Tìngäzìk: a Retrospective – ep. 30 “Nobashibō”

Nobashibō #japanese

Expected solvable difficulty

  • 1sample+: experienced solvers
  • keywords+: most solvers

Level design

This question was inspired by a discussion I had regarding loan words in Japanese, and how inconsistent their Chōonpu (prolonged sound marks) are. When staring at all those “ー”s, the idea came to my mind, if there are some patterns unique to some words, maybe I can put it as a puzzle.

I collated Katakana words in the following dictionaries, extracted the pattern, and picked some words that are available in all them, and are less likely to be confused with other words when given the pattern.

Shortlisted are as follows:

PatternWordBase word
・・ー・ー・・・・ー・クオーテーションマークQuotation Mark
・ー・・ー・・ー・・・ホームオートメーションHome Automation
・・・・ー・ー・・・・・コンピューターサイエンスComputer Science
・・・・ー・ー・・・・ーコンピューターリテラシーComputer Literacy
・・ー・・・・・ー・・ープレーイングマネージャーPlaying Manager
・ー・ー・・・ー・・ー・ユーザーインターフェースUser Interface
・ー・ー・・・・・・・・ーペーパークロマトグラフィーPaper Chromatography

On the choice of symbols, the middle dot commonly used to separate Katakana words “・” is chosen for its shape. In combination with “ー”, the pattern looks more like a variation of Morse code or such. Hence the line in the brainstorming note,

Nobashibō in Katakana words that look like Morse code

And as always, the question is labeled as Japanese in HTML as a hint. Also, Nobashibō is a colloquial term for Chōonpu, the prolonged voice mark.

Expected thought process

Find out the question is about finding Japanese loan words that matches the pattern in the question, and answer the base word. Look for a Japanese dictionary online, then use regular expression or tools alike to find the word.


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