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Kun-yomi vs. On-yomi?

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Kun-yomi vs. On-yomi?

Postby Sachi » Fri 10.28.2005 9:51 am

With kanji, is there any rule or outline on which pronunciation to use? Such as, any tips, tricks, ect.? Or is it strictly memorazation?
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RE: Kun-yomi vs. On-yomi?

Postby Harisenbon » Fri 10.28.2005 10:24 am

Kun-yomi is generally used for names or for when the kanji is used by itself.

On-yomi is usually used for words in which two or more kanji appear together.

However, like all things, there are many exceptions, so you just have to learn which words use which.

One trick to remembering some pronunciations for kanji is that the left half of the kanji usually gives a clue to it's pronunciation. For example
兼's on-yomi is ken
so is: 謙 and 嫌
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RE: Kun-yomi vs. On-yomi?

Postby JoshM » Fri 10.28.2005 10:55 am

In fact, there is no real rule. As said above, kun is generally used as a word alone and on is used in compounds, but this rule is very, very inconstant, as in the word 天 (ten) or in the word 缶 (kan which means "can", as in "canned peas". ;D).
I highly suggest that, if possible, you read that article, written by Jack Halpern, one of the most acknowledged researchers on Japanese Language: http://www.kanji.org/kanji/japanese/writing/outline.htm.
Last edited by JoshM on Fri 10.28.2005 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Kun-yomi vs. On-yomi?

Postby InsanityRanch » Fri 10.28.2005 3:05 pm

The only "trick" I can think of is that if you see okurigana, you're almost certainly dealing with kun-yomi. Tatoeba, a word like "読み方" (yomikata, the way a word is read) has that み inside, so you can immediately see that it is going to be kun-yomi. If you know a little grammar, you can spot okurigana.

If you see なor some form of するright after one or more kanji, there is a very good chance the on-yomi pronunciation will be used. (Na-adjectives and suru-verb-forming nouns tend to be on-yomi.) This is complicated a bit by the fact that some na-adjectives seem to be written with one kanji (instead of two) plus one or two kana: tatoeba, 静かな、柔らかな、穏やかな...

And if you see a slew of kanji in a row with no intervening kana, expect on-yomi. (Newspaper headlines are especially prone to this! As I write this, the top headline at Asahi-com is 米首席副大統領補佐官を起訴. Huh. Some good news for a change!)


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RE: Kun-yomi vs. On-yomi?

Postby Sachi » Fri 10.28.2005 6:19 pm

Thanks a lot ^^
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RE: Kun-yomi vs. On-yomi?

Postby ryuubu » Wed 11.02.2005 1:31 am

Sometimes for names, the kanji has a special reading called nanori (名乗り) and there are TONNES of these. Some kanji don't have onyomi readings, these are usually kokuji (国字) - kanji made in Japan and not used in China.
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