Japanese words changing when combined together

Okay so i recently got into Naruto, and I got a bit confused about something.
The word Hokage literally means fire shadow
But isn’t fire ひ?
So how did it turn into a ほ?

I know this is probably seen as a silly question, but it got me genuinely curious, so does anyone have an answer to this phenomenon? :'D

1 Like

ほ is another way to say “fire” but it is typically only used in compound words, just like ほかげ is a compound word. So you wouldn’t say ほ on its own, but many “fire-related compound words” use ほ.

4 Likes

Oooooh
but what other words use that ほ?

Just to expand my understanding XD

Here are some more

火照る
火口箱
火焚き

Many other words that include ほ as an option in the dictionary also list ひ or an onyomi reading as possible.

2 Likes

Thank you so much!

I realize that I didn’t explain the why of your question, but I’ll keep looking to see if there’s an explanation for it. I can imagine ひ might have been more difficult to pronounce in compounds or something. Ancient pronunciation for the entire は row was actually different from now anyway.

1 Like

Wait but if I had seen the word hokage in kanji (not in hiragana) how would i have known if it was going to be read hi or ho
Is there like a rule that determines this or is it just a “guess and hope for the best” kind of process?

1 Like

Heh, that sounds a lot like the conversation we just had over here

But generally, people would learn some of these words before they know how to read anyway, and then they learn how to write them. If they screw it up, someone will explain and then they know it.

5 Likes

Haha yeah
the way of life XD

But thnx anyways

1 Like

Later you will encounter word 三人(さんにん) used without translation (at least in subbed version). I watched the whole series not understanding that it means simply “three people”. I guess it’s good I found WaniKani! :slight_smile:

Also Ichiraku Ramen 一楽(いちらく)ラメン. The moment I was able to read the inscription on the shop curtain. Boy, I envy you.
What episode are you on? I promise these are not spoilers.

2 Likes

Also, Konoha is 木の葉!

5 Likes

72 :'D
I’m trying to juggle between naruto watching and working on my assignments and revising for my exams XD
Its hard for me to not procrastinate now because naruto just got a whole lot more interesting!

2 Likes

Isn’t it 三忍 meaning “three ninja”, in the case of Naruto?

2 Likes

You’re right, of course! Those Japanese homophones!

Skip the fillers: https://www.animefillerlist.com/shows/naruto

1 Like

I’m actually not that kind of person XDD
If there’s anything that absolutely kills me its seeing people skip episodes, no matter how useless and boring they are
I like to see every second of the episode, i even watch through the opening and the ending, even if I had heard them already millions of times

Sure, you do what you do. Being a fan, I do not want you get tired of (filler) episodes and think that Naruto becomes stupid or boring. I skipped fillers during my first Naruto run and then went back and enjoyed few arcs which were deemed worthy.

1 Like