I'm a beginner at Japanese, and I've thought I'd learn the Hiragana alphabet by learning the Japanese words that are most important to me.

Naturally, I started with the word "enlightenment", for which one choice seems to be "さとる". Now the Wikipedia article about ons uses a full stop in order to denote the boundaries between the ons. If we transfer this principle to


this would mean that さ and と belong to the same on, which seems absurd.

Does this mean that the pronunciation is "storu"? I'd be glad to be enlightened in this regard!

  • 2
    As far as I know, there is no word さとね, there is さとり however which can be used to mean "enlightenment". Not sure what you mean by "on". Are you thinking "on-yomi" (the borrowed Chinese reading)? Nor am I sure what you mean by the boundaries between ons. Linking to the wikipedia page might help us understand where you're coming from.
    – A.Ellett
    Jun 5, 2021 at 14:06
  • 1
    Regarding pronunciation, if the word is rendered in hiragana as さとる, then each kana is read individually as "sa-to-ru". There are a few special orthographic conventions, for example, さとった ("awoken") is pronounced "sa-to-t-ta". The small っ indicates gemination (doubling for the following sound). But that doubling is phonetically audible.
    – A.Ellett
    Jun 5, 2021 at 14:09
  • 1
    Final note, posting a question about a language you are just beginning to learn (and a culture you're becoming more familiar with) and then labeling the matter absurd can come across quite offensively. Whether English is your native language or not, you're communicating with a language which is highly idiosyncratic itself and (to a learner) perhaps quite absurd at times. Say what you mean, but also take into consideration that you're more likely to get help if you don't frame your questions in a manner that could be taken offense to.
    – A.Ellett
    Jun 5, 2021 at 14:18
  • 5
    The stop in the dictionary entry indicates where the okurigana begins. @A.Ellett I think by 'on' OP means mora?
    – Angelos
    Jun 5, 2021 at 15:48
  • 1
    What are "ons"?
    – istrasci
    Jun 6, 2021 at 2:26

3 Answers 3


It seems you're referring to this Wikipedia article regarding 'Ons' (I have personally never heard of this).

Japanese pronunciation is usually broken up into 'moras', with each kana in a word being pronounced for the same length of time (There are a few exceptions to this such as きゃ、しょ etc..).

The dot notation on Jisho.org indicates where the 送り仮名 starts.

悟る is pronounced さとる。 You can hear some native speakers saying it here.

  • As I understand it, "mora" is just another term for "on". Jun 8, 2021 at 17:11
  • It makes sense that most people haven't encountered "on" this way if it's poetry jargon.
    – Leebo
    Jun 8, 2021 at 22:45
  • @AlgebraicsAnonymous: The term mora (plural morae) is mostly synonymous in Japanese contexts with the word 音【おん】 (on, plural on). However, mora is less ambiguous and more immediately understandable in English-language text, as indicated by the various comments on this page asking what you meant by "ons". Jun 8, 2021 at 23:43

Short answer, the dot you're referring to does not refer to boundaries between "on"s.

Now the Wikipedia article about ons uses a full stop in order to denote the boundaries between the ons.

This is not the case. The dot is there to indicate where the 送り仮名(okurigana) starts; in other words, the kana before the dot is represented by the kanji, the kana after the dot cannot go into the kanji, and has to be added after it.

In your case, the dot in さと.る means it could be written as 悟る, where さと goes into 悟, and the る, being the okurigana, remains.


It transpired in the comments that the dot in the dictionary I linked to indicates the separation between that which is usually written in kanji-form and the remainder of the word. That is to say, the two letters before the dot indicate the pronunciation of the kanji, whereas the letter after it is just the remainder which is usually just added after the kanji.

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