If you are a student of Japanese, you should know that a sentence is made up of several words written in katakana, hiragana and kanji. Or that even a few words and verbs have kanji along with hiragana.
However, have you ever wondered if a word can have a part written in hiragana and katakana? Or if the same word written in hiragana can be written in katakana or vice versa? In this article, we will answer these 2 questions and answer other questions.
A compound word of Hiragana and Katakana
This is practically rare and impossible, and most of the time it breaks the rules of Japanese. It's easy for you to think that there is a compound word with the 2 spellings, since it's not common to have spaces between words.
An example of a word that is made up of hiragana and katakana is the slang スタバる (sutabaru) which means “Go to Starbucks”, they simply took the word スタバ and added a る as if to create a new verb. There are other verbs that originated from other languages and usually end with hiragana る.
Another example of a word that is made up of hiragana, katakana, and kanji is 消しゴム (keshigomu) which means "eraser" (to erase, school material), but this word is the combination of 2 words the verb 消す (kesu) which means to erase and the word ゴム which means "gum" or "eraser".
another word is イケてる (iketeru) which roughly translates as "cool, sexy, sensual, cool, handsome man, good looking guy". and we also have サボる (saboru) which can mean “a person who is skipping, cheating, sabotaging or neglecting something, can refer to a person who is sleeping, mentally traveling or not paying attention in class”.
There are still other words like 歯(は)ブラシ (haburashi) which means toothbrush, and also レジ袋 (rejibukuro) which means shopping bag, but both look more like word junctions.
dealing with prefixes and suffixes, mainly kanji, you will find words or word junctions that are compounded with both spellings. Another example is the names of people that are written with suffixes san, kun, senpai, etc.
Can a word be written with katakana and hiragana?
Several words can be written with Hiragana and Katakana, names of people, some objects, etc. Mainly manga authors usually use katakana to write some words that are usually written in hiragana, use this technique to emphasize the word. How to know which word can be written with both?
There is no specific rule that defines whether or not a word can be written in katakana or hiragana. You can be sure that the person who reads it will understand, and if there is no other word written in katakana that means something else, since Japanese has 3 spellings exactly to differentiate words with the same pronunciation. It is worth remembering that this is already out of the Japanese rules, it's like creating or using slang.
Something similar happened with the words in kanji, over the years the Japanese began to write these words in hiragana, and this has meant that nowadays they are written more in hiragana than originally in kanji.
So basically there are no rules regarding writing a word with another spelling, I've come across the word 日本 (nippon) spelled ニッポン and にっぽん, as well as written in the other pronunciation nihon. Take for example the song ニッポン笑顔百景 (nippon egao hyakkei).
I hope this article has answered your questions regarding this subject. Do you know any other words that are often spelled in other ways or that are made up of katakana and hiragana? Leave your comments to complement the subject.