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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 based on the principle of graphical abbreviation from more complex characters, and in hiragana's case, the inspiration behind the shapes is cursive script. In a ...


31

They're hentaigana, forms which were used before the 1900 script reform. From top to bottom: な、ゆ、ず. Source


24

Well, it's always safe to use the hiragana. You could technically write Japanese entirely in kana, although it would become very difficult to read and lack the context clues provided by kanji. If 海山 is someone's (family) name, first make sure it is really pronounced as うみやま because it could have some other pronunciation. Secondly, depending on the context ...


24

According to this page, the following types of characters are allowed in names: 名づけ(命名)に使える文字と記号 ひらがな(ゐ・ゑも含む) カタカナ(ヰ・ヱも含む) 「ー」(音をのばすときに使う。例:リリー、サリー) 「ゝ」(一つ前の字の繰り返しのとき使う。例:なゝえ) 「ゞ」(一つ前の字に濁音を付けて繰り返しのとき使う。例:みすゞ) 「々」((一つ前の漢字の繰り返しのとき使う。例:奈々) So that's hiragana, katakana, extension, and repetition marks. Valid examples are given for each in the ...


23

I think it's read right-to-left as 魚{うお}がし 'fish market'. The kana が and し are written as hentaigana, variant forms of kana that are usually no longer used. This is が: This is し: (Images taken from benricho.org)


21

When being used as a grammatical particle ([助詞]{じょし}), は is pronounced わ (wa), を is pronounced お (o), and へ (which you may not have come across yet) is pronounced え (e). I've never used Rosetta Stone but it seems quite strange that it would not mention this... Information as to the historical reason for this difference between spelling and pronunciation ...


20

There's even an exceptional word which mixes hiragana, katakana, and kanji, くノ一. Generally speaking, words are written with mixed writing systems when there are reasons to write different parts in different ways. (Sounds obvious, huh?) For example, in Tokyo Nagoya's example of あんパン, the first morpheme comes from Chinese 餡{あん}, and the second from ...


20

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 shapes). The ancient origins of both the Latin alphabet letters and the Japanese kana characters were glyphs with meaning to them (hieroglyphs underlie Latin ...


18

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 columns) that have the same vowel sound are labeled with that vowel in hiragana (あ, い, う, え, or お) followed by [段]{だん}. Thus, the five rows are labeled as あ段, い段, ...


15

That’s likely not a kanji, but rather a hiragana そ (so) in its split/handwritten form (like on the right here):


14

Although it's difficult to show a formal reasoning, it could be said that reducing pointless kanji usage is undeniably an orthographic trend of post-WWII era. "Pointless" roughly means a word no longer preserves the meaning the kanji which assigned to it suggests, or in today's linguistic jargon "semantically bleached". Things like 補助動詞, including ~てください, ...


14

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 definitely not a weird font, just one you didn't encounter yet.


13

As ジョン said, 今なにしてる could be written as 今何してる. However, I can think of two plausible reasons why they write 今なにしてる instead of 今何してる. First, hiragana gives more informal and casual impression than kanji. I do not know the overall tone of text used on Facebook, but I assume that it is quite informal, judging from the colloquial expression してる (instead of ...


13

Kanji can always be replaced with hiragana, for example if the writer cannot recall the correct kanji, or the intended reader is likely to have a limited knowledge of kanji (eg children), or the kanji for the word is not in general use, or pretty much any reason you want. The use of katakana, however, is usually reserved for borrow words, emphasis and so ...


12

The equivalent of "alphabetical order" for kana that hangs on the wall of classrooms is as follows: あかさたなはまやらわん いきしちにひみ り うくすつぬふむゆる えけせてねへめ れ おこそとのほもよろを I believe children are introduced to them based on this, probably vertically (i.e. あいうえお、かきくけこ and so on). [Thanks to Jamie Taylor in the comments.] I can't really give specific advice ...


12

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 difficult kanji at all. I haven't wondered why, but according to this question and this question, this tradition seems to have originated from the belief that even ...


12

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 really pronounced the same way as *おっな would be if it were a word. In loanwords that require gemination of other consonants, N tends to use ン, M uses ン or ム, ...


12

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 short, superficial story is that hiragana and katakana were derived from the Chinese characters as simplified writing systems. If you look at the characters from ...


12

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. Maybe someone, typically a young school girl, said it in a fawning way.


12

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 with people who were raised abroad (e.g., 金剛 and 九条カレン) or who have a bit eccentric personality (e.g., 野田恵). In particular, using です/デス everywhere ignoring ...


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I think if you watch this video for 24 hours straight, you will have learned basic hiragana and katakana without much effort. My apologies for any ill effects on your mental health. Complete Japanese Alphabet Song - Katakana - Hiragana - 日本語


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1)Yes, an international standardized character alphabet exists for transcribing the sounds of all human Languages. It's called the International Phonetic Alphabet and it is maintained by the International Phonetic Association (both are acronymized as IPA). The most recent version of the alphabet was created 1969 and their most recent and currently operative ...


11

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 surnames to simplify writing, such as 早せ川 (早瀬川) or 斎藤 (齋藤). However, you wouldn't use shorthand in (formal) correspondence like emails, etc. ¹ You can check ...


11

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 verb ending, おう will not be pronounced おお but as お and う separately, as in 追う and 思う. A lot of what I've said also applies to えい and ええ.


11

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 pointed out, it indicates a long vowel. I linked to the English Wikipedia for your convenience, but if you look to the more complete Japanese article, there ...


10

The つ character you're talking about is commonly referred to as "little つ" and looks like っ. This characters is not actually pronounced, but rather it means to take a small pause. In the case of にっぽん, instead of pronouncing it as "nitsupon", you would be pronouncing it like "ni [small pause] pon" which is romanised as "nippon" which has a natural pause ...


10

I'm not Japanese, but based on what I know it is up to you to choose which style you would like to write in. However, as I commented previously, I recommend that you stick with the "handwritten" style rather than the "printed" one if you are using a pen or pencil. However, if you are using a brush then perhaps the other is more appropriate. There is a great ...


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