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confusing kanji...

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confusing kanji...

Postby Edvent » Mon 02.13.2006 7:01 pm

Hi all!

I'm thinking about starting to learn kanji because I finished Kana so far.
But there are a few things I don't understand... I watched out for explanation but couldn't find what I was looking for, so I'm asking you now...

First of all: what are "kun-redings" and "on-redaings"? What exactly is their difference for?

And what are "jukugo"?

Hope you can help me

Thx in advance
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RE: confusing kanji...

Postby GyakuGirePanda » Mon 02.13.2006 7:36 pm

from my understanding, "kun-readings" are Japanese pronunciation and "on-readings" are chinese pronunciation.

and I'm not sure what jukugo is, but yojijuku go are 4 kanji that are combined together.
for example:
四字熟語 = よじじゅくご = yojijukugo

春夏秋冬 = しゅんかしゅうとう = shunkashuutou = the four seasons

I hope that I answered your questions.
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RE: confusing kanji...

Postby Taurious » Mon 02.13.2006 8:00 pm

From my understanding, on-readings are the Chinese readings and are usually used for more sophisticated words, and the kun-reading is usually the original Japanese word that the kanji represents
Last edited by Taurious on Mon 02.13.2006 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: confusing kanji...

Postby Shibakoen » Mon 02.13.2006 8:15 pm

I don't put too much stock into the terms "Chinese" reading vs. Japanese reading. I showed a Chinese friend of mine my kanji dictionary and when I pointed out the "Chinese" reading she just laughed and said that's not how we say it. It wasn't for just one, either, she flipped through and couldn't find any that were actual "Chinese" pronunciations. I tend to think of them more as there's one reading (sometimes more) for when the character is on its own and (an)other reading(s) for when the character is part of a combined word. (OO)ki vs. (DAI)gaku. I could be way off, though.

The difficulty for me is in those Kanji that have multiple readings when they're alone and by themselves. Take (NAMA), for instance. It's in sen(SEI) and when it's a verb it can be an (I) or an (U). There are a bunch like that.

*edit* sorry for no kanji in the example. The computers in this lab don't have the global IMEs and only the administrator can change it. Some University, huh? At least this computer has Japanese enoding in the browser. Most of them on campus don't. I feel bad for the foreign students in my class. They can't read their email.
Last edited by Shibakoen on Mon 02.13.2006 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: confusing kanji...

Postby GyakuGirePanda » Mon 02.13.2006 8:35 pm

she flipped through and couldn't find any that were actual "Chinese" pronunciations


I know one for sure. 愛 is the same pronunciation in Japanese and in Chinese.
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RE: confusing kanji...

Postby Mukade » Mon 02.13.2006 9:02 pm

Keep in mind that the Chinese readings were established some 1,400 years ago. Chances are that no Chinese person alive today speaks a dialect that existed back then.

Add to that the fact that the Japanese were approximating the Chinese pronunciation of the character at that time.

The important thing to remember is that the Chinese readings are regarded as non-Japanese. When the kanji were imported into Japan, there were many concepts in the Chinese language that didn't exist in the Japanese language (or, when they did, the Chinese held a nuance the Japanese did not). The Japanese thus imported the reading for the character as well as the character itself.

Shibakoen is right when postulating that the Chinese reading is used when the character is used in combination with another (that's jukugo), and the Japanese reading when the character is on its own. This is a rule of thumb, though, and there are some instances when two or more characters together use the Japanese reading. Knowing which is the Chinese reading and which is the Japanese reading does come in handy - because when you see a combination of two or more characters, it is very, very rare that they will combine Chinese and Japanese readings. These combinations usually use one or the other.

Does that all make sense?
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