A Couple of Examples of this Hiragana Letter in Actual Use
(Public Signs and Labels)
In modern Japanese, the hiragana letter
has exactly the same pronunciation as the hiragana letter ,
that is, 'zu' or 'dzu'. When the kana scripts were reformed after the
Second World War, was
almost completely replaced by
-- but not quite. There are still a few words that preserve
as it originally was. Mostly
has been retained where a word is etymologically derived by voicing a .
There are also cases where the
is felt to be the result of reduplicating a
(see examples below).
If you use a word processor in Japanese, you'll find that typing
Z-U in some cases won't get you the word you are looking for. For instance,
in order to get the verb
tsuzuku, you must type T-U-D-U-K-U (or T-S-U-D-U-K-U)
to get the kana string ,
which will then convert to .
Typing T-U-Z-U-K-U will yield ,
which will NOT convert to .
The following are four examples of
from notices, signs, and labels in Japan.
|This is the sign for a 'sunakku' (snack) or small bar,
named Chizuru ('thousand cranes'). The reason for the
here is quite simple: the word chizuru is derived
from chi (thousand) + tsuru
(crane). In combination, the tsu in crane is
voiced to become zu - thus, chizuru.
|This is from a packet of cha-zuke nori. The
word cha-zuke is formed from
cha 'tea' and
'to steep, to soak, to pickle, to salt'. The use of
in the above label is thus a natural result of the derivation of the word.
(Note on cha-zuke: A bowl of rice, normally eaten as an accompaniment
to a meal, can be converted into a simple meal by pouring hot water and
some condiments over the rice. Originally this involved pouring hot tea
over the rice, hence the name cha-zuke, 'steeped in tea', but nowadays
it's more common to use hot water or broth, topped off with seaweed, tiny
rice crackers, salt, etc. The packet shown above contains the topping, mainly
nori seaweed; you supply the hot water! The
o is honorific in form; it originally derives
from the feminine habit of attaching an
o to just about any kind of food, but has partly
entered masculine language in words like
o-cha 'tea'. However, most men would draw the
o-biiru 'beer', which is a clearly feminine
usage! Notice the characters for nori, which
are one of the many 'exceptional usages' that must be learnt in order to
Hijoo yobi (?)
Hijoo no toki oshitsuzukete kudasai
|This is one of a small number of cases where the sound is
felt to be 'reduplicated' -- that is, tuzukeru
is felt to have two tsu's in succession. This
is the sign on an emergency bell in a train. The meaning is: 'Emergency
bell. Press continuously in an emergency'.
Kono kuchi kara ichi-mai zutsu doozo
|As in the above case, zutsu is
felt to be a repeated .
is indeed the reduplication of the
ending in the native counting system, i.e.,
futatsu, etc. (1, 2,...).
is supposed to have been modernised to
-- that is the form given in dictionaries -- but as this example shows the
historical form still lives on, even though not strictly correct.
This sign was found in a bank, on a box of tissues used for wiping customers'
seals after use (seals or chops are used instead of signatures in Japanese
banks). The meaning is 'please take one at a time from this aperture'.