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Individual kanji usage?

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Individual kanji usage?

Postby Koumi » Wed 10.31.2007 6:07 pm

Hello!

I've been self-studying for a while now, and while I can't understand a lot of it, I've breached into playing video games in Japanese for fun. Anyway, I've noticed that characters will often switch back and forth between using variations of kana and kanji. e.g. One character will say 私 and then maybe ten minutes later a different character of similar age/gender (or the same one as before) will say わたし instead.

I read once that using too little kanji gives one a childish impression, and too many makes you seem stiff, but I don't really get er... why its so flippant in written dialogue I suppose? Why would the same person go back and forth between kanji and kana? I understand that it could just be personal nuances, but since this is a video game, I'm wondering if game programmers would really go that far, or if it's all just random/more natural this way.

Sorry for the awkwardly phrased question~ I guess I'm curious how the different ways of using kanji/kana influence how others perceive you.
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RE: Individual kanji usage?

Postby LordOfTheFlies » Wed 10.31.2007 6:28 pm

I've played a lot of Japanese video games as well and I've gotten the same impression as you. I don't understand why they sometime write words in kanji and then in the next sentence they write them in hiragana. But I must say that the newer games you play the more kanji you seem to encounter. For instance Secret of mana uses very few kanji while Final fantasy VII uses a ridiculous amount of them and very obscure ones as well.

I prefer seeing people write in kanji but I don't really care if they're just a few words written in hiragana every once in a while. However when people write long sentences completely in hiragana I lose all interest in reading them.
Last edited by LordOfTheFlies on Wed 10.31.2007 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Individual kanji usage?

Postby Wakannai » Wed 10.31.2007 8:19 pm

私 = わたくし
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RE: Individual kanji usage?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 10.31.2007 8:29 pm

Officially yes, but it's used for わたし pretty frequently.
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RE: Individual kanji usage?

Postby Wakannai » Wed 10.31.2007 8:30 pm

yea, but if they are doing kana for watashi, then it would make sense that the kanji represents watakushi.
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RE: Individual kanji usage?

Postby Chris Hart » Wed 10.31.2007 8:30 pm

Wakannai wrote:
私 = わたくし


そうです
But why change between them?
I'm reading 魔法先生ネギま! and can't figure out why they alternate between the kana and kanji for various charecter's names. I understand that some of the character's names are normally written in kana, but others they alternate writing them in kana and kanji. EX: 明日菜 vs アスナ
-.. .   -.- -.-. ---.. ..- ..-. ...-

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RE: Individual kanji usage?

Postby LordOfTheFlies » Wed 10.31.2007 10:33 pm

Well, we're not just talking about 私 vs わたし. I've seen 今日 and きょう, 明日 and あした and 約束 and やくそく, and you can make the list a lot longer.

If I were to guess why they did it I suppose they got lazy and just typed words in kana instead.
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RE: Individual kanji usage?

Postby Wakannai » Wed 10.31.2007 10:40 pm

my point was, in that specific work referenced, watashi was written in kana, thus, 私 would most probably represent わたくし especially if the other tended to use keigo
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RE: Individual kanji usage?

Postby yukamina » Thu 11.01.2007 12:32 pm

I also noticed written Japanese switches back and forth between kanji and kana for the same words. Even in carefully worded things... I don't know if it's because the writer doesn't care or isn't keeping track or what...
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RE: Individual kanji usage?

Postby two_heads_talking » Thu 11.01.2007 1:22 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
Officially yes, but it's used for わたし pretty frequently.


the funny thing here is that if it is written in Kanji, the only person who really knows what it is based on in kana is the orginal writer.

of course situation, context and other things will dictate how it might be read, but then again, one can speculate but not be 100% accurate on what was intended.

Until watashi and watakushi have seperate characters, this debate will continue. neither is wrong nor right in this case. there you go, pick your kana of choice and move on, the amount of effort to argue watashi vs watakushi is laughable.
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