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Kanji question

mgrant

後輩
10 Mar 2004
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I'm sure this is a very dumb question, but I have to ask. I'm taking a class and we've just started learning kanji. What I'm trying to figure out is how to actually use the kanji in a word.

For instance, would it be wrong to write 日よう日 (nichiyoobi) instead of 日曜日 or まい日 (mainichi) instead of 毎日, if I didn't know 曜 or 毎 yet?

And can you just substitue a kanji for syllables in any word that correspond with its reading? Like can I put 曜 in any word that has よう in it or can it only go in specific words.

Thanks to anyone who can help me with this!
 
As for your first question, kids at elementary school do it all the time. Go right ahead.

As for your second, no you cannot. Kanji are not like letters even though there are a ton of homonyms. If you start mixing up kanji by just plugging one you already know in on a sound by sound basis, you are going to end up just making a lot of nothing.

It is a pain, I know, but you will get used to it eventually. Others might have a clearer way of putting it. Good luck :)
 
I think you said it pretty well. Overall, there isn't really a simple way to learn kanji. You eventually will have to learn the different kanji, their combinations, their readings, etc. It's kind of overwhelming at the start, but if you keep at it, it'll feel kind of good. :)
 
Thank you both. :)

So you can replace any kanji with hiragana, but not the other way around? That's easy enough. But how do you know when you can use them properly? Are there any signs or rules for that or is it just about memorizing vocabulary?

My instructor isn't teaching us this very well. She just shows us a bunch of kanji, shows the readings and stroke order, and then tells us to practice writing them in x amount of words for homework. No examples or anything. Our textbooks don't have much info either. Glad I found this forum. Thanks again!
 
mgrant said:
So you can replace any kanji with hiragana, but not the other way around? That's easy enough. But how do you know when you can use them properly?
Are there any signs or rules for that or is it just about memorizing vocabulary?
Er, mostly just memorising vocabulary. Although if the kanji is read 'den' and 'means' electricity (電) it's a good bet that it will be the kanji used for the 'den' of でんとう meaning battery but won't be the kanji used for the 'den' of でんとう meaning tradition / convention.

My instructor isn't teaching us this very well. She just shows us a bunch of kanji, shows the readings and stroke order, and then tells us to practice writing them in x amount of words for homework. No examples or anything.

WWWJDIC has examples for many, many words. (It's mentioned in the sticky thread)
Jim Breen's Pages Have Moved

Our textbooks don't have much info either.
Get better ones :p

Seriously if you really want to learn Japanese 8 pounds for a half-decent starter kanji learning book of some sort would be a good investment. (Don't bother buying workbooks - but I recommend books with examples sentences and stroke order included).
 
Er, mostly just memorising vocabulary. Although if the kanji is read 'den' and 'means' electricity (電) it's a good bet that it will be the kanji used for the 'den' of でんとう meaning battery but won't be the kanji used for the 'den' of でんとう meaning tradition / convention.

That makes perfect sense! I have a pretty good idea about how to go about studying all this now. Thanks!!!
 
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