Why is 大きい written おおきい not おうきい?

Why is 大きい written おおきい not おうきい?

3 Likes

I’d say it’s because the おお reading of 大 is kun’yomi (Japanese origin). It if was an on’yomi reading (Chinese origin) then it would be おう.

Other examples that come to mind:

Word Spelling Meaning
こおり ice
お姉さん おねえさん older sister
通り とおり avenue
覆う おおう to cover, conceal
ほお cheek
13 Likes

Welp, TIL. This forum is so helpful sometimes. Thanks a tons!

6 Likes

Main reason why: etymology.

Basically, in 1946 there was a massive overhaul of how things were written in kana, to make them much more consistent (and, for that matter, intuitive). Stuff that used to be written as ~おふ, ~あう or ~あふ are now written as ~おう, while stuff that used to be written as ~おほ or ~おを became ~おお.

14 Likes

You can see the evidence of this overhaul in 頬 ほお cheek, which still has ほほ listed as a reading (in jisho at least)

2 Likes

Though the modern ほほ would be pronounced as you see it, “hoho” as opposed to the old version that would have been the same as the ほお pronunciation.

2 Likes

おを これは何?
owo

4 Likes

Well, it wasn’t just things that are おお in modern Japanese, を used to be used for the modern お in other places as well.

The word おとめ was をとめ for instance.

The restriction of を to the particle is a modern change.

1 Like

I apologize for having you take me seriously. :sweat_smile:
But thanks for the info.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.