The grammar of 一

I noticed while attempting to read Japanese, I have come across many points where 一 doesn’t mean “one”. I read that this means draw out the last syllable of the previous chapter. Does anyone else know of any other characters like this?

Note that this line used to lengthen the preceding syllable is different from the kanji 一. It’s technically called the 長音符(ちょうおんぷ), and the main thing to note is that with vertical text the line itself will also be vertical, i.e. it always follows the text direction.

More info hereōonpu.


Once you’re comfortable reading Japanese, I don’t think you’ll find it difficult to determine if it’s the kanji 一 or the lengthener ー, even though they are basically indistinguishable in isolation.

It’s less a matter of grammar and, as you said, that the lengthener is lengthening the sound that came before it, and will almost always appear in a cluster of katakana. It’s not impossible for it to appear in hiragana (らーめん is sometimes written like that) but it’s less common.

EDIT: I thought of an example. In this site’s font, the capital i and the lowercase L are basically the same.

I l I l I l l l I l I I I

You’d be hard pressed to guess correctly on all of those

But I’m sure you never had any issues reading all of them correctly in the actual body of the text.


:eyes: Yes, never had any issues. :sweat_smile:

Out of curiosity, are there any other similar things you have found to be interesting? (Other than っand the combo hiragana)