Questions tagged [kana-usage]

仮名遣い. usage of kana, は vs. わ, 書く vs. かく etc.

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39
votes
4answers
48k views

What does the little っ (tsu) signify when at the end of a word?

The small っ (tsu) is usually used before a consonant to indicate gemination, less technically known as doubled consonants, which is how they are transliterated in romaji. I have seen it at the end of ...
25
votes
2answers
11k views

Does the particle “を” (wo) have a special use when at the end of a sentence?

I thought the character "を" (wo) was only used for the particle whose only job was to indicate the direct object of a verb. But today I saw it at the end of an exclamation on a sign I think on a shop:...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is Toyota typically written in Katakana? (トヨタ)

Presumably, as a Japanese name, it should be written in Chinese characters or in hiragana.
19
votes
2answers
3k views

Are there general rules on when to use kanji vs. kana?

This post is inspired by Tokyo Nagoya's comment in できる vs ~えます form for “can”, “able to” asking why everyone was writing 出来る in kanji in their responses. As I mentioned in my reply to his comment, I ...
79
votes
4answers
105k views

What are the differences between じ and ぢ, and ず and づ?

The Japanese hiragana and katakana syllabaries can mostly be described as phonetic. But there are two exceptions, the two pairs of syllables modified to be voiced with the dakuten diacritic which ...
1
vote
2answers
387 views

Can any other characters besides は and わ be used interchangeably at the end of words?

I have noticed that こんにちわ and こんにちは can be spelled differently and have the same meaning. Does this occur with any other character combinations at the end of words?
21
votes
5answers
41k views

Which is correct: こんばんわ or こんばんは?

I've seen both こんばんわ and こんばんは used; which is correct here? If we interpret the は as the topic particle, は would seem correct, but it seems that わ is used quite frequently anyway...
21
votes
1answer
3k views

Why is English “ka” and “ca” sometimes rendered as キャ (kya) instead of カ (ka)?

I sometimes see that English ka and ca are rendered キャ (kya) instead of カ (ka). Why is this? Do English ka and ca really sound more like kya than ka, at least to Japanese listeners? (I know it doesn'...
7
votes
1answer
990 views

Why small version of katakana ヵ is used in a word 二ヵ国語

Why do they use sometimes small version of katakana ヵ 'ka' in a word 二ヵ国語 (nikakokugo -bilingual)? For me, more intuitive form could be 二か国語. Katakana characters in small forms other than ya, yu, yo, ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the meaning of dots and dashes in kunyomi readings?

I was introduced to jisho.org a few days ago and I find it a really good tool to use while using the Heisig method to learn the readings as I learn the writing and understanding of kanji. I noticed 2 ...
3
votes
2answers
314 views

Why words such as しばらく are almost always written in kana while words such as 石鹸 are usually in kanji?

"Almost" and "usually" here means that while "alternative" is definitely used, vast majority of people is still using the mentioned version. Just look at google results count! Also, note that kanji ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

What does it mean if a sentence is in all-kana?

I came across this sentence in a manga: なにすんじゃこんガキャ―――!! There is no kanji use in that speech-bubble, making it hard to work out the meaning. In fact, I haven't been able to find the meaning of ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is たばこ written in hiragana instead of katakana?

While studying my Genki textbook I noticed that the word たばこ uses hiragana instead of katakana. I've always seen loan words to be in katakana, so this was interesting to me. I saw in this answer that ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

Why ī is the only romaji that can be spelled as a double ii

I am learning Japanese, and need to enter romaji into my keyboard to enter Japanese into documents and tables on my smartphone. My textbook shows ī as the only romaji that can be spelled as a double ...
1
vote
1answer
837 views

Sokuon Diacritic and Wabun Morse Code

I have created a geocache puzzle based on Japanese Morse Code (Wabun Code). The final coordinates that I translated are: N 43° 09.725 W 077° 26.688 I broke this down as follows: N 4 3 ° ...