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33

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 ...


25

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 ...


24

In modern Japanese these pairs are pronounced exactly the same: ず, づ are pronounced either [dzu] or [zu]. じ, ぢ are pronounced either [dʑi] or [ʑi]. (the first sounding like the English J and the second like the French J, but both are with the middle of the tongue raised to the hard palate, producing what seems like a softer pronunciation). So in short, ...


21

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 ...


17

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 ...


14

In Katakana, we use ー for some long vowels indeed. But words with it, like ユーロ are spelt this way! However, in your case, there is no such word よーく、 ようく nor よおく. What this dash means is that the sound is lengthened. The word is just "よく". So, when the author wrote "よーくわかる" he meant "I reaaaaally understand". That's it!


14

Hiragana syllables are always schematised in a given order which is this one (from right to left, as you may already know): HIRAGANA KATAKANA After a while I started Japanese, I also found this video, the Japanese Alphabet song (only for hiragana), that can be interesting for absolute beginners. One of the best ways to remember Hiragana (and ...


14

In reference to Sawa's request for an example, キャンディ is a case of キャ being used to transcribe English ca. I asked my Japanese teacher exactly this question many years ago. The reply was that the vowel in English candy is higher (in phonetic terms) than the low front vowel in RP English cast. The fact that キャ is palatalised raises the vowel and makes it ...


13

From what I've observed, it varies from shop to shop: by publisher → by author name → by book title by author name → by book title by library → by series number (In case of 文庫 [ぶんこ] (library), 新書 [しんしょ] (library of pocket-sized paperbacks) by relevance/context (in untraditional bookstores like ヴィレッジ・ヴァンガード, 松丸本舗 [まつまるほんぽ]) Also, 文庫 ...


13

The order used today pretty much everywhere is called Gojūon, and this is what Alenanno has described, but there's also a traditional order, with its own song, called Iroha. This order is actually based on the poem (instead of the other way around), and interestingly enough, it is possible because the poem managed to include every letter of the traditional ...


12

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 "unoffical" texts such as Japanese poems (和歌), etc. From this 万葉仮名, women in the imperial ...


11

Kanji were originally from Chinese. Japanese used extremely accented Chinese (sorta like what they do with English now) to pronounce Middle Chinese words, which eventually became 音読み. For example 日本 /njit.pon/ became /nippon/. For 訓読み, they simply find the nearest native Japanese word in meaning. You can imagine an English person seeing 走 and pronouncing it ...


9

It really all depends on how you define preservation, and whether you consider the Ryukyuan languages (such as Okinawan) separate languages or dialects of Japanese, since ゑ and ゐ are used in some Ryukyuan spelling systems (other systems use other conventions such as writing these sounds as うぇ and うぃ). There are one or two problems with considering that as a ...


9

Does anyone know what might be the correct kana for this name? It is your name, so you are entitled to choose the correct kana. However, there is historical precedent for ジョアン. There is a famous Portuguese missionary João Rodrigues who came to Japan in the late 16th century. He left several important books including "Arte da Lingoa de Iapam" (日本大文典) ...


9

This is a difference between historical kana use (歴史的仮名遣) and modern kana use (現代仮名遣い). The kana orthography has been changed over time to reflect newer pronunciations. In this case, the title is written using an older spelling. Take a look at this official cabinet announcement (from 1986) and scroll down to the bottom half. It contains a rather large ...


8

The equivalent of "alphabetical order" for kana that hangs on the wall of classrooms is as follows: あかさたなはまやらわん いきしちにひみ り うくすつぬふむゆる えけせてねへめ れ おこそとのほもよろを I believe children are introduced to them based on this, probably vertically (i.e. あいうえお、かきくけこ and so on). [Thanks to Jamie Taylor in the comments.] I can't really give specific advice on ...


7

The conjugation of いい is instructive here. If you want to use the past tense, the conjugation is よかった. You can't say いかった to mean "was good". Furthermore, the first item in goo confirms that they have the same meaning. goo also says that よい is the original word, but いい came about because it's easier to say. So I imagine it's a kind of slang from a long time ...


7

The original form is definitely よい, and that's what you'll find in old texts. As often happens with common words, the pronunciation was simplified a little in its most common form, the Rentaikei form (which is the dictionary form), and became ええ in western dialects (Kansai-ben) and いい in the Tokyo dialect, which serves the basis for Standard Japanese. ...


7

The order is あ か さ た な は ま や ら わ If you have a Japanese cell phone, you can use the keypad to check the order, which runs from the 1 to 0 keys. If you have an iPhone, you can activate a Ten Key Japanese keyboard in the Keyboard settings, which is in the same order. You can also listen to this cheesy Japanese hip-hop song by Kreva to hammer it into your ...


7

These stroked are called 筆画, and as for kanji, it is traditionally said that there are eight types of strokes (I copied the words from the webpage that I linked below): 1) 点 ([側]{ソク}) 2) 横画 ([勒]{ロク}) 3) 縦画 ([努]{ド}) 4) はね, かぎ ([趯]{テキ}) 5) 左はらい ([掠]{リャク}) 6) 右はらい ([磔]{タク}) 7) 右上がりの横画 ([策]{サク}) 8) 短い左はらい ([啄]{タク}) And all those eight appear in the ...


7

次数 (jisuu) seems to be "degree" in the graph theory sense, not as in angles. I've never heard ちょぼ used for "decimal point", but perhaps I'm ignorant here. The terms I would use are 度 (do) and 点 (ten) respectively. コンマ (comma) is also heard as a decimal point separator (even when the symbol , is not used). Note that, as in English, numbers after a decimal ...


7

Mora with a glide: I guess, if it is ever used, the mark will express the whole mora rather than just the glide because two consecutive glides are not permitted in Japanese phonology. Long vowel: For katakana, there are specialized symbols ー and |, so you cannot use it. For hiragana, you can you it. あゝ、今日も終わりか。 Nasal coda: Japanese does not allow ...


7

According to the wiki articles 五十音順 and 日本語文字列照合順番, there is an Industrial Standard (JIS X 4061) specifying the ordering of kana, though sometimes not strictly followed. The lengthening mark will be changed to あいうえお according to the previous kana, and ん if the previous kana is ん, and the changed word would be used in sorting. If two changed word forms are ...


7

Japanese only allows gemination and nasal as the coda of a syllable. The two kanas っ and ん correspond to them, and are the kanas without a vowel. Also, when a kana is followed by a glide such as in ゃ, ゅ, or ょ, it loses the vowel. For example, In きゃ, き only represents k, not ki. In general, languages disfavor coda, and nasal is among the sounds that can ...


6

The curriculum guidelines for grade one (see 言語事項 section イ) only state that children should be able to read and write hiragana and katakana, and use words that are written in katakana in sentences (e.g. know to write ペン not ぺん), and to read and to start to use the level-appropriate kanji. As I understand it, instead of memorising individual readings, the ...


6

As you pointed out, there is no single correct pronunciation of Classical Japanese. It would be more accurate to teach different pronunciations used in different periods, but it would be probably too complicated to teach at schools. The pronunciation of Classical Japanese taught at high schools is the newest one used in Meiji period and later. (I do not ...


6

When writing on a grid, they go in the upper right hand corner of the square below. Similarly, full-stops and commas (。、) also go in the upper right hand corner. At school, all Japanese first learn on such a grid. In normal handwriting, the distances become closer than on the grid, of course. (Also, 振り仮名 and Japanese "italicizing" (indicated by dots) go ...


6

Short answer: no. For details, read on. There aren't any rules (as far as I know, anyway). Generally the insertion of spaces in texts written purely in hiragana serves only to improve readability. The writer can take liberties in doing this. Some common patterns do arise, though. First, you generally tend to break things up word by word, so each ...


6

Extensive use of hiragana by intent will make yourself look immature, childish, unserious, drowsy, cute, innocent, or sometimes less intelligent, depending on the context. A good but exaggerated example is found here. A very childish character in a game, who is always talking in hiragana. ...


6

There are no character-level differences. Hiragana and katakana are, for all intents and purposes, the same, differing only in how they are used with regard to the broader idea of choice of system. You say you know what each is used for, so that's the key distinction you need to focus on. I think one thing we might be able to mention is elongated vowels. ...



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