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On and Kun meanings

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On and Kun meanings

Postby kaywala » Sun 02.05.2006 12:15 am

A ha hah I got confused x_x Ok well my handy dandy Genki book sayz

"(In this chart, katakana indicates the on'yomi and hiragana indicates the kun'yomi)" 311, Genki.

And in the begining of the book it says;

"...hirigana indicates the kun' yomi, or Japanese reading for kanji, while katakana indicates the on'yomi, or Chinese reading.

Ok well I completly understand that, but then when I'm practicing writing the numbers in kanji, like ichi is in katakana and then below it is in hirigana hito. I thought it was ichi T_T and then in the next chapter, it has the character for day;sun and it has three different readings, 2 in katakana (ni and nichi) and then one in hirigana (bi) Which one do I use? And, when do I use the on'yomi and when do I use the kun'yomi?

Thanks to anyone reading my rather lengthy post x_x
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RE: On and Kun meanings

Postby keatonatron » Sun 02.05.2006 12:36 am

Learn the kanji as words, not just characters.

The On yomi is most always used when the character is used with other kanji.

So, first you should learn that when you see 日 by itself (surrounded by hiragana) it is read as にち or ひ. その日にしよう (sono hi ni shiyou - let's do it that day). Then when, later in your studies, you come accross something like 火曜日 (kayoubi - Tuesday), you can look up the reading and find that here 日 is read as び, the on yomi.

There are a LOT of crazy exceptions, which is why you should learn kanji as words. 一 is read as ichi by itself. However, in the word 一度 (ichido) it is also read as ichi (but this time it's the on yomi, because it's used with other kanji). But once you've got that down, how do you think you read 一人? Surprise, it's not ichihito, but hitori. This is one of the very few times 一 is read as hito... (and one of the only times 人 is read as ri and not hito or jin)

Good luck!
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RE: On and Kun meanings

Postby Infidel » Sun 02.05.2006 12:42 am

This really needs to go in the FAQ.

Kun and On are just like alternate pronounciations for letters. Just as "A" can be pronounced "eigh" or "uh". There aren't any meaningful rules for when one pronunciation is used anymore in Japanese than in English. There are general guidelines you learn as you go along. Just as A in the middle of a word is usually 'uh" and "eigh" when by itself. So ON is usually in the middle of a word and kun us usually by itself. But these aren't rules because there are tons of exceptions.

You learn them one word at a time. That's the only way. There are no magic bullets here.
Last edited by Infidel on Sun 02.05.2006 12:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: On and Kun meanings

Postby kaywala » Sun 02.05.2006 4:29 pm

Arigatou gozaimasu ^^ I think I'll with the flow and I think I'll understand more as I study ^^ Thank you so much ^^
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