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Monday, December 4, 2017

handakuten 半濁点, ゜

In Japanese, the ゜ diacritic, called handakuten 半濁点, literally half dakuten 濁点, is used to create "semi-voiced sounds," handakuon 半濁音, which are the sounds pa-pi-pu-pe-po ぱぴぷぺぽ.

It's also called handakuonfu 半濁音符, or maru 丸, "circle," because it looks like a circle.

Dakuten and handakuten chart.


The handakuten is used only in kana 仮名 in the h-row to turn them into p-consonant syllables.

  • ha-hi-fu-he-ho
    はひふへほ (hiragana.)
    ハヒフヘホ (katakana.)
  • pa-pi-pu-pe-po

That's it. Although dakuten turns k, s, h, t into g, z, b, d, the handakuten only turns h into p.

Archaic Usage

In the past, it was used with the k-row, too. But this is not true in modern Japanese.

  • ka-ki-ku-ke-ko
  • (however you're supposed to pronounce this.)


In Japanese, sometimes a suffixed morpheme gets its first syllable voiced.

  • nan-hiki なん
    nanbiki なんき (何匹)
    An unknown number of small animals.
    How many small animals?

This is called rendaku 連濁, and seems to only apply to dakuten 濁点, or fully "voiced sounds," dakuon 濁音.

The same phenomenon with handakuten 半濁点, and semi-voiced syllables, would be called handakuonka 半濁音化 instead.

  • nan-hatsu なん
    nanpatsu なんつ (何発)
    An unknown number of shots.
    How many shots?

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