The tag obsolete-kana was added to Orthography at the turn of the previous century for kana that are not 'obsolete' but used in a way which is. So this qualifies as 歴史的仮名遣 but not as obsolete-kana.

If the disagreement between English and Japanese names is hard to fix, at the very least the description should clarify the scope.

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    Do you have a suggestion? Rename the tag "obsolete-kana-usage" or edit the tag wiki or something else? – Earthliŋ Feb 16 '19 at 16:29
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    By the way, as far as I can tell the [bug] tag alerts SE technical support, which is not needed to discuss naming/usage of tags. – Earthliŋ Feb 16 '19 at 16:32
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    An "obsolete kana" example would be ゐ or 𛀁: kana that are no longer seen in modern usage. A 歴史的仮名遣い example would be みづ for 水, or あひだ for 間: kana that are seen in modern usage, but used for words that have different spellings in modern usage. These are orthogonal datasets -- the English and Japanese labels refer to completely different things. Personally, I think we need labels for both sets of phenomena, but at present, our tagging system doesn't properly cover this. – Eiríkr Útlendi Feb 17 '19 at 22:28
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    @EiríkrÚtlendi I think your comment worths to be put as an answer on this discussion, possibly with some suggested tags. – Andrew T. Feb 19 '19 at 4:11
  • @EiríkrÚtlendi The link I provided was to a case of katakana being used where we would use hiragana today. Also an archaic use of extant kana (like your second case), but a general pattern rather than at the scale of the letter. – Mathieu Bouville Feb 19 '19 at 6:55
  • @MathieuBouville, I may have misunderstood the linked post, but my take on that was that the poster was asking more about using ヒ where modern orthography uses イ. The hira / kata difference did not seem to be germane. (Also, FWIW, an awful lot [pretty much everything?] prior to WWII used katakana where modern convention is to use hiragana.) – Eiríkr Útlendi Feb 21 '19 at 1:00

We should rename the tag for 歴史的仮名遣 to , simply because that's what the topic of discussion is usually called in English. It's a straightforward translation of the Japanese and should cause the least confusion for users who are looking to discuss it on our site.

If any questions don't fit with that, we should retag them. In particular, questions concerning hentaigana should go under the tag. Questions concerning ゐ and ゑ fall under , while questions concerning 𛀁 fall under .


Vote (and comment) here if you want to extend the scope by changing the name of the tag (e.g. Earthliŋ proposed obsolete-kana-usage) and/or changing the description.

  • This was my initial idea because obsolete-kana has only 16 questions. – Mathieu Bouville Feb 19 '19 at 7:02
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    Query. Ambiguous: is this "obsolete usage of kana"? Or "usage of obsolete kana"? How does this category intersect with 変体仮名, which are basically "obsolete kana" by modern definition? – Eiríkr Útlendi Feb 21 '19 at 0:57
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    There is a tag [hentaigana], so those obsolete kana could go there... – Earthliŋ Feb 25 '19 at 7:01
  • @Earthliŋ, presumably you mean for 𛀁? That one counts as 変体仮名, but neither ゐ nor ゑ do. – Eiríkr Útlendi Feb 25 '19 at 22:27
  • @EiríkrÚtlendi You mentioned that hentaigana are "obsolete kana". My point was just that [obsolete-kana] is not needed as a tag for questions about hentaigana, as such questions should be tagged [hentaigana]. – Earthliŋ Feb 26 '19 at 2:12
  • @Earthliŋ, granted, and best to be clear. Would you be opposed to using [obsolete-kana] for ゐ and ゑ? – Eiríkr Útlendi Feb 26 '19 at 4:19

Vote (and comment) here if you want to add a new tag, as Eiríkr Útlendi prefers, splitting between obsolete kana (like ゐ or 𛀁) and archaic use of kana still in use today (e.g. みづ for 水).

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    Support. I'm not sure what the appropriate Japanese label would be forobsolete kana. Perhaps just literally 廃止された仮名? There's then some overlap with 変体仮名. However, while 𛀁 counts as 変体仮名, neither ゐ nor ゑ do. Meanwhile, for 歴史的仮名遣い, the more appropriate English would seem to be historical orthography, possibly with a synonym at historical spellings. – Eiríkr Útlendi Feb 21 '19 at 0:55

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