Friday, April 28, 2017

What Direction is Japanese Written?

You may have heard that Japanese is written top to bottom, right to left, but is that really true? Is the Japanese writing direction vertical instead of horizontal? Or is it written the same way as English, left to right, top to bottom? Which one is it?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

ゐ, ゑ, ヰ, ヱ - wi, we

The kana in the Japanese hiragana can be easy to confuse sometimes. There's mi み, ro ろ and ru る, and they all look like 3's, but luckily it stops there, right? Except when you encounter the rare wi ゐ and we ゑ which are hiragana too and look like some weird versions of first three! Just what are those kana? Since when do they exist? Weren't the kana in the w row just wa わ and wo を?!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

ー - Prolonged Sound Mark - Vertical Line or Long Dash

One of the most artistically inspired symbols in the Japanese language is the prolonged sound mark. It looks like a longer horizontal dash, or a vertical line in vertical text. Like this:ー. And it performs a very simple function in writing: to make sounds longer.
Sunday, April 2, 2017

sensei 先生

In Japanese, sensei 先生 means "teacher" most of the time. It can also mean "doctor," or refer to an artist or author, a "master" of arts. It's also a honorific, so it can come after the name of someone who's a teacher, doctor, artist, etc.

An example of sensei 先生 used in manga.
Manga: "Assassination Classroom," Ansatsu Kyoushitsu 暗殺教室 (Chapter 2)

Ages in Japanese - Years Old

Words related to ages, people's ages, in Japanese are tricky ones. This is because for every single word there seems to be a very similar word which is the wrong on. Even the phrase "years old" in English doesn't translate word-per-word to Japanese.