Ten-Ten Marks in Japanese Syllables

Ten-Ten Marks in Japanese Syllables

February 11th, 2011 in Japanese Grammar

A “ten-ten” mark is basically a single quotation symbol and is added to certain Japanese syllables to make new syllables that sound different. It makes voiced syllables guttural.

We can add “ten-ten” marks to the k, s, t, and h lines of the Japanese syllabary changing the syllables into their gutteral equivalents. An example would be when we place a “ten ten” mark after a voiced k it becomes its’ gutteralized g. In other words, ka, ki, ku, ke, ko becomes ga, gi, gu, ge, go.

か、き、く、け、こ becomes が、ぎ、ぐ、げ、ご

か + ” =  が or  ga
き + ” =  ぎ or  gi
く + ”  =  ぐ or  gu
け + ” =  げ or  ge
こ + ” =  ご or  go

In the same manner adding a “ten-ten” mark to
sa, shi, su, se or so will turn them into their gutteralized versions ie. za, zhi (ji), zu, ze, zo etc.

さ、し、す、せ、そ becomes ざ、 じ、 ず、ぜ、ぞ

さ + ” = ざ or za
し + ” = じ or zhi (ji)
す + ” = ず or zu
せ + ” = ぜ or ze
そ + ” = ぞ or zo We can also add them to the ta line of syllables so that ta, chi, tsu, te, to becomes da, ji, zu, de, and do.
た、ち、つ、て、と becomes だ、ぢ、づ, で、ど

た + ” = だ or da
ち + ” = ぢ or ji (dzi)
つ + ” = づ or zu (dzu)
て + ” = で or de
と + ” = ど or do

Lastly, the ha, hi, fu, he, ho line of the syllabary has two ways into which they can change.

1. Adding a “ten-ten” mark to the ha line of the syllabary makes them ba, bi ,bu ,be ,bo.

2. Adding a small degree symbol to the ha line makes each one turn into yet new syllables, they turn into pa, pi, pu, pe, po.

は、ひ、ふ、へ、ほ becomes ば、び、ぶ、べ、ぼ, and ぱ、ぴ、ぷ、ぺ、ぽ

は + ” = ば or  ba
ひ + ” = び or  bi
ふ + ” = ぶ or  bu
へ + ” = べ or  be
ほ + ” = ぼ or  bo


は + °= ぱ or  pa
ひ + °= ぴ or pi
ふ + °= ぷ or pu
へ + °= ぺ or pe
ほ + °= ぽ or po

The Japanese written language is comprised of three different writing systems: Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. Hiragana and Katakana are both referred to as the Kana symbols.

Hiragana is used to write native Japanese words or to spell words or part of words that don’t have their own Kanji symbol. Kanji symbols are the busy looking characters derived from Chinese.

Katakana is used mainly to write foreign words that have made their way into Japanese.

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