Right now, we have , , and . But:

  • The particle へ is pronounced /e/ in standard Japanese, not /he/.
  • The particle を is pronounced /o/ in standard Japanese, not /wo/.
  • The particle は is pronounced /wa/ in standard Japanese, not /ha/.

It seems a little inconsistent. and are spelled like they're pronounced, but isn't.

I'd expect either he/wo/ha (as a transliteration from kana) or e/o/wa (as a transcription of pronunciation). I guess there was some prior discussion where people suggested the current arrangement, although the answers there have multiple downvotes.

Anyway, it doesn't seem like a really big deal. Should we do something about it, or leave it the way it is?

  • 1
    Eh, some of us do pronounce it as /wo/, which is probably why it didn't get flagged sooner.
    – Kaji
    Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 3:49
  • 1
    @Kaji Well, I said "in standard Japanese".
    – user1478
    Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 14:13
  • I thought this came up before and the argument was that many people believe only "wo" is correct. Where can I consult the standard to see what it says on the issue? Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 10:30
  • It's true that there's a minority who pronounce /wo/ in normal speech, but if you insisted that only /wo/ was correct, you'd be declaring that most native speakers pronounce their own language wrong. A claim that only "wo" is correct is indefensible. Anyway, for a descriptive reference see Vance 2008 p.90 or LaBrune 2012 p.90.
    – user1478
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 10:40

2 Answers 2


I'd go for particle-he, particle-wo, and particle-ha and create tag synonyms for particle-e, particle-o, and particle-wa.

  • 2
    I think people are more likely to search for "wa" than "ha", and one of the main reasons to use tags like these is to help people find questions on search engines. So I'm personally reluctant to change to particle-ha.
    – user1478
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 1:17
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    I guess many first rōmaji-based textbooks use wa, so I guess it's prudent to standardize the other way around. That said, aren't both o and wo used with wa? Another point is, that this is a Q&A site for the finer points of the Japanese language(s). That wa is written は can be found up until page 10 of any textbook (which excludes phrasebooks).
    – Earthliŋ Mod
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 1:45
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    I'm all for what comes most naturally, personally. "Wa" and "e" make sense from a romaji perspective because that's how they're pronounced, and then "wo" because it's a distinctive use (and, depending on style/dialect, pronunciation as well). Synonyms as fallbacks for if people look for it the other way around as well, as the answer suggests.
    – Kaji
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 12:31

The tags should be e, o, and wa. If we are going to use a certain romanization system we should stick with it consistently.

  • I support this as primary, but I think the tag synonyms are a necessity either way.
    – istrasci
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 20:54

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