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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 ...


32

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


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 ...


24

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)


22

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 ...


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 ...


21

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 ...


19

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

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, ...


15

Imagery vs. Information Try staring at the kanji 「湯」 for 5 minutes and tell me what it enabled you to "see" and/or "imagine". Did you have fun? I did it before posting my answer and all I "saw" was hot water. I had no fun staring at the kanji. Kanji have specific meanings and that means there is not much room for imagination. 「湯」 means "hot water", but ...


15

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


14

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, ...


14

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 ...


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.


14

「こんばんみ」 is a greeting presumably created and definitely made popular by comedian ビビる大木 a couple of decades ago. As always, some people like to mimic whatever schtick they hear on TV that they find "cool" or simply "new". 「こんばんみ」 was even more popular a decade or two ago than it is now. I was a bit surprised to hear you still hear/see it often enough. ...


13

Japanese is a highly "playable" language both in spoken and written forms. 「る゛」 would just ”mean” the same thing as the regular 「る」 but with some kind of emphasis, exclamation, emotionality, etc. intended by the author added. As a manga reader, you can pronounce 「る゛」 as 「る」 because there is no "official pronunciation" for 「る゛」. This can be said about any ...


13

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 ...


12

There are quite a few old (17th century) letters on this page which use the digraph ゟ as ligature of よ and り. For example see the fifth line from the left of the following letter, which reads 「家来之者方ゟ可申」. As @ZhenLin points out, it is not too far a stretch of your imagination that ゟ comes from joining よ and り in vertical writing. All that is really lost is ...


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

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

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. In fact, the word kana originally meant something like "provisional / borrowed + name / label" (from older kari na or 仮り名), in reference to the way ...


11

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 answer, because I thought you will never need this in smartphone games with LCDs with >200 dpi. 8px (7px + 1px) kanji fonts are used in some real games on ...


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

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 instead of just Mo-to. This is similar to かった in which the actual pronunciation is kat-ta instead of ka-tsu-ta. Another consonant sound is added before っ that is ...


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

Often the particle は is written "wa" in Latin letters, because は, when used as a particle, is in fact pronounced the same as わ. Of course, は, when it is not a particle, is usually pronounced "ha". を is pronounced お, and therefore sometimes transcribed "wo" and sometimes "o". Similarly, the particle へ is pronounced the same as え, whence "he" or "e". For ...


10

Extensive use of hiragana by intent will make yourself look immature, childish, unserious, drowsy, cute, innocent, or sometimes less intelligent, depending on the context. A good but exaggerated example is found here. A very childish character in a game, who is always talking in hiragana. …ふわぁ…あなただぁれぇー?…ぷろでゅーさー?…えぇー…かわいいー?…あいどる?うんー…いいよー…やるぅー…あいどるやるぅー。…で、...


10

After reading the first couple of examples in the comments I Googled them and discovered the English Wiktionary actually has an appendix of exactly these terms: Appendix:Japanese words written in mixed kana But they must be quite rare or the appendix very incomplete, because it currently only includes three words (plus one Proper noun): サボる (saboru,...


10

You are actually thinking the other way around. It is written in katakana BECAUSE the term is 100% Japanese. Japanese mythology existed way before we encountered the Chinese. It existed only in the oral tradition because we did not have a writing system back then. In other words, only the sounds "yamatanoorochi" existed, so even after we encountered ...


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