35 votes
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Why are points used where furigana would be normally?

The dots, called 傍点【ぼうてん】 (or 圏点【けんてん】), function like italics or underline with the Latin alphabet. They are for emphasis. To see the effect in rōmaji: futatabi kanojo jishin no kuchi kara kiku ...
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26 votes
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Is there a reason why numbers in Japanese are delimited into blocks of four?

The following is a summary of this Wikipedia article. A math book called 塵劫記【じんこうき】, published in 1627, was the first book that described (and probably defined) how to count large numbers in Japanese. ...
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20 votes
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Rosetta Stone uses は instead of わ

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 ...
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  • 4,956
19 votes
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Are 变 and 変 the same?

They are both slightly different simplifications of the traditional Chinese character which is 變. 变 is the simplified Chinese and 変 the shinjitai, i.e. the Japanese simplification. Often the ...
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18 votes

What does the little っ (tsu) signify when at the end of a word?

I'm Japanese native speaker. In my opinion, little "っ" at the end of sentence is not pronounced at all. However, it often indicates "small" (not so serious) emotions of speaker, I'll show you some ...
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  • 191
15 votes
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Spaces in children's books

There's a quick way to know this. The place where a space can be inserted is roughly the same place where ね can be naturally inserted. あらわれでたのはね、 くろマントにね、くろいね、ぼうしのね、さんにんぐみ。 それはそれはね、こわーいね、...
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15 votes
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Dakuten used in non-standard ways (like with vowels)?

あ゛ used to be commonly used in manga to express an exclamation — "aagh!" or something like that. I feel it has become less common (if not rare) these days. え゛、い゛、お゛、の゛ and so on are sometimes ...
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  • 264k
15 votes
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How often do single dots stick to the top of kanji?

Japanese elementary school children are generally taught to write kanji like this (教科書体): I don't know how these are different from how Chinese kids are taught to write these characters. However, ...
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14 votes
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Orthography at the turn of the previous century

Yes, it's common to write in that way. Writing いづみ instead of いずみ and 買ひ instead of 買い are a part of the Historical Kana Orthography (歴史的仮名遣). Writing katakana instead of hiragana is considered more ...
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  • 2,885
14 votes
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What special kana are used to write foreign words?

Heads up: Some of this is going to be a bit obscure. Wikipedia covers some of this ground; examples consisting of proper names, place names, etc. were checked via Japanese Wikipedia articles. ウィ、ウ、...
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  • 5,060
14 votes
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How would one emulate capitalized letters in Japanese?

Exclamation marks are one way (as in English), and often a っ before an exclamation mark can give the effect of increased volume. They can even be repeated or put into katakana for more emphasis. 黙れ! ...
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  • 5,292
14 votes
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What do these symbols in manga mean?

This seems to be an encoding/typesetting issue and the "symbols" are indeed Greek letters Ψ, Π, π that seem to be displayed instead of !, ?, 〜. There is another typographical oddity that suggests ...
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14 votes
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In what unit is the length of Japanese texts measured?

The length of a text written in Japanese is usually measured in characters (e.g. 400文字). One often writes handwritten assignments at school/university on 原稿用紙 genkō yōshi (lit. "manuscript paper&...
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13 votes
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Are there general rules on when to use kanji vs. kana?

If we want an authoritative source, we could look at the official terminology used by the Japanese government as set out by the Agency of Cultural Affairs (文化庁) (might be familiar name to some people ...
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13 votes
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Is it acceptable to use kanji and hiragana in the same word if a kanji character is unknown?

There's a few different things going on in your question: A general question about whether you can write words in mixed kanji kana orthography An implicit question about when you can / cannot do so. ...
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12 votes
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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 ...
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12 votes

Can 々 stand for a duplicated kanji with a different reading?

I wouldn't necessarily say 々 is used to avoid having to write the same kanji again, but rather to make it clear that the word is obtained by duplication of a character — moreover the reading should be ...
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11 votes
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Why is ローマ字 spelt without an ン?

To tell the truth, this question was so unexpected for me who am not familiar with colloquial English that I couldn't figure out what it means if it weren't for an English speaker's guidance. Maybe I ...
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11 votes
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Tally Marks in Japanese?

The conventional Japanese tally follows the stroke order for 正. So if the total were 8, it'd look like [正下], and if it were 20, it'd be [正正正正] This link shows an animation for the stroke order: http:/...
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  • 786
11 votes
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What are these Okinawan kana-like characters?

In this webpage 沖縄の言葉で書かれた注意書きがわからなすぎる, there is the following picture: Comparing this one with the one in your post makes me think that maybe it is just your picture is missing some paint.
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  • 3,438
11 votes
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Is top-to-bottom, left-to-right writing order common in Japanese calligraphy?

This text is written left-to-right because the person in the picture is facing to the left. There was a rule that when you put some text (chinese poem, haiku, etc.) in a portrait, the first line must ...
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  • 264k
11 votes
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Strange usage of を-Particle inside a 俳句 (haiku)

What does をり in the last line mean? I have a feeling that it is intentionally written in this way and not as おり (which comes from 居る) There are two parts to this question, though it seems you ...
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11 votes
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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&...
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10 votes
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How common is the practice of writing わたし in kana and わたくし in kanji?

Almost nobody cares if you write them in hiragana or kanji. Theoretically, the kanji 私 is only associated with わたくし, whose original meaning is "personal, private". But insisting so in this age only ...
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10 votes
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Why is this katakana not reversed?

Historical Background According to the 歴史的{れきしてき}経緯{けいい} section of the 縦書{たてが}きと横書{よこが}き article on the Japanese Wikipedia, apparently in the late 1800s it wasn't altogether uncommon for printed ...
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10 votes
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What are the most obscure kanji?

We call them: No reliable information on how they are to be pronounced → 音【おん】(未詳【みしょう】/不明【ふめい】)字【じ】 No reliable information on what they mean → 義【ぎ】(未詳/不明)字 All of the above → 音義(未詳/不明)字 幽霊文字 in @...
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