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Why is は used at the end of こんにちは? Is the last letter the particle は, or is there a different explanation?

I suppose you could equally ask "Why is こんにちは pronounced 'konnichiwa'?" - I guess gaikokujin tend to be more spoken-language-centric, whereas nihonjin tend to be more written-language-centric.

Which is correct: こんばんわ or こんばんは?-こんばんわ-or-こんばんは mentions konnichiwa, but the question is interpreted more as "When should I use こんばんわ and when should I use こんばんは?"

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“I guess gaikokujin tend to be more spoken-language-centric, whereas nihonjin tend to be more written-language-centric.” Where did you get that idea? Needless to say, Japanese children normally learn to speak Japanese before they can write. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Nov 24 '11 at 17:32

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

According to gogen-allguide, こんにちは originated from the 今日{こんにち}は ("today") in 今日{こんにち}はご機嫌{きげん}いかがですか? ("how are you today") and similar expressions.

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