A (kana)

in hiragana or in katakana (romanised a) is one of the Japanese kana that each represent one mora. あ is based on the sōsho style of kanji , and ア is from the radical of kanji . In the modern Japanese system of alphabetical order, it occupies the first position of the alphabet, before い. Additionally, it is the 36th letter in Iroha, after て, before さ. Its hiragana resembles the kana no combined with a cross. The Unicode for あ is U+3042, and the Unicode for ア is U+30A2.

a
transliterationa
hiragana origin
katakana origin
spelling kana朝日のア
(Asahi no "a")

The characters represent [a].

Form Rōmaji Hiragana Katakana
Normal a/i/u/e/o
(あ行 a-gyō)
a
aa, ah
ā
ああ, あぁ
あー
アア, アァ
アー

Derivation

The katakana ア derives, via man'yōgana, from the left element of kanji . The hiragana あ derives from cursive simplification of the kanji .

Variant forms

Scaled-down versions of the kana (ぁ, ァ) are used to express sounds foreign to the Japanese language, such as ファ (fa). In some Okinawan writing systems, a small ぁ is also combined with the kana く (ku) and ふ (fu or hu) to form the digraphs くぁ kwa and ふぁhwa, although others use a small ゎ instead.

Stroke order

The Hiragana あ is made with three strokes:[1]

  1. At the top, a horizontal stroke from left to right.
  2. A downward vertical stroke starting above and in the center of the last stroke.
  3. At the bottom, a loop like the Hiragana .

The Katakana ア is made with two strokes:[2]

  1. At the top, a stroke consisting of a horizontal line and a short horizontal line proceeding downward and to the left.
  2. Starting at the end of the last stroke, a curved line proceeding downward and to the left.

Other communicative representations

Character
Unicode nameHIRAGANA LETTER AKATAKANA LETTER AHALFWIDTH KATAKANA LETTER A
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode12354U+304212450U+30A265393U+FF71
UTF-8227 129 130E3 81 82227 130 162E3 82 A2239 189 177EF BD B1
Numeric character referenceああアアアア
Shift JIS130 16082 A0131 6583 41177B1
Character
Unicode nameHIRAGANA LETTER SMALL AKATAKANA LETTER SMALL AHALFWIDTH KATAKANA LETTER SMALL A
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode12353U+304112449U+30A165383U+FF67
UTF-8227 129 129E3 81 81227 130 161E3 82 A1239 189 167EF BD A7
Numeric character referenceぁぁァァァァ
Shift JIS130 15982 9F131 6483 40167A7
  • Braille
あ / ア in Japanese Braille
あ / ア
a
ああ / アー
ā

The Wabun code for あ or ア, is --・--.

In the Japanese phonetic alphabet, one would say "朝日のア" (Asahi no A.)

Footnotes

  1. Gilhooly (2003) p. 62
  2. Gilhooly (2003) p. 128

References

  • Gilhooly, Helen (2003) [1999]. Beginner's Japanese Script. Teach Yourself. London: Hodder Headline. ISBN 0-340-86024-3. OCLC 56469680.
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