30

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


29

It isn't 100 percent clear, but the following is the “well-established” theory: Hiragana (平仮名) As noted in your other question, hiragana was originally called 女手{おんなで}. In the late Nara, early Heian periods, 万葉仮名{まんようがな} written in 草書体 (sosho style) was used for “unofficial” texts such as Japanese poems (和歌{わか}), etc. From this 万葉仮名, women in the imperial ...


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 ...


22

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

According to gogen-allguide, こんにちは originated from the 今日{こんにち}は ("today") in 今日{こんにち}はご機嫌{きげん}いかがですか? ("how are you today") and similar expressions.


19

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 ...


18

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 ...


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, ...


14

Expanding on my comment, some word types that are likely to be written in kana which haven't been covered so far: Cases where one or more kanji in the compound are considered rare/difficult (for the level of the text). Examples: 石鹸【せっけん】, where 鹸 is the sticking point. This is commonly written せっけん or 石けん, or if the kanji are used furigana may be provided. ...


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

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 ...


13

Not per se. EDICT has "uk" (usually kana) and "uK" (usually kanji) annotations, but for the most part either is acceptable. 只今 ただいま (int,exp,uk,abbr,n-t,adv) Here I am; I'm home!; presently; right away; right now; just now; (P)


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

Searching on a name dictionary you'll get a long long list (93) of "midori" as a girl's given name. This excludes "midori" being used as a family name or a place name. "Midori" is not limited to the kanji for green though. It can be made up of other kanji having 名乗り (nanori - name reading) of "mi", "do", "ri", "mido", "dori" compounded to form "midori". ...


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

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 ...


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.


11

Learning to read and write the kana on your own is fine, if your book is decent. But here are some small caveats: For reasons unknown to me, most books I've come across (rather infuriatingly) seem to write the kana in brush or printed form, where they look slightly different to handwritten. For example, き (ki) tends to be handwritten as four strokes: two ...


11

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 ...


11

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


11

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

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、...


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

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, ...


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

That's a good question, I used to wonder about that myself! This is what I've found out through my own experiences: When the Chinese brought their written language to Japan, there were only Kanji (Literally, Chinese Characters). Unfortunately, although this kind of ideographic writing system works perfectly for the Chinese language, the Japanese language is ...


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