Dakuten and handakuten - Quotation marks in Japanese

You know what it is (濁点) Dakuten? You probably use them every day, and you never knew the name. Dakuten or tenten are the 2 quotes that indicate that a hiragana pronounces with another voice. There is also the Handakuten (半濁点) which is a small circle indicating that the syllable starting with H will be replaced by P.

The introduction of handakuten came thanks to English missionaries in the 16th century who were confused to see that the Japanese did not use anything to identify the change of any syllable. Thanks to Dakuten and Handakuten, the Japanese became much simpler and more practical:


The table below shows all possible exchanges using the Dakuten it's the Handakuten.

kana dakuten handakuten
ka ga (か゚ nga)
sa za
OK gives
there is ba Pan


Both are positioned in the upper right corner of a Japanese kana character:

dakuten: □゛        handakuten: □゜

The sound of the V

In katakana, dakuten can be used in the character ウ (u) next to a small kana vowel to make the V sound. For example: ヴァ va. As the letter "V" does not exist in Japanese, this use is only for foreign words, it is currently common to use B in place of V in foreign words with V.

Mysterious Dakuten ま゛, い゛, な゛

Incredibly, you may find these quotes in some unusual kana, which make no sense. See an example in the image below:


Why does it happen? Dakuten are also used for any type of distorted sounds. That includes the following:

  • Cry
  • Shout out
  • Hurt your mouth
  • Very sleepy
  • Be drinking
  • Having a very strong accent

What is the sound pronounced in ま゛, い゛, な? The pronunciation remains the same as the original kana, they appear on top of these kana just to cause a distorted sound effect that the person is speaking. What do you think about this?

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