Does the ゛ have any meaning in the hiragana alphabet?

  • You can probably find the answer to this yourself by consulting just about any reference on hiragana.
    – user1478
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 4:09
  • 3
    Could you clarify what you're asking? Your wording is so vague and nonstandard that most of us couldn't understand your meaning. Commented May 6, 2016 at 4:22
  • Well... dakuten are used in hiragana, yes. ばびぶべぼ…
    – deceze
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 5:19
  • 1
    If the question was "how/when is used as a separate character" I think there actually could be a good question to be answered here.
    – cypher
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 8:53
  • @cypher, in that case it would be a duplicate. I remember seeing a question about that. Commented May 6, 2016 at 9:28

2 Answers 2


I'm not 100% sure what you're asking here, but when used by itself actually has a number of different usages.

Generally, (Dakuten) are not written separately. For example, "か" "ka" becomes "が" "ga". If you didn't know this, you should probably consult a reference on hiragana (and maybe also katakana) as snailboat says.

However, there are a number of cases where is used by itself.

  1. The can add emphasis on some characters which Dakuten are usually not used on, as you can see at the question "Encountered な with ten-ten".

  2. Half-width kana were used in the early days of Japanese computing, to allow Japanese characters to be displayed on the same grid as monospaced fonts of Latin characters. The tentens for half-width kana are displayed as a separate character. See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-width_kana for more information.

  3. Otherwise, the Hiragana letter (vu) has often been written as う゛ apparently due to limited font/software support.

  4. Apparently you may also sometimes be asked to handwrite Dakuten into a separate box on some official forms. See also On 原稿用紙, when are ゛ and ゜ (ten-ten and maru) supposed to occupy a square of their own?

In addition, this is a more technical usage, and you can almost certainly ignore this if you aren't a computer programmer. Single characters with Dakuten, for example "が", are separated into two characters (か and the COMBINING KATAKANA-HIRAGANA VOICED SOUND MARK) when normalized to the Canonical Decomposition, Normalization Form D (NFD). NFD is used in (for example) some databases as part of their collation algorithm, to make it possible to determine whether any two strings are equivalent to each other.

  • Here (japanese.stackexchange.com/q/17390/4216) is the question I was referring to. Thank you for your answer that resume the situation quite well. Commented May 6, 2016 at 11:17
  • @駑馬十駕 thanks for informing me, I've added it to the answer
    – cypher
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 11:23

゛ changes like this: h → b, k → g, s → z、t → d.
゜ changes only h → p.

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