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Which sequences of kanji and/or kana form accepted ways to write a given word, particle, or other speech sound.

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41
votes
4answers
4k views

How did “little tsu” become a lengthener?

How did it come about historically that っ preceding a sound would geminate it? Is it really a little つ or are they just near homomorphs?
23
votes
1answer
815 views

Why is a place that sells さけ a さかや?

Is it known why a さかや normally has a か, rather than a け like in さけ? Are there many other -や constructions for stores that change the spelling of the word added to?
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 ...
11
votes
4answers
388 views

ブラウザ or ブラウザー? Words borrowed from English which end with -er

I noticed that some (most? all?) words that were borrowed from English and end with -er in English can have either short or long vowel at the end: browser - can be ブラウザ or ブラウザー driver - can be ドライバ ...
19
votes
1answer
13k views

Why is konnichiwa spelt こんにちは?

Why is は used at the end of こんにちは? Is the last letter the particle は, or is there a different explanation? Which is correct: こんばんわ or こんばんは? mentions konnichiwa, but the question is interpreted more ...
24
votes
3answers
1k views

Why did の disappear from 山手, but in 御茶ノ水 it's in katakana?

I realize that very likely the answer to this question is likely to be something along the lines of "that's just the way it is", but I thought it worth asking to see if there were some insights that ...
18
votes
4answers
3k views

とっても versus とても

I've had a teacher flatly tell me that とっても is incorrect, but I do see it written here and there and I'm pretty sure I hear it as well. Is it just so informal relative to とても that I should never use ...
6
votes
3answers
532 views

有り難う vs 有難う — Is this the same word?

Do both these words mean "thank you"? If both mean thank you why are they spelled differently? Is one more formal than the other?
15
votes
2answers
1k views

On the replacing of kanji made obsolete in the 1946 reforms with similar-looking kanji.

This is my understanding but please correct me if some of my details are wrong: In 1946 the Japanese language underwent a reform and standardization process A set of 1850 kanji were made official and ...
16
votes
7answers
5k views

Are there words which consist of katakana and hiragana letters together?

Obviously many Japanese words consist of kanji characters plus hiragana since the latter are used for okurigana: 食べる 水割り 鷹の爪 Recently I'v started to discover a few words that use kanji characters ...
1
vote
1answer
638 views

Intuitive or logical way to know when to use a kanji spelling vs hiragana spelling?

A recurring theme on this site is that foreign learners of Japanese use too much kanji. Often the reaction is puzzlement that we can't "just know the right way". Native speakers literally say they don'...
2
votes
1answer
997 views

ー vs small kana vs long kana for writing long vowels

I had thought that for writing long vowels in Japanese, that small kana was mostly used with hiragana and ー was mostly used with katakana. I was actually thinking of asking whether there were ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Are there any rules for choosing between おお and おう?

Am I correct assuming that both おお and おう are homophones in Japanese - both being pronounced as long o? I suspect I am, since that's what I'm indirectly reading in various tutorials. If so, are there ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

Which kanji to use for saying ありがとうございます in emails?

When sending emails, I've noticed that Japanese colleagues use all sorts of kanji/kana combinations for the simple phrases ありがとうございました and よろしくおねがいいたします. For example: ありがとうございました 有難うございました 有難う御座いました ...
20
votes
5answers
25k 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...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

How does one transcribe the romaji “ō”?

I use The Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary, which describes pronunciation in romaji instead of kana. I never learned romaji in a classroom, and generally only use it when reading this dictionary. ...
9
votes
2answers
804 views

Same word - written with kana and kanji in two places in the same paragraph. Why?

I am aware that some Japanese words can be written in either kana or kanji and that the rules about it are not set in stone. This has already been discussed in some questions and answers here (e.g. ...
5
votes
1answer
514 views

How to know when I should use katakana form words referring to animals, lesser creatures, or other organisms?

I know many words for animals are usually written in katakana in contemporary Japanese, even though kanji exist: イルカ クマ And it seems some very common domestic animals I don't seem to notice written ...
32
votes
3answers
5k views

Is there a rule for when to use くらい vs ぐらい?

I see phrases like 200人ぐらい, 半々ぐらい, and 何分くらい, which seem to indicate that くらい and ぐらい are synonymous, if not interchangeable. Is there any kind of rule for deciding which to use, or is it a stylistic ...
35
votes
5answers
3k views

When do you use 下さい as opposed to ください

I've noticed that there seems to be different usage for 下さい and ください. Is this purely a personal preferences or is there an actual difference their usage? This was actually a question the Japanese ...
14
votes
2answers
540 views

Why is debug デバッグ but bug is バグ?

I'm interested in why the extra small tsu in included in the word デバッグ but not バグ. Are there any rules governing voicing in words formed via reduplication? Lyman's rule may explain this, but does ...
11
votes
1answer
396 views

Why is こおり spelt with an お rather than an う?

I thought that syllables with an "お" sound get lengthened by an "う" rather than another "お". I've seen this question asked on hinative, which mentions 遠い(とおい), 大きい (おおきい), 多い (おおい), 通り (とおり/どおり) and ...
9
votes
8answers
6k views

The many ways to write {かっこいい}

Apparently there are so many ways to write {かっこいい}. Hiragana/katakana only: かっこいい カッコいい カッコイイ EDICT: 格好いい かっこ好い Other possible variants: 格好良い かっこ良い カッコ良い 格好好い 恰好いい (notice ...
9
votes
3answers
12k views

Long O — when is it OU and when OO?

I am learning hiragana and I've encountered a minor problem. The thing is that my book did mention how to deal with a long "O": just by adding another "O" or "U". However it doesn't explain in which ...
9
votes
1answer
349 views

Are グラス and ガラス alternative spellings of the same word?

As in the title: Are グラス and ガラス alternative spellings of the same word? I'm going through a 2級 prep book for vocabulary and it has ワイングラス = wine glass but ガラスのコップ = glass (for drinking) and ...
8
votes
1answer
330 views

Where's the missing い in ありがた迷惑【ありがた めいわく】?

One of the most useful turns of phrase in Japanese is ありがた迷惑{めいわく}, which is that of being helpful in a way that is not helpful. It can cover situations where one is being helpful to semi-...
3
votes
1answer
855 views

Is there a term for words that share the same kana spelling?

I would like to know if there is a word (in either Japanese or English) that describes pairs of words that are spelled the same in kana. For example, 橋 and 箸 would be "homo-kana" words, because they ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

トウモロコシ: Why kana? What is the etymology?

First came across this written in Kana Midori とうもろこし, トウモロコシ【玉蜀黍】 corn (US), maize (UK) (usually written in kana) Why Kana? Is トウモロコシ borrowed from another language? What is the etymology ...
2
votes
1answer
350 views

Ocha in Hiragana [duplicate]

I'm pretty early into learning Japanese. I've started learning hiragana, when writing "ocha" in hiragana I've noticed it comes up as おちゃ now I know お is "o" and normally ち is "chi" while ゃ is ya. Now ...
0
votes
2answers
351 views

What’s the correct Hiragana/Kanji for ‘nokuseni’

I don’t know how to write or pronounce it but I was watching a Japanese movie and one person goes ‘nokuseni’ which I think roughly translates to ‘even though’? Or something negative? I know it’s vague ...
10
votes
1answer
362 views

How can one stop “去年【きょねん】教職【きょうしょく】” from looking like a weird 4 kanji compound?

In writing, sometimes you get the illusion of a 4-character compound: Xさんは去年教職を退【しりぞ】いた。 This bothers some non-natives. To correct the "problem", can I always just place a comma between the kanjis ...
4
votes
2answers
199 views

Is there a I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! example in Japanese?

I read this article http://www.gate.net/~labooks/wholeword.html and I actually read a Chinese version, 研表究明,汉字的序顺并不定一能影阅响读,比如当你看完这句话后,才发这现里的字全是都乱的。 So I am thinking is there a Japanese version of ...
4
votes
2answers
504 views

How to write long sound to emphasize words?

For example, I want to emphasize the word しらない by saying shiiiiiranai, しいいいらない seems a little bit weird to me. How do you write this in japanese character, can we also write this in the form of kanji?
3
votes
1answer
421 views

Kanji or kana in お待ちください

It's considered proper (though often ignored) to write ください in 待ってください and 下さい in 赤いのを下さい, i.e. Kanji as a main verb and kana as an auxilliary. But a thought came into my mind: in お待ちください, is it an ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Clarification on 人の夢は終わらねェ

Good evening! Is 人の夢は終わらねェ the correct spelling for "A man's dream never dies", or is it with a language twist, like someone very specific would spell or say it like that? I know that the way it's ...