2 questions about reading

Didn’t know which sub form to put this in because it could fit into a few of them. Feel free to move accordingly if needed.

I have two questions:

  1. when reading and I see a - (dash), how do I know if it is suppose to be the kanji for “one” or the katakana symbol for a long vowel sound?

  2. When reading and coming across a Kanji how do I now which form (on’yomi or kun’yomi) to use, and to further that question if there is multiple readings of the forms which one is correct?

Does knowledge of these things just come as you progress or is there indications based off of grammar?




Context. The katakana long vowel mark is always going to come immediately after another katakana, while the “one” kanji almost never will. In cases where “one” does happen to follow something in katakana, you’re just gonna have to figure out which option makes the more sense, which you get from the context.

Basically, the kanji is gonna be in a word, and the word has a given reading. When you’ve got some vocab under your belt, you’ll not only know how the vocab is read, but you’ll also start to get a feel for how to read kanji vocab you haven’t encountered before.


If it comes after カタカナ, then it’s probably lengthening a vowel. If it’s in a word that uses the “one” kanji it’s probably 1.

If you’re reading vertically it’s not an issue, as the カタカナ lengthener ー goes the other direction in vertical writing, where as 一 will always be “one.”

There are the occasional confusing ones like “part one” パート一, but in general, once you learn just a little bit more Japanese, it will be obvious from context every time.


My favorite Japanese food is らーめん, or as we say in English, raichimen


Question 1 - see @Belthazar answer

To add to question 2:

You’ll see in the lessons under reading this kind of statements:

This is a jukugo word, which usually means on’yomi readings from the kanji
Since this word consists of a kanji with hiragana attached, you can bet that it will use the kun’yomi reading

So little by little you’ll start noticing some rules (and exceptions), if you pay attention to all the information around the vocabs page.

Sometimes there’s a certain radical that is a kanji that will have a certain reading that influences many of the kanjis associated with it. There are some threads here in the forum with lists and such.

Japanese is such a fertile ground for puns!
For example, I’ve been wondering if “Satori Reader” should be written as 里里

Yeah, I considered saying “after another kana” instead of “katakana”, but I eventually decided it would obscure the distinction I was trying to make. We can cover the weird exceptions later. (There’s a few onomatopoeia words that often use the long vowel mark with hiragana too.)

I hate having to type りー for the furigana of リー on forms. It just feels wrong.


Thanks all for the information. They were more simple to understand answers than I was expecting. It seems like it basically just comes down to paying attention for now.