Tagged Questions

かな: Covers both Japanese syllabaries, hiragana (ひらがな) and katakana (かたかな).

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1answer
108 views

Something that can be written with kanji but not with kana?

I was reading through some text today and found this (emphasis mine): While it is possible to use the phonetic Hiragana and Katakana scripts to represent almost any Japanese word, it is usually ...
2
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1answer
159 views

Is the 'h' in Japanese pronounced the same as the 'f'?

I'm aware that the so-called 'f' in ふ isn't pronounced with the English labiodental fricative [f], but rather the bilabial fricative [ɸ]. I'd like to know if Japanese speakers also use the bilabial ...
0
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0answers
35 views

Which way do you order hiragana and katakana when you read them out? [duplicate]

Say you're storing kana on a one-dimensional tape. How would you arrange them? Do you go along the vowels and then move to the next consonant, or the converse? E.g. would you do: あいうえおかきくけこ... or, ...
3
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3answers
230 views

ニッポン? Why Kana?

Just saw this picture: Notice the ニッポン. Why is it written in Kana?! Isn't that like super bizarre?
7
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2answers
181 views

When was 歴史的仮名遣い standardized?

Enno Shioji's answer to my question about 直音表記 says (emphasis added) that: Historically there were multiple way to write a word, and this wasn't standardized. For example, some very old documents ...
6
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1answer
118 views

When/why would one write a word using 直音表記?

I looked up 釈迦 at goo辞書 and noticed that there were two alternate readings presented for this word: さか and しゃか. The さか reading is given as being 『「しゃか」の直音表記。』, so these two are clearly the same ...
2
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1answer
155 views

Is there a term for words that share the same kana spelling?

I would like to know if there is a word (in either Japanese or English) that describes pairs of words that are spelled the same in kana. For example, 橋 and 箸 would be "homo-kana" words, because they ...
5
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1answer
161 views

How to hear the difference between て and で, た and だ, か and が, etc.?

How can I learn to hear the difference between て and で, た and だ, か and が, etc.? For example, when I people say "わたし", it sounds to me like "wa da shi" instead of "wa ta shi". The same things happens ...
5
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2answers
405 views

Kana causing translation difficulty: 「きれている」

Ok, so I've been having trouble with a passage. It's mostly written in kana, and I can get most of it, but because of the kana, I have no idea what a certain word is. At the beginning of the music ...
6
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2answers
291 views

Kanji stroke type (not stroke order)

My former teacher made us really pay attention to kana stroke order and stroke types (とめる、はねる、and はらう). Yet when it came to kanji she only made us study the stroke order. I've noticed that other ...
8
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2answers
271 views

Same word - written with kana and kanji in two places in the same paragraph. Why?

I am aware that some Japanese words can be written in either kana or kanji and that the rules about it are not set in stone. This has already been discussed in some questions and answers here (e.g. ...
3
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1answer
144 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 ...
0
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2answers
185 views

Deciphering Kanji [closed]

The kanji are very confusing to me. Not quite sure how to read them phonetically. Of course ' I am just getting familiar with katakana and hiragana. Is there a way to decipher kanji into hiragana? Or ...
4
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2answers
481 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 ...
4
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1answer
229 views

Are many hiragana and katakana found in kanji?

I've noticed a few kanji that appear identical to a kana. 二 is the only example I can remember, where it represents both the kanji ni and the katakana ni, although I'm sure I've seen others. Are there ...
4
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0answers
238 views

Haphazard usage of katakana and hiragana for particles and okurigana

I'm looking at this picture of the 日米和親条約 (Kanagawa convention) from the late Edo period and it seems rather strange: It looks like the non-kanji parts are rather haphazardly written in katakana ...
5
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1answer
231 views

Pre-Kana Kanji readings

How did Japanese know how to read kanji before invention of kana? (having only kanji to write a language) Without kana and romaji, if they heard a new word - how could they look it up in a ...
1
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1answer
99 views

Why the き and さ in the 送り仮名 of 大きい and 小さい?

I've always been puzzled over why 大きい isn't 大い and 小さい is not 小い. Is there some etymological reason? (I'm suspecting historical conjugations that changed the き and さ too, just like why 食べる has the べ ...
6
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1answer
181 views

What is the correct way to say 小さい『つ』?

This is a two part question. 1.) When spelling out a word in kana, what is the correct way to call the small つ (for example the small っ in ちっちゃい)? I only have experience with my Japanese friends ...
2
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0answers
205 views

Does all kana in the う line rhyme?

I've heard many people pronounce す, つ, く, and る as if く and る rhyme, す and つ rhyme, but not any other pair. It seems as if す is sometimes pronounced [sɨ] and く is pronounced [ku]. This doesn't seem to ...
3
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3answers
324 views

へうげもの - Hyouge Mono?

There's this manga that is called へうげもの. However, this name is romanized as Hyouge Mono. Although I know little Japanese, I think the kana there spell something like Heuge Mono. Why does this ...
7
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1answer
290 views

Is there a standard for where to put spaces in kana-only Japanese?

I've noticed that when Japanese is written mostly or entirely in kana, it's often written with spaces. For example, a lot of old video games had spaces. I've also seen this in children's books: ...
6
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2answers
593 views

When writing vertically, where do small kana go?

When writing horizontally, small kana go right next to the syllable they modify as in ちょっと. Also, when using katakana, long vowels are indicated by an horizontal dash, as in メール. When writing ...
7
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1answer
546 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 ...
2
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1answer
91 views

「七つの海商社」“7 Seas Trading Co.” as formal name for a company

wanted to ask a question re:company names in 日本語. Would「七つの海商社」work as a name for a company? Or does this combo of kana+kanji not work in formal business names? Greatly appreciate any help. Thank ...
2
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2answers
345 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 ...
8
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2answers
278 views

Why is「ん」the only kana without a vowel?

I've always wondered why「ん」is the only kana without having a vowel sound attached to it. The only thing I've ever heard is that 「ん」 is a special kana that can be the last kana in some words. I've ...
4
votes
3answers
605 views

Correct kana for foreign name

I am Portuguese, and my name is João, which has a peculiar pronunciation that is very difficult for foreign people. It is the Portuguese equivalent to the English John, but the pronunciations are very ...
9
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1answer
162 views

How does the katakana lengthening mark (長音符) sort?

Usually, lists are collated using the gozyuuon order. But how does the katakana lengthening mark ー fit in? Given the following sequence of words, what order should they be in? What are the sorting ...
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2answers
177 views

Meaning of given character

I was just wondering the character shown in image is Japanese or not. If yes then can you please tell me the meaning of it.
4
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2answers
2k views

How and when do Japanese children learn kanas and kanji?

I wonder how exactly Japanese children learn to write. It may help a foreigner to know what is important to memorize or not. The only thing I know is that first of all, hiragana are learnt, and then ...
3
votes
1answer
415 views

Ruby text in Documents

Note: I know they might not strictly be interchangeable, but I might end up using "Furigana" and "Ruby text" in an interchangeable manner in this question. Hi all, I'm in the process of writing a ...
6
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6answers
739 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 ...
12
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1answer
490 views

Use of kana iteration marks (ゝ, ゞ, ヽ, ヾ)

Kana iteration marks are are rarely used today, and hence there is not much online information on it besides this Wikipedia article, which leaves me with a couple questions. Is there any kana that ...
13
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1answer
406 views

Why is English “ka” and “ca” sometimes rendered as キャ (kya) instead of カ (ka)?

I sometimes see that English ka and ca are rendered キャ (kya) instead of カ (ka). Why is this? Do English ka and ca really sound more like kya than ka, at least to Japanese listeners? (I know it ...
4
votes
1answer
267 views

Proper Terms For Representing GPS Coordinates

In another question, I mentioned using Kana to represent the GPS coordinates for: N 43° 09.725' W 077° 26.688' I used: キタ シジュウ サン ジスウ ク チョボ ナナヒャク ニジュウ ゴ フン kita shijuu san jisuu ku chobo ...
18
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4answers
7k 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. ...
1
vote
2answers
410 views

Which kana/kanji are used to write Yoshitoshi's death poem?

Browsing for art late at night, I came across this beautiful poem by Yoshitoshi, said to be his death poem: yo o tsumete terimasarishi wa natsu no tsuki translated as: holding back ...
8
votes
1answer
399 views

Stroke order for han-dakuten

Is there one? Or does it even matter? I personally start at the top and go clockwise. Just curious. Update: I realized the other day that the reason I start at the 12-o'clock position and go ...
8
votes
1answer
590 views

Why has を been spared but ゐ and ゑ been deemed obsolete?

According to When is the katakana form of wo (ヲ) used?-ヲ-used, を is almost always used only for the particle, and is usually pronounced o (お). There are some dialects where を is pronounced with a ...
12
votes
1answer
671 views

Names for strokes

What do we call the different types of strokes of kanji/kana in Japanese? For example, in Chinese the left-downward stroke is called 撇[piě] and the right-downward stroke is called 捺[nà]. And if I ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

Distinguishing certain characters in handwriting and print (Similar-looking Kana and Kanji)

Japanese has some sets of characters which look very similar or even identical. Obviously, context is usually more than enough to distinguish which character is intended, but I'm wondering if there ...
10
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1answer
4k views

What does the use of a dash (instead of a character) to extend a sound mean?

I came across the sentence 混乱する気持ちもよーくわかる in my manga. I have translated it, but the use of the dash (which was vertical in the actual vertical text) stumped me for a bit (I thought it was よう at ...
29
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3answers
6k views

What are the differences between じ and ぢ, and ず and づ?

The Japanese hiragana and katakana syllabaries can mostly be described as phonetic. But there are two exceptions, the two pairs of syllables modified to be voiced with the dakuten diacritic which ...
17
votes
2answers
530 views

Are bookshelves in alphabetical (kana) order in Japanese bookshops and libraries?

How are fiction books such as novels sorted on the shelves at Japanese bookshops? Kana order seems to play a small part but not the whole part. (I'm not asking about nonfiction books since those are ...
28
votes
4answers
1k views

How did “little tsu” become a lengthener?

How did it come about historically that っ preceding a sound would geminate it? Is it really a little つ or are they just near homomorphs?
13
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2answers
3k views

When did the “wu” character drop out of use?

In the last century, the ゐ and ゑ characters were eliminated from common use. But it seems like there used to also be a "wu" character that has since been lost. Given that it's a lot harder to find ...
23
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the equivalent of “alphabetical order” in Japanese?

I know there's あいうえお, but what about at the consonant level? Also, are there any common mnemonics used by Japanese children to remember these?
9
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1answer
415 views

In which dialects have the sounds “ゐ” (wi) and “ゑ” (we) been preserved, and are their kana still occasionally seen?

In Nate Glenn's answer to bdonlan's qestion "Why were ゐ and ゑ eliminated?" he states: "Wi" and "we" are still in some dialects, but standard Japanese does not have those sounds. My question is ...
20
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is は pronounced as わ when used as a topic particle?

The particle は is pronounced similarly to わ (unlike the rest of the ハ行 kana) when used as a particle; why is this? What historical shifts went on to cause this irregularity?