Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Words Written With Hiragana in Japanese

In Japanese, sometimes a word is written with hiragana instead of kanji or katakana. This can happen for a couple of reasons.

First and foremost, if a word does not have kanji, or if you want to write a word without kanji for some reason, it's generally better to write the word with katakana instead.

This happens because hiragana is normally used to write the stuff between words, such as grammatical particles and okurigana, and not to write the words themselves. So using katakana makes more sense, as that way it's easier to tell the words apart.

However, sometimes a word is such that it looks like "the stuff between words," and not like a distinctly meaningful word itself. When this happens, it gets written with hiragana instead of katakana.

For example: basic adverbs, such as mama まま, "as is," and mou もう, "already." Suffixes such as sama さま, san さん, chan ちゃん, and kun くん. Prefixes such as the o お found in oniisan お兄さん and ojiisan お爺さん.

Besides that, there are cases where a word gets written with hiragana for aesthetic reasons. This happens because hiragana looks childish, and kanji looks serious. So if you were writing the dialogue of a child character, for example, writing sugoi すごい with hiragana looks cutesy and may fit the character better than writing sugoi 凄い with kanji.

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