25 votes

Why were hiragana and katakana never merged into one system?

“What’s up with upper case and lower case? We have two different forms for each letter, sometimes similar, sometimes completely different. Why weren’t these merged to make it easier to learn to write?”...
19 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 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、...
  • 273k
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 ...
  • 273k
15 votes
Accepted

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, ...
  • 273k
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
Accepted

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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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 ...
  • 273k
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
Accepted

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 ...
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:/...
  • 826
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.
  • 3,448
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 ...
  • 273k
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 ...
11 votes
Accepted

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&...
  • 273k
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 ...
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 ...
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 @...
10 votes
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Why are "loanwords" written in katakana?

Because that's the original purpose of katakana. Katakana was invented to denote the readings of unfamiliar foreign words (although, in those days, "foreign words" mainly referred to words in Asian ...
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9 votes
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How can one stop "去年【きょねん】教職【きょうしょく】" from looking like a weird 4 kanji compound?

As with almost anything, there are people who care and others who don't! But it is definitely a thing to consider if you are trying to write well. Degrees of severity There are two angles to this. One ...
  • 6,883
9 votes

What do you need kanatype sensitivity for?

In general, if you're storing any Japanese text that needs to be sorted, you probably want to go with Kanatype insensitive. Why would you want it like this? Because it makes sorting more intuitive in ...
  • 191
9 votes

What are the most obscure kanji?

Yes. 幽霊文字 https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%B9%BD%E9%9C%8A%E6%96%87%E5%AD%97 幽霊文字(ゆうれいもじ)とは、JIS基本漢字に含まれる、典拠不明の文字の総称。 JIS基本漢字 (aka JIS第1・第2水準漢字) is a set of Japanese characters (including approx. ...
  • 273k
9 votes
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有り難う vs 有難う — Is this the same word?

Both are different spellings of ありがとう, neither is more formal, although all three spellings may be differentiated by frequency (see below). ありがとう "thank you" may be derived from ありがたい through sound ...
  • 47.4k
9 votes

What does the へさうな mean in "逢へさうな"

This is not particle-へ. Rather it is old kana orthography and さう sound-shifted to そう. In modern orthography it is 逢えそうな【あえそうな】 (Many monolingual dictionaries list old kana orthography of the ...
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