Month: August 2016

すみません vs. すいません

So, I’m not crazy. I was re-watching きみはペット (incidentally, one of my favorite Japanese dramas) and I confirmed a long-standing suspicion. A lot of Japanese people pronounce すみません as すいません. For years I’ve thought my brain was somehow not computing the み sound correctly until I actually saw it spelled with い in a manga I was reading. The general consensus from all the language forums I’ve combed through seems to be that すいません is a colloquial and more casual way of pronouncing すみません. The latter is always used when you’re being exceptionally apologetic (as opposed to simply trying to catch someone’s attention) and/or speaking formally to superior. Probably because I don’t know the language that intimately, I’ve always assumed Japanese to be a really rigid language compared to Korean. There aren’t any complex pronunciation rules like in Korean, hiragana/katakana spelling is pretty much 100% phonetic, and verb conjugations are shockingly regular…. I guess that’s why this ‘mispronunciation’ surprised me so much. I am getting to the point in Japanese where I’m finally starting to pick up on colloquialisms and slang, which is kind of …