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kanji radicals

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kanji radicals

Postby BetterSense » Wed 12.13.2006 11:23 pm

Is there some material, books, sites, whatever, somewhere that explains kanji radicals and maybe attempts to discuss japanese morphology? I have picked up on some very useful radicals, but the problem is I never seem to see a real discussion on them. Like I recognize how kanji like 道、連、速い、 and so have elements in common, but perhaps there is a reason? I'm not sure if they teach things things in the classroom; the only book I have is Reading Japanese which is worthless in that regard, though it is a workout. I will always remember 始 because I recognize 女、口、ム、 but I don't actually know what they all mean separately. Similarly, I constantly confuse 時、持、待、侍, possibly because I don't understand the significance of the radicals.

Also, in 七人の侍、they write 「た」 on a banner like it means something. Is/was た a kanji itself?
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RE: kanji radicals

Postby chikara » Wed 12.13.2006 11:34 pm

You might find this website on the etymology of Chinese characters of interest.

Edit: This site on Etymologies of Chinese Characters as Used in Japan is probably better.
Last edited by chikara on Wed 12.13.2006 11:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: kanji radicals

Postby Sumi » Wed 12.13.2006 11:39 pm

I don't study radicals - there are way too many.
Last edited by Sumi on Wed 12.13.2006 11:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: kanji radicals

Postby Infidel » Thu 12.14.2006 12:26 am

There really aren't that many radicals. And it is much easier to look stuff up in the dictionary if you know what they are. It is also much easier to tell characters apart if you know another radical that looks a lot like it. That way you will be more likely to realize you're looking at a new kanji, and not mistake it for one you already know.

It also helps when talking about the components of a kanji. I cant remember exactly how many there are, but I think it's 198.
Last edited by Infidel on Thu 12.14.2006 12:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: kanji radicals

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 12.14.2006 9:49 am

Kenneth Henshall's book (I forget exactly what it's called) covers character etymology of all the Jouyou Kanji.

Unfortunately, the "real" reasons for the components of the kanji being chosen are often not very interesting or useful unless you are specifically interested in etymology.

However, the four kanji that you listed:
時、持、待、侍
The radicals can actually help here. All of them have the right-hand component 寺 that indicates the reading ジ (which is accurate in all but 待, which you just have to learn as an exception); the meaning of "temple" is irrelevant. The left-hand sides of the characters can help you remember which one is which -- the first one has 日, sun, which is related to time. The second one has the "hand" radical, which is related to holding something. The last one has "person", which is related to samurai/serving person. 待 I think is just the odd one out and you'll just have to memorize that one.
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RE: kanji radicals

Postby two_heads_talking » Thu 12.14.2006 11:31 am

radicals are very important to looking up kanji you don't know. even if you don't know what the radical is called you can look it up by number of strokes as well.

I have a kanji dictionary that allows all sorts of different ways to look up kanji, but for one reason or another, I don't rmember the name of it..

(edit) i remembered.. New Nelson's dictionary.. (not sure why i couldn't remember it.. )
Last edited by two_heads_talking on Fri 12.15.2006 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: kanji radicals

Postby BetterSense » Fri 12.15.2006 10:47 am

The second one has the "hand" radical


See I didn't even recognize that as 手, which would have been massively helpful. Even something that shows the abbreviated forms would be useful. I have had to pick up on that fact that the radical in 侍 is the one for person and the one in 海 at the left is probably a smased up シ. I have a hunch that the dashes under 魚 are the radical for fire (燃える et al). I'd rather not have to do this the long way...I worry that these are things that are mentioned in the classroom, and I've learned all my japanese by reading.
Last edited by BetterSense on Fri 12.15.2006 10:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: kanji radicals

Postby hungryhotei » Fri 12.15.2006 12:12 pm

BetterSense wrote:
The second one has the "hand" radical


and the one in 海 at the left is probably a smased up シ.


That radical is called さんずい. It comes from 水
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RE: kanji radicals

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 12.15.2006 12:20 pm

In my experience this is rarely covered in the classroom -- one thing you might get is Basic Kanji Book volumes 1 and 2, which does cover this topic somewhat.
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