Why is there both vertical writing and horizontal writing in Japanese?

Nihongo Spirit |日本語にはなぜ縦書きと横書きがあるのか

Why is there both vertical writing and horizontal writing in Japanese?

Most newspapers in Japanese are written vertically and are read from right to left. Many magazines, on the other hand, are written horizontally and are read from left to right. Whether to write vertically or horizontally is often determined by genre, content, and readership, but in recent years, more and more magazines are written horizontally. Originally, Japanese is written vertically, and Japanese textbooks are also written vertically. In the past, writing letters was also generally written vertically. Japanese characters are structured to be written from top to bottom, so it is easier to move on to the next character when writing vertically. Japanese calligraphy is said to be an art of writing that expresses beauty and individuality, and it is thought to have developed because of vertical writing. The reason why Japanese can be read both vertically and horizontally without any problems, is due to the characteristics of the Japanese language. English pronunciation and letters are grouped together by word. So, for example, the pronunciation of “a” changes from word to word, as in [ei] in “take” and [oː] in “talk.” On the other hand, in Japanese hiragana and katakana , one sound is assigned to each character, and “ta ” is read only as “ta .” Japanese words are made up of a combination of individual letters (sounds), so breaking them down does not interfere with reading. It doesn’t matter if you write it vertically or horizontally, because you can read any part of it separately.

日本語にほんご
nihonngo
Japanese
no
in
新聞しんぶん
shinnbunn no
newspapers
ほとんどは
hotonndo ha
most
縦書たてが
tate’gaki
are written vertically
で、
de,
and
みぎ
migi
right
から
kara
from
ひだり
hidari
left
ni
to
すすめていきます。
yomi’susumete iki masu.
are read
一方いっぽう
ippou,
on the other hand
雑誌ざっし
zasshi ha
magazines
横書よこがきのものも
yoko’gaki no mono mo
are written horizontally
おおく、
ooku,
many and
ひだり
hidari
left
から
kara
from
みぎ
migi
right
ni
to
すすめていきます。
yomi’susumete iki masu.
are read
縦書たてがきにするか
tate’gaki ni suru ka
whether to write vertically
横書よこがきにするかは、
yoko’gaki ni suru ka ha,
or horizontally
ジャンルじゃんる
jannru
genre
ya
and
内容ないよう
naiyou,
content
読者層どくしゃそう
dokusha’sou
readership
de
by
められることが
kime rareru koto ga
is determined
おおいのです
ooi no des
often
が、
ga,
but
近年きんねん
kinnnenn ha
in recent years
横書よこが雑誌ざっし
yoko’gaki zasshi ga
magazines written horizontally
えてきました。
fuete ki mashita.
more and more are
日本語にほんご
nihonngo ha
Japanese
もともと
motomoto
originally
縦書たてがきが基本きほん
tate’gaki ga kihonn
is written vertically
で、
de,
and
国語こくご
kokugo no
Japanese
教科書きょうかしょ
kyoukasho
textbooks
mo
also
縦書たてが
tate’gaki
written vertically
です。
desu.
are
以前いぜん
izenn ha
in the past
手紙てがみ
tegami
writing letters
mo
also
縦書たてがきが
tate’gaki ga
written vertically
一般的いっぱんてき
ippann’teki
generally
でした。
deshita.
was
日本語にほんご
nihonngo no
Japanese
文字もじ
moji ha
characters
うえ
ue
top
から
kara
from
した
shita
bottom
かって
ni mukatte
to
くように
kaku you ni
to be written
構成こうせいされている
kousei sarete iru
are structured
ため、
tame,
so
つぎ
tsugi no
the next
文字もじ
moji
character
ni
to
うつりやすいのは
utsuri yasui no ha
easier to move on
縦書たてが
tate’gaki
(when) writing vertically
です。
desu.
it is
書道しょどう
shodou ha
Japanese calligraphy
うつくしさ
utsukushisa
beauty
ya
and
個性こせい
kosei wo
individuality
表現ひょうげんする
hyougenn suru
that expresses
文字もじ
moji
writing
no
of
芸術げいじゅつ
geijutsu to
to be an art
いわれます
iware masu
is said
が、
ga,
and
縦書たてが
tate’gaki
vertical writing
だからこそ
dakara koso
because of
発展はってんしたと
hattenn shita to
to have developed
かんがえられます。
kanngae rare masu.
it is thought
日本語にほんご
nihonngo ga
Japanese
縦書たてが
tate’gaki
(both) vertically
でも
demo
and
横書よこがきでも
yoko’gaki demo
horizontally
問題もんだいなく
monndai naku
without any problems
めるのは、
yomeru no ha,
the reason why can be read
日本語にほんご
nihonngo
the Japanese language
no
of
特徴とくちょう
tokuchou
the characteristics
ni
to
あります。
ari masu.
is due
英語えいご
eigo no
English
発音はつおん
hatsuonn
pronunciation
to
and
文字もじは、
moji ha,
letters
単語たんご
tanngo
word
ごとで
goto de
by
ひとまとまりになっています。
hito’matomari ni natte i masu.
are grouped together
そのため、
sono tame,
so
たとえば
tatoeba
for example
aえー
“a”
a
no
of
発音はつおんは、
hatsuonn ha,
the pronunciation
takeていく
take
take
では
deha
in
[eiえい]、
[ei] ,
in ei
talkとーく
talk
(and) talk
では
deha
in
[おー]
[o-]
o
のように
no you ni
as
単語たんごによって
tanngo ni yotte
from word to word
わります。
kawari masu.
changes
一方いっぽう
ippou,
on the other hand
日本語にほんご
nihonngo no
Japanese
ひらがな、
hiragana
hiragana
カタカナかたかな
katakana
(and) katakana
ha,
in
1文字ひともじ
hito’moji
each character
ni
to
1ひとつの
hitotsu no
one
おと
oto ga
sound
てはめられている
atehame rarete iru
is assigned
ので、
node,
and
taてぃーえー」の
“thi-e-” no
ta
みは
yomi ha
read
「た」
“ta”
as ta
のみ
nomi
only
です。
desu.
is
日本語にほんご
nihonngo no
Japanese
単語たんご
tanngo ha
words
1文字ひともじ
hito’moji
individual letters
おと
(oto)
sounds
ごとの
goto no
of
わせ
kumiawase
a combination
de
of
できている
dekite iru
are made up
ので、
node,
so
分解ぶんかいしても、
bunnkai shite mo,
breaking them down
yomi
reading
ni
with
支障ししょうはありません。
shishou ha ari masenn.
does not interfere
どこで
doko de
any part of it
区切くぎっても
kugitte mo
separately
める
yomeru
you can read
ので、
node,
because
たて
tate ni
vertically
いても
kaite mo
if you write it
よこいても
yoko ni kaite mo
or horizontally
問題もんだいないのです。
monndai nai no desu.
it doesn’t matter

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