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About punctuation and other symbols

J44xm

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I'm putting together a very small guide regarding Japanese characters and I'm rather confused about some punctuation. I hope I might get some help with the following section.

The ゛ (濁点, dakuten) indicates the base kana is to be voiced, while the ゜ (半濁点, handakuten) indicates that "h-" kana are to be pronounced as "p-" instead. Extended vowel sounds are indicated by the ー (e.g., ひー means "hī"). To repeat a kanji, use a noma (々). Correct? Anything else pertinent?

Punctuation and symbols:

Period: 。 Japanese name?
Comma: 、 (読点, touten)
Quotation marks: 「 」 (top-level) and 『 』 (second-level) Japanese name?
Katakana middle dot: ・ (word separation and in lists) Actual name? Correct purpose?
? tilde-like thing: ~ Name and purpose?
? katakana only?: 【 】 Name and purpose?

Did I miss anything? Is everything right? Thanks much!
 
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GaijinPunch

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Interesting questions... not any that I've ever really paid attention to, but what I know:
The brackets are called かっこ. Apparently rounded ones are 丸かっこ. In fact, type かっこ into your IME and you should get all sorts of options. Not sure if there's a word to differentiate the other ones.
 

epigene

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J44xm said:
Extended vowel sounds are indicated by the ー (e.g., ひー means "hī").
It is called 長音符 (chouon-pu) or 長音符号 (chouon fugou).

Period: 。 Japanese name?
Comma: 、 (読点, touten)
Quotation marks: 「 」 (top-level) and 『 』 (second-level) Japanese name?
Katakana middle dot: ・ (word separation and in lists) Actual name? Correct purpose?
? tilde-like thing: ~ Name and purpose?
? katakana only?: 【 】 Name and purpose?
。 句点 (kuten)
、 読点 (touten)--yes, you're right!
「」 かぎ(括弧) (kagi-kakko). The "kakko" is optional.
『』 二重かぎ(括弧) (nijyu-kagi-kakko)
・ 中黒 (nakaguro) or 黒丸 (kuromaru), used, as you say, to separate words in a list.
~ ニョロ (nyoro) or 波ダッシュ (nami-dasshu). This one is used quite freely nowadays as alternative of chouonpu, but you probably see it in dictionaries to suggest that there are words that precede or follow the specific word or phrase.
【 】 すみつきパーレン (sumitsuki-paaren). I think it is used for the same purpose as brackets. (I don't really know the original use. I suspect these have been introduced to imitate the brackets used in European languages.)

HTH!! :oops:
 

J44xm

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epigene said:
It is called 長音符 (chouon-pu) or 長音符号 (chouon fugou).
I assume these can be used interchangibly?

epigene said:
「」 かぎ(括弧) (kagi-kakko). The "kakko" is optional.
Will people still know what I mean without it? Probably only in context, huh?

epigene said:
・ 中黒 (nakaguro) or 黒丸 (kuromaru), used, as you say, to separate words in a list.
And between foreign names and phrases too?

epigene said:
~ ニョロ (nyoro) or 波ダッシュ (nami-dasshu).
"Nami-dasshu" means "wave dash"! That's awesome! 😊

epigene said:
【 】 すみつきパーレン (sumitsuki-paaren). I think it is used for the same purpose as brackets.
For all: Is their any system to use of these? Are かぎ used for top-level quotes and 二重かぎ for second-level? And where do すみつきパーレン fall in? Are these all interchangable? (I'm anal about these things in English too, see.)

epigene said:
Thank you so much Epigene-sempai. Your information and effort are greatly appreciated! :)

EDIT: I've attached a working copy of my little reference file. I use it mainly a quick reference for copying kana to my clipboard and for whatever else I think of. Most of the document uses tabs for alignment because the kana throw off alignment that uses spaces. Things might not line up exactly one your own screen. Maybe you'll find it useful. Any corrections or additional pertinent information -- e.g., about -- would be appreciated. Question: Do general Japanese people actually say "ju" or "jyu," because which I want to use depends on that.
 

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epigene

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It is called 長音符 (chouon-pu) or 長音符号 (chouon fugou).

I assume these can be used interchangeably?
Yes.

「」 かぎ(括弧) (kagi-kakko). The "kakko" is optional.

Will people still know what I mean without it? Probably only in context, huh?
"Kagi-kakko" is said when mentioned for the first time, and "kagi" subsequently, understood in context. (At least, that's how I'll do it.)

・ 中黒 (nakaguro) or 黒丸 (kuromaru), used, as you say, to separate words in a list.

And between foreign names and phrases too?
Yes, everything written in Japanese (i.e., including foreign names and phrases in "katakana").

For all: Is their any system to use of these? Are かぎ used for top-level quotes and 二重かぎ for second-level? And where do すみつきパーレン fall in? Are these all interchangeable?
I don't know what the exact rules are, but I use "kagi" like double quotation marks and "nijyu-kagi" like single quotes (for quotes within quotes). "Sumitsuki-paren" is used just like brackets in English. It may differ by importance and emphasis. I just follow what other Japanese are doing. Gomennasai! 😅

Just in case you didn't know:
々 is called "noma" because it is a combination of the katakana ノ and マ.

I can't say with confidence what "ju" and "jyu" are in terms of pronunciation. I think it differs by the method used. To me, "ju" is ”じゅ" and "jyu" is "じゅう." I'm not fussy about the spelling because I don't like Japanese written in romaji. And, Japanese write in romaji infrequently and only in forums like this for beginners to understand.
 

bentenmusume

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J44xm said:
Question: Do general Japanese people actually say "ju" or "jyu," because which I want to use depends on that.
Epigene-san already answered basically all of your questions (including this one), but I just want to reinforce the fact that you really need to get a hold of some audio materials containing examples of native speakers pronouncing Japanese, and model your speech after those models as much as possible. Romaji is just a transcription system -- it doesn't (and isn't meant to) actually represent the sounds of the Japanese language with 100% accuracy (which would be impossible to do anyway).

Maybe I'm just saying things you already know, but your question suggests that you're placing way too much emphasis on romaji. There are only a couple of systems (Hepburn being probably the most commonly used). When you need to write in romaji, just pick one, and try to be consistent. Worrying about the connection between romaji and actual Japanese pronunciation is pretty pointless, as far as I'm concerned.
 

epigene

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I absolutely agree with you, jt-san!! 👍
 

J44xm

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Thanks, folks! I'll follow your suggestions. ^_^
 

J44xm

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While I realize that rōmaji might not capture the exact sound of Japanese, I would imagine that as a transliteration device, it would be beneficial for students to become more familiar with the basic sounds of the language. Maybe it's just my anal-retentive ways, but it would seem that the Japanese say "ju," "jyu," or both--or maybe somewhere inbetween--so I want to get as close as I can to that sound. I just like accuracy in such things. I'll try not to rely too much on the rōmaji, but when I do, I want it to be as close as possible.

(Guess I was too tired to type this last night!)
 

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Glenn

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While I admire your attention to detail, I wonder if you should concern yourself with all of the minor points and complexities of Japanese phonetics at such an early stage. Of course, I don't know you or how you learn things, but it seems to me that attention should be paid to all aspects of the language evenly, while progressing uniformly in difficulty. It almost seems to me that you are getting too involved in something that is perhaps a bit too advanced for your current level. But as I said, I don't know you or how you learn things, so this course may be best for you. I just wanted to offer any advice that I could that may be helpful to you. Again, I admire your diligence in your study; keep up the good work.
 

J44xm

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Thanks, Glenn. I'm something of a grammar/punctuation nut as it is, so getting to know the 長音符 (chouon-pu) and かぎ括弧 (kagikakko) and their cohorts is something that helps me maintain my vigor, not to mention my vim. ;-) I'll try not to get ahead of myself, but I like to learn the grammar from the get-go because then I'll actually know what to do with vocabulary as I learn it. I prefer learning how to make sentences instead of, for example, learning certain sentences by rote. That type of dynamic instruction seems to work best (though, admittedly, I haven't many languages behind me). Many thanks!
 

Elizabeth

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I just like accuracy in such things. I'll try not to rely too much on the rōmaji, but when I do, I want it to be as close as possible.

(Guess I was too tired to type this last night!)
Is the distinction being microanalyzed here between "ju" and "juu" in Hepburn ? In that case, it obviously depends on the word and what you're trying to say. Although I'm no expert, anyone listening to me is more or less forced to piece together what they think I mean....and after six years 時 still sounds confoundingly like じゅ。:p Just another little thing for the ear to adjust to....
 

Glenn

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Well then, we are similar in the respect that we like knowing the how and why of something rather than just accepting it at face value. I too, feel that knowing the grammar is more important than the vocabulary (or at least it's more fun). However, I cannot properly express myself if I don't know the words that are appropriate, so vocabulary is perhaps equally as important. Anyway, I just don't like learning vocabulary. Well, that digressed quickly.
 

J44xm

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Essentially, it's whether じゅ/ジュ and ぢゅ/ヂュ are generally pronounced "ju" or "jyu." Differing rōmaji systems use one or the other, so I'm wondering which is actually closer to what's said.

Glenn said:
Anyway, I just don't like learning vocabulary. Well, that digressed quickly.

:)
 

Elizabeth

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J44xm said:
Essentially, it's whether じゅ/ジュ and ぢゅ/ヂュ are generally pronounced "ju" or "jyu." Differing rōmaji systems use one or the other, so I'm wondering which is actually closer to what's said.
It's so rare to find in any modern vocabulary, but *maybe ぢゅう(中、ちゅう),* and wasn't ぢゅ closer to "dyu" or "zyu"...
 

bentenmusume

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J44xm said:
Essentially, it's whether じゅ/ジュ and ぢゅ/ヂュ are generally pronounced "ju" or "jyu." Differing rōmaji systems use one or the other, so I'm wondering which is actually closer to what's said.
Does it matter? You could just as well say that neither are close, or both are close. Romaji is just a convention -- as all writing systems are, to some extent. I mean, if you really want to represent Japanese as closely as possible to how it's actually spoken, why not ditch romaji and use international phonetic alphabet? Or transcribe the actual sound waves?

I'm saying this half-facetiously, but not really. I just don't see what the point of being so concerned about whether the sound in question sounds more like "jyu" or "ju", when knowing the answer to that question won't do you a speck of good in learning how to pronounce this sound as a native Japanese speaker would.

It's like a native Japanese speaker learning English asking if the English word "very" is pronounced more like 「ヴェリー」 or 「ベリー」, or if the name "William" is pronounced more like 「ウイリアム」 or 「ウィリアム」, the answer to both of which is: if you really want to learn how to pronounce the words _correctly_, you shouldn't care.
 

J44xm

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I keep writing and rewriting this response, but I need to go to bed. I suppose the best thing is to just listen and decide "ju"/"jyu" for myself. But I do think that getting pointers like this can be helpful, suffice it to say, since listening to speech can sometimes be confusing or even misleading. Thanks.
 

J44xm

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Oops, forgot one―two, actually: っ and ッ. Just what are these small "tsu" called?
 

epigene

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That's called "sokuon" (促音)

This is one type of distinctive Japanese pronunciation characteristics, collectively known as "onbin."

(I think I'm introducing you into an area you shouldn't be working on yet...)
 

J44xm

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Many thanks, Epigene. I've added it to my neat little text file (attached). Don't worry about introducing me to concepts prematurely, though I do appreciate a warning. I'll read about onbin here at JRef when it's time..
 

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