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Thread: Efficient Kanji

  1. #1
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    Default Efficient Kanji

    It always seems self-defeating when you've got a long and complicated kanji that only replaces one hiragana. It makes you wonder why they even made the kanji (yeah yeah, disambiguation...)

    But what are some of the kanji that save you the most writing?
    For example, 承りました The kanji, 承 replaces 5 (five!) hiragana: う、け、た、ま、わ. Now that's efficiency. Are there any other kanji you know that belong in the 5+ group?

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    Daimyo ***** dombay's Avatar
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    yea but that kanji's a bitch to write i think i'd prefer to write out all the furigana.

    think 鼠 or 鸚鵡

    Only three syllables each to them but people write them in Katakana because they're such difficult kanji to write!
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    Default Re: Efficient Kanji

    Quote Originally Posted by AtomicYak
    It makes you wonder why they even made the kanji (yeah yeah, disambiguation...)
    Well presumably they didn't. The character came from China and there was no other system around at the time, as far as I know. Hiragana were created later and derived from kanji, right?

    I'm fairly new to kanji, but I agree, sometimes it feels like a waste of time to spend so long writing a character that stands in for a single syllable in hiragana. Although it's much easier to read with kanji than with a full sentence of hiragana. I think in Chinese, the kanji characters (no idea what the Chinese word for kanji is) work much better because it's a simpler spoken language. No tenses, negative forms of verbs, etc. So you don't need some extra characters to disambiguate between tabemasu and tabemasen and so on.

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    Sorta. I only took a semester and a half of mandarin, but the way I understand it is that the Chinese just use additional characters to mark the grammar of a sentence. For instance, 了, "le", sort of acts as the marker for the past tense, as in "我愛你" ("I love you") versus "我愛了你" ("I loved you" or "I've fallen in love with you.") Any real Chinese speakers around to confirm this?

    As for efficient kanji, I like 働く.

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    Quote Originally Posted by enrique_suave
    Sorta. I only took a semester and a half of mandarin, but the way I understand it is that the Chinese just use additional characters to mark the grammar of a sentence. For instance, 了, "le", sort of acts as the marker for the past tense, as in "我愛你" ("I love you") versus "我愛了你" ("I loved you" or "I've fallen in love with you.") Any real Chinese speakers around to confirm this?

    As for efficient kanji, I like 働く.
    As I understand it, the "le" particle indicates that something has already happened, but doesn't amount to a past tense. For instance, you'd use it in a phrase like "I am married." ie, it's an indication that the marriage has already occurred. But the English translation is still present tense, not past tense.

    Anyway, this is sort of beside the point. In Chinese, kanji are more efficient because the word that the kanji stands for doesn't change. Instead of having a positive and a negative form of a verb, you just use the same form with or without a "not" (or "bu") in front of it. And instead of conjugating the verb for tense, you can use an extra particle. To be honest I don't know that much about mandarin; I lived with a native speaker for a year and have a teach-yourself book, but no formal study. It just seems that the kanji work better for Chinese because the spoken language is grammatically simpler.

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