Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

Kotoba Asobi: Goroawase

Date Published: Traditional Culture ,

Goroawase (語呂合わせ) is a form of Japanese wordplay whereby homophonous words are associated with a given series of letters, numbers or symbols, in order to associate a new meaning with that series. The new words can be used to express a superstition about certain letters or numbers. More commonly, however, goroawase is used as a mnemonic technique, especially in the memorization of numbers such as dates in history, scientific constants, and phone numbers.

Substituting Number Pronunciations

Because there are many ways to read every number in Japanese, you can make words out of them. Moreover, each digit also has a set of possible phonetic values due to the variety of valid Japanese (kunyomi and onyomi) and English-origin pronunciations of numbers.

1. On’yomi reading – the original Chinese reading. example: 0 – rei, 1 – ichi

2. Kun’yomi reading – the Japanese reading. example: 0 – maru, 1 – hito(tsu)

3. English reading – example: 0 – zero, 1 – wan (one)

Goroawase substitutions are well known as mnemonics, notably in the selection of memorable telephone numbers for commercial services, and in the memorization of numbers such as years in the study of history.

Mnemonics are formed by selecting a suitable reading for a given number; the tables below list the most common readings, though other readings are also possible. Variants of readings may be produced through consonant voicing or gemination, vowel lengthening, and the insertion of the nasal mora n (ん).

Number Pronunciations

Number Japanese kunyomi readings Japanese onyomi readings Transliterations from English readings
0 maru, ma, wa rei, re ō, zero, ze
1 hitotsu, hito, hi ichi, i wan
2 futatsu, fu, futa ni, ji tsu, tsū, tū
3 mitsu, mi san, sa, za su, surī
4 yon, yo, yotsu shi fō, ho
5 itsutsu, itsu, i go, ko faibu, faivu
6 mutsu, mu roku, ro shikkusu
7 nana, nanatsu, na shichi sebun, sevun
8 yatsu, ya hachi, ha, ba eito
9 kokonotsu, ko kyu, ku nain
10 tō, to ju, ji ten

There are other common variations on the above chart. Often readings are created by taking the standard reading and retaining only the first syllable (for example roku becomes ro). The idea is that you can basically use any of these sounds associated with any of these letters to create mnemonics to help someone to remember a phone number. The words above can be combined, changed around, and so on in order to create a sentence or phrase that makes sense.

In the next post, we will learn more about Goroawase by learning some examples.

Related Posts:

1. Kotoba Asobi – Kaibun

2. Kotoba Asobi – Dajare

3. Kotoba Asobi – Shiritori

4. Kotoba Asobi – Nazonazo

References:

1. Japanese Wordplay. Wikipedia.

2. Goroawase: Japanese Numbers Wordplay (i.e. How To Remember Japanese Telephone Numbers). Tofugu.

The following two tabs change content below.

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • 1 follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Koraku-en Garden by day, Fantasy Garden by night

The Koraku-en Garden is known to be one of the three great gardens of Japan. I must admit I have visited this place several times in the past in different seasons and spring by far for me is the best season to visit and enjoy strolls in this beautifully landscaped garden with the sakura in […]

Read Article

Peeling mikan

New Year Holidays in Japan : Mikan

Mikan is one of the typical fruits in Japanese winter. When my siblings and I were ever-hungry children, my mother always bought a box with 15 kg (approx. 530 oz, 33 lb) of mikan in winter. We could easily eat up 15 mikan each at one sitting. I suppose the Engel’s coefficient of my family […]

Read Article

nengajo

New Year Holidays in Japan: Nengajou

For some other parts of the world, Christmas is the time for sending holiday greetings through postcards and mail. It is not much like that in Japan though. The Japanese receive holiday greeting cards in New Year’s Day (January 1), thus called Nengajou or the New Year’s Card. The New Year’s Card or Nengajou The […]

Read Article

mikan

Gaijin Chronicles : Mikan and Japanese Gift Giving Etiquette

Early autumn of 2012, my friends and I went to Kuroisan Green Park in Setouchi-shi, Okayama for mikan harvesting.  Mikan, according to its Wikipedia entry, is a sweet,  seedless,  and easy-peeling citrus species about the size of mandarin oranges but smaller than an orange. For a fee of 700 yen, we were led to the orchard […]

Read Article

Symphony No.9 in Hiroshima

New Year Holidays in Japan : Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven)

The Symphony No. 9, a.k.a. “Choral”, is probably one of the most famous and beloved classical music in Japan. I played the (probably shortened) 4th movement on accordion as a member of a band when I was an elementary school student. (Other music I remember we played are the school song, and theme from “Space […]

Read Article

Japanese tally five

Counting: Japanese tally and gesture

The “Correct” counting method in Japan How do you write when you count numbers of items? I know tally marks which are used in many countries, but Japanese people don’t use them. Instead, a certain Kanji character is used. The character means “correct”. As you can see, this consists of five lines. On counting, it […]

Read Article

judo move

The “Gentle Way” of Judo – The Judoka

As we learned about the history of Judo in our previous post, this time we will learn more about the sport and martial art, particularly on the practitioners (called judoka). The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see all) Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text 2 – June 3, 2015 […]

Read Article

eating utensils

Chopsticks in the Japanese Way: History and Etiquette

Lohb’s photo in Flickr Can you eat using your bare hands? Or you need spoon and fork? Or perhaps a knife? Well for me, sometimes I do prefer eating using my hands and I am lucky there is no issue with it in our country. We used to eat using spoon and fork but oftentimes […]

Read Article

question

Kotoba Asobi: Nazonazo – Learning the Japanese Style of Wordplay 4

Another fun form of Japanese wordplay is nazonazo. And just like the shiritori, it is fun to play with other people. Word Puzzles/Nazonazo Nazonazo is just the Japanese word for riddles. Riddles are design to make your minds work but a riddle in a non-native language will make your mind work harder. It is very […]

Read Article

Date Masamune Tanbo Art

Amazing Rice Paddy Art in Inakadate

People make art almost everywhere: canvasses, walls, streets, and rice fields. Wait, rice fields? Yes, you read it right. Rice paddy art or known as Tanbo art (田んぼアート) in Japan is the best thing to happen to rice fields before the rice are harvested and served on our plates. Inakadate, Aomori Inakadate is a village […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑