions.
Instead the Spanish user generally uses short note repetitions of the alveolar tap [4 d "vowel"] for achieve the same efect.
Now, in the case of a trill at the end of a syllable, is possible the vowel of the short repetitions can be heard. To avoid this simply the last repetition must end in consonant or the vowel can be silenced using the Dynamics (DYN).
Is important take attention of the words that contains a trill next to a [d] phoneme (Ej: Dardo IPA:['därðo]). Occurs the [d] tends to blends with the trill in a similar way how the  blends with the [d] in the case of the alveolar tap.
Due this technique uses short notes for get the wished effect, it's strongly affected by the tempo. For this reason it's necessary adjust the Velocity (VEL) and the note length to get a good pronunciation.
A common problem reported by the Spanish users is that some consonants at the end of the syllable are too short. This is due the Spanish speakers tends to extend a bit certain consonants at the end of the syllables, particularly the nasals like /n/ and /m/, the /l/, the silibants as /s/ and the /θ/.
For fix this the user can add a short syllable containing the intended consonant to extend with vowel [e] Then for get rid of the [e] vowel the user can silence it dropping the Dynamics (DYN) to 0. If the length isn't enough the user then can use the Gemination Techniques used by the Japanese users.
Working Conflictive CombinationsEdit
|Sample||Spanish Symbol||IPA for Spanish Symbol||Equivalent / Semiequivalent Japanese Symbol||IPA for Japanese Symbol|
|bestia, embuste, vaca, envidia||[b]||b||[b]||b|
|bebé, obtuso, vivir, curva||[B]||β||[b]||b|
|dedo, cuando, aldaba||[d]||d̪||
[d'] (before i)
|dedo, arder, admirar||[D]||ð||
[d'] (before i)
[p\'] (before i)
ɸʲ or fʲ
|gato, lengua, guerra||[g]||ɡ||
[g'] (before i)
|trigo, amargo, sigue||[G]||ɣ||
[g'] (before i)
|jamón, reloj, genero, México||[x]||x||
[C] (before i)
[p\] (before ɯ)
|caña, quise, kilo||[k]||k||
[k'] (before i)
[4'] (before i)
|mamá , campo, invertir||[m]||m||[m]||m|
[n] (at the begin of the words)
[N] (before velars)
[J] (before palatals)
[p'] (before i)
|caro, bravo, Amor eterno||[r]||ɾ||
[4 d] or [4' d]
|rumbo, carro, honra, alrededor, disruptivo, Azrael||[rr]||r||
 (short repetitions)
[4 d] or [4' d] (short repetitions)
[z] or [dz] (voiced)
z or ʣ
|cerro, cima, zumo, paz||[T]||θ||
[dz h] or [C dz]
[s] (Latin American)
[s'] (before i)
[t'] (before i)
Spanish to JapaneseEdit
|Sample Hiragana / Kunrei-shiki Romaji||Japanese Symbol||IPA Symbol||Equivalent / Semiequivalent Japanese Symbol||IPA for Spanish Symbol|
|あ a||a||ä open central unrounded vowel||[a]|
|い i||i||i close front unrounded vowel||
|う u||M||ɯᵝ close back compressed vowel||
|え e||e||e̞ mid front unrounded vowel||[e]|
|お o, を||o||o̞ mid back rounded vowel||[o]|
|かka, くku, けke, こko||k||k voiceless velar plosive||[k]|
|きki, きゃkya, きゅkyu, きぇkye, きょkyo||k'||kʲ||
[k i] (short note)
|がga, ぐgu, げge, ごgo||g||g voiced velar plosive||
|ぎgi , ぎゃgya, ぎゅgyu, ぎぇgye, ぎょgyo||g'||gʲ||
[g i] (short note)
[G i] (short note)
|がga, ぐgu, げge, ごgo, ん n-n'||N||ŋ velar nasal||
|き゜gi , き゜ゃgya, き゜ゅgyu, き゜ぇgye, き゜ょgyo, ん n-n'||N'||ŋʲ||
[n G_0 i] (short note)
|さsa, すsu, せse, そso, すぃsi||s||s voiceless alveolar sibilant||[s]|
|しshi, しゃsha, しゅshu, しぇshe, しょsho||S||ɕ or ʃʲ voiceless alveolo-palatal sibilant||
[s i] (short note)
|ずzu, ぜze, ぞzo||z||z voiced alveolar sibilant||
|じゅju, じぇje, じょjo, じゃja, じji||Z||ʑ or ʒʲ voiced alveolo palatal sibilant||
|ざza, ずzu, づzu, ぜze, ぞzo, じゃja, じji, じゅju, じぇje, じょjo||dz||ʣ voiced alveolar affricate||
|じji, ぢji, じゃja, じゅju, ぢぇje, じょjo||dZ||ʥ voiced alveolo-palatal affricative||
|たta, てte, とto, とぅtu||t||t voiceless alveolar plosive||t|
t i (short note )
|つtsu, つぁtsa, つぃtsi, つぇtse, つぉtso||ts||ʦ voiceless alveolar affricate||t s|
|ちchi, ちゃcha, ちゅchu, ちぇche, ちょcho||tS||ʨ voiceless alveolo palatal affricate||tS|
|だ da, どぅdu, でde, どdo||d||d voiced alveolar plosive||
[d i] (short note )
[D i] (short note )
|なna, ぬnu, ねne, のno, ん n||n||n alveolar nasal||n|
|にni, にゃnya, にゅnyu, にぇnye, にょnyo||J||ɲ or nʲ palatal nasal||
[n i] (short note)
|はha, へhe, ほho||h||h voiceless glottal fricative||[x]|
|ぁxa, ぃxi, ぅxu, ぇxe, ぉxo||h\||ɦ voiced glottal fricative||[x]|
|ひhi, ひゃhya, ひゅhyu, ひぇhye, ひょhyo||C||ç voiceless palatal fricative||
[x i] short note
|ふfu, ふfwa, ふfe, ふfo||p\||ɸ voiceless bilabial fricative||[f]|
|ふぃfi, ふゃfya, ふゅfyu, ふぇfye, ふょfyo,||p\'||ɸʲ||
[f i] (short note )
|ばba, ぶbu, べbe, ぼbo||b||b voiced bilabial plosive||
|びbi, びゃbya, びゅbyu, びぇbye, びょbyo||b'||bʲ||
[b i] (short note )
[B i] (short note)
|ぱpa, ぷpu, ぺpe, ぽpo||p||p voiceless bilabial plosive||[p]|
|ぴpi, ぴゃpya, ぴゅpyu, ぴぇpye, ぴょpyo||p'||pʲ||
[p i] (short note )
|まma, むmu, めme, もmo||m||m bilabial nasal||[m]|
|みmi, みゃmya, みゅmyu, みぇmye, みょmyo||m'||mʲ||
[m i] (short note)
|やya, ゆyu, よyo, いぇye||j||j palatal approximant||
|らra, るru, れre, ろro||4||ɽ retroflex flap||
|りri, りゃrya, りゅryu, りょryo||4'||ɾʲ||
r i (short note )
l i (short note )
rr i (short note )
|わwa, うぃwi, うぇwe, うぉwo||w||w͍ or wᵝ Compressed labio-velar approximant||
|ん n||N\||ɴ uvular nasal||n|
Japanese to SpanishEdit
Mujer contra MujerEdit
Tu Tic TacEdit
Spanish to JapaneseEdit
Ponyo JP ver.Edit
A cover of the main theme of the movie Ponyo (崖の上のポニョ Gake no Ue no Ponyo).
Japanese Vocaloid achieving the Rolling REdit
マイリスダメー！/ MyList dame! (Don't My list Me)Edit
During the whole song rolls the R, this particularly notorious in the "ru" and "ra" syllables.
おひめさまになりたいのッ！ / Ohime-sama ni naritai no! (I want to be a princess!)Edit
At the start of the song Rin says: "¡Arriba!" with a marked and prolonged rolling R.
- ↑ http://www.intro2spanish.com/pronunciation/consonant-clusters.htm
- ↑ http://ahou2chome.sakuratan.com/misc/mikuvoice/lesson08.html
- ↑ http://peperonp.blog59.fc2.com/blog-entry-181.html
Please note we are waiting for more information on some languages