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What is the Japanese Alphebet?

Discussion in 'The Crispy Calamari - Off-Topic Discussion' started by ReeSquidGig, Aug 10, 2016.

  1. ReeSquidGig

    ReeSquidGig Inkling Commander

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    I have been wanting to know this for the longest! but... for some reason, my college doesn't teach Japanese, which is stupid, but I have had this on my mind for the longest, and... I wonder if anyone HERE, knows. :)
     
  2. ReeSquidGig

    ReeSquidGig Inkling Commander

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    (Also to Asians, and Chinese, I hope this isn't offending you., I really don't know the difference, I am just stupid when it comes to other countries. ;):)
     
  3. Cuttlefish

    Cuttlefish ...........Oops! I fell asleep!

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    Japanese has three "alphabets".

    ひらがな (hiragana) - the main alphabet, used for phonetics, verb endings, particles, grammar stuff and words that aren't in kanji or katakana. easiest to learn
    カタカナ (katakana) - used for loanwords (foreign words) primarily. also used for SFX, slang, effect and some other uses. a tad difficult because a lot of its letters look the same
    漢字 (kanji) - the bulk of the language, pictograph symbols taken from Chinese and adapted into Japanese. generally are used for nouns and verb endings, there are thousands and thousands of kanji, but there's a lot of basic ones you can learn.

    you can find charts for these easily on google, and you can find flashcards and stuff as well :>
     
  4. ReeSquidGig

    ReeSquidGig Inkling Commander

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    ... I need the letters... one by one,,, ;):)
     
  5. Cuttlefish

    Cuttlefish ...........Oops! I fell asleep!

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    you can just google "hiragana/katakana charts" and go to images, you'll find a bunch of them :p
     
  6. Meta Knightmare

    Meta Knightmare Full Squid

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  7. Cuttlefish

    Cuttlefish ...........Oops! I fell asleep!

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    Slurmp and Meta Knightmare like this.
  8. BlackZero

    BlackZero Inkling Commander

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    Good luck finding a list for Kanji. There are well over 5,000 Kanji characters, but I think 5k is about what one needs to be "fluent" in reading it. These are iconographs that use "radicals" rather than letters. Basically, each Kanji breaks down in to component pieces. There's no real Kanji alphabet per se, though you can find an online Kanji dictionary that lets you search by radical.

    I only know this because I had to translate Japanese business cards, and I don't know Japanese at all. I had to search every Kanji character by radical until I found the right ones. It's a serious pain in the ***, and I hope Japan keeps moving away from it.
     
  9. SpiralRhapsody

    SpiralRhapsody Full Squid

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    My sensei told me 9000 kanji characters was the bare minimum :>>>>> killme

    and I don't think Japan is moving away from kanji anytime soon.
     
  10. BlackZero

    BlackZero Inkling Commander

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    (S)he may be screwing with you. The JLPT1, for all its flaws, actually tests reading comprehension, Kanji usage, and grammar well afaik and requires only about 2,000 Kanji/10,000 words to pass. There are just over 2k "Joyo Kanji" (regular use Kanji) according to Japan's ministry of education, and with only 1,903 of the most commonly used Kanji, you can hit approx 95% reading comprehension for typical reading needs. The most common 90,000 words in Japanese only use combinations of 4,606 Kanji, thus about 5k will cover most anything the average person needs. I can believe 9,000 if you want to read classical Japanese literature, but not for pop literature or functional literacy.

    With all that said, you should focus on learning how to derive, recognize, and use vocabulary instead of hitting a "Kanji threshold." By the time you hit 2,000 Kanji, you should gain sufficient recognition ability to figure out what several others mean without having to dedicate time to learning them. Focus on that rather than hitting a word count, and you'll be amazed how many words you can figure out without having to memorize them. I learned that lesson with Arabic: by learning base words, you can use that to figure out tons of other vocabulary. That is why the other Romance languages (Spanish, French, Italian) and Indo-European Languages(German, Farsi) are so easy compared to Semitic, or East Asian languages. If someone listed 10 random French words, the average English speaker could correctly guess about 6/10 just because of how similar they are to English words.

    You have to build that same word recognition with a completely new writing and grammar system. It will take time, and you'll have to learn enough vocab to do this; but always try to figure out what a word means based on its similarity to others you know. If you use blind memorization with Semitic or Oriental languages, you're going to have a bad time.

    Last I heard, many were moving away from it. Japanese students stop learning Kanji in their public education at the Middle School level. Granted, that's only the regular-use characters, but the fact that university students don't learn it unless they need to for technical terms in their field tells it is in the process of phasing out in lieu of Hira/Kata. I was wrong once though, so it could theoretically happen again. :p
     
    SpiralRhapsody likes this.
  11. SpiralRhapsody

    SpiralRhapsody Full Squid

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    Okay, in actual context, that's actually extremely likely, knowing her.

    themoreyouknow.jpg

    But you're exactly right, hitting a threshold is less productive than, idk, actually knowing what words mean lol
     
  12. BlackZero

    BlackZero Inkling Commander

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    Someone wanted a Kanji dictionary. This is probably your best bet. Good luck: there are about 54,000 Kanji characters, so you may be here a while if you want to look at every last one. You're better off getting an Anki deck that starts with the most common Kanji and reviewing that imo. Also, look in to Remembering the Kanji. It can be very intimidating having to learn 2000 images that translate into words, but you already do this. Look at your computer: you have icons for Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Word, Steam, etc. Look at this site: you already know what words :), ;), :mad:, :cool:, and :D equate to. These are nothing more than iconographs just like Kanji (albeit with a different design).

    You already associate images with words, ideas, or things. You're just using that in a different capacity than you're used to, but you convert pictures/icons into words every day, and there's no telling how many of these you know for English. So, don't get intimidated by having to learn a bunch of Kanji. You probably already know thousands of English Kanji equivalents and didn't even realize it.
     
  13. ReeSquidGig

    ReeSquidGig Inkling Commander

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    I am oh-so mad!:( I tried my best to draw the symbols so I could remember the alphabet, but I got TOO confused with it, so I think it is best to not know it. #(I feel bad for the Asians who have to write those symbols day-by-day! just for school!)
     
  14. ReeSquidGig

    ReeSquidGig Inkling Commander

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  15. SpiralRhapsody

    SpiralRhapsody Full Squid

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    Welcome to learning a new language.
     
  16. ReeSquidGig

    ReeSquidGig Inkling Commander

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    I cannot tell if I am fighting with the same people or not!
     
  17. ThatSquidYouKnow

    ThatSquidYouKnow Inkling Commander

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    ??? it’s been 2 years
     

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