On "Osu!" vs. "Oss" (Linguistic Disambiguation)

RavenDarkfellow

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Hey all,

I'm sure plenty of you know this already, so no disrespect (Osu!) but the hobby linguist in my gets triggered every time I see this misspelt. I understand why it happens, and I understand why some people argue the legitimacy of writing "oss" (primarily because that's the way it's pronounced) but there is a clear correct answer to the "Osu or Oss?" question, which I'm going to explain now.

The correct written form is "Osu". It is still pronounced as "Oss"-- or, for a more phonetically unambiguous guide, it should sound like "OH-ss". Imagine you're saying "Ice" but instead of the long i vowel sound, you're using the long o sound.

Reason:


Japanese and English are not very inherently compatible languages. They come from extremely different root languages, and aren't even the same type of language. (i.e. English is a consciously-created language, and Japanese [or more accurately: Nihongo] is a naturally-developed language.) So over the years of translating up to the modern day, many misunderstandings and mistakes were made. Today however, those differences and misunderstandings have been almost completely weeded out, and we now have a thorough set of reliable rules.

One of those rules, is the transliteration of the "alphabets". Japanese doesn't have an "alphabet" like English exactly, but it does have a close approximation. Rather than individual letters constructing words, they use full sounds (with the exception of vowels, which also transliterate to individual letters). So in the case of the word that sounds like "OH-ss", it's composed of the characters for:

"O"

and

"Su"


So when it's written in Romaji, (i.e. English/Roman characters) it's written together as "Osu". However, almost always, when a "u" (and often when "i") is at the end of a word, unless there are two of them, it is only pronounced very subtley, or more often in the case of "u", not pronounced at all (as in "desu", which means is/are/am).

Note: (For those more well-versed in Japanese) I did not cover the Kanji writing of "Osu" because it's not relevant to my point here. Regardless of the Kanji, the Kana writing is your guide to pronunciation, Kanji is your guide to meaning. This post is about the linguistics of "Osu", not its meaning, which has been well-covered in other posts.

Cheers, and Osu!
 

Unkogami

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Hey all,

I'm sure plenty of you know this already, so no disrespect (Osu!) but the hobby linguist in my gets triggered every time I see this misspelt. I understand why it happens, and I understand why some people argue the legitimacy of writing "oss" (primarily because that's the way it's pronounced) but there is a clear correct answer to the "Osu or Oss?" question, which I'm going to explain now.

The correct written form is "Osu". It is still pronounced as "Oss"-- or, for a more phonetically unambiguous guide, it should sound like "OH-ss". Imagine you're saying "Ice" but instead of the long i vowel sound, you're using the long o sound.

Reason:

Japanese and English are not very inherently compatible languages. They come from extremely different root languages, and aren't even the same type of language. (i.e. English is a consciously-created language, and Japanese [or more accurately: Nihongo] is a naturally-developed language.) So over the years of translating up to the modern day, many misunderstandings and mistakes were made. Today however, those differences and misunderstandings have been almost completely weeded out, and we now have a thorough set of reliable rules.

One of those rules, is the transliteration of the "alphabets". Japanese doesn't have an "alphabet" like English exactly, but it does have a close approximation. Rather than individual letters constructing words, they use full sounds (with the exception of vowels, which also transliterate to individual letters). So in the case of the word that sounds like "OH-ss", it's composed of the characters for:

"O"

and

"Su"


So when it's written in Romaji, (i.e. English/Roman characters) it's written together as "Osu". However, almost always, when a "u" (and often when "i") is at the end of a word, unless there are two of them, it is only pronounced very subtley, or more often in the case of "u", not pronounced at all (as in "desu", which means is/are/am).

Note: (For those more well-versed in Japanese) I did not cover the Kanji writing of "Osu" because it's not relevant to my point here. Regardless of the Kanji, the Kana writing is your guide to pronunciation, Kanji is your guide to meaning. This post is about the linguistics of "Osu", not its meaning, which has been well-covered in other posts.

Cheers, and Osu!
Wow, talk about much ado about nothing. You are talking about a vocalization rather than a proper term, which would not be rendered alphabetically in any case.
 
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RavenDarkfellow

RavenDarkfellow

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Wow, talk about much ado about nothing. You are talking about a vocalization rather than a proper term, which would not be rendered alphabetically in any case.

Maybe reading isn't your strong suit?

Do you know what "transliteration" is?

I am discussing both vocalisation and transliteration-- and transliteration is all we can do when it comes to Japanese-to-English, given the differences of the languages.

Your assessment that my assessment of English and Japanese being two different kinds of languages is just factually, provably wrong. These are not my opinions, this is hard fact. I suggest looking into etymology and linguistics if you care to dispute what I've said with any actual information-- but all you've done is issue a baseless, pointless, and incorrect contradiction. Provide some context if you can.
 
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RavenDarkfellow

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Wow, talk about much ado about nothing. You are talking about a vocalization rather than a proper term, which would not be rendered alphabetically in any case.
Furthermore, literally every time it's written (such as the many times it is written on this message board) it is "rendered alphabetically". So... I mean, basic common sense and the ability to read proves your statement here, wrong.
 

Unkogami

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Maybe reading isn't your strong suit?

Do you know what "transliteration" is?

I am discussing both vocalisation and transliteration-- and transliteration is all we can do when it comes to Japanese-to-English, given the differences of the languages.

Your assessment that my assessment of English and Japanese being two different kinds of languages is just factually, provably wrong. These are not my opinions, this is hard fact. I suggest looking into etymology and linguistics if you care to dispute what I've said with any actual information-- but all you've done is issue a baseless, pointless, and incorrect contradiction. Provide some context if you can.
Sorry champ, but I AM a linguist. If you want a real education in the subject, shoot me a PM. I'll try to help you out as time permits.
 
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RavenDarkfellow

RavenDarkfellow

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Sorry champ, but I AM a linguist. If you want a real education in the subject, shoot me a PM. I'll try to help you out as time permits.

While I'm always open to further learning, in this case you have already demonstrated that there will be no need. Beyond the fact that you've offered no substance in your refutation, and I know what I'm talking about, your handle as a poop-god doesn't inspire much confidence-- save for the confidence that you are, in fact, a god of ****-posting.
 

Unkogami

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While I'm always open to further learning, in this case you have already demonstrated that there will be no need. Beyond the fact that you've offered no substance in your refutation, and I know what I'm talking about, your handle as a poop-god doesn't inspire much confidence-- save for the confidence that you are, in fact, a god of ****-posting.
You don't need to be defensive. I just offered to help you.
 

Unkogami

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..... your handle as a poop-god doesn't inspire much confidence-- save for the confidence that you are, in fact, a god of ****-posting.
These comments support my impression that you don't really understand the languages involved. Not your fault.
 

jks9199

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Folks,
Things are getting awfully tense for a language discussion. Keep the conversation polite and friendly, before the official hat goes on and the Mods have to drop points on people.

jks9199
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Tony Dismukes

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(i.e. English is a consciously-created language, and Japanese [or more accurately: Nihongo] is a naturally-developed language.

I AM a linguist.
I'm not a linguist, but I enjoy reading books and articles by those in the field. I've never encountered the distinction you make there or the claim that English is a "consciously-created language." (I'm aware of constructed languages such as Esperanto and Klingon, but English certainly doesn't fall into that category.) Would you mind posting some links to sources for this theory? I'd be interested to see what the foundation for the claim is.
 
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RavenDarkfellow

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I'm not a linguist, but I enjoy reading books and articles by those in the field. I've never encountered the distinction you make there or the claim that English is a "consciously-created language." (I'm aware of constructed languages such as Esperanto and Klingon, but English certainly doesn't fall into that category.) Would you mind posting some links to sources for this theory? I'd be interested to see what the foundation for the claim is.

If I can find them online, certainly. I've read that English was constructed as a trade language, from five (primary) root sources:
Norwegian, Germanic, French, Latin, and Greek.

Japanese however, is a natural language-- but I'm guessing that one's not under dispute.
 
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RavenDarkfellow

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I'm not a linguist, but I enjoy reading books and articles by those in the field. I've never encountered the distinction you make there or the claim that English is a "consciously-created language." (I'm aware of constructed languages such as Esperanto and Klingon, but English certainly doesn't fall into that category.) Would you mind posting some links to sources for this theory? I'd be interested to see what the foundation for the claim is.
Interestingly, I'm getting unclear answers online. I see a lot of vague claims of its development in the 5th century, and an official codification in 1611 specifically for the purpose of unifying the biblical language, but nothing about what I read in that book so long ago. I'll keep hunting, but right now I'm at work and can only devote part of my attention to this.
 

Unkogami

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If I can find them online, certainly. I've read that English was constructed as a trade language, from five (primary) root sources:
Norwegian, Germanic, French, Latin, and Greek.

Japanese however, is a natural language-- but I'm guessing that one's not under dispute.
All of that nonsense is in dispute and reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of language.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Hey all,

I'm sure plenty of you know this already, so no disrespect (Osu!) but the hobby linguist in my gets triggered every time I see this misspelt. I understand why it happens, and I understand why some people argue the legitimacy of writing "oss" (primarily because that's the way it's pronounced) but there is a clear correct answer to the "Osu or Oss?" question, which I'm going to explain now.

The correct written form is "Osu". It is still pronounced as "Oss"-- or, for a more phonetically unambiguous guide, it should sound like "OH-ss". Imagine you're saying "Ice" but instead of the long i vowel sound, you're using the long o sound.

Reason:

Japanese and English are not very inherently compatible languages. They come from extremely different root languages, and aren't even the same type of language. (i.e. English is a consciously-created language, and Japanese [or more accurately: Nihongo] is a naturally-developed language.) So over the years of translating up to the modern day, many misunderstandings and mistakes were made. Today however, those differences and misunderstandings have been almost completely weeded out, and we now have a thorough set of reliable rules.

One of those rules, is the transliteration of the "alphabets". Japanese doesn't have an "alphabet" like English exactly, but it does have a close approximation. Rather than individual letters constructing words, they use full sounds (with the exception of vowels, which also transliterate to individual letters). So in the case of the word that sounds like "OH-ss", it's composed of the characters for:

"O"

and

"Su"


So when it's written in Romaji, (i.e. English/Roman characters) it's written together as "Osu". However, almost always, when a "u" (and often when "i") is at the end of a word, unless there are two of them, it is only pronounced very subtley, or more often in the case of "u", not pronounced at all (as in "desu", which means is/are/am).

Note: (For those more well-versed in Japanese) I did not cover the Kanji writing of "Osu" because it's not relevant to my point here. Regardless of the Kanji, the Kana writing is your guide to pronunciation, Kanji is your guide to meaning. This post is about the linguistics of "Osu", not its meaning, which has been well-covered in other posts.

Cheers, and Osu!
This is in line with what I've been told by both a native speaker and someone who is studying the language and is proficient.

The use of syllabic (rather than alphabetic) "spelling" also explains why loan words that natively end with a consonant so often (usually? always?) have a vowel sound attached when brought to Japanese.
 
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RavenDarkfellow

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Well, it seems my understanding of English as a constructed language may have been confused due to the presence of "Basic English". It's possible that either my understanding of that element was flawed due to not creating the distinction between "Standard" and "Basic" English at the original time of reading, or else that the book I read was old and wrong. I've been trying to remember the title, but I can't for the life of me. It was many years ago, now; all I remember is that it was a book on European languages.

Regardless of how I mixed it up, the rest of the point remains unaffected. The fact is that Nihongo and English are inherently wildly incompatible. Even with all the competence of modern translation and thousands of examples of other words and concepts to build upon, there remains a considerable number of phrases in Japanese which cannot be word-for-word translated to English; rather a full explanation is required for a single phrase, and even then the spirit of that phrase is often lost. unless resorting to translating specifically for the spirit of the phrase, rather than the actual translation of words.
 

Unkogami

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....The fact is that Nihongo and English are inherently wildly incompatible. .....
That is also untrue. A quarter of the written system of Japanese was very deliberately (i.e. not "naturally") established to incorporate foreign languages (English more than any other) into Japanese, and there is a very large and growing body of loan words in both languages. The whole point of this thread rests upon a foundation of sand.
 
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RavenDarkfellow

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That is also untrue. A quarter of the written system of Japanese was very deliberately (i.e. not "naturally") established to incorporate foreign languages (English more than any other) into Japanese, and there is a very large and growing body of loan words in both languages. The whole point of this thread rests upon a foundation of sand.
Yes, you're referring to Katakana which was developed LONG after the origin phonemes expressed in Hiragana, which itself has been simplified and modernised over time, but which developed naturally. You're literally nothing but a ****-posting troll, and I'll waste no more time responding to you. People like you with nothing better to do than create petty arguments in an attempt to discredit others sicken me. You're a plague on the human race, and the thinking mind. Get a real hobby.

P.S.

1/4 of the written system? I'm not very good at math, but let's see...

over 20,000 kanji...
plus 42 hiragana...
divided by-- let's be generous to you and say there are 500 (there's nowhere near this) Katakana
= .... not even remotely close to 1/4.

Sorry, my smooth brain isn't good with numbers. Even still, I know a time-wasting troll when I smell one.
 
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isshinryuronin

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Raven did a good job explaining the pronunciation of "osu" but I think the more important point is its usage. It is used by many NON JAPANESE in martial arts to convey a variety of meanings: "Hey, congratulations, good job," etc. It's kind of an all purpose slang to Westerners, thinking it makes them more Japanese. Truth is, it is an impolite slang with very limited correct application, and really has no place in the dojo.

My sensei spent many years training in Okinawa and said he never heard it used. His Okinawan master told him it's rude to use it. This is the danger of cultural appropriation when one does not understand the culture or appreciate the linguistic nuances. "Osu!" sounds cool and may be fun to say, but would raise eyebrows if said to a Japanese martial artist is most all cases. Better to drop this word from your Japanese vocabulary and find a more polite and proper way to express your thought.

PS - I think there are 46 hiragana and 46 katagana (not counting the little accent marks next to some of them which modify the sound.) Sounds complicated, but really very simple - each character is a phonetic syllable (na, ni, nu, ne, no, etc) with no ambiguity in pronunciation. Kanji? You're talking YEARS of study to integrate it into your reading skill set and constant exposure to it to remember it all.
 
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