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Right now, the tag doesn't have an apostrophe. In fact, the tag engine doesn't seem to allow us to put one there. But the official guidelines for romanization suggest putting one in:

はねる音を表わすnと次にくる母音字またはyとを切り離す必要がある場合には、nの次に’を入れる。

The apostrophe is also part of the official romanization system used by the Library of Congress, which is based on the widely used revised Hepburn system first laid out in Kenkyusha's New Japanese-English Dictionary, third edition.

The apostrophe makes it clear that we mean んよ /ɴyo/ and not にょ /nyo/. I think it would be helpful if the tag engine supported this symbol.

  • It makes sense that the devs could add support for kanji and kana in tag names on a per-site basis that they could also add support for apostrophes in them too. Feature request seems like the way to go. – hippietrail Apr 3 '14 at 10:33
  • I'd gues's that thi's limitation wa's originally implemented to avoid extraneou's/erroneou's apostrophe's in tag's, to make searching/tagging easier. Unfortunately, this ha's the side effect of making nyo (んよ) and nyo (にょ) ambiguou's. Given that apostrophe's have the potential to be misused, we need to decide whether the ambiguity is bad enough to justify them in tag's. – GoBusto Jul 1 '15 at 8:12
  • FWIW, since we have unicode support for tags on this site, we can use U+02BC MODIFIER LETTER APOSTROPHE ʼ in tags, which looks approximately right (though I'm not sure whether it's semantically correct). – senshin Jul 2 '15 at 20:33
  • @senshin Wouldn't it get confusing if someone typed in ren' and the tag disappeared? (I haven't tested it out, so I'm not sure if that's how it would work.) – snailcar Jul 2 '15 at 20:49
  • @snailboat It appears the real apostrophe is simply ignored, so using MODIFIER LETTER APOSTROPHE ʼ in the main tag name, as in renʼyōkei and keeping renyokei and renyōkei as tag synonyms would work. But I think that's an ugly hack. Personally, I think reɴyōkei would be prettier, but that's not Hepburn or any other widely used romanization. – Earthliŋ Jul 3 '15 at 13:00
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    I'd like to elaborate on something @Earthliŋ just said, because I suspect many of our users are unfamiliar with this convention. In Japanese, many linguists use /Q/ for 促音, /ɴ/ for 撥音, and either /ʜ/ or /ʀ/ for 長音 in phonemic transcriptions. (I'd like to write /Q/ small too, but unfortunately there is no small Q in Unicode.) This way we can write ああ・こう・そう・どう as /aʜ koʜ soʜ doʜ/, write the prefix ぶっ as /buQ/, and distinguish 蟹 /kani/ from 簡易 /kaɴi/. – snailcar Jul 3 '15 at 13:16
  • I'd point out that not everyone who visits this site is a linguist, and that it's less convenient/obvious for users to have to enter ɴ (as compared with n or ん) when editing/searching for a tag. I suppose that one possible solution would be to invert what we're doing with tag description text so that an 音楽 tag began with "on'gaku. Music etc. etc.", since tag descriptions can contain apostrophes, but (A) this would require a lot of changes to tags, and (B) we run into 猫 vs. ねこ vs. ネコ - though tag synonyms would take care of the latter. – GoBusto Jul 3 '15 at 14:56
  • @GoBusto Yes, I agree that it would be a bad idea to put ɴ in our tags. By the way, there's no need to write on'gaku; the apostrophe is used before a i u e o y following n to distinguish (for example) kani from kan'i. – snailcar Jul 3 '15 at 14:59
  • @snailboat I think perhaps you misunderstood me: I'm saying that I think that it would be a bad idea to use ɴ in tags, because it's unconventional and less likely to be searched for than n or ん. (As for the on'gaku bit: This is a bad habit I developed from working with a romaji-to-kana conversion tool recently). – GoBusto Jul 3 '15 at 15:02
  • @GoBusto We both agree that it would be a bad idea :-) – snailcar Jul 3 '15 at 15:03
  • @snailboat Derp, I guess I'm the one who misunderstood... – GoBusto Jul 3 '15 at 15:03
  • @GoBusto I'd definitely not have anyone enter ɴ to get to the right tag. But tag synonyms could take care of that. Try it for renyōkei: the tag is named renyōkei, but I doubt anyone actually enters the macron. It's found because renyōkei has renyokei as tag synonym... But we still have renyōkei (with macron) as main tag, because ō is in some sense more accurate. – Earthliŋ Jul 4 '15 at 0:07
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Wasn't aware of that limitation. But yes, this is definitely something that should be addressed.

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