A couple of weeks ago the word 今晩は appeared in my lessons, which was nice. While reviewing, I was asked for its reading and I thought: the reading is clearly how the word is pronounced, in hiragana. So I typed in “こんばんわ”, getting it wrong.
This got me thinking, the reading of a sentence is then not the literal pronunciation, but how it’d look written entirely in hiragana. What do you think?
Well in this instance は is pronounced wa, which is why that would be marked as wrong. It’s because it’s technically the particle in this case (given that 今晩は is just a shortening of a full sentence). How something is written in hiragana is how it is pronounced, so I’m not totally sure I follow the question.
Regardless, it would also still be marked as incorrect as こんはんは. 今晩は is こんばんは.
Well, if it’s the particle, it’s always wa. If it’s being read as ha, it’s not a particle, just a character.
But yeah, I guess there is some confusion there, in that は (the particle) didn’t get changed to わ phonetically like one might expect. It kept the older Japanese “spelling”. It can be a bit confusing, but context will generally always tell you which reading it takes. Similar to kanji having multiple readings, depending on context.
That doesn’t change that how it is written in hiragana is how it’s pronounced; it just means that pronunciation for は specifically can vary.
Reading is just the translation of the term 読み方, and the definition of that is indeed “the pronunciation of the characters.” It’s just that は is one of the few kana characters with multiple pronunciations.
Who doesn’t know if it’s wa or ha? I can’t really imagine any scenario where a は could be ambiguous on WaniKani. In any case, kana always stay as they are if you can see them in the item prompt itself.