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I'm reading a book and the author keeps using the spelling "一つひとつ" for "one-by-one". I found this a bit curious: The word itself is just a doubled 一つ, so why not spell both parts the same? Does writing it that way convey a certain nuance which 一つ一つ or 1つ1つ do not?

  • There are different factions (or style books). Some people actually like the spelling 一つ一つ. – broccoli facemask - cloth Jul 23 '19 at 2:59
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    @broccoliforest Do you know a style book/guideline that formally recommends 一つひとつ? – naruto Jul 23 '19 at 4:16
  • @naruto No, merely a conjecture. – broccoli facemask - cloth Jul 23 '19 at 4:39
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This is a matter of personal taste. If the author did this intentionally, I believe they were trying to emphasize the nuance of ひとつひとつ by covering various possible spellings. Similar examples include 長いながい道 and すき、好き、大スキ. One may also argue that switching kanji/kana too much in a single word is visually displeasing, but I personally doubt that is the main reason.

Here are the hit counts of BCCWJ:

  • ひとつひとつ: 604
  • 一つ一つ: 1005
  • 一つひとつ: 293
  • ひとつ一つ: 5

EDIT: This is not limited to 一つひとつ...

  • おそるおそる: 224; 恐る恐る: 193; 恐るおそる: 9; おそる恐る: 0
  • おもいおもい: 2; 思い思い: 183; 思いおもい: 9; おもい思い: 0
  • かさねがさね: 8; 重ね重ね: 24; 重ねがさね: 3; かさね重ね: 0
  • たびたび: 823; 度々: 354; 度たび: 4; たび度: 0

Maybe the users of 度たび/恐るおそる are treating the second part somewhat like a long okurigana...? I personally do not do this, but it is true that there are writers who like this style.

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According to this answer: "漢字{かんじ}ではじまり平仮名{ひらがな}で終{お}わる表記{ひょうき}が、日本語{にほんご}として読{よ}みやすいということのようです。"; It is because it makes Japanese easier to read.

The answer had a link to the webpage where it was explained by a professor but it seems like that page is no longer or else I would have read the page myself.

Source: https://oshiete.goo.ne.jp/qa/2185824.html

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