This is an interesting little anecdote from SAKAGUCHI Ango about the pronunciation of ン, moraic /N/.

The setup is this: Sakaguchi writes occasionally for the pseudonymous criticism column in the Miyako Shinbun (since renamed the Tokyo Shimbun). Usually he lets the editor make up a name to publish his work under, but this time he has a great idea: use the pen name ン. That way, he can have all the intelligentsia talking about what ン wrote this morning, and sounding like a bunch of doofuses because ン isn't a proper word. (Sakaguchi was kind of an asshole sometimes.)

So he tries it out on KITAHARA Takeo, talking it up as the perfect way to make fools of their readership.

Kitahara stares at it for a while, then cautiously says:

"This is the character un (ウン), right?"


"Isn't it just the character un?"

This set Sakaguchi reeling, as if "shot by a pistol". "Who knew that anyone would pronounce 'ン' 'ウン'?!" he thinks. He ends up using the name, but only once, and more out of stubborn pride than anything else.

Popularity factor: 3


Languages that name their letters, how crazy.


Funny.. how in the world did you stumble across this article. Keep em coming.


Carl: Touché!

Julien: I watch this page like a hawk.

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