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36

In Old Japanese (probably before 800 BC), the pronunciation of 「は」 (and indeed the entire ハ行) was PA, but it later changed to FA (more accurately, [ɸa], with a bilabial fricative), and this was the common pronunciation at least up to the 16th century (we know this since early Portuguese transliteration of Japanese words use the letter F where we would use H ...


26

They all originate from the cursive versions of kanji with the same/similar pronunciation as the hiragana. Here's a picture from Wikipedia to illustrate: To answer your question - there is no deep connection between the kana with circles. The kanji they came from just happened to have a circle when written in cursive. And just to be complete, Wikipedia ...


26

This question should be broken into two different questions: When and how did small-tsu come to represent consonant gemination. When and how did consonant gemination (as represented by small-tsu) came to be in Japanese. (For those who don't know the term: gemination simply means doubling of sounds, usually consonants. It's easy to get the sense ...


22

Because the pronunciation was lost. "Wi" and "we" are still in some dialects, but standard Japanese does not have those sounds. These characters were just spelling. Similarly in English, we pronounce "through" as "thru" because the "gh" sound is long gone. After World War II there was a massive language overhaul, and they changed/standardized spelling and ...


21

A few years ago I began to create a list. It is incomplete, but you can build from here. 湖 -> 水海 京 -> 宮処 暁(あかとき) -> 明時 曙 -> 明け仄 喉 -> 飲門 銅 -> 赤金 胡床 -> 足座 羹 -> 熱物 鐙 -> 足踏み 雷(いかずち) -> 厳(いか)つ霊(ち) 泉 -> 出づ水 営む -> 暇無(いと)む 猪(いのしし) -> 猪(い)の猪(しし) 妹 -> 妹(いも)人 甍 -> 苛処 驢 -> 兎馬 鬣(うながみ) -> 項(うな)髪 頷く -> 項(うな)突く 厩 -> 馬屋 狼 -> 大神 概 -> 大旨 公 -> 大宅 幼い -> 長(おさ)無い 一昨日(おとつい) -> ...


18

It has two main usages: As an abbreviation of the counter word 個/箇. More often it has a further word after it and it's read か. In this case it's sometimes written as ヵ or even か so the reading is more obvious. Examples: 一ヶ月(いっかげつ) 二ヶ国語 三ヶ所 Sometimes it's used alone just like 個 is (and it's read こ too), perhaps as shorthand. I've rarely seen people do ...


17

Say what? Putting aside the fact that this sounds like a whitewashed description of sexual assault, at what point in history was this "practice" so common that it was given a name? I don't know when it started, but the word originally comes from [呼ばう]{よばう} and is more commonly written as [夜這い]{よばい}. It is an old Japanese custom that was common up until ...


16

Good question! 「米国」 According to Japanese Wikipedia, the pronunciation of American was メリケン during the Meiji period, and was rendered into kanji as 「米利堅」 Since the first character is 米 (べい、まい、めい) the abbreviation became 米国. This was despite the fact that the full kanji representation of アメリカ is 亜米利加. I suspect it was because 亜 is already used to represent ...


16

The short answer is: No. There isn't a single authoritative source that can tell you where each and every Kanji comes from, since the complete etymology of some Kanji remains in controversy. This is actually not at all different than the state of the etymology (= study of origin) of English words. The longer answer is more hopeful, though: there are some ...


15

It isn't 100 percent clear, but the following is the “well-established” theory: Hiragana (平仮名) As noted in your other question, hiragana was originally called 女手. In the late Nara, early Heian periods, 万葉仮名{まんようがな} written in 草書体 (sosho style) was used for “unofficial” texts such as Japanese poems (和歌), etc. From this 万葉仮名, women in the imperial courts ...


15

I think this question is relevant: What do you mean, "In Japanese there are no words for "I’m suffering""? Also a little googling leads to a quote where this is clearly being used metaphorically by the speaker (presuming this is even an accurate quote/translation and not made up): Captain Sasaki of the Yokahama Guards: "There is no ...


14

Well, there is indeed a stereotypical "Samurai way of talking" that you can see in Samurai films or in historical dramas (時代劇, Jidaigeki) on TV, but it's far from being authentic. In fact, Samurai talked in many different ways, depending on the era and their home province (after all, they were speaking in their dialect). As far as I know, the stereotypical ...


14

もしもし is used to call for someone’s attention. Although it is often used on the phone, the use is not limited to phone calls. もしもし is a repetition of もし, which is also used to call for an attention. もし is a variation of 申し (もうし), which was used in the same way in old time. 申し definitely predates telephones, and I guess that both もし and もしもし for asking for ...


14

Why is it pronounced "yen"? I was actually wondering this a month or so ago, but found the answer on the Wikipedia article for yen/en. The spelling and pronunciation "yen" is standard in English. This is because mainly English speakers who visited Japan at the end of the Edo period to the early Meiji period spelled words this way. ... In the 16th ...


13

What I can think of is Japanese numbers are using when registration of house, family registrations, and some contracts. But they used 壱 弐 参 拾 萬 instead of ー 二 三 十 万 on those kinds of registrations, contracts to prevent obvious modifications. And according to trade law, session 2, No. 48 「壱、弐、参、拾」 are mandatory. Old books using those Japanese numbers a ...


12

It's a repetition mark or くの字点 (for its similarity to the character く, as you noted). い ろ 〳 〵 の 注 文 It's only used in vertical text, and repeats over two or more characters, which for your examples results in ひいひいと and いろいろの注文. There is also a single-kana repetition mark ゝ (which is the kana equivalent of the kanji repetition mark ...


12

In the olden days Japanese scholarly works were written in 漢文, which is basically Classical Chinese. Together with a set of annotation rules (e.g. "read the next two characters backwards", "insert a particle here", etc.) it was possible to translate/transcribe the resulting Chinese text into Japanese. Nowadays, it would still be possible to render Japanese ...


12

Before answering the question, I would like to clarify one thing: for most purposes, [物]{もの} and [者]{もの} are not two separate words, but a single word もの which has two kanji notations depending on its meaning. This is clearer when we consider compound words such as にせもの. When someone uses the word にせもの, it is not always clear even to the speaker whether it ...


11

They do appear to be shortenings, but perhaps not of any particular wording. 大辞林 says they're short for sentences like the following: こんにちは is short for sentences such as 今日は御機嫌いかがですか こんばんは is short for sentences such as 今晩はよい晩です In each case, 大辞林 marks the sentence in quotes with など, implying it doesn't necessarily come from those sentences ...


11

Undoubtedly the book Krazer suggested would make for the most thorough answer, but the Japanese wikipedia article on the 国語審議会 (the Japanese Language Council) has got some interesting details. From 1949 to 1961 the chairman was 土岐善麿, a supporter of the switch to romaji. Some of his work was published in romaji. (At least one example, Nakiwarai, is online if ...


11

There are also several old and common words which may have come from Korean, but of course, unlike words that are easily recognized as Korean in origin (such as 両班 Yangban or 温突 ondol), these words would probably forever remain in controversy: 寺 (てら) may have come from the Korean 절 (jeol). The Koujien dictionary also states the Pali word thera (old, ...


11

This looks like modern "浮かべる" but it is actually classical "浮かぶ" (四段, "to float") plus what is traditionally taught as the "り" auxiliary verb (助動詞). Etymologically, of course, it is really just "ari" attached to the ren'yokei 連用形/infinitive: /ukabi/ + /ari/ = /ukab(y)eri/, /ukab(y)eru/ adnominally (as in this case). Frellesvig calls this the "morphological ...


10

I doubt that any kanji characters commonly used in Japanese were made after 1946. Some kanji characters used in Japanese are actually made in Japan. They are called 和製漢字 (わせいかんじ) or 国字 (こくじ). However, although I do not know when they were made, I guess that most of them were made before 1946. JIS X 0208 regulates basic characters commonly used in ...


10

Yes, it was one form. From here: 奈良時代には、「オ」は [o] 、「ヲ」は [wo] と発音されており明確な区別があった。借字(万葉仮名)では、オには意・憶・於・應(応)・隱(隠)・乙などの字が用いられる一方、「ヲ」には乎・呼・袁・遠・鳥・鳴・怨・越・少・小・尾・麻・男・緒・雄などが用いられていた Translation In the Nara period, オ was pronounced as "o" and ヲ was pronounced as "wo", and were clearly distinguished. [借字]{しゃくじ}(Manyogana) used 意・憶・於・應(応)・隱(隠)・乙, etc. for オ and ...


10

降伏 (こうふく) is borrowed from Classical Chinese and probably has many centuries of history. After all, in the Sengoku period there were probably many, many surrenders of lords to other lords.


9

This may be obvious but not has been stated explicitly on this page: in vertical writing, kanji numerals are much more preferred than Arabic numerals. Moreover, in vertical writing, we sometimes use the positional system with kanji, especially for large numbers; that is, 六万五千七百四円 is sometimes written as 六五七〇四円.


9

Both those explanations seem slightly off to me. My own suspicion is that it was because Chinese characters were associated with the language of administration (the class of scholar-bureaucrats in China), and women were not expected to serve in government positions. Since the educational purpose of learning characters was to produce government officials, and ...


9

This puts English derived words at something like 80% of foreign origin words (this would exclude 漢語{かんご}). It also has some lists of words separated by origin (leaving out English-derived words). Let's assume for a moment that this list is in some way representative of non-English derived katakana loanwords. A rough calculation suggests that the most ...


9

According to the wikipedia, there is no law that declares official documents should be written in Japanese, or stating that Japanese is the official language in Japan. But there are some laws that requires the use of Japanese is certain situations, e.g. in court.


9

Yes, it's common to write in that way. Writing いづみ instead of いずみ and 買ひ instead of 買い are a part of the Historical Kana Orthography (歴史的仮名遣). Writing katakana instead of hiragana is considered more formal in old days. See 歴史的仮名遣 and 片仮名 歴史的仮名遣とは ... 明治から第二次世界大戦終結直後までの公文書や学校教育において用いられたものであり、平安時代初期までの発音を反映した表記であると仮想されたものを基点としている。 The Historical Kana ...



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