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How do you pronounce Narcissu in English?


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At least in English, I'm a little confused about the correct pronunciation. In Japanese it's ナルキッソス, which would be pronounced "Narukissosu" (apologies for my accent)

Because the "c" is pronounced as a "k" in the original, In English I've always pronounced it like this: "Narkisu"

On the other hand, Narcissu itself is a reference to Narcissus. Furthermore, everyone I can find online pronounces it like this: "Narsissu"

I'm working on a video about visual novels, and at a certain point I bring up Narcissu. I just want to use the pronunciation that people are least bothered by, which I suspect is the latter one. But I just want to confirm this with other people.

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I believe pronouncing it like it's supposed to be pronounced in English is a safe bet. So,  /nɑɹˈsɪsəs/.

I'm not sure where the japanese pronunciation might come from, but if I had to take a guess, it's either from Latin, where the "c" is /k/, or from the original Greek "νάρκισσος"  /ˈnar.kis.sos/.

Taking the guess a bit further, it might be the case that they took the Latin nominative "narcissus" and removed the final -s, thinking that would get rid of the plural even if the plural of the second declension doesn't end in -s but in -ī, narcissī. It seems like a plausible misunderstanding to me, what do you think?

TL;DR:

The options seems to be either /nɑɹˈsɪsəs/ or /nɑɹˈsɪsə/ for the English pronunciation (introducing an /s/ for the heck of it in the first case), or if you don't mind stepping out of English's phonology, then you can go with the -incorrect- Latin /nar.ˈkis.su/.

In the end it's a made up word so whatever floats your boat I guess!

EDIT:

You can hear how the Latin word is supposed to be pronounced here: https://forvo.com/word/narcissus/#la

I decided to use IPA for this reply because trying to convey phonetic information without it, even more so when I'm not a native English speaker seems sketchy to say the least. I apologize if you are not familiar with it.

Edited by Mehnot
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26 minutes ago, Mehnot said:

*snip*

Thank you! I was not expecting such an informative reply, I really appreciate it! I was surprised that the Latin pronunciation uses a "k", and it seems to be the basis for the Japanese. According to one of the official translators of Narcissu, the reason that Narcissu gets rid of the final "s", making a "su" instead, is because its suppose to stand for "Suicide". Which is a significant theme in the story. So it seems they took the latin pronounciation and modified the ending to "su" for thematic reasons. 

It does seem however that most people in English use the "Narsissu" pronunciation. So if I want to avoid a whole segment justifying my pronunciation in the video, it might be easier to default to that. 

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1 hour ago, Zalor said:

I was surprised that the Latin pronunciation uses a "k", and it seems to be the basis for the Japanese.

Feel free to skip this if you are not interested in the history. I won't be offended lol.

There's a sequence of sound changes that made the "c" character sound like an /s/ in the word Narcissus and other Latin borrowed words. The gist of it is that before a front vowel, namely /e/ and /i/, the /k/ became palatalized into a /t͡ʃ/ (sounding like the "ch" in church), which later became simply /ʃ/ (sounding like the "sh" in sharp) and then lost its palatalization again to become /s/. Since this didn't happen with all vowels but front vowels only, we get that weird alternation where sometimes the "c" sounds like "k" and sometimes like "s". English borrowed the problems along with Latin and especially French loanwords.

1 hour ago, Zalor said:

According to one of the official translators of Narcissu, the reason that Narcissu gets rid of the final "s", making a "su" instead, is because its suppose to stand for "Suicide".

I had read the VN and for some reason that never occurred to me! That answers the question then, thank you!

1 hour ago, Zalor said:

It does seem however that most people in English use the "Narsissu" pronunciation. So if I want to avoid a whole segment justifying my pronunciation in the video, it might be easier to default to that. 

Since I'm not a native English speaker I wouldn't dare suggest a most "natural" pronunciation, so I just tried to offer you some options with their corresponding justifications. But for what it's worth, I agree, it's probably best to not overcomplicate things. If everyone seems to pronounce it like you did in your 3rd recording, Narsissu, and considering the -su stands for "suicide" and those sounds are preserved very clearly in that pronunciation, I'd definitely be leaning towards this one.

Edited by Mehnot
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