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How easy is it to kanjify non-kanji text for learning?

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How easy is it to kanjify non-kanji text for learning?

Postby furrykef » Tue 07.01.2008 9:53 pm

I asked this in another thread, but since the thread wasn't really about this, I guess the question kind of got passed over. Sometimes there are good resources to learn from, but they only use romaji. Since I'm already almost through Heisig vol. 1 (and I'm finally actually finishing it -- only 163 more kanji to go), I don't exactly need to be shielded from kanji anymore... at least, not when they're Jōyō kanji. So if I make flash cards from the example sentences, naturally I'd want to use kanji the way the sentence would normally be written.

But I'm well aware there are pitfalls. "Noboru" could be 上る, 登る, or 昇る depending on the shade of meaning. The kanji for おばさん depends on whether the aunt in question is older or younger than the parent she is related to (and the same goes for おとさん and uncles). And of course sometimes kanji simply aren't used, at least much, in modern Japanese for certain things... 今日は! お早う御座います! 有り難う御座います! 此処に林檎が有る。 (こんにちは! おはようございます! ありがとうございます! ここにりんごがある。)

But how problematic is this, really? Dictionaries like Wakan show me when a word has multiple kanji, and they also show when a word is usually kana (in fact, Wakan doesn't even show the kanji versions of words marked "usually kana" if you tell it not to show them, which is the default setting). They don't always explain what the difference between kanji choices is, but I could always ask on a forum. So would it be a good idea to kanjify text in this manner, or is it too problematic?

(By the way, I'm well aware that writing personal names in kanji is problematic, so I'm not going to try it when I can't be sure that I'd choose the right kanji, or when the resulting kanji would be ambiguous. I'd spell "Tanaka" as 田中, but "Hajime" as ハジメ.)

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Re: How easy is it to kanjify non-kanji text for learning?

Postby chikara » Tue 07.01.2008 10:08 pm

Do you mean the automatic (machine) "kanjification" of kana only and romaji text?

If so I don't really see the point. There is an abundance of suitable learning and general reading material available in that (kanji/kana) format already.

furrykef wrote:..... Sometimes there are good resources to learn from, but they only use romaji. .....

In the context of learning the written Japanese language that is a contradiction ;)
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Re: How easy is it to kanjify non-kanji text for learning?

Postby furrykef » Tue 07.01.2008 11:04 pm

chikara wrote:Do you mean the automatic (machine) "kanjification" of kana only and romaji text?


No, I mean doing it by hand. I know better than to trust machines to that sort of task.

What I mean is, say, I have Barron's Japanese Grammar. It's a small little handbook, could probably fit comfortably enough in a pocket, and it has tons of full-sentence examples, but only in romaji. I think it'd be a shame to ignore all those sentence examples -- surely extremely useful for making flash cards -- merely because they're written in romaji.

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Re: How easy is it to kanjify non-kanji text for learning?

Postby Wakannai » Tue 07.01.2008 11:36 pm

if you know the words, then it's easy, if you don't then it's pretty much impossible.
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Re: How easy is it to kanjify non-kanji text for learning?

Postby furrykef » Tue 07.01.2008 11:55 pm

Why would it be impossible? The meaning of each sentence in English is provided along with the romaji sentence, so it should be possible to look up each word and get the right kanji.
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Re: How easy is it to kanjify non-kanji text for learning?

Postby Wakannai » Wed 07.02.2008 3:55 am

furrykef wrote:Why would it be impossible? The meaning of each sentence in English is provided along with the romaji sentence, so it should be possible to look up each word and get the right kanji.


Because the kanji used is not determined by the English translation.
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Re: How easy is it to kanjify non-kanji text for learning?

Postby furrykef » Wed 07.02.2008 4:23 am

No, but they are determined by their definitions, and knowing the English translation can help you identify the correct definition (and therefore kanji) in a dictionary. Let me try it right now. I'll flip through the book I mentioned until I find a hard-looking Japanese phrase.

Here's one:
Yachin ga takaku narimashita.
The rent became expensive.

At first I thought I didn't know any of these words, but then I remembered that "takai" can refer to price as well as height, but that still leaves two tricky words.

First try using the IME alone:
家賃が高くなりました。

I put "yachin" in Wakan and it verifies that 家賃 is "rent".

As I expected, it says "takai" is 高い. It also gives 高価い, but notes it as "irregular kanji usage" and the IME doesn't even offer it as an option, so no chance to make a mistake there.

"Narimashita" is obviously a conjugation of "naru". Here things do get tricky: Wakan offers both 成る and 為る with the meaning "become" for this word. I consult my student's dictionary and it gives only 成る for "become". So does Pocket Kenyusha. It's probably the right one. But, since none of Pocket Kenkyusha's example sentences use this kanji, it's probably better to leave it in kana. Thus, the IME got it right on the first try.

So far it doesn't seem so bad. Gimme a hard one, something that might be difficult for a neophyte like me to kanjify correctly, and let's see what I can come up with.

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Re: How easy is it to kanjify non-kanji text for learning?

Postby Harisenbon » Wed 07.02.2008 4:42 am

furrykef wrote:So far it doesn't seem so bad. Gimme a hard one, something that might be difficult for a neophyte like me to kanjify correctly, and let's see what I can come up with.


にわにはにわうらにわにはにわにわとりがいます  :mrgreen:

Spoiler:
庭には二羽裏庭には二羽、鶏がいます


also, 成る is not usually written in kanji, nor is 居ます.

Edit:
English version: There are two chickens in the yard, and two in the back yard. :lol:
Last edited by Harisenbon on Wed 07.02.2008 4:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How easy is it to kanjify non-kanji text for learning?

Postby furrykef » Wed 07.02.2008 4:53 am

That's cheating! I explicitly said that we're talking about sentences that have English translations. :P

Harisenbon wrote:also, 成る is not usually written in kanji


That is more or less what I concluded in my post. ;)

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Re: How easy is it to kanjify non-kanji text for learning?

Postby JaySee » Wed 07.02.2008 4:59 am

I guess it can be quite tricky if you're not used to kanji "in the wild". Aside from the words that are not so hard because they're either pretty much always or pretty much never written in kanji, there's the problem of homophones, there are words that essentially mean the same but (optionally) use different kanji depending on their nuance ('miru' and 'hakaru' are good examples here), and then there are words where you can simply choose whether or not you want to use kanji because both are ok.

I have always found it quite difficult to get from a dictionary whether I should use kanji for a certain word or not... my best bet (aside from just reading loads of Japanese and getting a feel for it that way) would indeed be to look at the example sentences in the dictionary you use and copy that. Alternatively you might try wwwjdic, where words are marked (uk) if they are usually written in kana (though I dont know how accurate this is).
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Re: How easy is it to kanjify non-kanji text for learning?

Postby furrykef » Fri 07.04.2008 12:15 am

So, nobody has yet given me examples of (realistic) Japanese sentences with English translations that might be tricky for me to write correctly in kanji. Despite Wakannai's insistence that It Cannot Be Done, I've yet to see what exactly the problem would be in kanjifying text.

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Re: How easy is it to kanjify non-kanji text for learning?

Postby yukamina » Fri 07.04.2008 1:11 pm

Okay here's a sentence. If you think it's too easy(or long o_O), I can try to find something else.

Jissai, watashi ga dono you ni gakushuu shita ka wo, shuuyaku shite kantan to iu to, bunpou nado ni sezu hitasura kyoumi no aru hon wo yomitsutsuketa to iu koto desu.
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Re: How easy is it to kanjify non-kanji text for learning?

Postby richvh » Fri 07.04.2008 1:56 pm

yukamina wrote:Jissai, watashi ga dono you ni gakushuu shita ka wo, shuuyaku shite kantan to iu to, bunpou nado ni sezu hitasura kyoumi no aru hon wo yomitsutsuketa to iu koto desu.


I see at least one error in there.
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Re: How easy is it to kanjify non-kanji text for learning?

Postby yukamina » Fri 07.04.2008 2:05 pm

richvh wrote:
yukamina wrote:Jissai, watashi ga dono you ni gakushuu shita ka wo, shuuyaku shite kantan to iu to, bunpou nado ni sezu hitasura kyoumi no aru hon wo yomitsutsuketa to iu koto desu.


I see at least one error in there.

Crap typo. So is it yomitsudzuketa?
Please correct any mistakes.
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Re: How easy is it to kanjify non-kanji text for learning?

Postby richvh » Fri 07.04.2008 2:32 pm

No, it's yomitsudzuketa. The auxiliary verb is tsudzukeru, not tsutsukeru.

Edit: Did you edit that from yomidzutsuketa? I could have sworn your last post said that before I replied.
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