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Re: Orthography Question

From:Douglas Koller <laokou@...>
Date:Tuesday, November 10, 1998, 8:40
Nik Taylor wrote:

> Eric Christopherson wrote: > > Hey! I always wondered why _tabako_ was written in hiragana! :D
> Yeah, apparently it's just been in the language for so long, that they > seem to have forgotten that it was foreign! Or maybe when it entered > the language the distinction between hiragana and katakana wasn't so > strict?
Of the five dictionaries I just consulted, the score was 4-1 in favor of katakana. The standard sign hung outside shops to indicate they sell cigs is indeed written in hiragana, but I was so used to seeing the katakana version in other venues that I did a double-take when I first saw such a sign (Huh? Oh, tabako!) and still needed a little time to get used to it. I don't think we can write off "tabako" in katakana just yet. As to why 'tabako' "works" in hiragana, I can only freeform here and guess that it's because "tabako" looks and sounds like a native Japanese word in a way that other loans like "storessu" (stress), "anaunsaa" announcer, or even "biiru" (beer) and "pan" (bread) do not. Kou