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Wapuro romaji

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Wāpuro rōmaji (ワープロ ローマ字), also known as kana spelling, is a style of Japanese romanization originally devised usable for entering Japanese into word processors (wādo purosessā, often abbreviated wāpuro) while using a Western QWERTY keyboard. Wapuro romaji is now most frequently employed in various input method editors (IME) for computers, but the name lives on. This romanization style is popular with non-Japanese fans of anime and other aspects of Japanese culture unfamiliar with more formal romanization methods.

In Japanese, the more formal name is rōmaji kana henkan (ローマ字かな変換), lit. "Roman character kana conversion". One conversion method has been standardized as JIS X 4063:2000 (Keystroke to KANA Transfer Method Using Latin Letter Key for Japanese Input Method).

Spelling conventions

In practice, there are as many variants of wapuro romaji as there are manufacturers of word processing and IME software. Typically both Hepburn and Kunrei-based romanizations are accepted, so that both si (Kunrei) and shi (Hepburn) resolve to し. Some conventions, however, differ from standard romanizations:

  • Due to the difficulty of entering diacritics like macrons or circumflexes with standard keyboards — as well as the ambiguity of ō, which typically represents both おう and おお — long vowels are almost universally entered following kana spelling rules; thus, kou for こう or kuu for くう.
  • Small kana can be entered by prefacing them with an x or l, e.g. xa for ぁ or ltu for っ. This is commonly employed for modern katakana combinations like ティ (Hepburn ti), which would be entered texi. However, certain input methods map l to r.
  • Nihon-shiki's spellings of di for ぢ and du for づ are commonly employed to allow the user to select these kana easily. Hepburn di ディ thus must be entered as dexi.
  • The irregularly spelled particles he へ, ha は, wo を must be entered as written, not as pronounced or transliterated (e, wa and o respectively). This also matches Nihon-shiki.
  • The Hepburn spelling tchi for っち may be rejected, and cchi must be used instead.
  • The Hepburn spelling mma is likely to be rendered っま, not the intended んま (nma). This is not an issue for revised Hepburn, which eliminates the -mm- forms in favor of -nm-.
  • Syllabic n, ん, is often entered as nn, although the standard n' is usually also accepted.
  • Phonetic names can often be used for punctuation characters not found on standard keyboards. For example, in some IMEs ~ can be entered as nami or kara and ∴ can be entered as tenten.

See also

Last updated: 05-07-2005 03:49:16
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04