In Latin scripts we have the letter a but also it "annotated" with an accent in this case: á. These accents/annotations/diacritics can be above or below the current Latin character. Other languages like Hindi/Devanagari have similar features.

I am wondering if Chinese has any of this sort of thing. I don't remember where I saw it but I remember some Japanese text had a small either Chinese or Japanese character next to (or I think it was above, in smaller font like a superscript, but directly centered above) the given character, which I think told a deeper meaning about the main character. I'm not sure exactly what it was but it was some sort of "annotation" that went above the main character in text.

So I'm wondering if for some Chinese character, there is some piece of information which could be attached to it either above or below, or some enhancing artifact like an accent or a tone or any particular thing. I know tones are marked with ^ and the like in Pinyin, but that's Latin script. I'm wondering specifically for Chinese characters.


2 Answers 2


No, the Chinese character itself doesn't have such annotation. For Japanese, that happens on hiragana/katakana, like 'た' vs 'だ', but not in 'kanji'.

If two Chinese character happens to appear as if annotation applied, it's likely they are 2 different characters.

  • So then any Chinese newspaper you would find out there would never have this feature is what I'm assuming.
    – Lance
    Jan 13, 2019 at 7:23
  • Yes, correct. The mark you mentioned should apply to Japanese kana character only, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dakuten_and_handakuten
    – Karata
    Jan 13, 2019 at 7:36

Latin letters are used like that to represent new phonemes. Chinese characters are never used like that. What you see might be 返り点 or (半)濁点. If you're sure that's Japanese text, then it's definitely Dakuten. Kaeriten is only used for ancient Chinese text as annotation for Japanese readers. Notice the fact you as a westerner may not be able to tell the difference between Chinese and Japanese since they are not necessarily written in the most common writing system, especially in case of ancient text or text for primary school students.

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