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hiragana

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hiragana

Postby guitarplayer7694 » Wed 11.21.2007 12:59 pm

could a person survive with just knowing hiragana. if not how many kanji
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RE: hiragana

Postby richvh » Wed 11.21.2007 1:07 pm

There isn't a whole lot written in pure hiragana (save the very simplest of children's books.)
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RE: hiragana

Postby guitarplayer7694 » Wed 11.21.2007 1:34 pm

what about katakana
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RE: hiragana

Postby richvh » Wed 11.21.2007 1:47 pm

About the only thing you'll find in pure katakana are early computer/video games, when that was the only thing that would be legible on the low resolution graphics available at the time.

You need all three scripts - hiragana, katakana and kanji - to be able to read just about anything written in Japanese, but you don't have to memorize all the kanji (as if such a thing were possible) or even some set number before starting to read. You do, however, need to learn how to recognize and distinguish kanji, and how to look them up.
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RE: hiragana

Postby guitarplayer7694 » Wed 11.21.2007 2:06 pm

this has probably been asked many times before but why cant the just use purely hiragana or katakana
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RE: hiragana

Postby everdream » Wed 11.21.2007 2:11 pm

Have you seen a whole block of hiragana? It looks, in my opinion, terrable, and hard to read. I can't even read many kanji, but I've decided this.
Kanji serve a purpose. Just like in english, we have different spellings for words that sound the same (too, to, two.)
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RE: hiragana

Postby JaySee » Wed 11.21.2007 2:39 pm

guitarplayer7694 wrote:
this has probably been asked many times before but why cant the just use purely hiragana or katakana


Yes it has.

The short answer is that the current usage of kanji is mainly a historical thing (tradition); they don't really serve any practical purpose.
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RE: hiragana

Postby everdream » Wed 11.21.2007 2:50 pm

Wasn't there a time where the government did try to abolish kanji, shortly after world war 2, but because Japanese wasn't practical without kanji, decided not to. (I think i asked this question elsewhere too, but couldn't find the thread to find the answer)
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RE: hiragana

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 11.21.2007 3:50 pm

No. There have been various proposals for adopting romaji or using all kana, but they have never gained serious acceptance because of the tradition of the writing system.

There are essentially no practical reasons why kanji should be used for Japanese -- it's just very, very difficult to change a country's writing system, no matter what it is. Language changes naturally, but writing systems can only be changed by intention. It's not like the current writing system was designed to be the best way to represent Japanese. It just developed over centuries and centuries of use.

There are a lot of myths about why Japanese must be written with kanji, but upon investigation none of them hold up. (The one you mentioned is simply that you are best able to read what you are used to; it doesn't really matter whether if what you are used to is good or not. If kanji didn't exist and you only had ever learned to read Japanese with kana, you would have no trouble with it.)
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RE: hiragana

Postby RpgN » Wed 11.21.2007 4:22 pm

I find the use of hiragana only much harder then kanji. There are lots of words with the same reading. And if you know the kanji of that, you recognize it easly. Without kanji you have to rely on context and I'm not too good with that...Though kanji is hard to master, it is one of the reasons why I find the language so interesting. It's like a puzzle. The more you know, the more you can solve the mystery :D
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RE: hiragana

Postby guitarplayer7694 » Wed 11.21.2007 6:39 pm

well the homophones(words that sound the same) are so far as i know easy to tell what they mean such as 4 and death both し but you are pretty much going to know wich the are talking about
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RE: hiragana

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 11.21.2007 6:53 pm

Yeah, kanji can be a big help when you're trying to translate something that is somewhat above your level, because you often don't have the ability to figure out the meaning of the word from the context.
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RE: hiragana

Postby chikara » Wed 11.21.2007 7:06 pm

出口

You'll see these signs every where in Japan. Knowing only hiragana won't help you much.





OK, I know they usually have the English written on them as well ;) :D
Last edited by chikara on Wed 11.21.2007 7:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: hiragana

Postby succubus » Wed 11.21.2007 9:04 pm

You could *survive*, yes. But it makes for a very limited environment. My life has become sooo much better since I started recognising kanji around me. There are so many more foods I can make now because I can read the ingredients and instructions on the packets.

And according to some government thingy, you need about 2000 kanji for daily life.
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RE: hiragana

Postby chikara » Wed 11.21.2007 10:14 pm

succubus wrote:
You could *survive*, yes. But it makes for a very limited environment. .....

You can *survive* in Japan without having any knowledge of Japanese. So why bother learning any Japanese at all? ;)

If you are going to make the effort to learn Japanese you should learn hiragana, katakana and kanji.
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