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The Kanji Appreciation Thread

HanSolo

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You display the common error of conflating the Japanese language with the method employed to write the language.
I disagree it's an error.
Please tell us the specific ward you are speaking of.
I like to keep anonymous on the internet, but the character was 町 (chou vs machi)
How in hell do you arrive at the position that Japanese people can't speak Japanese "properly"
That example and ones like it. Not in the same vein as "tomaato" vs "tomaeto" as it goes beyond mere accent.
Have you ever considered the degree to which English butchers the pronunciation of borrowed words? It is hardly a phenomenon unique to the Japanese. If you know any Frenchmen you may tell them for me that they make a complete charade out of the way they pronounce croissant.
False binary as it is indeed a question of degree. English has been very effective at absorbing masses of foreign language without its speakers even knowing it. Few of them will know whether a word is old germanic origin or an original English creation, or french/latin/greek/indian (e.g. bungalow/khaki etc) origin. Can use both "best" and "optimum" flexibly etc. The only side effect has been clumsy spelling and conjugation rules.

Japanese on the other hand prefers to take the foreign word, but simultaneously use yet another set of phonographs to let everyone know "this is a foreign word", and mangle it with little attempt to recreate the original pronunciation. Japanese are perfectly capable of pronouncing a stop, "ich ni san" "asakksa", but arrogantly won't do so when the foreign word requires it (shiito beruto). It would have taken a single diacritic (which they're no strangers to in kana) to indicate "don't release", and they'd be pronouncing that word twice as well.

Of course English fails to absorb tonal vocabulary for instance, but so too did Japanese, even when the country was just across the sea. And then they don't even mark tonal diacritics for their remaining 2 tones.

I know almost no English speaker who says "croissant" as croissant. They all say "kwasson" in faithful attempt to approximate the pronunciation. Yes, they'll draw the line at pronouncing foreign names like "van Gogh" naturally, but the English do at least get it as close as possible with "van goff".

The french & icelanders at least try to calque new foreign words to keep their language coherent. The Japanese have no interest in that. Why are they writing and saying PM2.5 and then don't even recognize 煤塵 when I show it them? Or knowing "guraidaa" instead of 滑翔機? And why can't they just write something like 席紐 for seat belt?

As I see it, using 4 different systems of writing, and 2 different whole systems of pronunciation, is dysfunction. Everyone else is trying to, and reaching fair success, in melding it all together.

Really I think Japan is in sore need of a leader of some sort. Ataturk drove through latin + diacritic based writing for his country because he saw it as best (I don't know what the equivalent would be for Japanese). The only person who could lead as an equivalent character I guess would be the Emperor, but he's completely disempowered now.

We already have many threads about that topic...
I want my turn! 🙂:
And not to bump an old thread / make one unnecessarily.
 
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I think it's a safe bet that if you were somehow able to ask Japanese people who had just read the 謎 character five minutes prior whether the shin-nyou (shin-nyuu) component had one or two dots in it, they would be unable to tell you. It doesn't matter, as they are treated as the same.
It's a relief to know that such leeway in using different kanji forms exists.
Finally, I am a little curious about your use of the term 改正前. I have never seen this term applied to kanji, and am wondering if you saw it used elsewhere, or if it is your own ad hoc usage. If I were to use that term to describe the 謎 character, if anything, I would say that the 改正前 form is the one with 17 strokes, not the other way around.
That's terminology employed by a website i use for verifying whether a proper character set is installed by an application or a website. Take a look: 「溢」の書き方 - 漢字の正しい書き順(筆順)
「謎」の書き方 - 漢字の正しい書き順(筆順)
As for your assumption that a "revised" kanji is ought to lose some strokes not gain extra strokes - i agree that it would make more sense, but seems that's not always the case.
 

joadbres

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That's terminology employed by a website i use for verifying whether a proper character set is installed by an application or a website.
Thanks for sending the links. Now I can see what is going on. The terms 改正前 and 改正後 are not global terms applied to kanji in general, but rather are being used here in a very specific role: they are used to denote revisions that were made to the JIS X 0213 character standard in 2004 in terms of what form is used for the standard example representation of a character. I'm not sure, but I think that the changes made in 2004 were done to achieve greater consistency among the CJK character sets.
This is very esoteric information, so I am not sure why the kakijun site chose to include that. But, bottom line, it is best not to use these terms when discussing kanji in general.
 

bentenmusume

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町 can be read as both ちょう and まち depending on the specific place name.
This is really no different from place names in a Western country that might be spelled the same but have two different pronunciations. (e.g. Athens, KY vs. Athens, Greece).

Citing something like this as an example that the Japanese language (and, by implication, the culture that produced it) is hopelessly broken and need of "fixing" comes off as quite arrogant and culturally insensitive.

You cherry picked the example of "croissant" (and I can assure you there are plenty of native English speakers who pronounce this as cruh-SAHNT) without addressing any of Mike's other examples. No English speaker pronounces "karaoke", "futon", "Hiroshima", or what have you anything close to the original Japanese pronunciation. Loanwords taking on new pronunciations in the language that borrows them is simply how language works 99% of the time. And what about the examples where the Japanese pronunciation of a foreign word or place name is closer to the original than the English? (パリ versus PAIR-iss, despite the fact that native English speakers could just as easily approximate the original French pronunciation.)

You do realize that a second-language English learner who is frustrated with all the exceptions and irregularities in English language and grammar (and inconsistencies in how native speakers use their own language) could easily come up with a similar list of gripes, yes? And wouldn't you feel a bit insulted if that person then went on to extrapolate that because of this, there is something inherently wrong with the English language, the culture that created it, and/or any society that speaks it?

Just something to think about.
 
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Hello all!!
Today I started practicing my Kanji again. I have finished the Japanese elementary school here in Holland many moons ago, but since then I've never really come to using it a lot and as a result my Kanji proficiency has worsened considerably.. :oops:

So I went to the JLPT Kanji Project site(GREAT site!!), and started at level 4. I still pretty much knew all the Kanji of that level (thank God!), but still found some interesting things I had totally forgotten about, like the subtle differences between 牛 (うし=cow) and 午 (うま=horse) and between 辛い(つらい=hard, bitter) and 幸い(さいわい=fortunately).

Also, I started making up easy ways to remember the Kanji, like I always did as a kid. For example, the Kanji 親(おや=Parent) can easily be memorized as 「木の上に立って見る」 (Standing on a tree and looking), the Kanji in blue making up the particles of the whole Kanji. I found a new one today for 辞書(じしょ=Dictionary), or at least for 辞: "because your tongue (舌) has a hard time (辛), you have to use the dictionary". I think it is a wonderful and funny way to learn Kanji, and the fact that Kanji's are many times made up of particles, each with separate meanings, is amazing I think. :)

I did use the "search thread" option before starting this thread (keyword="kanji"), but only found topics such as "Should Kanji be abolished?", "Kanji are driving me insane" and a lot of "Help me with.."-threads.. I didn't find one thread about the beauty of Kanji (I went all the way back to 2004), and I think that should be changed!!

So ladies and gentlemen!! What are your -positive- thoughts on Kanji? Are you as fascinated as I am? Have you encountered anything funny? Maybe interesting differences with the Chinese language? Are you also using funny ways to memorize them? What is your favorite Kanji? Is there anything else you like about Kanji?

Of the Kanji I studied today, I found 一緒(いっしょ=together) to be an interesting combo.. 「一つの糸によってつながれる者」, which roughly translates to: "those people that are connected by one thread".. Man, it's so beautifully poetic it makes me cry!! :cry:

I'm interested in hearing your opinion on this.. Although I meant this to be a "positive" thread, constructive criticism is always we come, there's always room for friendly discussions!! So start posting!! 👍
I honestly WISH I liked Kanji, because of the beautiful drawings (actually it stimulated me to draw randomly sometimes, a hobby I stopped doing for MAAANY years, which is EXCELLENT to do it again), I really love them but Idk, the fact it was borrowed from another language, and mainly the pronunciations changed DRASTICALLY from the original foreign one. And worse, some Kanjis have more than 1 pronunciation (Im in begginer level btw, maybe 1 day I happen to like it better, I hope so kind of), so it just seems all too random, like either create a whole new writting system (since the Kanas were created), or use the Chinese dialetic, but it mixed new writting systems WITH a foreign one, and pronunciations change drastically from original, and without patterns either??!! It just seems too random, hard time getting used to this

BUT I LOVE the drawings, SERIOUSLY
 

bentenmusume

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It just seems too random, hard time getting used to this
So many beginning learners say this. I mean, I get it, there are a lot of characters, a lot of readings, and it's intimidating.

But English spelling is also almost completely random, and based on archaic rules and words borrowed from like a billion different languages. (See the old joke example about how the word "ghoti" should be pronounced "fish".)

And yet, countless native speakers read and write Japanese every day with no trouble, and many non-native speakers have mastered the language to fluency or advanced proficiency. (The same way you've learned English, assuming that it's not your native language.)

The sooner you can get over this mental block that Japanese (including kanji) is some weird alien language that's "beautiful" but impossible to understand, the better chance you'll have of getting past the beginner level and actually developing meaningful proficiency.
 

mdchachi

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The sooner you can get over this mental block that Japanese (including kanji) is some weird alien language that's "beautiful" but impossible to understand, the better chance you'll have of getting past the beginner level and actually developing meaningful proficiency.
Or do what I did and just give up. I don't have meaningful kanji proficiency but somehow I am able to get by with the help of computers and Internet. I do wish I had somehow retained more but it's too late now.
 

bentenmusume

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Well, fair enough, but considering the poster here is just a beginner, I didn't want to encourage him to give up before he even gets started.

I also doubt that it's truly "too late" for you. If you don't feel like learning (or re-learning?) kanji at this point would be worth the effort, that's one thing (and there's nothing wrong with that). But you don't completely lose all ability to learn a language (much less the writing system of a language you are already proficient in to a degree) past a certain age.
 
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Yes its that when I started learning Japanese I thought Asian countries overall had this amount of characters and writting systems, but with time I got to know that others like Hindi, Arabic, Korean, only have 1 system and also not over 100 characters (lol)

But I still wanna learn Japanese, and Kanji Ill kind of have to learn too, but its a love and hate relationship lol, sometimes I simply love to see and learn about them, the meaning/translation, the radicals, etc (the part I least like really nowadays is the pronunciation)
 

Buntaro

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But I still wanna learn Japanese,

Here is a video of all hiragana being written in the proper stroke orders. Watch the video. Stop the video after each hiragana and practice writing it on a piece of paper.

Watch the video many, many times. Get to the point where you can write each hiragana when they its name, before seeing the stroke-orders on the screen.

 
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Here is a video of all hiragana being written in the proper stroke orders. Watch the video. Stop the video after each hiragana and practice writing it on a piece of paper.

Watch the video many, many times. Get to the point where you can write each hiragana when they its name, before seeing the stroke-orders on the screen.
Hiragana and Katakana I'm relatively skilled at this point, I mistake them a few times though
 
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Reeeally few, like the top basics really, like Nihongo (and Japan), Watashi, day (and days), few more, and I often forget actually
 

cloa513

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I was using the app 単語リンク and the category was 災害 and  旱 totally stumped the Japanese workers around me. One thought it was 早 and the supervisor didn't know its 意味.
 

Toritoribe

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That's because 旱 is 常用外, and 干 is often used instead of it for kanji compound words (e.g. 干ばつ), and 日照り is more commonly used for ひでり now.

書きかえ
「干」に書きかえられるものがある。

かん【×旱】
[補説]「干」を代用字とすることがある。

("×" indicates that the kanji next to the mark is 常用外.)
 

Buntaro

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But Im learning in slow pace really

日本語 Class,

I thought it might be fun for you to learn the origins of some simple kanji:

You said you know the kanji for “day” or “sun” (にち) (日)

You may also know the kanji for “tree” (き) (木).

We can now look at the origin of the kanji for “east” (ひがし) (東). Take a look at 東 and you will see a tree superimposed over a sun. This is a picture of the sun rising behind a tree. The sun rises in the east, so this is a picture of a sun rising behind an eastern tree, thus symbolizing the idea of “east”.
 
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日本語 Class,

I thought it might be fun for you to learn the origins of some simple kanji:

You said you know the kanji for “day” or “sun” (にち) (日)

You may also know the kanji for “tree” (き) (木).

We can now look at the origin of the kanji for “east” (ひがし) (東). Take a look at 東 and you will see a tree superimposed over a sun. This is a picture of the sun rising behind a tree. The sun rises in the east, so this is a picture of a sun rising behind an eastern tree, thus symbolizing the idea of “east”.
YES, the radicals are cool to learn origin and easier to memorize
(Btw I hadnt realized day and Sun had the same Kanji)
 

Buntaro

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(Btw I hadnt realized day and Sun had the same Kanji)

Yes, they are the same in Japanese. (They are not the same in Chinese.)

Here is another kanji, similar to “tree” (き)(木). It is the kanji for “root” or “source” (ほん) (本). It has one additional stroke than “tree” (き) (木). Notice that 本 has a stroke across the bottom of the center stroke, symbolizing the root of a tree, and has the expanded meaning of roots in general. 本 is also the kanji for “book”, because books are considered the root of all wisdom.
 
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