44

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


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 ...


20

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, ...


16

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 ...


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, ...


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

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


13

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, ...


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

「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. ...


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

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

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 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 ...


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

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

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

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 ...


10

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 ...


10

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 considerable speed. To write them better, please refer to the examples shown in broccoli forest's comment. The only one important point to refer to is whether the left ...


10

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 from different kanji and just so happen to look similar.


10

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 "bleep". In this case, I think the author used it just to make the title look more interesting. Related: How do you pronounce "☓☓" as a placeholder? ...


10

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。そのため,放送では「ことし」と,ひらがな書きにすることにしている。同じように「今日(きょう/こんにち)」「明日(あす/みょうにち)」「昨日(きのう/さくじつ)」なども,「きょう」「あす」「きのう」と,ひらがなで表記するようにしている。 EDIT: This is NHK's house rule, so a ...


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