正書法. The standard way of writing the language.

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43
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4answers
20k 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
48 views

Abbreviating sets of compounds with leading characters in common

I recently asked a question about on- and kun-yomi and in building the title guessed at how the two compounds involved could be contracted; landing on 「音・訓読み」. Is this indeed the correct way of ...
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?
3
votes
2answers
436 views

What are the most obscure kanji?

To my understanding, there are standardised kanji that have either: No reliable information on how they are to be pronounced OR No reliable information on what they mean OR All of the above. Do ...
1
vote
2answers
347 views

Mixture of romaji and hiragana in NHK “Meet and Speak”

In the NHK program "Meet and Speak", the phrases they use have a mixture of hiragana and romaji. Not as in hiragana on one line, and romaji underneath, but individual words being composed of the two, ...
4
votes
1answer
115 views

皆さんはどんな字を書いていますか? / How do Japanese speakers write kana or kanji by hand?

日本語 この頃メタの方で「手書きの文字をチェックしてください」という質問は受け付けるべきかという話題がありました。個人的には受け付けてもよいと考えているのですが、何人もの学習者がわけもわからず同じような質問を繰り返すのでは生産性がない、という意見があり、これはその通りだと思いました。学習者は教科書などから字の書き方を学ぶと思いますが、初学者用の教科書体といえども、毛筆の運筆を残していたり、...
6
votes
1answer
744 views

How often do single dots stick to the top of kanji?

In Chinese, characters with a single dot on top stay separated from the rest of the character. (Eg. Chinese 宝) In kanji, this is frequently not the case - virtually all 宀 characters I see have dots ...
2
votes
1answer
340 views

Is there a standard way to clearly differentiate similar handwritten (kana) characters?

In English, you often see people who write certain letters or numbers with an extra stroke to differentiate them from similar characters, for example people will write a z with a horizontal stroke to ...
4
votes
1answer
93 views

「星のカービィ」- Why ィ and not ー?

The Nintendo character Kirby's name in Japanese is 「星のカービィ」, pronounced "Hoshi no Kābī". For the カ, a ー is used for extending the vowel sound. For the ビ, though, a small イ is used. I thought the ...
12
votes
3answers
254 views

Why is this katakana not reversed?

Just saw this image about Nintendo on Kotaku: Clearly the company name, description, and location are written in traditional right-to-left orientation. Even かるた is right-to-left. So why is トランプ ...
4
votes
1answer
167 views

How common is the practice of writing わたし in kana and わたくし in kanji?

I've heard that some people only write わたし in kana and only use the Kanji 私 when the intended reading is わたくし. How common is this practice? Is it old-fashioned? If I used it myself as a foreigner, ...
1
vote
2answers
192 views

How do I say “cat”? And do I use kanji, hiragana, katakana or rōmaji?

猫, ねこ, ネコ, neko Which of these means "cat"? Is it all of them? Which situation do I use each of these in?
19
votes
2answers
1k views

What does the nakaguro (・) between these two words mean?

The first sentence on the Mac OS X article on the Japanese version of Wikipedia reads: Mac OS X(マック オーエス テン)は、アップルが[開発]{かいはつ}・[販売]{はんばい}する、Macintoshコンピュータ[用]{よう}の[現行]{げんこう}オペレーティングシステム (OS) である。 ...
5
votes
1answer
360 views

Can I insert hiragana in words I only know partially how to write?

This is a problem I encountered today. I had no idea how to decide what was the best course of action, and I only got the advice of a classmate (You're doing it WRONG) to confirm. As I am still ...
2
votes
1answer
116 views

Japanese words with を in shiritori?

I've been playing some しりとり recently at http://www.shiritori.org/ and was wondering why no words with を show up. siritori.net suggests there are quite a few nouns starting with を: を をかし ...
5
votes
1answer
100 views

Comma between adjectives?

Is it okay to separate adjectives with a comma? Since my sentence has three adjectives, I added them just like how we would in English to separate a list containing three or more items (no comma if ...
3
votes
3answers
6k views

Under what circumstances does Japanese read from right to left?

In The Global Soul: Pico Iyer, (disclaimer: the depiction of Japan may be offensive) Iyer says: Rather perversely I live in Japan, which, as you know, is the most alien science fiction place on ...
-1
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1answer
205 views

Why does Japanese lack word wrapping? [closed]

Why does Japanese (more or less) lack word wrapping, with even words written in katakana broken up by new lines?
4
votes
1answer
109 views

覚せい剤 - why is it written with kana?

Why is 覚せい剤 a common variant writing of 覚醒剤? 醒 is a Joyo kanji and wouldn't pose any recognition problems. Example: https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/覚せい剤取締法
6
votes
1answer
151 views

Are Japanese speakers likely to confuse “message” and “massage” in English?

I've occasionally noticed native speakers of Japanese using "massage" when they mean "message", but I can't recall native speakers of other languages mistaking the two. As far as I know, both "massage"...
1
vote
0answers
86 views

Is there any way to input hentaigana into text documents?

Having found some books that use hentaigana (e.g. the 古今琉歌集) alongside standard hiragana and kanji, I've been trying to find a way to input hentaigana characters into text files. I've found proposed ...
13
votes
2answers
582 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
151 views

What do you need kanatype sensitivity for?

Question to any Japanese reader: When you look in SQL-Server and do SELECT * FROM sys.fn_helpcollations() WHERE (1=1) --AND description LIKE '%insensitive%' AND name LIKE '%japanese%' you get ...
4
votes
0answers
162 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

How would one emulate capitalized letters in Japanese?

Capitalized letters look like I'M SHOUTING AT YOU. How would you reproduce this effect in Japanese? I don't think any of the obvious choices, using カタカナ instead of 漢字 or ひらがな, using punctuation, e....
1
vote
1answer
148 views

Is this a different accent than Tokyo's?

A friend of mine wrote:  誘えていないんだ。 But aparently it should be written as:  誘いていないんか。 I think this is not a typo because he wrote two different sentences, both with え instead of い. Is this ...
6
votes
1answer
252 views

What does it mean to write wasei-eigo and gairaigo in Romaji?

Wasei-eigo and most Gairaigo (especially in a text or sentence as opposed to being by itself) is usually written in Katakana (イメージ, ジュース, スマート,パンツ,アベック). However, there are times that have seen some ...
7
votes
2answers
324 views

What is the proper term for the use of archaic kanji?

I noticed that in various works of Japanese art, the artists sign their work with a seal whose contents range from fairly regular kanji to very abstract variations of kanji. I have also seen it used ...
2
votes
1answer
115 views

Why would the Japanese transliteration from Greek Χριστος be spelled as ハリストス instead of キリストス?

Although it's not as common as キリスト, ハリストス is seen in the name of Japan's Orthodox Church. But why ハリストス if the pronounce of the Greek Χριστος is khristós (with a clear kri sound)? There is キリストス too, ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Usage of Traditional style characters vs Simplified Chinese characters adopted in Kanji

As I started peeking into Japanese, I see lots of characters in hiragana and kanji where the latter uses Chinese characters that are similar to traditional Chinese ones (I'm familiar with hanzi). For ...
10
votes
1answer
276 views

How can one stop “去年【きょねん】教職【きょうしょく】” from looking like a weird 4 kanji compound?

In writing, sometimes you get the illusion of a 4-character compound: Xさんは去年教職を退【しりぞ】いた。 This bothers some non-natives. To correct the "problem", can I always just place a comma between the ...
10
votes
3answers
719 views

Spaces in children's books

Written Japanese ordinarily doesn't use any spaces to separate words. But Japanese children's books do. For example, the opening of Tomi Ungerer's The Three Robbers (すてきな 三にんぐみ) あらわれでたのは、 ...
5
votes
2answers
127 views

The Kanji for ありがとうございます

有難う御座います is one Kanji spelling. However, I thought, 'is ございます here an auxilliary verb, and thus are the Kanji incorrect?' Should the proper spelling be 有難うございます?
20
votes
3answers
8k views

What does the little っ (tsu) signify when at the end of a word?

The small っ (tsu) is usually used before a consonant to indicate gemination, less technically known as doubled consonants, which is how they are transliterated in romaji. I have seen it at the end of ...
3
votes
2answers
183 views

Difference between 交替 and 交代

Is there any difference between 交替 and 交代 or are they completely interchangeable?
3
votes
1answer
115 views

What phonetic shorthands (like 〼, 〆) are there in Japanese?

I recently learned that the symbol 〼, called 枡記号【ますきごう】, can be used as a phonetic shorthand for ます, as in 豆腐あり[〼]【ます】. In a similar vein, I am aware that 〆 is used as a shorthand for しめ in 〆切【しめきり】 = ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a reason why numbers in Japanese are delimited into blocks of four?

As I understand, Japanese numbers are divided into blocks of four, so while we would think of the number 89123889 as 89,123,889, in Japan they would think of it as 8912,3889 (八千九百十二万三千八百八十九). So ...
2
votes
0answers
169 views

What do dots next to Hiragana mean in literature? [duplicate]

I've been reading more Japanese literature, and in doing so I've come across hiragana with something that looks like 、to the right of some characters where ふりがな would be (keeping in mind that Japanese ...
3
votes
2answers
283 views

When writing by hand, can kana be half-width and kanji be full-width?

Simply I find when I'm writing I can only make kanji so small before they become sloppy, but I can write kana nice and small. Is it allowed to write half-width Katakana/Hiragana alongside regular ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

How do you punctuate phone numbers in Japanese?

Given the phone number in English: (012) 345-6789 how do you write this in Japanese? Is it: (012)345-6789 or: 012・345・6789 or somewhere in between? My personal research suggests ...
4
votes
1answer
302 views

Why would one use 当て字?

I came across 当て字 in my N1 vocabulary list, and while I think I understand what it is from the definition "kanji used as a phonetic symbol, rather than for its meaning", I'm not sure what the point of ...
4
votes
1answer
517 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
451 views

口ロ Those are supposed to be different characters. How can you tell? [duplicate]

The first is supposed to be the kanji for mouth, "くち" and the sencond is supposed to be katakana. When I typed them in google translate, the sizes were different so I could differentiate them that way,...
5
votes
1answer
304 views

What is the current usage of Siddham (梵字)? [closed]

I was taught that Siddham is used in modern cultural context of Japan as a system of writing the Buddhis texts and (or) mantras. What is the exact context of its usage? Is it applicable at all? My ...
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 ...
3
votes
4answers
288 views

Are ミツバチ and イルカ more frequently written in katakana?

I was looking through a list of words that normally are written in kana, instead of their kanji. Two caught my attention because the list has them written in katakana, instead of hiragana. But, as ...
5
votes
3answers
129 views

If 結婚 is written as 結{けっ}婚{こん} rather than 結{け}っ婚{こん}, why do we write 持{も}って rather than 持{もっ}て?

My question is: If 結婚 is written as 結{けっ}婚{こん} rather than 結{け}っ婚{こん}, why do we write 持{も}って rather than 持{もっ}て?
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is ローマ字 spelt without an ン?

Why is ローマ字 spelt without an ン? As far as I can tell, it's not because you can't have an ん sound before a じ sound, because 漢字 has an ん sound before 字. Did early Europeans' term for Roman letters not ...
0
votes
1answer
111 views

Classical form of 落{お}ちる

I read in a haiku written by Bashō/芭蕉 (source - see my addendum at the end of the post) : をちこちに 瀧{たき}の音{おと}聞く{きく} 落{おち}葉{ば}かな My translation : From far and near, hearing the ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Is the “wa-particle” in katakana ワ or ハ?

Is the "wa-particle" in katakana ワ or ハ? (Just a quick question - I think I have seen both used, but if ワ is correct then I have just seen the results of a computer o/p automatically using ハ)