What is wāpuro rōmaji?
Wāpuro rōmaji (ワープロローマ字) ("word processor romaji") is
a form of romanized Japanese which resembles the format used to enter
Japanese kanji and kana via an intermediate romanized form. The basic
format for computer and word processor input
is Nippon-shiki romanization, with the
| Wāpuro rōmaji on the side of a truck|
Long vowels are not typed in as circumflex ed, but using romanization
of the individual kana. For example, おう (kana "o" and "u") is typed
as "ou" on the keyboard.
A syllabic n (see What is syllabic n?) is typed as a two ns: "nn"
Hepburn and Kunrei are also accepted. For example "shi" produces し,
and "tsu" produces つ.
Small-sized kana vowels such as the smaller versions of kana
a or o can be produced by prefixing the vowel with a
letter "x" or "l". For example, "xa" produces ぁ (full-sized: あ).
What is usually described as waapuro romaji is not, in fact, what is
input into computer systems, but merely the practice of indicating
long vowels using "ou" or "uu" in romanization rather than a o or u
with a circumflex or macron. This usage is very common on the
Advantages of wāpuro rōmaji
- It is easier to type, since circumflexed or macroned versions of
letters are not available on most people's keyboards and are difficult
- It can be mixed with encoded Japanese in formats such as
ISO-2022-JP (see Encodings of Japanese), which do not feature
macroned vowels in their character sets. In old versions of the
sci.lang.japan FAQ, encoded as EUC-JP, wāpuro rōmaji was used in
order to be able to combine encoded Japanese with the rōmaji.
Disadvantages of wāpuro rōmaji
Wāpuro rōmaji does not work for katakana words with long vowels,
such as rōmaji, in which the long vowel is indicated by a
chōon (see What is the long line symbol used in katakana?) in usual Japanese writing.
Wāpuro rōmaji does not correctly indicate the difference in
pronunciation of words such as omou, where the final u
actually is an u sound, not a lengthening of the previous vowel.
Unicode encodings of Japanese such as UTF-8 allow kanji, kana, and
macroned or circumflexed vowels to coexist, and may make wāpuro romaji less common on the internet.
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