74

Kanji aren't necessary to write Japanese Your rationale is correct; Japanese is a living, spoken language; people are able to understand each other by sound only, therefore a writing system based on sound has to be sufficient. Some commentators have mentioned that Japanese speakers often allude to kanji when talking. That's true enough (and it probably ...


34

The dots, called 傍点【ぼうてん】 (or 圏点【けんてん】), function like italics or underline with the Latin alphabet. They are for emphasis. To see the effect in rōmaji: futatabi kanojo jishin no kuchi kara kiku koto ni naru to wa Update. To answer the question in the comments, 傍点 and ふりがな may be combined (although ふりがな may also be omitted, as in the snippet in the ...


21

This is definitely a bit harder for native English speakers to pick up on at first, but sometimes homophones in Japanese are distinguishable by the pitch accent. So some of them aren't an issue at all. But of course some words do sound exactly the same. So how do you tell those apart? Easy: context. Kanji aren't "necessary" to distinguish between homophones;...


15

That kind of furigana is not for telling the reader the reading of the kanji, but what the character actually said. The kanji tell the reader what they meant. It would be incorrect to read it ここ every time it appears without furigana. That kind of usage is common in manga and, depending on the genre, in novels. As for why this is done, I think the most ...


10

Short answer: In the words of Ariga, they're "as old as writing itself".¹ Long answer: You might be surprised to learn that furigana is older than hiragana! To understand what I mean by that, we'll have to make a digression first into what kana even means. The first thing to keep in mind is that the Japanese didn't invent the use of characters to write ...


10

It seems they add furigana to kanji that are not taught in elementary school (小学校). 緒、吐、丈、違 are not taught in elementary school. (参考: 学年別漢字配当表) [笑]{わら}う is taught in 4年生, but the readings [笑]{え}む、[笑]{しょう}、[笑顔]{えがお} are taught in junior high school (中学校). (See pages 24 and 51 in 音訓の小・中・高等学校段階別割り振り表 平成29年3月)


9

If you're taking care to write the readings over the characters they belong to (which people don't always do), then geminated consonants belong to the first kanji: 学{がく} + 校{こう} gaku + kō  =  学{がっ}校{こう} gakkō As you can see, the consonant still belongs to the first kanji. Gak is a reduced form of gaku, having lost its final vowel u. Likewise, in your ...


9

The small writing is called furigana in Japanese, and is also known as ruby text in English. These are provided as phonetic guides to show the pronunciations of the bigger characters. Furigana are written out in kana, the phonetic Japanese syllabaries (a syllabary is like an alphabet, but each character represents a whole syllable). There are two kinds of ...


8

ルビ (rubi) is jargon which mainly refers to the characters' appearance (small annotative characters placed on top of or to the right of main text), and is preferred in the publishing industry. Even Microsoft Word call those characters ルビ, and I believe the majority of native Japanese people understand this term. We sometimes encounter rubies which are not ...


8

The nickname ハチ公 consists of the name ハチ followed by the suffix 〜公. Katakana is a common choice for writing names, even if the actual name is written with kanji. The suffix 〜公 is described in 大辞林 as follows こう【公】 [一](名) [...] [二](代) [...] [三](接尾) ①身分の高い人の名に付けて、敬意を表す。「家康━」 ②人や動物の名前に付けて、親しみ、あるいはやや軽んずる気持ちを表す。「忠犬ハチ━」「熊━」 The suffix 〜公 is added to the names ...


8

If the average native reader cannot be expected to pick the correct reading based on context clues or set phrases, and the difference is important to the writer, the onus is on the writer to prevent this problem. Furigana is of course an option, but for something like 埋める, a good way is to just write the whole word in hiragana if you mean to convey the less ...


8

General As had been pointed out, as a general rule, that part of the word - in terms of kana syllables - that changes or inflects is written with okurigana. See also 「送り仮名の付け方『国語を書き表すための送り仮名の付け方のよりどころ」』・単独の語1・活用のある語・通則1」, which states as a general principle that the inflectional ending is added in kana. 活用のある語(通則2を適用する語を除く。)は,活用語尾を送る。 History When ...


8

Newspapers give furigana for two reasons: Because the word contains non-常用漢字, or non-常用 readings of kanji. (This is a PC matter for public media. Novels never do it.) Because the kanji is rarely used, or the word should be read in local, irregular, nonce or other unexpected way to readers, or potentially ambiguous in pronunciation. (This is the traditional ...


8

In general, furigana rules tends to be determined on a per-magazine or per-bunko-label basis, and the theme of each title is not always relevant. Titles published in 少年向け ("for early-teens") labels/magazines, such as 週刊ジャンプ, have lots of furigana even though individual titles sometimes contain adult-oriented themes. Titles belonging to ヤング/青年向け (for high-...


7

Newspapers do not 100% stick to the 常用漢字 kanji. They have their own style guidelines for kanji use, and there is such a thing as the "新聞常用漢字表". This includes: Kanji not in the joyo treated as joyo: 磯(いそ) 絆(きずな) 哨(ショウ) 疹(シン) 胚(ハイ) Kanji in the joyo treated as non-joyo: 虞 且 遵 但 朕 附 又 Additional non-joyo readings treated as joyo: 証(あか-す) 鶏(とり) 虹(コウ)...


7

Questions and Answers I'll answer your questions in order. Line 1: 句 looks like it is read as ば (ba), despite 句 having readings of く (ku), こう (kō) or すく (suku). Any thoughts? The kanji are used here as a kind of 熟字訓【じゅくじくん】 for the word nakaba, commonly spelled in the modern language as 半ば. Even then, I'd expect to see 中旬 instead; I wonder if the author ...


6

Some writers like to do it because it adds meaning to what may otherwise be incoherent sounds. This works even for me, a native English speaker: I've never read any One Piece, so I have no idea what "Log Pose" or "Poneglyph" mean. But if their names are written as kanji with furigana applied, I can take a guess at what kind of thing they are. It works even ...


6

To answer the question in the title, the furigana in Aozora files are the furigana that were actually used in the printed original. So they are accurate in the sense that they represent actual usage. However, because most of the books there are very old (the majority being prewar), that usage often does not reflect what the Ministry of Education deems ...


6

You say you're just going on vacation in Japan. Well, in that case, you might not need to know a whole lot of kanji. In fact, people go to Japan without knowing the language at all and manage to get around okay! So for your purposes, you might be fine without learning any kanji at all. But what if you're trying to learn the language for real? The fact ...


6

There are several methods of adjustment when the ruby is longer than the parent text. Adobe InDesign has a set of options named ルビが親文字より長い時の調整. I don't know the specific term for such adjustments in general. One strategy is to allow the ruby to overlap the main text surrounding the parent text, which is called 文字かけ(処理). The style of ruby in this picture is ...


6

If I did so, yes, it would be very rude, because I am a native Japanese speaker who is supposed to be able to use fluent business Japanese. They might think I did so because I wanted to treat them as a small kid. If you did so, and if the receiver knows you are not a native Japanese speaker, they probably wouldn't feel offended. But it would look very weird ...


5

Hiragana and katakana are both phonetic (sound-based) writing systems. Furigana is used to show the phonetic reading of a kanji (or sometimes even Latin lettering). It is not used with katakana because katakana is already phonetic, so its pronunciation is unambiguous. For example, my name (Eric), in katakana, would be エリック. You could express this ...


5

I think the meaning of あげる here is "bring up", as in "bring up a topic". So he is probably talking about some things he brought up earlier. その愛をもたない存在ー>その愛を持たない存在。「愛を持たない」 modifies 「存在」. This is called a subordinate verb clause. Sometimes writers like to play around with furigana to create special meanings of their own. They want you to read that word a ...


5

If I had to say, ''う'' fits 路. But almost all people don't care, I think, and neither do I. It's general to be written like [小路]{こうじ}. The original form of こうじ was こみち(小さい[路]{みち}) in hundreds years ago. komiti -> komdi -> -> -> kouji Japanese language has varied throughout history. Vowel reduction and change from ''m'' to ''u'' brought out ''こうじ''. ...


5

Writing something with kanji doesn't necessarily make the document more "college worthy". I'll just say that in all the years I have been here, I probably never saw 此方 written as such. But I have seen 貴方 quite a few times. There is no easy way to know what word are commonly used in kana or kanji other than read a lot in Japanese and get used to it. If no ...


5

Furigana is basically not necessary because backpackers are not elementary school kids. Adding furigana to easy words can even be disturbing. Ordinary news articles written in Japanese have almost zero furigana. There are many difficult words which native speakers cannot read without furigana, but simple guidance text should not contain such difficult words ...


5

首ひねり is obviously used to explain スリッピングアウェー, so it shouldn't be another difficult technical term. You can forget the sumo move. 首をひねる (literally "twist a neck") is a common set phrase (not specific to boxing) that means rotating or coking your head. Most of the time this phrase also figuratively means "to think deeply" or "to be puzzled" (similarly to "to ...


5

メイン means "main dish" in this context. From the Wikipedia entry on main course: The main dish is usually the heaviest, heartiest, and most complex or substantial dish in a meal. So it goes without saying it is also the thing most people would look forward to enjoying. In the scene in question, メイン doesn't mean the main thing she took, but it is saying ...


4

What you're talking about is called furigana (振り仮名). It's normally written in hiragana script, except maybe in dictionaries sometimes when katakana is used to indicate the Chinese reading. Another case for using katakana as furigana is when you want to write a foreign pronunciation for a word written in kanji. The Wikipedia page for furigana gives the ...


4

One Piece is set in a fictional world, but the setting is clearly not Japan. Actually, apart from Zoro's swords I can't remember anything that is related to Japan. In this world 記録指針{きろくししん} sounds like a poor translation of some "original" word; ログポーズ sounds much more authentic, but you have no idea what it means (not even if you figure out the English ...


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