女手

Discussions on Japan's history or Japanese books!
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magma
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女手

Post by magma » Sat 11.11.2006 6:58 pm

From Wikipedia:
When they were first created, hiragana were not accepted by everyone. Many felt that the language of the educated was still Chinese. Historically, in Japan, the kaisho form of the characters was used by men, so-called onode (男手, onode), "men's writing", and the sōsho form of the kanji was used by women. Thus hiragana first gained popularity among women, who were not allowed access to the same levels of education as men. From this comes the alternative name of onnade (女手, onnade) "women's writing". For example, The Tale of Genji and other early novels by female authors used hiragana extensively or exclusively.


So, historically-speaking, were spaces ever used in Japanese writing? This example seems to suggest that, even when writing in all hiragana, women didn't use spaces (although I'm not very good at reading calligraphy). Nowadays there are lots of all-hiragana children's books written with spaces, but are they a modern invention?
Last edited by magma on Sat 11.11.2006 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
神は、実に、そのひとり子をお与えになったほどに、世を愛された。
それは御子を信じる者が、ひとりとして滅びることなく、永遠のいのちを持つためである。

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AJBryant
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RE: 女手

Post by AJBryant » Sat 11.11.2006 10:10 pm

Nope. No spaces. Used to be no punctuation, either.

Japanese used to be far more inflected than it is today, and there were clear sentence-ending forms of verbs and adjectives, and when a non-ending form appeared, you knew the sentence wasn't over.


Tony

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flammable hippo
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RE: 女手

Post by flammable hippo » Sat 11.11.2006 10:17 pm

I think Tony cleared something up for me. I was always wondering since many people always say "it is very hard, almost impossible to read Japanese when only in kana" i would think to myself "then how did people read women's writing from long ago like Murasaki Shichibu's Tales of a Genji when it was written in all hiragana? So, maybe it was that since Japanese was inflected a lot more, it was easier to make things out than it is now and it was easier to read kana.
Two muffins were baking in an oven. One turns to the other and says "sure is hot in here." The other replies "AH TALKING MUFFIN!"

二つのマフィンがオーブンで焼かれていた。片方のマフィンがもう一方のマフィンに向かって、"暑いね”と言った。すると、話しかけられたほうのマフィンは"アッ!喋るマフィンだ!”と驚いた。 :)

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tanuki
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RE: 女手

Post by tanuki » Sun 11.12.2006 7:11 am

Ah, interesting.
僕の下手な日本語を直してください。

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Yudan Taiteki
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RE: 女手

Post by Yudan Taiteki » Sun 11.12.2006 9:42 am

flammable hippo wrote:
I think Tony cleared something up for me. I was always wondering since many people always say "it is very hard, almost impossible to read Japanese when only in kana" i would think to myself "then how did people read women's writing from long ago like Murasaki Shichibu's Tales of a Genji when it was written in all hiragana? So, maybe it was that since Japanese was inflected a lot more, it was easier to make things out than it is now and it was easier to read kana.


I'm not sure that's completely the reason -- a lot of it is just what you're used to reading. If native Japanese practiced all-kana reading from elementary school to high school, they would be able to read that fine.
-Chris Kern

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AJBryant
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RE: 女手

Post by AJBryant » Sun 11.12.2006 2:35 pm

Actually, extant Genji texts are FULL of kanji. That bit about women using "only kana" is vastly overstated.

Tony

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