What is the purpose of the the little dash?
I was studying some grade one kanji characters and came across a couple readings for 六. One of the readings were む-つ (mu-tsu). What is the dashes purpose?
Also, I found some dashes on top of vowels like “o” and “u”. What do those indicate?
The dash (or dot) is used to distinguish the sound of the kanji from the sound of the whole word that the kanji is being part of. So, the dash in (mu-tsu) means that the kanji 六 has the reading mu in the word mutsu (六つ), which is the generic counter "six things" as DestinyCall explained.
Another example: in the verb 読む (よむ ) that means "read", the character 読 is read よ (yo), so it's common to write the hiragana and romaji transliteration of the verb as (よ.む ) and yo.mu (or yo-mu).
Sorry, I fixed a typo in my previous post. The word for "six things" is written 六 つ [むっつ].
The part of that word which comes from the kanji is [むっ].
The "tsu" (つ) is this reading is actually "little tsu", (っ), also called sokuon (促音) in Japanese. Sokuon/"little tsu" (っ) is not voiced. It doubles the consonant sound which follows it, so this word would be spoke as "MUT-TSU" When read out loud, you will also notice a slight pause between the first and second T sound. MUT ... TSU.
My apologies for any confusion.
No need to apologize. Both むつ and むっつ are correct readings for "six things" :)
A long dash is sometimes used to indicate long vowels, especially in katakana. A short dash has no standardized meaning that I am aware of. To me, it looks like a way to seperate the two hiragana characters, with no greater significance. Not needed. Not usually done.
Here are the kun readings for 六.
Kun: む、 むつ、 むっつ、 むい
They mostly appear as irregular readings for certain counters.
六 つ[むっつ] - six things
六日 [むいか] - sixth day, six days, the sixth day
Most of the time, the kanji 六 uses its On reading - roku.
On: ロク、 リク
As no one has addressed your second question, the "dashes" above vowels (such as ō and ū) are called macrons and indicate an elongated vowel. So, "kū" is basically "kuu" and would be written as くう in hiragana or クー in katakana.
So basicly a long vowle sound?