https://www.duolingo.com/PetoiLin

Where are Wi, Wu, We?

Curious as to why there are no letters for those sounds, given that there is for Wa and Wo(even if its pronunciation has changed). Also it's interesting that Wu is a very common sound in Chinese, and the two countries don't have a long distance between them.

Just curious.

December 18, 2017

11 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/TheEeveeLord

Interestingly enough, wi and we used to be sounds that existed in Japanese and had their own kana (ゐ/ヰ for wi and ゑ/ヱ for we) but have become obsolete.

The sounds shifted to い/イ and え/エ at some point between the Kamakura and Taishō periods (which is to say, at some point between 1333 and 1912, which is a pretty long time). The kana were deemed obsolete 1946, but still made it into Unicode for some reason (which is the only reason I'm able to type them).

December 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JacobRW

Yeah, there really is no point in learning them unless you plan on reading ancient Japanese scripts.

December 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BJCUAl

Actually, as some restaurants and companies like to have a more 'traditional' name, they will use these old kana. Ebisu beer, for example. While it is not necessary to have the same familiarity with them as with the kana commonly used today, it would be beneficial to at least be able to recognize them (assuming you are aiming for a greater level of fluency).

December 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BJCUAl

Wi ウィ  Wu ウ  We ウェ  Wo ウォ or ヲ These are all pretty limited in that they are used fairly exclusively for foreign word representation you will likely not find them in any earlier study material.

Chinese and Japanese are two languages with completely different roots. Just because they are relatively close geographically doesn't mean that they will use the same sounds. It doesn't mean anything. Korea is much closer and doesn't have the 'wu' sound either...

December 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/PetoiLin

Yes, that's true. It also happens with some European languages. Thanks!

December 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Mokurai

Two of them existed when the Shingon Buddhist priiest Kukai invented hiragana, and are in the Iroha poem that used to be attributed to him, with each kana appearing once.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iroha

"Note that archaic hiragana uses ゐ and ゑ, which are now only used in proper names and certain Okinawan orthographies."

There was never a kana for wu, which is impossible in Japanese. It would just be uu.

December 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/wc9hmvOR

hello

December 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/wc9hmvOR

what's your name and how old are you

December 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/wc9hmvOR

my name is zak

December 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/wc9hmvOR

I am 10000 years old and my father lived in the time of the dinosaurs and my grandfather lived in al-Atabi, the original planet, but we were on the ground, and I was impressed by the time I loved him. I live in Saudi Arabia, on the occasion of my father's life of 1000000000000000000000000000000000000

December 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/wc9hmvOR

I love sweets, sweets and cornflakes and noodles

December 18, 2017
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