When do you use Kanji?

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suarutsu
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When do you use Kanji?

Post by suarutsu » Tue 05.19.2009 6:44 am

Hey guys..


Alot of Japanese nouns and verb-stems can be written on Kanji.
But in written Japanese, you often see that they use hiragana
or even katakana instead.
For instance; 名残 means 'traces'. But a song 'traces of snow'
is written 'なごり雪'.

Does anyone know what makes someone choose between kana
and kanji? Is there a special effect on word in hiragana? More
emphasis, or maybe less?

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keatonatron
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Re: When do you use Kanji?

Post by keatonatron » Tue 05.19.2009 7:56 am

There's only one rule: If it's for a song, there are no rules.

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Re: When do you use Kanji?

Post by coco » Tue 05.19.2009 8:16 am

Basically, it depends on an author's preference.  :)
But Japanese government shows the guideline, called 常用漢字表, for using Kanji. Therefore official reports, media and companies tend to follow it.

This thread might be relevant.

suarutsu
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Re: When do you use Kanji?

Post by suarutsu » Tue 05.19.2009 8:32 am

Perfect answers; thank you!
It's actually pretty awesome, that you can write words in the way you feel like writing them.
Adds a bit of a personal nuance or feeling to a text, maybe :)

有り難う (ok... ありがとう simply looks better ;))

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two_heads_talking
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Re: When do you use Kanji?

Post by two_heads_talking » Tue 05.19.2009 2:21 pm

Rody6 wrote:Hey guys..


Alot of Japanese nouns and verb-stems can be written on Kanji.
But in written Japanese, you often see that they use hiragana
or even katakana instead.
For instance; 名残 means 'traces'. But a song 'traces of snow'
is written 'なごり雪'.

Does anyone know what makes someone choose between kana
and kanji? Is there a special effect on word in hiragana? More
emphasis, or maybe less?

'なごり雪' (great song by the way...)

As mentioned before, it's a matter of preference of the author/artist. In some cases, the kanji for some obscure words could be misread or otherwise hard to read, and the artist wants people to instantly recognize it.

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Re: When do you use Kanji?

Post by AJBryant » Tue 05.19.2009 5:03 pm

two_heads_talking wrote: In some cases, the kanji for some obscure words could be misread or otherwise hard to read, and the artist wants people to instantly recognize it.
That's my take.

If I saw 名残雪 my initial response would be to read it "meizansetsu." There's something about long strings of kanji that turn on the "on'yomi switch" in my brain.

With a lot of proper names, or organizational names, long strings of kanji aren't usually a problem as they involve familiar names or words that are readily break-down-able. But out of context, something like a song title -- how do we know that this isn't a song about the famous (mei) Zansetsu of some place?

I suggest that it's thinking about what words look like and how they can be read that often dictate the choice of "spelling."

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Re: When do you use Kanji?

Post by Harisenbon » Tue 05.19.2009 8:37 pm

I suggest that it's thinking about what words look like and how they can be read that often dictate the choice of "spelling."
Taking what Tony said a little further, depending on the way a word is written, it can convey different feelings to native speakers.
For example:
友達
友だち
ともだち
トモダチ
tomodachi

would all evoke different nuances for the reader.
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Re: When do you use Kanji?

Post by two_heads_talking » Fri 05.22.2009 9:29 am

Harisenbon wrote:
I suggest that it's thinking about what words look like and how they can be read that often dictate the choice of "spelling."
Taking what Tony said a little further, depending on the way a word is written, it can convey different feelings to native speakers.
For example:
友達
友だち
ともだち
トモダチ
tomodachi

would all evoke different nuances for the reader.
That's an interesting point you bring up.. Each reader might interpret them differently too.

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Re: When do you use Kanji?

Post by Yudan Taiteki » Fri 05.22.2009 9:39 am

AJBryant wrote:
two_heads_talking wrote: In some cases, the kanji for some obscure words could be misread or otherwise hard to read, and the artist wants people to instantly recognize it.
That's my take.

If I saw 名残雪 my initial response would be to read it "meizansetsu." There's something about long strings of kanji that turn on the "on'yomi switch" in my brain.
I would have read it as なごりゆき because I don't know the on-yomi of 雪 :D
-Chris Kern

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Re: When do you use Kanji?

Post by two_heads_talking » Fri 05.22.2009 11:27 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
AJBryant wrote:
two_heads_talking wrote: In some cases, the kanji for some obscure words could be misread or otherwise hard to read, and the artist wants people to instantly recognize it.
That's my take.

If I saw 名残雪 my initial response would be to read it "meizansetsu." There's something about long strings of kanji that turn on the "on'yomi switch" in my brain.
I would have read it as なごりゆき because I don't know the on-yomi of 雪 :D
You know it now.. lol. But like Tony, of the kanji I know, when they are stringed together in 3 or more, I tend to use the on-yomi

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Re: When do you use Kanji?

Post by AJBryant » Fri 05.22.2009 11:48 am

two_heads_talking wrote: You know it now.. lol. But like Tony, of the kanji I know, when they are stringed together in 3 or more, I tend to use the on-yomi
Especially when the first one is so commonly read as めい when used as a prefix for something else. (名奉行遠山の金さん、名刀、名物、名作、名曲、名作選、名木、名所旧跡、名城...)

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Re: When do you use Kanji?

Post by two_heads_talking » Fri 05.22.2009 1:08 pm

AJBryant wrote:
two_heads_talking wrote: You know it now.. lol. But like Tony, of the kanji I know, when they are stringed together in 3 or more, I tend to use the on-yomi
Especially when the first one is so commonly read as めい when used as a prefix for something else. (名奉行遠山の金さん、名刀、名物、名作、名曲、名作選、名木、名所旧跡、名城...)

There was a time I used to tell my friends that Japanese hardly had any exceptions. Then I started learning Kanji. Oh boy, what a can of worms that was.. lol

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Re: When do you use Kanji?

Post by Yudan Taiteki » Fri 05.22.2009 2:08 pm

two_heads_talking wrote:
Yudan Taiteki wrote:
AJBryant wrote: If I saw 名残雪 my initial response would be to read it "meizansetsu." There's something about long strings of kanji that turn on the "on'yomi switch" in my brain.
I would have read it as なごりゆき because I don't know the on-yomi of 雪 :D
You know it now.. lol.
Don't worry, I'll soon forget it again :)
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Re: When do you use Kanji?

Post by two_heads_talking » Fri 05.22.2009 2:16 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
two_heads_talking wrote: You know it now.. lol.
Don't worry, I'll soon forget it again :)
Oh, don't I know that feeling. I've forgotten so much of my Japanese over the years. In fact just last night I was reviewing some scriptural terminology (at one point a daily thing for me) and realized I had didn't recognize half of the words, even though at one point I was using those terms many times a day..

Well, the brain is just like any other muscle, if you don't work it out, it gets no increase.. lol :mrgreen:

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Re: When do you use Kanji?

Post by AJBryant » Fri 05.22.2009 3:05 pm

two_heads_talking wrote:There was a time I used to tell my friends that Japanese hardly had any exceptions. Then I started learning Kanji. Oh boy, what a can of worms that was.. lol
Just remember -- it's the kanji usage that makes Japanese so exceptional a language. :lol:
Yudan Taiteki wrote:
two_heads_talking wrote:You know it now.. lol.
Don't worry, I'll soon forget it again :)
If it weren't for the one or two words that use it that I *do* remember, I would never be able to remember it. There are many kanji that I can never remember the on'yomi for unless I try to think of the thing in a compound.

I tend to divide kanji into three types (isolation, compound, and not-a-chance-in-hell) in how I can recall their on'yomi. I suspect a lot of people actually do that, but aren't anal enough to think of them as self-categorizing. :D

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