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Which one is hiranaga/katakana

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Which one is hiranaga/katakana

Postby arumanokokoro » Wed 05.28.2008 6:07 pm

Its time for another off the wall question! I was looking into ways of practicing my Japanese through reading. It dawned on me that my rice cooker came with instructions in Japanese. I pulled them out of the kitchen drawer and was perplexed. On the cover were three different languages I could not identify. I wondered which one was Japanese?
I didn't want to risk having a giant picture here, so I posted it in my album( I still have resizing issues). I am guessing that one is Japanese, one is Korean and one is Chinese. But which one is which? And what is the Japanese-hiragana or katakana?

arigatou gozaimasu!

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Re: Which one is hiranaga/katakana

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 05.28.2008 6:24 pm

Where's the link to the picture?

Hiragana, katakana, and kanji are all used in Japanese. It's not an either-or situation.

Don't take this the wrong way, but if you're at the point where you don't know the difference between hiragana and katakana, you're not going to be able to make heads or tails of the text in the rice cooker instructions.
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Re: Which one is hiranaga/katakana

Postby arumanokokoro » Wed 05.28.2008 6:36 pm

Image here is the link. gomen nasai, I hope the picture isn't too big! :oops:
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/index.ph ... emId=31346
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Re: Which one is hiranaga/katakana

Postby coco » Wed 05.28.2008 7:08 pm

Welcome to TJP forum. :)
(I couldn't paste "English" part correctly. :? )
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Re: Which one is hiranaga/katakana

Postby chikara » Wed 05.28.2008 7:51 pm

arumanokokoro wrote:.... And what is the Japanese-hiragana or katakana? ....

取扱説明書 looks like kanji to me.

とりあつかいせつめいしょ is what it would look like in hiragana.
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Re: Which one is hiranaga/katakana

Postby arumanokokoro » Thu 05.29.2008 1:07 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:Don't take this the wrong way, but if you're at the point where you don't know the difference between hiragana and katakana, you're not going to be able to make heads or tails of the text in the rice cooker instructions

:D Thank goodness they had an English translation!
:)
coco wrote:Welcome to TJP forum.

Thank you coco!
chikara wrote:looks like kanji to me

I should have recongnised at least that much! :oops:
Arigatou gozaimasu everyone! It looks like i have my work cut out for me! I'm sure i will be able to recognise the difference soon.
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Re: Which one is hiranaga/katakana

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 05.29.2008 7:31 am

Well, that would have been tough because the Japanese in this case was only kanji, so you would have had to just go by the font (and the fact that 使用説明書 is not the word for "instruction manual" in Japanese).

Usually you can tell Japanese apart from Chinese because Japanese has the squiggly things mixed in (hiragana), whereas Chinese is all complicated symbols (kanji).
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Re: Which one is hiranaga/katakana

Postby AJBryant » Thu 05.29.2008 7:45 am

arumanokokoro wrote:Arigatou gozaimasu everyone! It looks like i have my work cut out for me! I'm sure i will be able to recognise the difference soon.


And in not too terribly long, you'll be able to tell which of the kanji titles was in Chinese, and why. (Hint: the giveaway is the third kanji in both.)


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Re: Which one is hiranaga/katakana

Postby furrykef » Wed 07.09.2008 6:05 pm

AJBryant wrote:And in not too terribly long, you'll be able to tell which of the kanji titles was in Chinese, and why. (Hint: the giveaway is the third kanji in both.)


Not necessarily. Just because 説 is a Japanese character doesn't mean that the Chinese one isn't a Japanese one as well. (I'd have typed the Chinese one, but font limitations mean we can only type one or the other.) If you study the radical differences in radicals between the two languages, it's easy, but otherwise you can't necessarily tell.

Anyway, it's indeed very hard to tell the two apart in that picture without any knowledge of either language, because Japanese kanji are derived from Chinese kanji (called "hanzi" in modern Mandarin) and a very large number of characters look exactly the same between the two languages. You cannot write a complete sentence in Japanese with only kanji, though. You'd have to use hiragana, which is a dead giveaway that it's Japanese because the characters are simple and curvy, in contrast to the typically complex and angular kanji (or the simple and angular katakana).

Hiragana looks like this, using the first 15 sounds:
あ、い、う、え、お、か、き、く、け、こ、さ、し、す、せ、そ

The same sounds in katakana look like this:
ア、イ、ウ、エ、オ、カ、キ、ク、ケ、コ、サ、シ、ス、セ、ソ

And some randomly chosen kanji look like this:
竜、龍、水、金、好、休、安、全、百、吾、女、車、月、犬

Although a small number of kanji look like kana, and a few even look exactly the same: 力 could be "power" or it could be katakana "ka", 二 could be "two" or it could be katakana "ni". Sometimes the font distinguishes the kanji and kana, but often, especially in handwriting, you have to use context . And a lot of characters look like hiragana when written in cursive... but cursive Chinese/Japanese is hard for even natives to read, so you're not likely to have to deal with it.

They may all look like scribbly gibberish, but they're still very distinct kinds of scribbly gibberish. :P

Korean writing is extremely easy to identify. It looks nothing at all like Chinese or Japanese writing except that they sometimes have kanji (they call 'em "hanja") thrown in. For example, you see all those circles in the Korean writing? Chinese and Japanese do not use circles.

And yeah, Yudan's absolutely right that you're not gonna be able to read those instructions, unfortunately. You'll need a year or two of study first, and even then you'll still need a dictionary.

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Re: Which one is hiranaga/katakana

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 07.09.2008 6:38 pm

説 is a kanji that appears differently in Chinese and Japanese. You will never see 説 used in a post-war Japanese publication in the form displayed above in the Chinese instructions. The other form is just a variant, but variants have been discouraged in modern Japanese and Chinese -- they just happened to each choose a different variant to accept as standard.
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Re: Which one is hiranaga/katakana

Postby AJBryant » Wed 07.09.2008 7:18 pm

furrykef wrote:
AJBryant wrote:And in not too terribly long, you'll be able to tell which of the kanji titles was in Chinese, and why. (Hint: the giveaway is the third kanji in both.)


Not necessarily. Just because 説 is a Japanese character doesn't mean that the Chinese one isn't a Japanese one as well. (I'd have typed the Chinese one, but font limitations mean we can only type one or the other.) If you study the radical differences in radicals between the two languages, it's easy, but otherwise you can't necessarily tell.


Hint (again): look at the forms of the kanji. They are the same character, but the Chinese style is to write it differently from the modern Japaense form.

Anyway, it's indeed very hard to tell the two apart in that picture without any knowledge of either language, because Japanese kanji are derived from Chinese kanji (called "hanzi" in modern Mandarin) and a very large number of characters look exactly the same between the two languages.


Well, yeah. That's kind of the issue -- familiarity with the kanji/hanzi and writing systems. Like if I see 學 I'll know it's Chinese, vs. 学 which is Japanese (and, admittedly, the official PRC's version of the simplified form). But sometimes there are differences with the method of simplifying characters, so there is a Chinese form (the original), a Japanese version, and a modern PRC simplification. Yeah, keeping track of all those forms is annoying as hell.


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Re: Which one is hiranaga/katakana

Postby furrykef » Wed 07.09.2008 8:34 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:説 is a kanji that appears differently in Chinese and Japanese. You will never see 説 used in a post-war Japanese publication in the form displayed above in the Chinese instructions.


AJBryant wrote:Hint (again): look at the forms of the kanji. They are the same character, but the Chinese style is to write it differently from the modern Japaense form.


That's not the point. The point is you can't actually know that without either knowing one of the languages already or knowing the radical differences between the two languages. There was no way for me to know that they were the same kanji and I've finished Heisig's RTK1! (Yes, I could tell you which is the Chinese one and which is the Japanese one, but that's only after assuming that they're the same kanji in the first place.) Could you just assume with no prior knowledge that an element that looks like 八 and an element that looks like horns are the same radical? Of course not -- at least, not without context. If it would only make sense in the context for them to be the same kanji, as it would be here if you already know the word, then yes, it's a reasonable conclusion. If you don't know the word already, then you have no way of knowing unless you already know about this particular difference in style between the two languages' writing systems.

AJBryant wrote:Like if I see 學 I'll know it's Chinese, vs. 学 which is Japanese (and, admittedly, the official PRC's version of the simplified form).


Actually, 學 appears in modern Japanese in personal and place names too, but it's rather obscure, of course. A few names in ENAMDICT have this kanji, but I have no idea how well-known any of them are.

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Re: Which one is hiranaga/katakana

Postby becki_kanou » Wed 07.09.2008 10:20 pm

furrykef wrote:
Yudan Taiteki wrote:説 is a kanji that appears differently in Chinese and Japanese. You will never see 説 used in a post-war Japanese publication in the form displayed above in the Chinese instructions.


AJBryant wrote:Hint (again): look at the forms of the kanji. They are the same character, but the Chinese style is to write it differently from the modern Japaense form.


That's not the point. The point is you can't actually know that without either knowing one of the languages already or knowing the radical differences between the two languages. - Kef


That was exactly the point AJBryant was making when he said:
And in not too terribly long, you'll be able to tell which of the kanji titles was in Chinese, and why. (Hint: the giveaway is the third kanji in both.)


Once you become familiar with the kanji little things like this will become obvious to you. Although I think his estimate of " in not too terrribly long" is perhaps optimistic. :mrgreen:
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Re: Which one is hiranaga/katakana

Postby furrykef » Wed 07.09.2008 10:30 pm

Having learned to write 2,042 kanji, I'd say I'm well-acquainted with the kanji. I don't know terribly many words or readings yet, but writing, recognizing, and distinguishing the kanji is what RTK1 is all about. And it still wouldn't be obvious to me that they're the same kanji unless I were told that or, as happens here, if the Chinese version appeared in a word I already knew and it was obvious it was the same word.

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Re: Which one is hiranaga/katakana

Postby becki_kanou » Wed 07.09.2008 10:51 pm

Hmmm... I personally would not call that "being familiar with kanji" if you don't know how to use them and can't tell the Chinese version from the Japanese version.I guess I just don't see the point of being able to write all the kanji correctly if you don't have enough vocab/ grammar to actually USE them to write a real sentence.

But I think this is a debate that will never be resolved so we'll just have to agree to disagree.
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