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Kanji Readings

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Kanji Readings

Postby Schattenjedi » Mon 04.04.2005 10:03 am

While learning Kanji, I often write the pronunciation of the Kanji or Kanji compound in Hiragana, just in order to remember the pronunciation of the word. Up to this point, I haven't payed much attention to if a reading was Kun or On. My question is if there is any practical reason to adhere to writing the Kun and On readings in Hiragana and Katakana respectively?
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RE: Kanji Readings

Postby namiko » Mon 04.04.2005 10:45 am

i have that same situation too. i do the same thing. i never really think about on or kun because i dont really understand it.:o
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RE: Kanji Readings

Postby Schattenjedi » Mon 04.04.2005 12:20 pm

namiko wrote:
i have that same situation too. i do the same thing. i never really think about on or kun because i dont really understand it.:o


Kun are the Japanese readings, On are the Chinese readings.
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RE: Kanji Readings

Postby redfoxer » Mon 04.04.2005 1:35 pm

from what i know, kun readings are for when a kanji is seperated from other kanjis. When two or more kanjis are put together, the on reading is used. Think of it as when you put two or more kanji's together, it turns on. :D
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RE: Kanji Readings

Postby Mukade » Tue 04.05.2005 8:12 am

It's a good idea to know which reading is On and which is Kun.

The main reason is that the two are very rarely mixed, and the Kun reading is usually the one you'll use when the kanji is on its own (i.e., not attached to any other kanji).

For example, if I see the kanji 花 all on it's own, it'll most likely be read using its Kun reading (はな). If I see it in a compound word (a word combining two or more kanji), then I know all of the characters in the compound will (most, most likely) be read with either the On or the Kun.

Again, for example, using the same kanji:
in 花瓶, I use the On readings to get かびん
but in 花火, I use the Kun readings to get はなび

Concept-words tend to be read using the On reading, whereas place and people names tend to be read with the Kun reading (I say tend because it is a tendency, not a rule....and this is where it can get tricky). So, you would get, respectively:
思想 = しそう
松本 = まつもと

There are some rare exceptions where the On and Kun readings will be mixed, but they are rare. One common example is the word Sunday: 日曜日, where the kanji for "sun" is read with two different readings to get にち/よう/び.

---

So, knowing the On and Kun readings, and which is which, will help when you run into a word that you don't know, but you do know the kanji in that word.

Say, for example, you see the word 中華 on the side of a building one day. You'd say to yourself, "well, either that's ちゅうか (the On reading) or it's なかはな (the Kun reading)."

Knowing On and Kun will help you make an educated guess.

Does that all make sense?
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RE: Kanji Readings

Postby Spaztick » Tue 04.05.2005 8:55 am

I don't think of it myself as "on" or "kun," just whether or not if it's used in compounds.

It's kind of easy to tell when to use which in compounds, because some words are meant to be one word, but are still "seperate."

EX: waruguchi - to slander, to badmouth

it's made of warui (bad) and kuchi (mouth).

So, in this it's easy to tell because it's a bad mouth, not badmouth. Makes sense?

Now the word akka - to worsen (short for akuka).

It's the on reading of warui (aku) plus change (ka). A bad-change.

Of course, most of the time it's just easier to learn the word. :D
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RE: Kanji Readings

Postby Schattenjedi » Tue 04.05.2005 9:16 am

Thanks for your help, I understand it now. One more question though. In some simpler texts which avoid using kanji, I see that the words which would normally be written with kanji are written with hiragana even if they are composed of On characters. Is it safe to say that normally kanji are written in hiragana and only when a kanji is being spelled out for learning purposes (like in the "random kanji" box on the right side of the page) that the On are written in katakana?
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RE: Kanji Readings

Postby Spaztick » Tue 04.05.2005 9:41 am

Yea. The katakana is used only in foreign words and advertisements in the "real world."
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