Why do you read He (へ) as “E(え)” in Japanese? : Hey guys, welcome to another awesome online Japanese lesson from Bondlingo. Today we are going to be unravelling the mystery and learning why the Japanese particle He (へ) is read as “E” in Japanese. This age old mystery has baffled Japanese learners for years so today we are hopefully going to shed some light on this and also differentiate the usages of へ and に。

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Why do you read He (へ) as “E(え)” in Japanese?

First, we will start by having a look at the pronunciations and unravelling the main mystery, then we will move onto looking at the different usages of each particle. Finally, we will finish off with some example sentences to help you guys further understand the usages.

Right, let’s get right into it everyone this is going to be a good one!

Unravelling the mystery: Why do you read He () as “E” in Japanese?

You may have come across the particle へ as you have been reading in Japanese and quite naturally have read this as “he” like it should be right? However  “へ” – The movement towards particle is pronounced “e” but the kana is otherwise pronounced “he”. Wow, now this is confusing, WHY?

Just like how は is pronounced as wa and を is pronounced o, the unruly Japanese particles を, は and へ, they all reflect an earlier pronunciation that was retained in spelling for many words in historical kana usage, but after momentous language reforms, this conservative spelling was kept only for these 3 particles.

So essentially all you need to do is remember that these 3 characters are pronounced differently when they are used as particles. There are only 3 so it will definitely be easy for you to remember. Now another difficult aspect when it some to the へ particle is the differences between へ and the に particle. This is because they both represent travel and movement.

We are now going to discuss the main differences between these two so you will become able to understand how to use them both individually in your own communication.

What is the difference between and in Japanese

So first let us tell you why these two particles are easily confused. When you are talking about going somewhere, both “ni” and “e” are essentially interchangeable, how about that?

To say “I went to Kyoto,” you can say it in both these ways:

Kyouto ni ikimashita
I went to Kyoto
Kyouto e ikimashita.
I went to Kyoto

The main difference is that “ni” points to a specific destination, and “e” represents more “in the direction of,” or “toward….” a place. So as you can see this would be very easy to confuse. However, when talking about going to a place you can use them freely, interchangeably without worry.

However, に has a variety of uses outside of the “destination / travel” usage. When you talk about “movement into/onto something/some place,” then you use “ni” not “e”. Take a look at this example below:

Densha ni norimasu
I will board the train

Ni can also be used to indicate time periods and dates too so remember that へ can only be used when talking about traveling in a certain direction.

Okay now that we understand the main differences we are going to move on to looking at a few example sentences to help you get a real grip of the grammar structures.

Example sentences in Japanese with and

Hey guys so take a look at some of these example sentences now to help you better understand the differences between the に and  へ particles.

Tokyo ni ikimasu.
I will go to Tokyo
Tokyo e ikimasu.
I will go to Tokyo
Tōkyō ni sundeimasu.
I live in Tokyo.
Hachiji ni okimasu.
I wake up at 8:00.

The main thing to remember is that ni and he are only similar when it comes to examples that talk about travelling to somewhere. It would be a good idea to write out as many example sentences as you possibly can to help you get more familiar and comfortable with this too. The more that you write and practice your Japanese the better you are going to get.

Well guys that’s it for today’s online Japanese lesson on “why you read He (へ) as E” We really hope that the mystery has now been solved for you and you are clearer on the differences in usage between に and へ.

We hope you have a great day guys and as always if you have any questions or ideas for content that you would like us to write about in future Japanese articles, please get in touch. Bye for now,  

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