Take the 2-minute tour ×
Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

"この先生き残るには" is a riddle that highlights the problem of not having spaces between words. But, I was able to read it pretty quickly. After blowing past "先生", I read "き", and that stopped me in my tracks. Starting over, I felt the only thing that could be done was to break between "先” and "生". And then I could read it.

These probably are the same question:
(-) Excepting "お" and "ご" when used as 美化語, can a word that has at least one kanji also begin with a kana?
(-) A kana, that is not one of the 助詞, placed between two kanji cannot be a word break, right?

share|improve this question
    
このさきいきのこるには? is that the whole sentence? –  ssb Nov 14 '13 at 12:04
    
Rather, how do words with kanji that begin with kana fit into that sentence? –  ssb Nov 14 '13 at 12:06

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Sure, a word that has at least one kanji can begin with kana. Generally, they come from combinations with independent words that are usually written in kana, or they come from combinations with prefixes like お- or ご-, although there are other prefixes that can form words like these as well.

For example, か弱い is now a single lexical word, originally consisting of 弱い plus the prefix か-:

か弱い

There's another possibility, too. Words are sometimes written in kana-kanji mixtures, particularly for technical reasons (a kanji is missing from a font) or because a given kanji is too rare or too difficult for the intended audience. For example, I once saw 一生懸命 written 一生けん命. And it's possible for the kanji which is replaced with kana to begin the word.

For example, 斡旋 might be written あっ旋 for this reason. When I search the Balanced Corpus of Contemporary Written Japanese (BCCWJ), I see 53 results for 「あっ旋」 and 281 for 「斡旋」. My speculation is that this is because 斡 is not a common kanji, listed as 2891 out of the 3500 most common kanji in the frequency chart published by the Agency of Cultural Affairs.

Also, as Tsuyoshi Ito points out in a comment, 斡 is not included on the Jōyō kanji chart. As discussed here, in some contexts non-Jōyō kanji are avoided, so this may be another reason why 斡旋 might be written あっ旋.

share|improve this answer

カツ丼 / かつ丼

お好み焼き (I know what you are going to say about that お but we never say 好み焼き.)

フッ素

リン酸

あ行、か行、さ行, etc.

あ段、い段、う段, etc.

I could probably go on without looking at anything if I had the time.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.