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Re: [Lingo] spaces in japanese writing


(Catching up on email after several Internet-free weeks in deepest

On 30/06/07, Josh Glover <> wrote:

Basically, you do not use spaces in Japanese at all.


They are a modern
addition to the language, ....

Well, not quite. Some years back I was working on a project analyzing texts printed in Japan (in Japanese) around 1600. Guess what - the phrases were usually indicated by having slightly greater spaces between them. And ligatures were used a for inflectional endings and words like まで, して, etc. All of these were casualties when fixed-size printing came in.

and are really just used for visual impact.

The only times I see spaces now are in books for beginners. They are to help parsing (which is why they were introduced in European languages.) Originally Greek and Latin were often written without spaces. They were a swine to read that way. Some Latin inscriptions have a "." above the first letter of each word as an aide to parsing.


Jim Breen
Honorary Senior Research Fellow
Clayton School of Information Technology,
Monash University, VIC 3800, Australia

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