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Some expressions can be written part kanji part hiragana.

Sometimes I'm not sure how many hiragana actually condense into the kanji.

Example:

おとうさん

Is it お父さん or お父うさん ?

ちいさい

Is it 小さい or 小いさい ?

I hope you can see what I am referring to.

Sometimes I am not sure how many hiragana condense into the kanji.

Now I know the answer to the above examples and I can easily find the correct kanji versions in a dictionary.

I'm just curious whether Japanese people ever have this issue or not. Sometimes writing 大おきい instead of 大きい etc.

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    How does your IME condense it? – Aeon Akechi Jul 28 at 15:35
  • @AeonAkechi I'm not sure what your point is. My question is related to writing without the aid of technology. – Kantura Jul 28 at 21:34
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This is a very interesting question. There are certain "classes" of words where I don't think native speakers would have this problem at all. I doubt anyone would read 父 as just 「と」, or 大 as just 「お」, unless it was being used cleverly in a number.

However, I think when using okurigana for verbs one is more likely to be confused/unsure. Sometimes it is more of a stylistic choice than confusion. For example, take the word 「うけつけ」. When written with kanji, it has four "acceptable" forms:

  • 受け付け
  • 受付け
  • 受け付
  • 受付

Depending on the context where it appears, one may be preferred over the others. I'd be willing to bet that in pure verb-usage, the "correct" form would use both けs. But even I'm not positive on that.

But then there are times that can cause genuine confusion. For example, take the verbs 「[逃]{に}がす」 and 「[逃]{のが}す」. Though they have very similar meanings, there are also nuances of each. But since they both end in 「がす」, you'd better believe that even native speakers will occasionally mix up their readings.

(Protip: The にs — [逃]{に}げる and [逃]{に}がす — both have two-kana okurigana; the のs — [逃]{のが}れる and [逃]{のが}す — have the が as part of the kanji.)

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    Broadly speaking, the okurigana comprise the portion of the verb that inflected in Classical Japanese. This includes the //-eru// portion for verbs like 逃【のが】れる and 食【た】べる, since the "dictionary form" (more strictly, the 終止形【しゅうしけい】 or "terminal or conclusive form") for these verbs in Classical Japanese used to be 逃【のが】る and 食【た】ぶ. And for 逃【に】げる and 逃【に】がす, you can probably see that the phonetic root is //nig-// -- both derive from the older Classical form 逃【に】ぐ, with 逃【に】げる from the realis/potential, and 逃【に】がす from the causative. – Eiríkr Útlendi Jul 28 at 21:02

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