Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

Wa and ha... Words and particles? 2015/9/18 03:07
So, I am trying to really understand something. I thought I understood when which is used where, and yet last night I found myself scratching my head. (I am very new to Japanese if you can't tell :P)

In the word:
The word is read (konnichiwa).

Same with this word:
The word is read (konbanwa).

Very simple. But why is it read "ha" and not "wa"?!

I could have sworn "は" (ha) was for the particle "wa" while "わ" was for spelling out "wa" as in わたし(私は/watashi) for example.

I understand it all comes down to full words, kanji and so on and so forth, but for a beginner, how do I know when to use which one for spelling? Any other words I should know off the top of your head that are spelled the same way (NO KANJI YET, PLEASE. I only know a very small amount of Kanji right now and it's definitely not going to help me understand the hirigana spelling.)

I'm asking this question because I was studying with my Genki series and I noticed those two words were spelled that way and I apparently had been spelling it wrong my whole life!
by MiraDibbz  

Re: Wa and ha... Words and particles? 2015/9/18 13:54
Hi :)
"わ" is read (wa only)
”は” is read (ha or wa)

In the case of almost all ”は” is read (ha).
For example:
(1) 母(mother)is read はは (haha)
(2)歯(a tooth)is read は (ha)
(3)葉っぱ(a leaf) is read はっぱ(happa)

well. "は" is used as words to the subjective genitive.
Then ”は” is read (wa).

For example:
(1)こんにちは (I think "konnitiha" is hard to say. "konnitiwa" is easy to say.)
(4) あなたは、

 ”こんにちは” and "こんばんは" is an abbreviated word.

The following is correct.
For example:
(1)こんにちは、暑いですね =Today is hot.
This is near to "Good afternoon, you don't feel hot?" in an English nuance.

(2)こんばんは、寒いですね =Tonight is cool.
This is near to "Good evening, you don't feel cold?" in an English nuance.

I'm happy if my answer being along your question, right.
by kou2015 rate this post as useful

Re: Wa and ha... Words and particles? 2015/9/18 14:36
As you continue learning Japanese, you will find that there are very many such quirks in all aspects of the language. A couple from the top of my head:

* The hiragana for 大阪 is おおさか, not おうさか.
* The honorific form of 言う is おっしゃる, not お言いになる.
* The humble form of 言う is 申す, not お言いいたす.
* 十四日 is じゅうよっか, not じゅうよにち.
* 二十歳 is はたち, not にじゅうさい.

And may, many others. Unless you want to delve into Edo-period Japanese, there is not really any logic there, you just have to memorise them.

(Incidentally, many Japanese (mostly female) write こんにちわ and こんばんわ.)
by Firas rate this post as useful

Re: Wa and ha... Words and particles? 2015/9/18 21:54
To keep the answer short: The words konnichiwa and konbanwa have "Wa" written as "Ha" because originally they come from these sentences: This day is... Kono nichi ha... and This evening is... Kono ban ha... where the "ha" has its own meaning instead of being a part of the word.

The "Ha" in those words is the same as in Boku ha *enter name here*. Meaning "is/am". Over the years, the words changed into what they are today but the way of writing remained the same.
by DTryPleX rate this post as useful

Re: Wa and ha... Words and particles? 2015/9/18 23:06
until 1946, (some of )the writing and the pronunciation did not match.
(there are two Japanese, writing Japanese and speaking Japanese.)
きょう,kyou,today, was written as けふ.
ちょうちょ,choucho, butterfly, was wirtten as てふてふ.

the new rules, announced in 1946, match the writing to the speaking in most cases. the exceptions, which was left unchanged, are は and へ, when they are used as particles.
by ken (guest) rate this post as useful

reply to this thread