The word hiragana literally means "ordinary" or "simple" kana "simple" originally as contrasted with kanji. Hiragana and katakana are both kana systems. With one or two minor exceptions, each sound in the Japanese language strictly, each mora is represented by one character or one digraph in each system. Hiragana is used to write okurigana kana suffixes following a kanji root, for example to inflect verbs and adjectives , various grammatical and function words including particles , as well as miscellaneous other native words for which there are no kanji or whose kanji form is obscure or too formal for the writing purpose.
Hiragana is also used to write furigana , a reading aid that shows the pronunciation of kanji characters.
Romanization of Japanese
There are two main systems of ordering hiragana: Of the 50 theoretically possible combinations, yi and wu do not exist in the language, and ye , wi and we are obsolete or virtually obsolete in modern Japanese. Romanization of the kana does not always strictly follow the consonant-vowel scheme laid out in the table. These basic characters can be modified in various ways. This changes the i vowel sound to a glide palatalization to a , u or o.
Those in bold do not use the initial sound for that row. In modern Japanese, these phonemes have been phased out of usage and only exist in the extended katakana digraphs for approximating foreign language words. For a more thorough discussion on the sounds of Japanese, please refer to Japanese phonology. This has not always been the case: These pairs are not interchangeable.
There are some exceptions. If the first two syllables of a word consist of one syllable without a dakuten and the same syllable with a dakuten , the same hiragana is used to write the sounds. For compound words where the dakuten reflects rendaku voicing, the original hiragana is used. However, this does not apply when kanji are used phonetically to write words that do not relate directly to the meaning of the kanji see also ateji.
Neither of these components have anything to do with 'lightning', but together they do when they compose the word for 'lightning'.
This is the basis of the word game shiritori. These are clearly distinct from the na , ni etc. In Hepburn romanization, they are distinguished with an apostrophe, but not all romanization methods make the distinction. There are a few hiragana that are rarely used. Its katakana counterpart is used in many loanwords, however.
Hanzi and kanji are of course pronounced differently!
The upper part shows the character in the regular script form, the center character in red shows the cursive script form of the character, and the bottom shows the equivalent hiragana. Note also that the cursive script forms are not strictly confined to those in the illustration. When it was first developed, hiragana was not accepted by everyone.
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The educated or elites preferred to use only the kanji system. Hence hiragana first gained popularity among women, who were generally not allowed access to the same levels of education as men. And thus hiragana was first widely used among court women in the writing of personal communications and literature. Male authors came to write literature using hiragana. Hiragana was used for unofficial writing such as personal letters, while katakana and Chinese were used for official documents. In modern times, the usage of hiragana has become mixed with katakana writing.
'Hanzi and Kanji: Differences in the Chinese and Japanese Character Sets Today' | East Asia Student
Katakana is now relegated to special uses such as recently borrowed words i. Originally, for all syllables there was more than one possible hiragana. In , the system was simplified so each syllable had only one hiragana. The following table shows the method for writing each hiragana character. It is arranged in the traditional way, beginning top right and reading columns down. The numbers and arrows indicate the stroke order and direction respectively. Hiragana was added to the Unicode Standard in October, with the release of version 1. It follows the Japanese syllabary very strictly, with no adjustments for changes in pronunciation.
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It is therefore the only major system of romanization that allows near-lossless mapping to and from kana. It has also been standardized as ISO Strict. Also known as Nippon-shiki , rendered in the Nihon-shiki style of romanization the name is either Nihon-siki or Nippon-siki.
'Hanzi and kanji: differences in the Chinese and Japanese character sets today'
Kunrei-shiki romanization is a slightly modified version of Nihon-shiki which eliminates differences between the kana syllabary and modern pronunciation. See the table below for full details.
Kunrei-shiki is taught to Japanese elementary school students in their fourth year of education. It is possible to elaborate these romanizations to enable non-native speakers to pronounce Japanese words more correctly. JSL is a romanization system based on Japanese phonology, designed using the linguistic principles used by linguists in designing writing systems for languages that do not have any. It is a purely phonemic system, using exactly one symbol for each phoneme, and marking the pitch accent using diacritics.
It was created for Eleanor Harz Jorden 's system of Japanese language teaching. Its principle is that such a system enables students to internalize the phonology of Japanese better. Since it does not have any of the other systems' advantages for non-native speakers, and the Japanese already have a writing system for their language, JSL is not widely used outside the educational environment. In addition to the standardized systems above, there are many variations in romanization, used either for simplification, in error or confusion between different systems, or for deliberate stylistic reasons.
While there may be arguments in favour of some of these variant romanizations in specific contexts, their use, especially if mixed, leads to confusion when romanized Japanese words are indexed. Note that this confusion never occurs when inputting Japanese characters with a word processor, because input Latin letters are transliterated into Japanese kana as soon as the IME processes what character is input. This chart shows in full the three main systems for the romanization of Japanese: Hepburn , Nihon-shiki and Kunrei-shiki:. Japanese is written without spaces between words, and in some cases, such as compounds, it may not be completely clear where word boundaries should lie, resulting in varying romanization styles.
Although these are usually regarded as merely phonetic marks or diacritics, they do sometimes appear on their own, such as at the end of sentences, in exclamations, or in some names. The list below shows the Japanese reading of letters, for spelling out words, or in acronyms. These are the standard names, based on the British English letter names so Z is from zed , not zee , but in specialized circumstances names from other languages may also be used.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Japanese writing Components Kanji. Japanese punctuation Iteration mark. The Modern Language Journal. Kanbun Kanji by concept by stroke count Kanji radicals by frequency by stroke count Ryakuji. Pitch accent Rendaku Sound symbolism. Books Poetry Writers Classical Japanese texts. Retrieved from " https: Romanization of Japanese Phonetic guides Romanization Japanese writing system.
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