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Particle は

Hiragana は usually sounds as “ha”, as in はい (hai - yes) and はち (hachi - eight). When は is used as a topic marker (a particle), it is pronounced as “wa”. The particle は is often placed after the noun which is the topic of the sentence.
The Particle は is written as は, but pronounce as わ.

Japanese わたし アメリカ じん です。
Romaji watashi wa amerika jin desu
Functions noun particle noun linking verb
English I - American am


~は ~です。 A は B です。 = A is B.

・わたし にほんじんです。
watashi wa nihon jin desu (= I am Japanese.)
・あなた カナダじんです。
anata wa kanada jin desu (= You are Canadian.)
・わたし がくせいです。
watashi wa gakusei desu (= I am a student.)

If you want to describe something, you can add the adjective after the particle .

・そら あおいです。
sora wa aoi desu (= The sky is blue.)
・ケーキ おいしいです。
ke-ki wa oishii desu (= The cake is delicious.)
・デュオリンゴ たのしいです。
Duolingo wa tanoshii desu (= Duolingo is fun.)

Hello and Good evening!

The common greeting in Japanese, こんにちは (Hello.) also ends with は. It’s pronunciation is わ (wa). So you write こんにち with “ha”, but say “konnichiwa.” This confuses even the native Japanese speakers who would write こんにち by mistake because it’s written just as it sounds.

The best way to remember is, こんにちは comes from kanji 今日は. You can read it as きょうは (kyo wa) in everyday conversation, or こんにちは (kon nichi wa) in a formal speech introduction. こんにちは originates from the longer and complete sentences asking “How are you doing today?” (こんにちは いかがですか。) or “How nice it is today!” (こんにちは よいてんきですね。). Later the second part of the sentences were eliminated; consequently, こんにちは remained as the greeting expression for “Hello”.

The same goes for こんばんは (Good evening.) 今晩は (kon ban wa) is the beginning sentence of “Tonight is …” or “This evening is …”. So both greeting expressions end with topic marker は, so it should be pronounce as wa.

こんにちは konnichi wa = Hello.
こんばんは konban wa = Good evening.

Post finder: Language guides to help with learning Japanese

November 29, 2017



Can we have add this in the Japanese course? And also can we have the kanji for the word 'I'


I add it. 私はアメリカ人です。


This reminds me in Intro 中 is pronounced as なか but the options you can choose include only ちゅう, which isn't a problem, imo. It kind of gives you a hint, like "buddy, you gotta check 'em up in a dictionary from time to time, and dontcha rely on one resource in your studies"


Yea, it really confused me when I first saw it because I didn't know about Kunyomi and Onyomi back then. I think it should explain everything a little


Thanks for adding these grammar explanations. After reading this some sentences I had to practice make more sense. I hope you keep adding more of these posts.


what is different application from hiragana, katakana and kanji? i'm still not understand... can we just use hiragana/katakana in some words or there are some rules must be obey?


Depending on which words in particular you're talking about. Elementary school children will use the kanji which they have already learned in school mixed with hiragana and katakana. Supposedly, the older they get, more kanji they know. In general, more kanji is used in the formal settings and written format.
The language learners can use kanji where applicable. When you are still learning, it's perfectly fine to use hiragana only, and gradually add some kanji as you learn.


Oh, so that's why it's pronounced "wa" by the recording, I was wondering if it was a mistake. I think it should have both sounds recorded one after the other (ha - wa), or a note somewhere in the course.

Also, is it the same kind of thing with the "wo / o" sounds?

I hear "o" both with "を" and "お" when they're given alone.


I have a question about Japanese grammar, I was wondering if you can help me... ( English is not my first language, so I want to apologize if I make some mistake) In the sentence: " Where is she/he?" It would be something like this: "kanojo/kare-wa doko-ni imasu ka?" or "kanojo/kare-ga doko-ni imasu ka?" ( Or am I completely wrong? hehe) I really hope you can help me, and explain me why is ga or wa... Thank you very much!


Can you add Kanji in the "Learn The Characters" Section on mobile so that Japanese learners can learn and understand Kanji easily? I would really appreciate it if you do that.


So you write こんにちは with “ha”, but say “konnichiwa.” This confuses even the native Japanese speakers who would write こんにちわ by mistake because it’s written just as it sounds.

Do they sometimes even make that mistake when writing by hand, or only when using romaji input method of typing Japanese characters on a computer keyboard?

As a kana input user, I never even come close to thinking about pressing the わ key instead of the は one for the particle, and I'm just a foreigner learning Japanese on the other side of the world.


I assume it happens both writing by hand on paper and on devices. Many young people have their mobile devices, so they input on their phones. It's almost like English learners spell f for ph, sy for psy, ci for sci and num for numb. When you will try to say the words as you type, mistakes can occur. Also, こんにちは is so basic that they might not even learn at school, and they only hear it.

It was a different thread, but I believe you are the one who asked me about the input system I use. Unfortunately I don't know much about input systems, so I have no idea what I use is called. Normal, standard...? I put in romaji and convert. If it's not right, I fix it on the spot. I hope I answered your questions.


Unfortunately I don't know much about input systems, so I have no idea what I use is called. Normal, standard...? I put in romaji and convert.

Yep. What you've described is "romaji input", which is the default setting and is the most commonly used way Japanese people type Japanese characters on a computer. I'd be fairly confident in betting over 99% of foreigners who type Japanese use romaji input too. People will know what you mean if you refer to it as the "normal" or "standard" one, as that's pretty much how it is even in Japan. ^^

  • Romaji input:
    k o n n n i t i h a ⇒ こんにちは

  • Kana input:
     ⇒ こんにちは

With kana input, each kana has its own key. This input method doesn't really have anywhere near the same "ha"/"wa" mental confusion when typing the は particle.

Romaji input leads to thinking too much about individual vowel and consonant sounds (you think about typing the particle that's pronounced "wa"). Kana input makes you think more visually about the symbols you are intending to type (you think about typing the "は" particle).

I can understand that even native Japanese could slip up when typing out the sound of the words they are thinking. However, it seems hard to imagine this slip up happening much at all if using kana input or especially if writing on paper by hand.


It will happen even with Kana input, if you say "こんにち” as you input or write unless you are consciously aware that it should spell as "こんにち." So the problem is not how you input it.

I have also seen the issue with young people start saying "こんちわ” or "ちわ~” in casual situation. This short forms will be very funny if you spell with "こんちは" or "ちは~." These colloquial expressions will start looking like something else with は in them. The similar case would be: "What's going on?" - "what's up?" - "s'up? or sup?". It might be very surprising to you that the native Japanese can make a mistake like that, but with current tendency of using email, texting and blogs the spread of こんにちわ might be unstoppable. At least that's what I learned online.

So, my hope is that the Duolingo users learning Japanese will know the historically and grammatically accurate greeting of Hello, こんにちは。 !!!

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