45 votes
Accepted

Is ま (ma) related to ほ (ho) or は (ha) related to よ (yo)? What does adding a bar to the left mean?

Apart from the diacritic-derived characters, hiragana (and kana in general) should be seen as non-reduceable graphical units. They are not derived from simpler functional units. Their formation is ...
dROOOze's user avatar
  • 9,075
32 votes

I cannot recognise this kana

They're hentaigana, forms which were used before the 1900 script reform. From top to bottom: な、ゆ、ず. Source
dROOOze's user avatar
  • 9,075
25 votes

Why were hiragana and katakana never merged into one system?

“What’s up with upper case and lower case? We have two different forms for each letter, sometimes similar, sometimes completely different. Why weren’t these merged to make it easier to learn to write?”...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
22 votes

Is it 日本人 or にほんじん?

Both are correct. 日本人 is the word for 'Japanese (person)' written in kanji. にほんじん is exactly the same word but written in hiragana. Adults normally use the kanji version (日本人), but にほんじん appears in ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 312k
21 votes

Is ま (ma) related to ほ (ho) or は (ha) related to よ (yo)? What does adding a bar to the left mean?

The mighty dROOOze's answer covers the bases. I just wanted to counter with a similar question -- is b related to d related to p? :) Ultimately, the shapes come from unrelated glyphs (character ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
18 votes
Accepted

Is there a particular name for the rows and columns of the hiragana/katakana charts?

The columns (or rows) that have the same initial consonant are labeled as the first item in that column (consonant + a) followed by [行]{ぎょう}. Examples of such are あ行, か行, さ行, た行, etc. The rows (or ...
Blavius's user avatar
  • 8,075
18 votes
Accepted

Is there any rhyme or reason to hiragana?

I assume you mean to ask whether or not there is a pattern so that you can easily remember them. As far as I know, the answer is "no". However, a little historical context wouldn't hurt. The very ...
Em.'s user avatar
  • 1,435
16 votes
Accepted

Is this character a そ?

Sure it is, there's two legit ways to write そ in Japanese. Two strokes so One stroke so I suspect that the two strokes version is historical but usage made the one stroke version more common. It is ...
Samuel's user avatar
  • 321
14 votes

What is this Kanji? I can’t find it anywhere?

That’s likely not a kanji, but rather a hiragana そ (so) in its split/handwritten form (like on the right here):
Darius Jahandarie's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

What does "しぇんぱい" mean?

It's probably a slurred 先輩【せんぱい】. Since there is no context, I am only 95% certain. 先輩 is commonly used to address your senior at school or at work when there is no other appropriate title like 部長. ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 312k
12 votes
Accepted

Does a small tsu double all consonants?

A small tsu (sokuon) geminates (doubles) the following consonant. In native vocabulary, only unvoiced consonants can be geminated. This includes the さ, た, か, and ぱ rows. A double n as in おんな is not ...
Fox's user avatar
  • 236
12 votes

Is my Hiragana understandable?

Is my hiragana handwriting understandable? the casual handwriting written at the same speed as when I am writing Latin alphabet. They are very well understandable on condition written at the ...
user20624's user avatar
  • 15.3k
12 votes
Accepted

Long O — when is it OU and when OO?

Really, all I can say is 'it depends on the word'. Generally on'yomi (Chinese-derived) readings use おう, while kun'yomi (native Japanese) readings use おお, but there may be exceptions. A note: if う is a ...
Angelos's user avatar
  • 11.3k
12 votes
Accepted

Why using です in katakana?

The final part of a Japanese sentence is sometimes rendered in katakana for various reasons. Examples include: ごめんネ ひどいヨー 分かってマス! 美味しいデス 大丈夫かナ? In fiction, this typically happens ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 312k
12 votes
Accepted

Is Japanese に related to the Chinese character 仁?

Yes, the kana に is derived from the Chinese character ([漢字]{かんじ}, kanji) 仁. See also the English Wiktionary page and the Japanese Wikipedia page, among other references. All kana derived from kanji. ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Is "入っ" still pronounced "はい" when reading it? (Okurigana question)

You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding about okurigana. The reading of 入る is はいる. 入る is not an okurigana, but it contains an okurigana which is る. kanji👇 okurigana👇 入 る "Okuri&...
naruto's user avatar
  • 312k
11 votes

Why do some Japanese people write parts of their name in hiragana?

I guess your coworker uses hiragana の simply because it is easier to write and 野 is very common in surnames and the natural guess for の.¹ Hiragana (or katakana) or variant kanji may also be used in ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
  • 48.1k
11 votes
Accepted

Is this 8px height font understandable for japanese knowing people?

TLDR: Use at least a 9px font unless you want negative reviews. This is 美咲フォント, isn't it? Actually, it's indeed 7px per glyph plus 1px padding :) I know this font, but didn't mention it in my previous ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 312k
11 votes
Accepted

Why do some Japanese people write parts of their name in hiragana?

This phenomenon mainly occurs in orthodox brand/shop names. Quite a few traditional-style Japanese restaurants are officially named like もり川【かわ】 and 三【み】むら, even though 森【もり】 and 村【むら】 are not ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 312k
11 votes
Accepted

Why is it spelled やっほー instead of やっほう?

To put things into context, let's start by saying that the dash sign "ー", is called [長音符]{ちょうおんぷ}. It is also called Katakana-Hiragana Prolonged Sound Mark by the Unicode Consortium. As you correctly ...
Tommy's user avatar
  • 7,906
11 votes

Is it 日本人 or にほんじん?

The Japanese language uses 3 different writing systems: kanji, which was originally borrowed from Chinese ideograms: they represent a “picture” of a word, related to the meaning of the word, but not ...
jytou's user avatar
  • 211
10 votes
Accepted

Why is もっと pronounced "motto" but written "motsuto"?

This is a double consonant sound. It's denoted by the smaller size つ. So instead of the word being pronounced as Mo-tsu-to, it is pronounced Mot-to because of the っ. That is why you have two t's ...
Cameron S.'s user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Why does the katakana ラ look similar to the hiragana う?

It is just a coincidence. As you (probably) know, both hiragana and katakana came into existence as shorthand for kanji. Here's the graph shown on Wikipedia. So you can see that ラ and う are derived ...
istrasci's user avatar
  • 44.1k
10 votes

I want to know what "marumaru" means

まる is a name of this circle symbol, and ○○ is read out loud as まるまる, なになに, etc. It is used to make a placeholder or to mask a part of a sentence/word. English equivalent is **, __, "blank", "blah" or "...
naruto's user avatar
  • 312k
10 votes
Accepted

Partial ひらがな sentences (why ことし, きのう, きょう, あす?)

This is related to the fact that 今日 and 明日 have two readings. According to the July 2008 issue of 放送研究と調査: 放送で,「今年」を「ことし」と表記する理由 「今年」と漢字で書いた場合,「ことし」と読んだらよいのか,「こんねん」と読んだらよいのか,わからなかったり,迷ったりするおそれがある。...
naruto's user avatar
  • 312k
10 votes

Is it a hiragana or a kanji or something else entirely?

It's a cursive version of と like the one in the picture, but written more stylistically
フィラシマカロト's user avatar

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