hiragana

Japanese, general discussion on the language
User avatar
guitarplayer7694
Posts: 202
Joined: Fri 11.02.2007 7:33 pm

hiragana

Post by guitarplayer7694 » Wed 11.21.2007 12:59 pm

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

richvh
Posts: 6480
Joined: Thu 09.29.2005 10:35 pm
Contact:

RE: hiragana

Post by 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.)
Richard VanHouten
ゆきの物語

User avatar
guitarplayer7694
Posts: 202
Joined: Fri 11.02.2007 7:33 pm

RE: hiragana

Post by guitarplayer7694 » Wed 11.21.2007 1:34 pm

what about katakana

richvh
Posts: 6480
Joined: Thu 09.29.2005 10:35 pm
Contact:

RE: hiragana

Post by 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.
Richard VanHouten
ゆきの物語

User avatar
guitarplayer7694
Posts: 202
Joined: Fri 11.02.2007 7:33 pm

RE: hiragana

Post by 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

everdream
Posts: 149
Joined: Sun 11.11.2007 3:32 pm

RE: hiragana

Post by 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.)

JaySee
Posts: 314
Joined: Sat 08.04.2007 12:04 am
Native language: Dutch
Gender: Male
Location: Tokyo

RE: hiragana

Post by 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.

everdream
Posts: 149
Joined: Sun 11.11.2007 3:32 pm

RE: hiragana

Post by 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)

User avatar
Yudan Taiteki
Posts: 5609
Joined: Wed 11.01.2006 11:32 pm
Native language: English

RE: hiragana

Post by 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.)
-Chris Kern

RpgN
Posts: 85
Joined: Mon 08.21.2006 4:58 am
Native language: Dutch, Arabic
Gender: Female

RE: hiragana

Post by 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
So, do you think I can learn Japanese?
私は日本語を習うことができると思いますか?
これは本当に難しいですね?だから今は頑張っている! 楽しいです!

User avatar
guitarplayer7694
Posts: 202
Joined: Fri 11.02.2007 7:33 pm

RE: hiragana

Post by 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

User avatar
Yudan Taiteki
Posts: 5609
Joined: Wed 11.01.2006 11:32 pm
Native language: English

RE: hiragana

Post by 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.
-Chris Kern

User avatar
chikara
Posts: 3577
Joined: Tue 07.11.2006 10:48 pm
Native language: English (Australian)
Gender: Male
Location: Australia (SA)
Contact:

RE: hiragana

Post by 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.
Don't complain to me that people kick you when you're down. It's your own fault for lying there

User avatar
succubus
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun 11.11.2007 10:20 pm

RE: hiragana

Post by 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.

User avatar
chikara
Posts: 3577
Joined: Tue 07.11.2006 10:48 pm
Native language: English (Australian)
Gender: Male
Location: Australia (SA)
Contact:

RE: hiragana

Post by 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.
Don't complain to me that people kick you when you're down. It's your own fault for lying there

Post Reply