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ON and KUN

MikeM

後輩
8 Dec 2003
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A simple question, I'm sure. I just finished polishing up my hiragana and katakana and I am just wondering about the on and kun of kanji.

Is there a reason to learn both? I am not planning to learn Chinese... and I heard one is loosely Chinese or something?... I am just very confused. :mad:

If someone could explain to me what ON and KUN readings are and if it is necessary to learn both, than I would appreciate it.

Thanks! :)

-Mike
 
Yes, you need to learn both. It can be a pain at times. Hang in there!Here is a good general low-down on ON and KUN readings. I'm sure others will be able to help too
 
MikeM said:
A simple question, I'm sure. I just finished polishing up my hiragana and katakana and I am just wondering about the on and kun of kanji.

Is there a reason to learn both? I am not planning to learn Chinese... and I heard one is loosely Chinese or something?... I am just very confused. :mad:

If someone could explain to me what ON and KUN readings are and if it is necessary to learn both, than I would appreciate it.

Thanks! :)

-Mike

You need to learn both because for compound kanji (e.g. $BF0J*(B is doubutsu), they are in ON pronounciation and for okurigana (Those kanji with combined hiragana. e.g. $BF0$/(B is ugoku), they are in kun pronounciation.
 
Some kanji only have a on reading, and some only have a kun reading. These are the good ones :D

It is worth learning them both, as you will be able to read japanese alot better in the long run.
 
god i hate that shait >_< as if it isnt enough that theres thousands of signs already =P they have romaji, why dont they use it more? 😭

"thats 'ima'!" "...well that depends.." "FU!"
 
I'm sorry. My posts with japanese characters freaked out... OK, in romaji...
The kanji for car which has the kun reading of 'kuruma' also has the on reading of 'sha'. The word for bicycle (jitensha) is made up of three kanji, all using the on readings of the kanji. The third kanji is the same kanji as for car.

btw :mad:$B!!(BIs there some trick to entering kanji and kana on this forum?
 
alright. so I understand that the On reading is used when the kanji is a compound (used with another kanji or kana to form a word) and that the Kun reading is when the kanji is used alone.

Well, how come I hear when people count, "Ichi, ni, san, shi..." instead of "Hito, futa, mi, yo..."? Its a bit confusing. Since the numbers are being used alone, wouldn't they be said in the Kun form?
 
Welcome to the world of learning a language where there are lotsa exceptions! It could be highly irregular. You even have cases where, 山手 mean yamanote. The no is totally missing. Just a loose example here to show how irregular it can get. As for hito, futa, I don't it's ever used alone. It's used for counting things in general.
 
Here is my example again. (hopefull that the kanji post work now)

車 Has the KUN reading くるま (KURUMA) Which means car or automobile. It also has the ON reading シャ (SHA) Which can be seen in the word for bicycle, 自転車 「じてんしゃ」 (JITENSHA). So a knowledge of both ON and KUN readings is essensial.
 
MikeM said:
alright. so I understand that the On reading is used when the kanji is a compound (used with another kanji or kana to form a word) and that the Kun reading is when the kanji is used alone.

Well, how come I hear when people count, "Ichi, ni, san, shi..." instead of "Hito, futa, mi, yo..."? Its a bit confusing. Since the numbers are being used alone, wouldn't they be said in the Kun form?


Ichi, ni, san is one, two, three, and so one. counting numbers generally. Hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu is rather like first, sencond, third. you use it as a counters. "Ringo ga futatsu arimasu." - I have 2 apples. When you use futatsu, you don't use counters. When you are using ni, you can use it with counter, ex. nikai, 1st floor.

And, btw, there are many kanjis compoiunds that are read with kun-yomi. ex. kogane (gold) or teashi (legs & hands). And there are some that are mixed on-yomi and kun-yomi. (Now I don't remember any examples. Too much learning kanji recently. ;))
 
Hitotsu Futatsu are the japanese counting system. Ichi ni san is the sino-japanese system. This really messes me up :S
 
these -on and -kun readings sound really complicated ... 😌

are they ?

there seem to be so many exceptions, i would never know when to use what. And i don't understand the logic about it either.
 
kisaragi said:
these -on and -kun readings sound really complicated ... 😌

are they ?
Short answer - Yes.

Long answer - The rules are useful, but don't try to make too much of them or rely on them too much.
 
PaulTB said:
Short answer - Yes.

Long answer - The rules are useful, but don't try to make too much of them or rely on them too much.


MMMMmmm i'll do my best. Is there a site i can use with a bit of info ? I mean i don't really know when to use what or how.
 
kisaragi said:
MMMMmmm i'll do my best. Is there a site i can use with a bit of info ? I mean i don't really know when to use what or how.
Well I'm sure it's mentioned before (probably even in this thread) but here is a quick run down of two of the 'rules'. (N.B. Exceptions exist).

If the word is 'just' kanji and particularly if there is more than one kanji used in it they are probably 'on' readings.
e.g. 勉強

If the word is a verb (other than suru verb) or i-adjective the kanji used probably has a 'kun' reading.

e.g. 習う, 新しい
 
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