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Learning to read kanji names

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Learning to read kanji names

Postby Sunken » Thu 12.14.2006 7:42 pm

How to go about it? I can already read texts reasonably well but I always end up stumbling on names. Does anyone have any specific tips?
(It's probably too late already to learn the kanji the "right" way from the start; I need a "patch"...)
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RE: Learning to read kanji names

Postby IkimashoZ » Thu 12.14.2006 7:52 pm

There's no special trick. People and place names are smattering onyomi, kunyomi and what I call "non-yomi" for lack of a better term. Non-yomi are readings that shouldn't be readings. They're obsolete words that have persisted only in the context person's or place's name. I can think of a bunch off of the top of my head near my like 耳成 (miminashi, not miminari) and 新ノ口 (that's ninokuchi instead of shinnokuchi). You won't find those readings listed anywhere 'cause they're not used anywhere except the name of the place.

As far as learning them goes, you pretty much have to do it on a case-by-case basic, like memorizing irregular past tense verb forms for an indo-european language. In most of the texts I've read, people's names are usually furiganaed once at the beginning, and you're expected to remember how to read the word for the rest of the text.
Ist das einen Kanji, dass ich gefunden habe??
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RE: Learning to read kanji names

Postby chikara » Thu 12.14.2006 8:08 pm

IkimashoZ wrote:
There's no special trick. People and place names are smattering onyomi, kunyomi and what I call "non-yomi" for lack of a better term.........

Ever heard of nanori 名乗り?
Don't complain to me that people kick you when you're down. It's your own fault for lying there
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RE: Learning to read kanji names

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 12.14.2006 10:53 pm

You just have to become familiar with the common names -- unfortunately you cannot rely on furigana to be provided because native Japanese are familiar with a large number of the names out there. Even in times when EDICT may have a lot of possibilities for a name, a Japanese native will be able to tell which ones are common and which ones are rare. Sort of like how we recognize that "Chris" is more common than "Cris" and that almost nobody spells it "Khriss".
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RE: Learning to read kanji names

Postby IkimashoZ » Thu 12.14.2006 11:52 pm

And there would be a good term. Thanks.
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RE: Learning to read kanji names

Postby Mike Cash » Fri 12.15.2006 6:14 am

Sunken wrote:
How to go about it? I can already read texts reasonably well but I always end up stumbling on names. Does anyone have any specific tips?


Sure, it's called 適当に飛ばす. (Or, "just skip right over it").
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RE: Learning to read kanji names

Postby paul_b » Fri 12.15.2006 6:21 am

Mike Cash wrote:
Sure, it's called 適当に飛ばす. (Or, "just skip right over it").

Having a good memory helps. Most books give furigana _once_ for names then you're expected to remember them for the next couple a'hundred pages.
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RE: Learning to read kanji names

Postby Mike Cash » Fri 12.15.2006 7:06 am

paul_b wrote:
Mike Cash wrote:
Sure, it's called 適当に飛ばす. (Or, "just skip right over it").

Having a good memory helps. Most books give furigana _once_ for names then you're expected to remember them for the next couple a'hundred pages.


I'm in exactly that same situation right now reading 死者の木霊. I sort of wish I were the sort of person who has no qualms about marking in books. The sensible thing to do would be to mark the name with a hi-liter for future reference.

Also, use of furigana can be very spotty and bizarre sometimes. It isn't unusual to find words that have been used in the text several times without furigana suddenly receive furigana later on. I have a suspicion that this may be more common in books which have been first printed in serialized form in periodicals.
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RE: Learning to read kanji names

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 12.15.2006 9:38 am

The 適当 method is not bad, although I often get slowed down when I hit something that I don't know the reading of.
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RE: Learning to read kanji names

Postby Mike Cash » Fri 12.15.2006 3:27 pm

Nothing wrong with getting slowed down. After all, even if you're going to skip over it, you still have to get a look at it so you can recognize it later, and also try to remember any surrounding clues as to the word's possible meaning so you can associate those clues with any picked up later on and arrive at a better guess as to its meaning.

The problem comes if one gets bogged down, not slowed down.
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RE: Learning to read kanji names

Postby paul_b » Fri 12.15.2006 3:45 pm

Mike Cash wrote:
Also, use of furigana can be very spotty and bizarre sometimes. It isn't unusual to find words that have been used in the text several times without furigana suddenly receive furigana later on. I have a suspicion that this may be more common in books which have been first printed in serialized form in periodicals.


Of course there's also the ones where furigana is given because it varies from the more usual reading.

I'm just playing a game where it has 他人「ひと」 in one place but just 他人 in the other (although reading 他人 as ひと is so common that I might have 'guessed right' anyway).

One thing I find really annoying with furigana is when it's on something fairly difficult but which you should know. I tend to see the furigana first and I'm left with the uncertainty about whether I really would have been able to read it or not.
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