stevie wrote:It is simply not correct to say that "kanji have no meaning" on their own.
I think there's just a big misunderstanding here. I can see what you mean and I can see what Yudan means as well. Yudan's point is that on its own a Kanji is just a bunch of lines with no meaning outside of the language it represents, every bit as much as the word 'fiance´' is just a bunch of lines with no meaning outside of the language it represents. Of course 'fiance´' as a word has meaning to those who understand it within the language(s) it is a part of. To an alien, a piece of paper with 'fiance´' written on it is just a bunch of squiggles. Just so for han characters - outside the context of language itself, the characters mean nothing.
Just missed this before the tuna sandwich.
ACTUALLY kanji (or hanzi, whichever) were little drawings (pictograms if you will), remember they were simple drawings in the most early stages that evolved to the more abstract result you have now. For example:
Doesn't the character 田 look like a small field to grow crops? (NO IT'S NOT A WINDOW!!)
And 山 does resemble a mountain a bit.
鳥 does look like a bird (head with a plume and dots for feathers and wing)
犬 ...err, ok some characters need a little more imagination
Just so for han characters - outside the context of language itself, the characters mean nothing.
So it's not true-hu! well err... not entirely
* funny fact: did you know 男 （man/male) is made up of 田 and a 力， because in the early days men had to work on the (farm)field, so power(力) on field(田) = 男
* funny fact: did you know there are 2 characters that are 'acidentally swapped'?
It's 出(out, go out) and 重(heavy). Because 出 is made up of two 山's on top of eachother, which must be really HEAVY and 重 is made up of 千(thousand) and 里(500mtr, yea it also has more meanings) which is quite a distance.