ひらがな. The cursive form of the syllabary used mostly for (but not restricted to) the grammatical features of written Japanese including verb endings and particles, and for native words written without kanji.

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34
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1answer
9k views

Why are the particles “は” (ha⇒wa), “へ” (he⇒e), and “を” (wo⇒o) not spelled phonetically?

As far as I know only three words (or particles) have irregular, non-phonetic spelling in Japanese: "は" - The topic particle is pronounced "wa" but the kana is otherwise pronounced "ha" "へ" - The ...
24
votes
1answer
989 views

Origin of the circle in ぬ, ね, and る

When looking at the hiragana ぬ (nu), ね (ne), and る (ru) one notices a small circle in the symbols. In fact that circle is the only difference when comparing them with the hiragana め (me), れ (re) and ろ ...
22
votes
4answers
15k views

Why was both katakana and hiragana created?

Nowadays, katakana tends to be used for gairaigo and onomatopoeia, while hiragana tends to be used for native Japanese words. This is a slight simplification - more information is available here. ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Does the particle “を” (wo) have a special use when at the end of a sentence?

I thought the character "を" (wo) was only used for the particle whose only job was to indicate the direct object of a verb. But today I saw it at the end of an exclamation on a sign I think on a shop:...
15
votes
2answers
13k views

When should I replace kanji with hiragana?

When should I write 海山 and when should I write うみやま?
13
votes
7answers
6k views

Why are there 3 ways of writing in Japanese?

Why are there kanji, hiragana and katakana? Is there a logical reason behind this or just tradition?
13
votes
1answer
3k views

Why is konnichiwa spelt こんにちは?

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 ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it standard practice, or acceptable, to connect strokes in certain characters of hiragana?

I've been learning my hiragana from here: http://yosida.com/en/hiragana.html For the characters fu, mu, mo, na, ra, yu, and ya, I see a discrepancy between what's in the little box and what shows up ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Are there words which consist of katakana and hiragana letters together?

Obviously many Japanese words consist of kanji characters plus hiragana since the latter are used for okurigana: 食べる 水割り 鷹の爪 Recently I'v started to discover a few words that use kanji characters ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it possible to tell whether a word is kanji or hiragana without reading it?

Is it possible to tell whether a word would be written in kanji or if it would be written in hiragana without actually reading it, like it is reasonably easy to tell if a word is likely to be written ...
10
votes
8answers
2k views

What are the advantages/disadvantages of writing in romaji instead of in kanji and kana?

Romaji is somewhat of a conversion from kanji and kana to the Roman alphabet. What are the disadvantages of learning only or mostly romaji aside from being unable to read/write in kanji? I don't ...
10
votes
3answers
17k views

What are the differences/characteristics between katakana, kanji and hiragana?

I know that romaji is the conversion from those to the roman alphabet, but what are the differences or characteristics between katakana, kanji, and hiragana? Are they used on a different context? Is ...
9
votes
2answers
434 views

Kanji 何: why is it missing in 今なにしてる (facebook text in status editbox)?

I had the impression that 何 is pretty common kanji and that it is used in situations as above (after all, 今 is there, so it is not that it wanted to be hiragana-only). Do I understand it right that it ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

Can I write Japanese name “Midori” this way - 緑?

There is female Japanese name "Midori," and I want to know the ways I can write it. I know it means "green," but maybe the name and "green" are different words sometimes. I used google-translator to ...
8
votes
1answer
940 views

Legal characters for first names include: hiragana, katakana, jinmeiyo and joyo kanji. What about latin letters?

Is it legal for parents to give to their child a first name with latin letters (romaji, I guess), instead of using katakana, hiragana, or kanji? For example, if Japanese parents want to give their ...
8
votes
3answers
857 views

The role of hiragana when there is a relevant kanji?

If I don't know the kanji of a thing but I know the hiragana of it, can I just write the hiragana if I have to write it down? Is it a free choice? Or some rules or social formalities?
8
votes
2answers
546 views

Encountered な with ten-ten

I am currently reading a manga for studying Japanese and encountered something strange. A girl exclaims「な゛?!」 The situation is that she has just had water squirted up her nose, so I am guessing it's ...
8
votes
2answers
548 views

Were women unable to learn kanji during the Heian era?

I've read that The Tale of Genji, and similar Heian-era novels such as The Pillow Book, and The Gossamer Years were predominantly or exclusively hiragana, which is also called "women's writing" (女手). ...
8
votes
1answer
306 views

Font used to create handwriting worksheets by primary teachers to teach Hiragana

I'm confused by all the different of fonts that can be used to learn to write Hiragana (e.g. the end loop of き may be closed or not). I understand that it is usually related to the difference between ...
7
votes
6answers
911 views

learning order for kana?

I'm trying to use some flash cards to learn the kana (hirigana first, but both in time), and there's simply too much for me to learn at once. Is there a recommended or practiced learning "order" or ...
7
votes
2answers
589 views

Are there any risks in self-learning the kana?

I've found learning to speak Japanese in a classroom, rather than being self-taught, is useful because you get feedback on whether what you're saying sounds correct. Is the same true about learning to ...
7
votes
1answer
799 views

Why do Japanese people read Classical Japanese with a set of weird sound shifts?

I'm learning a bit of Classical Japanese recently, and of course the spelling of words is pretty different, due to sound changes over the centuries. For example, きょう was spelled けふ. That I can ...
6
votes
3answers
24k views

How to write hiragana and katakana in Windows? [closed]

How to write hiragana and katakana in Windows (XP/Vista/7)? My current locale is Swedish and I have a hard time writing hiragana and katakana characters. Usually I have a txt-file open in notepad and ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Writing the name Harriet in Japanese

Sorry for the trivial question, but I've just started learning Japanese and thought that I should know how to write my name in hiragana. My name is Harriet. My first guesses were はリえた or はリえと. I ...
6
votes
3answers
719 views

How does one transcribe the romaji “ō”?

I use The Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary, which describes pronunciation in romaji instead of kana. I never learned romaji in a classroom, and generally only use it when reading this dictionary. ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Is my hiragana writing understandable?

I've started to begin writing hiragana but I've seen many ways of writing them, usually I'm able to read the different ways of writing them but it keeps bothering me sometimes how mine and what I see ...
5
votes
2answers
685 views

Rosetta Stone uses は instead of わ

Just started learning japanese again. My college offers no class on this so I am learning on my own. I have been using Rosetta Stone on and off again for awhile now. One this I have noticed is that ...
5
votes
2answers
611 views

What does it mean for the 'feel' of a sentence / text when it's written in all hiragana?

When a Japanese-language sentence is written out in all katakana, it's supposed to be either stilted, robot-like speech or something to simulate ALL CAPS. How is that with hiragana? Does it make te ...
5
votes
2answers
379 views

How to form the “chi” sound, and others?

I was looking at a chart of hiragana and trying to find the characters to form the name of a song Inochi no Namae. I started with i, then no, but there's no chi. I then started wondering where chu and ...
5
votes
2answers
200 views

Is there a way to differentiate て and って when transcribing speech?

I was wondering if there was some kind of rules to differentiate them, or if it was something we have to remember, like spelling in English. The same question can also extend to お vs おう ; I learned ...
5
votes
2answers
333 views

Why are a high proportion of basic Japanese words written in hiragana?

Sometimes it seems like a lot of basic Japanese words are typically written in hiragana rather than kanji. By "basic", I mean pleasantries that are probably the first thing non-native speakers learn ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is katakana sometimes used to replace hiragana? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why “dame” is written as katakana (ダメ) in manga? The question title kinda says it all! This confuses me, as I thought katakana was used exclusively for loan ...
5
votes
1answer
232 views

Why is hiragana used in the middle of this compound word?

I saw this article on Gizmodo Japan: だれもがスマホの便利さを享受できる第一歩。視覚障がい者がiPhone操作を学べるアプリ Obviously, this is 視覚障害者 (or possibly, 視覚障碍者). It is in the title of the article, as well as several places ...
4
votes
2answers
339 views

Pronounciation of the hiragana け and か

I have just started learning hiragana, and am confused about the pronunciation of some of them. I have heard some pronunciation guides for け which say it should sound like kay, and some which say it ...
4
votes
2answers
6k views

Can Hiragana or Katakana stand alone?

Writing Japanese requires a mix of Kanji and Hiragana, usually some Katakana as well. I have read that some Kanji characters can be replaced with Hiragana characters for easier writing. My question ...
4
votes
2answers
683 views

What does ちょーなー mean?

ファイナルがんばって!終わったらデートしてちょーなー In that sentence. Is the person saying date me or just simply, "go on date"? And what does cho na mean? Thanks
4
votes
2answers
139 views

Is it ok to read こみち as komiti?

I think it should probably be pronounced as komichi or komich.
4
votes
1answer
230 views

Specific differences to consider between any individual katakana and hiragana?

I already know hiragana and I am teaching myself katakana now. Both are essentially two different versions of each sound, but I am wondering if there are actually any functional differences between ...
4
votes
1answer
498 views

Why is “Yamata no Orochi” written in katakana?

In the game Okami, the demon Yamata no Orochi is written here, and also in a separate game here as ヤマタノオロチ, not やまたのおろち. Even the particle の is in katakana. I'm curious as to why this is. I know that ...
4
votes
1answer
238 views

When is “事” used instead of こと for past experiences?

In the "ことがあります" construction about past experiences, when is "事" used, and when is "こと" used? The textbook used in class uses "こと": 六本木の おんせんに 行った ことがあります。 If it wanted to use "事" instead of "...
4
votes
1answer
482 views

Is しゃぶしゃぶ typically written in hiragana rather than katakana?

Is しゃぶしゃぶ typically written in hiragana rather than katakana? If so, why is it written in hiragana? Wikipedia says that it is onomatopoeia: The term is an onomatopoeia, derived from the sound ...
4
votes
1answer
101 views

Why write「もの」instead of 「物」 or 「者」?

In the following example, it remains unclear to me why the term もの is written in hiragana. あの真っ黒なものは何 Here is a second example, where 優しい is written in hiragana. とてもあの人はやさしい My ...
3
votes
1answer
302 views

How to parse “あけぐち”?

I'm working out my Japanese by trying to read everything around me, including food packages. On my milk carton written inside a large arrow pointing to the spout is "あけぐち" in hiragana. Obviously ...
3
votes
1answer
120 views

Reading and significance of dakuten with kana for which it normally is not used

Came across these while reading a novel. How do you read this?
3
votes
0answers
142 views

How has Japanese kanji and kana usage changed since 1945

How has the percentage of writing using each script changed since 1945? With script reform, increasing influx of loanwords, and stylistic choices, several factors affect how much certain parts of the ...
2
votes
2answers
611 views

Does an international OR standardized phonetic alphabet/notation system exist to depict all the Hiragana/Katakana sounds?

Are there written systems (preferably international & standardized) that you can use to depict how to pronounce any word from Japanese and any language. Something similar to Romaji but one that ...
2
votes
2answers
107 views

What does いい です mean in お飲み物は何がいいですか?

Phrase: お [飲]{の}み[物]{もの} は [何]{なに} が いい です か O nomimono wa nani ga ii desu ka? What would you like to drink? What I would like to know is what いい です (ii des) does for the sentence ...
2
votes
2answers
222 views

Why some tutorials teach writing Japanese numbers with Hiragana when they are actually written with Katakana (as on-yomi) in dictionaries?

I've just began learning some Kanji by looking-up how the numbers are written (and read) and suddenly bumped into confusion while watching some tutorials. I can hear the tutors pronouncing a number in ...
2
votes
1answer
519 views

Understanding hiragana-only texts in videogames

I've been reading since a long time ago that reading hiragana only texts is quite difficult or frustrating because you don't know where a word begins or ends, I understand that and the importance of ...
2
votes
1answer
488 views

Why is saki in japanese written as さつき? there's other times I've seen the tsu in words without being pronounced. Why is this?

Why is saki in japanese written as さつき? there's other times I've seen the tsu in words without being pronounced. Why is this?