皆様、こんにちにゃあ！Welcome to Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online, the ever-growing library of Japanese language and culture learning resources! We’re your hosts and your guides to Japanese language and culture, Kiki and Koko! Though learning seems as though it is a function of one person teaching and the other learning, we like to think of it as more of an open dialogue. Though it’s important to give blanketing resources that allow students and visitors to learn as they will with it, there are times that it is equally important to have that student in the back row raising their hand and asking those questions that may not have even occurred to the other students or even the teacher quite yet. As your guides, we don’t want to leave any stone un-turned. We want to be sure to give you every resource you may need to excel in Japanese language and immerse yourself in Japanese culture. That’s why we’re continuing this segment entitled: Your Questions Answered!
「Your Questions Answered」is your time to shine. Many questions Japanese language learners come across end up being topics or concepts that others also may eventually encounter. Similarly, there may be questions that may not be complex enough to explain during an entire segment, however even those we can eventually attempt to compile into a larger segment if we receive many of them.
Overall, being a teacher isn’t something stagnant or detached, it’s about learning what students and dabblers are interested in learning or what seems complex to them. Just as students should never stop learning, we continue to be students of teaching itself! It doesn’t matter how many years we continue to teach Japanese language and culture, we will always hear from someone with a unique perspective with something that may have seemed so second-nature as a teacher it fell under our radar to make a full topic out of it. And, we want to explain EVERYthing to you! Again, no question is too small or too seemingly simple. It could be something very huge and complex to someone else who may really appreciate the topic being brought up! It’s those ideas that build up to become either a mountain of confusing topics or ones that you now have a grasp on. So, feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to assist! (Just be sure to keep any language or culture questions appropriate for all-ages!) Now, onto the question!
I am learning to type in Japanese, but I am having trouble with making ‘N’ to ‘ん’ and it turns to the wrong one when I type the next letter. What am I doing wrong?
Thanks for your help,
Thank you so much to the person who asked this question! You know who you are~ And this is actually a very important question that people either stumble upon early on or randomly fall into, the reason being, we’ll delve into later. But, in an age of word processors and computational devices, whilst handwriting remains an important mainstay of Japanese language, learning to type is definitely a vital skill. This is why, with every word and every character, we’re sure to present to you the romanised version of that word or character for IME input. However, 「ん」is a special case that doesn’t quite follow the usual idea of simply typing the character’s romanisation verbatim.
However, before we go any further, perhaps you’re not even sure about the first thing when it comes to typing in Japanese on your computer. No worries, we have all of the information you need to get started. There’s still always more to learn, and we’ll be there to answer your questions. But, in the meantime, we have a solo video with a chill and unscripted vibe that just guides you through the steps of getting IME on your computer and then actually typing a few things.
But, perhaps you’re not even familiar with the basics of Japanese writing? We definitely recommend reading this article to get a basic understanding of how Japanese works—It’ll be really helpful before you get further into this article, as more questions will arise. Then, you can come back, and feel a lot more confident in what you’re reading! Anyway, let’s continue!
The Issue (Delving Into Your Question)
If you’re just getting started with learning to type your first hiragana on your personal computer or you’re well on your way into kanji, you may already be finding that conversions for more than one word at a time aren’t working exactly as you wish. In order to understand the solution, it’s important to go a bit more indepth with the issue itself and what can happen if you don’t pay mind to the difference in typing「ん」and just ending with 「ｎ」。
When typing using roman characters for input, if you just press 「ｎ」once and continue onto the next letter or even the next work in a sentence, you’ll find there’s a chance it will turn into a ナ行, nagyou, N-row character, or a blend like にゃ、にゅ、or にょ instead of the intended 「ん」.
In the examples, it’s such a common input error that you may actually end up getting the correct character conversion. However, it will only do so in kanji, leaving the hiragana an incorrect spelling of the word. And, of course, this issue will only compound te more characters you’re writing at once. And, no on wants to have to spend forever trying to convert characters when correct input can (at least most of the time) make for a much simpler and intuitive way of typing.
The Solution (Your Question Answered)
「ん」: The character so nice, you type it twice!
The answer to this issue is oddly very simple even if it’s something that could have been plaguing you for a while. When you know the character you’re typing is 「ん」, be sure to hit the 「ｎ」twice!
Whether it’s in the middle of a word or the end of a word, tapping the 「ｎ」key twice is essential! Often, it’s easy to forget to do so because many vocabulary words have a consonant directly after the 「ん」which will automatically convert it. However, when there is a ヤ行, y-row character or a vowel, you’ll find a bit of a spanner in the works. So whilst first starting out, just stay in the habit of inputting it twice.
Perhaps it would be best to have a quick example of what this may look like before we move onto future things to lookout for or what could be on the horizon, or maybe even why you haven’t stumbled upon this issue. Let’s use some vocabulary from the previous Word of the Week segments. (You can click each word for pronunciation and meaning from the original post, but this is meant just to get a better idea of how typing out ん actually funcitons)
＊the second N isn’t completely necessary in the those above as it will automatically convert in this case, but if you want to get into the habit, this is good practice.
＊also the H isn’t necessary as it will convert as 「si」to 「し」, however if you’ll end up finding it too confusing when comparing it to usual romanisation, then just stick to the standard revised hepburn version.
＊the S is technically unnecessary as it will convert on its own as just 「tu」, and there’s really no downside to using this unless you’ll end up forgetting if you write the romanised version of 「つ」as 「tsu」
And, of course, we reckoned it important to show how to actually type out the previously shown examples:
Look out for apostrophes!
Though varying romanisations can make things confusing, one useful feature of revised hepburn or modified hepburn, is the apostrophe! Though the bests solution for spotting whether it’s meant to be a blend like にゃ、にゅ、or にょ, or just an ん would be to learn how to read hiragana with us, we understand that there’s an initial learning curve. So in the meantime, if you’re unsure, we recommend modified or revised hepburn romanisation’s apostrophe. When you see this apostrophe, you’ll know that it’s meant to be separated from the next sound as its own character.
Why Haven’t I Had This Issue Yet?
Though this is a common issue, there is a chance you may not come across this issue for a while when you begin typing in Japanese. Words that have a consonant following directly after 「ん」in words like 先輩 【せんぱい】senpai, 日本語 【にほんご】nihongo, or 電話【でんわ】denwa may result in the IME or roman letter input of your choice to convert automatically to 「ん」.
Also, when many beginners start typing, they’ll usually type one word at a time and rely heavily on each conversion for each word, however this will eventually slow down many intermediate typers when getting into full sentence or phrase typing.
We hope that answered your question! Again, feel free to leave a comment below or contact us and see if your question gets featured on the next Your Questions Answered by KiKi+KoKo! We really enjoy being able to give direct feedback this way that can help anyone who passes by with the same question or one they didn’t even realise they had yet! We’ll continue to provide lessons and articles for you in future that we hope will give you all that you need on your Japanese language learning journey.
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