Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Basic Kanji

Japanese Kanji Level-4 or Basic Kanji
The ancient characters adopted from the Chinese. They each convey an idea, and are used for nounsverbsadjectives, and adverbs. This collection of more than 7,000 characters usually has double meanings for each one, depending on the context and position in the sentence.
Kanji have two sorts of readings, i.e. ways of being pronounced: "on" readings and "kun" readings.
The "on" readings are based loosely on the original Chinese pronunciation of the kanji, and are typically used when a kanji is part of a compound, i.e. written with at least one other kanji to form a word.
The "kun" reading is used when kanji are used on their own, either as complete nouns in their own right or as adjective and verb stems.
On-readings are typically used when a kanji forms part of a compound word (usually a noun); kun-readings are normally used for single kanji, either as words in their own right, or as the stems of adjectives or verbs. Adjectives and verbs typically consist of a kanji followed by a hiragana suffix.
Take Note: There are exceptions to this rule. Most kanji have at least one on-reading and one kun-reading each, but plenty have no kun-reading and a few have no on-reading. Some use kun-readings, not on-readings, to make compounds. You just have to learn them case by case.

Kanji are inflected by hiragana that follow and particles give the case. Most words are written using kanji, though some have none and loan-words from other languages are generally written in katakana. The large number of homophones makes it highly desirable to use kanji and knowing them can help with memorising new words.
Note that writing kanji skillfully is significantly harder than reading kanji skillfully, since one must recall characters, not simply recognize them. Further, with Input Methods allowing one to write Japanese on a computer phonetically (by recognizing the kanji, not needing to produce them), the practical need for kanji writing skills is lower than in the past, but it is still fundamental to mastery of Japanese.

It is not simply an issue of memorizing 1,945 characters (or more for names) – the same character is pronounced in different ways and used in different contexts. Kanji are simply a large amount of data, and this is best learned over a long period of time.
here are three aspects to a particular kanji:
The character shape – the strokes.
The pronunciations, of which there are generally many.
The meanings, both of the individual kanji and its combinations.
There are a number of ways to learn the kanji. Rather than pick one, try to see how each of these works for you and combine them in your study.

One will learn kanji that make up a given word at the same time – for example, one will learn the word 日本 (Nihon, Japan) and, at the same time, the characters 日 (nichi, ni, sun) and 本 (hon, root).


Onyomi (音読み) is the Chinese-derived reading, which is most commonly used in compound words and for the numbers.
It may be useful to note that in most kanji databases, the on reading is written in katakana instead of hiragana.
一 (イチ), 二 (ニ), 三 (サン), 四 (シ) are the first four numbers and all are onyomi.


Kunyomi (訓読み) is the Japanese reading, which can be read as a separate word or can be used in compounds.
This reading is generally written in hiragana in kanji lists.
月 (つき, tsuki) and 日 (ひ, hi) are the moon and sun and are in kunyomi.




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