Wiktionary:Japanese Transliteration
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Wiktionary:Japanese Transliteration
link={{{imglink}}} This is a Wiktionary policy, guideline or common practices page. This is a draft proposal. It is unofficial, and it is unknown whether it is widely accepted by Wiktionary editors.

These are the rules concerning transliteration in Japanese entries.

Transliteration of the Japanese Language

The basis for the Wiki-romanization of Japanese is the Hepburn system [1]. In Japanese, the term for romanized Japanese text is romaji or ? (r?maji, literally "Roman letters"). Pretty much anyone seeking to look up Japanese terms, even a beginning Japanese-language student, will know this term, so it is safe to use it in contexts specific to the Japanese language.

Other than the rules elaborated below, all Japanese text should follow the hiragana/katakana->romaji mapping in the Hepburn romanization charts on Wikipedia (note, this does not include the rules qualifying those charts that are also listed above in the same article). Draft Note: Wiktionary employs some modifications to Hepburn that are not included in Wikipedia, particularly with regard to the use of to romanize /i:/ (the long "i" sound).

There are two sets of rules qualifying these charts. The first is the "strict" set, to be followed in article titles and the like for maximum consistency, and the second is the "relaxed" set, which can be used in running text for improved readability.

Strict rules

  • Every word in Japanese is to be expressed as a single romanized "word", with no spaces or hyphens.
    A word, in this context, is a single sentence component. This does not include compound nouns or particles (() (joshi)), which are treated separately. Conjugated forms are counted as a single word, whereas verbs consisting of (suru) affixed to a noun treat the separately. The following illustrates some examples, with appropriate romanization in parentheses:
  • Each word should be separated from other words by spaces.
    • (boku wa juntai desu)
    • (Sachi yori Nihongo ga j?zu da)
  • The letter ?, when used as a particle and pronounced "wah", should be transliterated as wa instead of ha.
    • ?? (boku wa j?zu ja nai).
  • The letter ?, when used as a particle and pronounced "oh", should be transliterated as o instead of wo.
    When used in proper nouns, including person and place names, it should be transliterated as o unless it is customary to transliterate that person's or place's name as wo.
  • The letter ?, when used as a particle and pronounced "eh", should be transliterated as e instead of he.
    • ? (Nihon e ikitai), exception (hentai)
  • The letter ?, when followed in the same word by a vowel (?, ?, ?, ?, or ?) or a "y" mora (?, ?, ?), should be transliterated as n' instead of just n.
    • (?, kin'en), exceptions? (?, kinnen) and (, kinen)
    • (?, kin'y?), as opposed to (?, kiny?)
  • Any symbol followed by ? (the ch?onpu) indicates that the vowel is long and it is transliterated by using the vowel with a macron over it (?, ?, ?, ?, ?).
    • ? (r?men), (?, b?dama), (s?tsu), (k?ki), (?kesutora).
  • Any syllable ending in the ? (o) sound that is followed by ? in the same word should be considered a "long ?" and transliterated as ?.
    • Exceptions: If the ? is the final syllable in a verb, and thus transformed to another syllable as a result of conjugation, then it should be written separately. If the ?-sound is part of the honorific prefix ?- or ?-, then it is written separately.
    • (, k?saten) and (arigat?), exceptions? (, sasou) and (?, ?umi).
  • (aa), (ii), (uu), (ee) and (oo) combinations are considered long vowel forms and are transliterated as ?, ?, ?, ? and ? respectively.
    • Exception: If there is a morpheme boundary, then both vowels should be written.
    • ? (, ok?san), ? (r?men), and ? (, sakaagari).
    • (?, n?san), exceptions: (?, nureen) and (k?ki).
    • (?, N?gata), (?, b?dama), and (ii).
    • (, ?sawagi), exceptions? (, goon) and (?, jo?).
    • ? (, j?), exceptions? (, kuu) and (?, f?un).
  • ? (the sokuon, a.k.a. little tsu) should be transliterated as a doubling of the initial consonant of the following letter. If there is no following letter, then it is transliterated as an apostrophe (write ' to escape from markups).
    • Exception: If the sokuon precedes the chi kana (?/?), do not use "cchi" and instead use "tchi". If before the shi kana (?/?), use "sshi".
    • (, kissaten), (tte), (a')
  • Japanese punctuation can be romanized with the closest equivalent English punctuation: . for ?; , for ?; " for ? or ?; etc.
    • Ikimash? ka.
    • Ry?ri shite, tabeta.

Relaxed rules

  • If a compound word can be broken into discrete parts, especially when one of the parts is a common prefix or suffix, use a hyphen to separate the parts.
  • If a particle or suffix is strongly associated with the preceding word, it is acceptable to use a hyphen instead of a space.
    • () (Suzuki-san)
  • If a sentence is a question, a question mark should be used in the romanization. If it is unclear whether the sentence is a question (e.g., (s? desu ne)), the question mark is optional, and should probably be omitted.
  • However, when a question mark is used in the Japanese, a question mark should also be used in the romanization: e.g., ?(?) (ikimasu ka?)

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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