The following is a guide to the most troublesome aspects of inputting Japanese with a computer.
In iKnow!, we follow the same conventions that Japanese word processing systems when it comes to typing Japanese. Inputting Japanese on a word processor has a quirks to be aware of. The reason for these is that some letters, such as “o”, have distinct symbols in hiragana (を and お) and certain sounds aren’t represented by any key on a standard English keyboard.
To lengthen an o or u sound, type ‘u’: くう (kū ) → kuu, じゅう (jū) → juu, きょう (kyō) → kyou
To lengthen other vowels, just repeat the vowel: きい (kī) → kii, おばあさん (obāsan) → obaasan
The exception is え which takes an ‘i’ to lengthen: えい→ ei
In katakana, always use a dash to lengthen any vowel: テーブル→ te-buru
Type ‘nn’ if the ん is at the end of the word, or the next character is a vowel: じかん → jikann, でんあつ→ dennatsu (Typing denatsu would convert to でなつ.)
Type ‘du’ to produce the づ in つづく.
Type ‘wo’ to produce the “o” which indicates an object of a verb: ごはん を たべる (gohan o taberu) → gohan wo taberu
【Double consonants and typing っ】
Type a consonant twice to produce the small っ: きって→ kitte, がっこう→ gakkou
【Typing small vowels】
Type ‘x’ before a small vowel: ウェールズ (Wales) → uxe-ruzu, ハロウィーン (Halloween) → harouxi-nn
This is mostly used to write katakana (loan words from other languages).
For ティ, you can type ‘thi’ or ‘texi’: ミーティング (meeting) → mi-thingu or mi-texingu, パーティー (party) → pathi- or pa-texi-
【Typing small characters】
Typing an ‘x’ before ya, yu, yo will allow you type these small characters.
This is especially useful if you make a mistake like:
User types: densho = で ん し ょ (*wrong answer)
System recognizes: で ん し ＿ (*one letter to be retyped)
User types: xya = ゃ
System recognizes: で ん し ゃ
[っ] → ‘xtu’
[ぁ] → ‘xa’
[ぃ] → ‘xi’
[ぅ] → ‘xu’
[ぇ] → ‘xe’
[ぉ] → ‘xo’