Straightforward question. 天爾遠波 (or 弖爾乎波) - written as てにをは - is a term used to refer to the Japanese particles (助詞) or sometimes Japanese grammar as a whole (文法). So how to do pronounce the at the end? Is it or ? Presumably it's the former since it's describing particles, but I've never seen it definitively explained anywhere.

  • NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 gives the reading as テニオハ. But see here www.tt.rim.or.jp/~rudyard/hirago013.html 【無論、普通は「てにをは」は「tenioha」と読みます。 この言葉だけを見れば、「は」で問題ないことでしょう。 しかし、「こんにちわ」や「こんばんわ」を支持するなら、それではいけません。】
    – blutorange
    Jul 18 '13 at 17:42
  • Clickable link from above comment: tt.rim.or.jp/~rudyard/hirago013.html
    – istrasci
    Jul 18 '13 at 22:27

According to the entry about は in デジタル大辞泉:


Which is probably the source of confusion. If one thinks of it as a "word" then they might be inclined to read it as te-ni-o-wa.

However, according to the entry about てにをは in デジタル大辞泉:


So, as you can see, it's more like an acronym of sorts than it is an actual "word" (as in it identifies the markup actually used in 漢文). Therefore, it is read as te-ni-o-ha.

Additionally, イロハ (i.e., 伊呂波短歌) is read as i-ro-ha and not i-ro-wa (I have no sources to back up this claim, though, other than my own experience).

  • +1 for comparing it to 伊呂波.
    – istrasci
    Aug 16 '13 at 14:13

The は is being used as the pronunciation of 波, and not as a particle. Thus it is pronounced like a ハ. The particle は is always in the hiragana form, so as it is a kanji it must be pronounced ハ.

Just because it is describing particles does not mean it is a particle.

Remember, if は is the pronunciation of a kanji, it is always pronounced ハ. Only when it is a particle (when it must be in hiragana form) can it pronounced ワ.

  • 2
    Source? 難波 (the old name for Osaka) is pronounced なにわ, so there's at least one one instance where is not pronounced 'ハ'.
    – istrasci
    Jul 19 '13 at 16:54
  • jisho.org/kanji/details/%E6%B3%A2 The onyomi reading is listed as ハ.
    – kumikil
    Jul 23 '13 at 2:19

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