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Post Reply 冊のパーフェクト漢字教室
先生
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Posted 12/8/14 , edited 12/14/14


MidorikaSatsu センパイwas the one who suggested this thread, and I give him complete control over this thread. So if you have any questions about Kanji, or the Japanese writing system ask him. I find Kanji to be difficult, so it's nice to have a place to learn and to discuss everything pertaining to Kanji!

Let's start learning!
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Posted 12/8/14
みんな!さつのかんじきょうしつはじまるよ!

Hopefully I'll be as good a teacher as Cirno was.

Anyway, hello everyone! This thread (created with イチ先生's blessing, whom I need to thank for helping me start this) will be fully dedicated to learning how to write in Japanese from the very basics; that includes both kana and kanji. In the first few posts I'll be trying to discuss what kanji actually is, where it came from and provide some insight in general to the best of my ability. After the purely theoretical part I'll move on to kana – while some of you may already know it well I'll cover it nevertheless, having in mind those who only began their adventure with Japanese.

Then comes the Kanji alphabet. Again, it's best if we start from the simplest ones and then move towards the more complex ones. Every single character shall be fully described (its meaning, pronunciation, the order of writing and examples in form of words and sentences). As for how many of them to post daily, I've yet to decide. Perhaps 7 kanji a week doesn't sound quite bad. Although, when we'll be dealing with easy ones, I might post 2 or 3 at once.

Of course, if you have any questions, suggestions or when you've noticed that I made a dumb mistake, then please don't hesitate and tell me right away! As I said before, I'm still a student myself so both my knowledge and abilities are limited; that said, I still bear responsibility for what I write. In short: if I'm wrong, then by all means correct me! For everyone's benefit :)

That's enough foreword, I think. See all of you later then, I'll be posting my first "lesson" very soon.

行ってきま~す
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Posted 12/8/14 , edited 12/8/14

Wow, great foreward せんぱい!I can't wait to read your future posts, and I already have some questions about kana, so I know in the future I'll ask you those questions. In the meantime, thank you for all your dedication! And when I was first started studying kanji, i found the easiest kanji to be:
一 = 1
二 = 2
三 = 3
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Posted 12/8/14 , edited 2/19/15
Haha the easiest kanji for me is:
早期教育= soki kyoiku= early education
精霊= seirei= genie/spirit
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Posted 12/9/14 , edited 3/13/15
LESSON 1 ー 第1課

1. What's the writing system in Japan like?

Japanese writing system consists of:
- a set of logograms (or ideograms; characters or symbols which carry meanings) of Chinese origin – kanji (漢字)
- two syllabaries (where the characters stand for syllables, or moras, instead of just consonants and vowels) – hiragana (平仮名/ひらがな) and katakana (片仮名/カタカナ); these two tend to go under the same term - kana

Kanji (hanji in Chinese; 漢字 or 汉字), which literally means “Han characters” is said to have first come to Japan in 5th century AD, when a scholar named Wani (王仁) was sent to the country, bringing with him teachings of Confucianism and knowledge of Chinese characters. Thanks to this, Japanese people were able to adapt hanji for the purpose of creating their own written language.

At first, hanji was used in a manner not very different from the nowadays' use of kana. Let's take a Japanese word for „country”, which is nowadays written like 国(くに; kuni). Now try to imagine it written like 久仁, where the characters' pronunciation is, respectively, ku and ni. Although these stand for „a long time” and „virtue”, the Japanese didn't care much about its meaning. This was called man'yōgana (万葉仮名) and it was, in a way, a protoplast for kana syllabic scripts. Although its role was later taken by hiragana or katakana and its hardly ever used today, there are some remnants of it in contemporary Japanese, such as the name of one of the earliest capitals of Japan, Nara (奈良).

Kana, as previously stated, is a product of various simplifications of the man'yōgana system.
Hiragana derived from the cursive style of Chinese calligraphy. Just as the original script, one of the characteristics of hiragana is that the symbols look very smooth, as opposed to the angular kanji characters or katakana. Since it was mostly used by women in the past (learning Chinese along with the characters was a privilege given only to the men born in the upper class), it has acquired an alternative name onnade (女手), which means “women's writing”; the term can be also used to express various activities traditionally associated with women (e.g. ikebana). Murasaki Shikibu (紫式部), the authoress of The Tale of Genji (源氏物語/げんじものがたり) used hiragana throughout the entire 54-chapter-long novel.

As for katakana (片仮名/カタカナ), it is also a simplified man'yōgana, said to have been created by a Buddhist monk named Kūkai (空海) in 9th century. Kata (片) in the word katakana stands for “partial” or “fragmented”; this is so because katakana symbols are basically fragments present in kanji they were derived from. Consider 加 (meaning “add” or “increase”). The element on the left side of the character (or the so-called radical or 部首/ぶしゅ) was the source for katakana's symbol カ.

2. How does it work?

Kanji make up a considerable part of the Japanese writing system; Dai Kan-Wa Jiten (大漢和辞典), which is considered to be the most comprehensive dictionary in Japan lists about 50,000 characters. Of course, there is not a single person on Earth who would know all of them; an average university graduate knows about 4,000 characters. What makes logographic writing systems such as Japanese different from, let's say, Latin script, is that a primary school child born in the West is able to read a newspaper, even the meaning behind some words remains a total mystery to them. A Japanese kid can't pull out the same trick – pronunciation of an unknown character is not something you can just figure out easily, after all.

Technically speaking, it is not impossible but, in general, largely unpredictable. There are kanji which consist of elements that can be found in another kanji; for instance, one that determines the character's meaning and the other one that points at the pronunciation.

The character for “bronze” (銅) would be a perfect example of that. We can see that it's composed of the following elements: 金 and 同. 金(かね、かな、きん、こん)can mean “metal” - and bronze is a kind of metal, right? Then, 同(どう、おなじ), although its meaning (“the same”) has little to do with bronze, gives us information about the character's pronunciation (どう/dō).

As you may have observed, a single character may possess several different ways of reading. Some have just one, e.g. 週(しゅう); others around a dozen, like 下(か、げ、おりる、おろす、くださる、くだす、くだり、くだる、さがる、さげる、した、しも、もと); and there are some special characters that are commonly used despite having no reading of their own, like 々 (called 漢字返し/かんじがえし; “kanji-repeater”), whose function is to repeat a kanji which would normally appear twice in a row in a compound (instead of 人人 “people” we usually write 人々).

The most common types of reading are:
- kun'yomi (訓読み; literally “meaning reading”) - the native way of reading characters. Usually used in a single-character words (e.g. 水/みず/mizu; “water”), proper names, first names and surnames (e.g.山本/やまもと/Yamamoto); although please have in mind that it doesn't have to be limited just to these. Also, there are characters without a native way of reading them (like aforementioned 週/しゅう/shuu; “shuu” being a reading of Chinese origin).
- on'yomi (音読み; literally “sound reading”) - the way of reading characters that was “borrowed” from Chinese and adapted into Japanese. Mostly present in compound words like 学校(がっこう/gakkou/”school”), with the exception of some proper names and single-character words (as above).

There are also mixed readings, where one word in a compound takes the kun reading, while the other takes the on reading, e.g. 重箱(じゅうばこ/juubako/”multi-layered food box”). In this case 重 is read according to its on reading “juu” and 箱 is read in kun'yomi as “hako” (h tends to turn into b or p in compounds). Others, like gikun (義訓) or jukujikun (熟字訓) give compounds a reading that is not based either on kun'yomi or on'yomi but is more concerned with its meaning, for example 大人(おとな/otona/”adult”) or 氷柱(つらら/tsurara/”icicle”).

Kana can be used in a variety of ways. Hiragana is often used for writing words that do have their equivalents in kanji but since they're used very commonly, like on a daily basis, the Japanese probably didn't want to waste their time writing the same complex characters over and over again. The word for “why?” (naze) is written in Kanji like 何故, although we can observe its hiragana version more often (なぜ). Also, we can use hiragana to write other, usually native Japanese words; children, whose knowledge of kanji is limited, obviously must use it as a substitute.

Moreover, and most importantly, hiragana is very often seen together with kanji as their grammatical endings that can indicate the reading of the character, it meaning, its lexical category (what part of speech it is: noun, verb, adjective, etc.), its tense (in case of verbs and adjectives; yes, adjectives in Japanese are flexed by tense) and possibly other that I forgot to mention.

Let's consider the example of 行く(いく/iku). We see that行くis a verb in a dictionary form (as the name suggests, its the form under which words in Japanese dictionaries are listed) in a present-future tense (as indicated by -u ending) whose meaning is “to go” and that it consists of both a kanji character and a hiragana symbol. The kanji itself in the context of くcan be pronounced like い/i or ゆ/yu (without a change of meaning, thankfully).

However, when we write行う, both the meaning and reading of the word changes completely. It is now おこなう/okonau and it means “to perform” or “to conduct”.

As for katakana, it can be used for:
- gairaigo – loan words, words of foreign origin (e.g. ケーキ/keeki/”cake”)
- onomatopoeia – manga panels are filled with these (e.g.ゴゴゴゴゴ; “menacing”)
- emphasis – comparable to writing in bold or CAPITAL LETTERS (e.g. ワタシ instead of 私; watashi, “me, I”)
- names of some animals or plants (e.g. アリ/ari/“ant”; it has its own kanji character 蟻but its rarely used)

Hiragana and katakana is also useful in dictionaries as they indicate different kun and on readings of kanji. Kun readings are marked by hiragana, while on – by katakana. An example from my dictionary:
使 ON readings: シ KUN readings: つかい、つかう Meaning: use

3. What happens now?

What I've just covered is merely the tip of the iceberg. This topic is huuuuge and it would probably takes weeks (if not months) of Web-browsing and consultations to find out everything there is to know about it.

So, now that we're past this boring and chaotic prelude, I hope that you're not discouraged to run away If what I said isn't clear enough, then don't be afraid and ask – I'll try to find the answer you're looking for.

In the next lesson we'll move to practice, starting from learning to write hiragana.

お疲れ様でした!・おつかれさまでした!・Otsukaresama deshita!




先生
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Posted 12/9/14 , edited 12/9/14
すごい先輩!This post is awesome! Thank you so much for explaining the background of Kanji, Katakana, and Hiragana! I never heard of that dictionary you mentioned, The Dai Kan-Wa Jiten. I just looked it up and it looks interesting!

I do have two questions relating to kana:
1) When I was reading 「よつばと」 I came across this panel:



Isn't it grammatically correct to use the hiragana in こんにち ? Does she use wa instead of ha because she's a toddler, and presumably doesn't know much grammar? Also, I don't know if you're familiar with this manga, but the little girl, Yotsuba's speech is never ever in kanji--it's always spelled out in hiragana. Doe think the reason behind that is because she is a little girl? I really like the series! It;s just I've always wondered that!

Also, I saw this ad and was wondering why they put これ in katakana. After reading your post, I remembered they use katakana to emphasize some words. So is this a case of emphasis to emphasize that the best Ramen is HERE (at this restaurant, as opposed to other restaurants)?


Also, did you know Korean was also adopted from Chinese?

Some Hangul (Korean characters) remind me of Katakana like:
ㅁ= m (reminds me of katakana ロ )
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Posted 12/9/14
Thanks for the words of appreciation, 先生 - I appreciate them, if that makes sense

As for your questions:

1) I'm familiar with よつばと! I've read something like 2 chapters of it, if I remember correctly. It was a great source of fun for me and a great opportunity to get to know some useful phrases that can be used in everyday conversation. Anyway, it is indeed incorrect to use わ instead of は as a particle. It's just a guess but yeah, I think it might be because of little Yotsuba's age that it's written that way. The same goes for the usage of hiragana instead of kanji - a child of her age probably wouldn't know many characters either. I do believe I've seen the same process of substituting kanji with hiragana in other mangas - in those cases, though, the person speaking was rather airheaded and simple :D

2) Yes, katakana is used quite often in advertisements like that. Although I'm not sure whether the thing emphasised here is the restaurant (or ramen booth); after all, the word used is これ, not ここ. I'm not saying you're wrong, but for me it feels more like it's the emphasis of the statement in general: "It's delicious!!", as though 2 exclamation marks weren't enough ;)

3) I know that the Korean also used Chinese characters in the past and then they artificially created Hangul which is pretty much like Latin script (in that the symbols don't bear any meaning but only the sound) except that it's grouped into chunks of three. I haven't heard much more about the topic but I think it's possible that the Hangul symbols were, like katakana, based off Kanji. ㅗ (it's "o", isn't it?) personally reminds me of an element called なべぶた or "lid" which is present in some Kanji characters.

Thanks for feedback and if you have any more questions then just ask!

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Posted 12/9/14 , edited 12/10/14
You deserve the words of praise, senpai! Good work so far :D

Yotsubato is one of my favorite manga! It's good for beginners who find kanji overwhelming, since there's not that many kanji used in each book, plus ヨツバはかわいいです。And thank you, I agree--I also believe that she uses hiragana exclusively because of her young age. Next time, when I read manga, I'll also be on the look out to see if any other characters use only hiragana, but I'll doubt if I'll find any!

And you're right senpai--in that ad they were probably using katakana to point out that the ramen is delicious :D

Yes ㅗ is "o" ㅛ is "yo". Also ㅌ reminds me of a backwards ヨ!

And I was going through my Japanese papers, and I found these two sheets that my Japanese teacher handed us. I thought I'd share them with you, as they pertain to your post about kana:





I don't know why it posted my pictures sideways, there's no way to fix them Anyways senpai, I look forward to your next post!
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Posted 12/11/14 , edited 12/13/14
LESSON 2 – 第2課

Hiragana, some basic writing rules and stuff.

おはようございます、皆さん。 Today we're going to focus on one of the two Japanese syllabaries, that is hiragana. Now, I'm sure there are quite a lot people in our group who already know the basics and who find writing and reading kana easy, but there are undoubtedly also those who haven't had much contact with with beautiful language before. That's why I ask those who are familiar with hiragana to be patient till we get to more advanced stuff :)

Writing and reading. An interesting fact is that, due to technological advancement, more and more Japanese nowadays start to lose their ability to write kanji. Don't get me wrong – they are capable of writing without problems. It's just that because so many of them are now using mobiles or computers, where the input method is to write in kana and then select the character you had in mind (e.g Microsoft IME, which most of you are probably using. Unless you're Mac or Linux). Because of that, their knowledge of kanji is more passive – they can read and recognise a character but have more problems with writing it.

Why am I even saying this? In a way, to make you realise that the world is advancing rapidly. While I want to teach you the basics and rules of writing, it might so happen that in a few years time our pen and paper will be replaced by keyboards, like they are planning to do in, if I remember correctly, in Finland in 2016 and all this knowledge will be for naught. Of course, I believe that traditional handwriting will stay with us for a long time, so have no fear I don't want to claim that we should be more Japanese than the Japanese themselves but it's a fact that it's virtually impossible to learn all these symbols through memorisation alone. In order to remember, you have to practice, and that means a lot of writing.

Before we get to the charts, let me give you a couple of rules which you should follow when writing kana. These are very simple and could be, in fact, summarised in this statement: from up to down and from left to right. All vertical and diagonal strokes should be written from up to down, like those in リ (ri) or い (i). There's an exception when it comes to katakana シ (shi) or ン (n), as the bottom strokes go slightly from down to up. Horizontal strokes go from left to right, as in こ (ko) or ニ (ni).

So far so good, right? Why don't we get started then?

As you might remember, hiragana is a syllabary, in that instead of consonants and vowels we're dealing with syllables or, more precisely, morae. What's a mora then? Auntie Wikipedia says (citing James D. McCawley) it is something of which a long syllable consists of two and a short syllable consists of one. Not clear enough? Let's take a look at an example, then. Let's take a word like おかあさん (okaasan; “mother”). In terms of syllables, we would divide it into something like”o-kaa-san”. In terms of morae, the middle long syllable “kaa” would be “ka-a”; just as the definition says, a long syllable consists of two morae. However, the ん (n) at the ending is the so-called moraic nasal and it also counts as a mora. So, the final representation of “okaasan” in terms of morae would be something like “o-ka-a-sa-n”

If that gives you a head ache, don't worry – you can happily live without that knowledge. If it helps you, just think kana as a set of symbols representing short syllables with an exception of “n”.

There 46 “basic” symbols, as presented in the chart below. These are called gojuuon (五十音; “fifty sounds); the name derive from the 10x5 (or 5x10) grid they're presented on. You can also see that they're arranged in a way which is not accidental – in almost each column (except the one with “n” and vowels alone) the symbol begins with the same consonant. Each column is named after the first symbol in the set, like あ行 (a-gyou; “a-line”) . Something similar happens when we look at the rows instead of the columns; here all symbols end with the same vowels. There's no fancy naming for them, though.




On the chart, I tried to show the order in which the strokes should be written and how many there are in total per each symbol. Have in mind, though, that the actual number of strokes may differ depending on a font used. It should also be obvious that handwriting and on-screen characters are two different things, so don't get discouraged if your hiragana doesn't look exactly like the one in the chart. Try searching for hand-written hiragana on the Web and you might see some differences. Right now I am out of my scanner's reach but I'll try to upload something like that once I have the possibility.

Before I forget to mention: the reason why I've marked both wi () and we () with red colour was to indicate that these symbols are pretty obsolete and they're hardly ever used any more. The only instances where I've seen them being used were two names of characters from Touhou Project (Inaba Tewi and Hinanawi Tenshi), the name of the author of Nichijou (Arawi Keiichi) and Yebisu (written ゑびす or ヱビス; also えびす and エビス), which is the name of a Japanese god of fishermen or a beer.

The best way to actually learn all these symbols is to try writing them by yourself! Just take a piece of paper (preferably a squared one – this will let you make sure that all of the symbols are of the same size) and start writing. You can either write one character repeatedly until you memorise it and/or become satisfied with the way it looks or you may try writing some words in Japanese that you might already know.

Oh, you're saying there's something missing? True enough – once you've mastered the gojuuon you're a l m o s t done, let's say that at this point you know about 80% of what you need to know (more or less). The stuff missing is dakuten, handakuten, sokuon, chouonpu and youon. Don't worry, it sounds scarier than it actually is. And it's not like you desperately need to know the nomenclature to use kana properly; I, for once, am living happily without that knowledge.

A pretty example I'm giving to you, eh?

Anyway, let's start with dakuten (濁点; “voicing mark”), colloquially called ten-ten (点々; “dots”) and handakuten (半濁点), also called maru (丸; “circle”). The colloquial names for them are the essence of what they are in terms of graphic representation, namely dots and circles. As for their function, it's pretty simple; as the name “dakuten” suggests, we use it to make the consonant sounds that we find inside kana symbols voiced. Consonants in か(ka)、さ(sa)、た(ta), etc. are voiceless. By adding a dakuten to the symbol: が(ga)、ざ(za)、だ(da); we can make them voiced.

Handakuten works in a slightly different way, in that the sound which we receive after combing it with sounds from the 'ha-line' (は行:は、ひ、ふ、へ、ほ) is p, which we can all agree is voiceless. Actually, handakuten can be also used with “ka-line” (か行:か、き、く、け、こ) to create a so-called “nasal muddy sound” or 鼻濁音 (bidakuon). The sound resembles an English “ng”, as in “singing”. Treat it as a piece of trivia, bidakuon is not used in normal Japanese (unless you're a linguist).



When looking at the chart, please do notice that both じ and ぢ are pronounced like “ji”. ず and づ are both “zu”. In most cases we choose じ for “ji” and ず for “zu”. You've got to be careful though, as there are words which prefer the second option. This is often the case with kanji compounds where some consonants in a specific position tend to get voiced. A word a like 近々(chikajika; “soon”) would be ちかぢか in hiragana and 片付く (katazuku; “to be put in order”) is かたづく.

Sokuon(促音) or, less formally, “little tsu” (小さいつ; chiisai tsu) serves as a geminate (or doubled) consonant. Unlike in English, these double letters are actually audible, usually as a sort of pause in speech. Make sure you pronounce it, so as to avoid saying a word you didn't intend to. Anyway, all you need to do is to put a small tsu (つ or ツ, depending on whether the text is in hiragana or katakana) in front of the symbol to make its consonant geminate. Examples: やった (yatta; “Yay!, Hooray!, etc.”), かっぱ (kappa), びっくり (bikkuri; “surprise”).

Chouonpu (長音符), also known as 音引き (onbiki) or 棒引き (boubiki), lengthens vowels; in a way, it's similar to sokuon. We use it after the symbol whose vowel we want to make longer, though, and there are more tricks to it than there are with sokuon:
- we lengthen “a” with あ: おかさん (okaasan; “mother”)
- “i” is lengthened with い: おにさん (oniisan; “older brother”)
- “u” is lengthened with う: くき (kuuki; “air”)
- “e”: we can lengthen it with え as in おねさん (oneesan; “older sister”) but it is actually very rare. In fact, there are more words in Japanese like せんせ (sensei; “master, teacher”) with the “-ei” part which is actually pronounced more like “-ee”. We can say that い could be the way of lengthening “e”. Don't mess up the spelling though.
- “o”: Another troublemaker. Just as above, it can be made longer by お, as in ほの (honoo; “flame”) but we see a combination of “o” and う more often, as in よい (youi; “preparation”). “o” + う is most usually pronounced like a long “oo”, except for when う ends a verb, like in と (tou; “to ask”)

Lastly, there's youon (拗音; “contracted sound”). It combines any symbol ending with “-i” (expect for い itself) with a small や(ya)、ゆ(yu) or よ(yo). What we get is a sound like きゃ(kya)、きゅ(kyu)、きょ(kyo), etc. (full list below in the chart).




And I believe that's all I had to say about hiragana. If not, then I'll tell you once I remember whatever it is. Also, please excuse my chaotic explanations; if there's something you don't understand and would like a more clear explanation, then I'll do whatever I can to satiate your need for knowledge :)

I made the charts in a hurry, so I won't be offended if you decide to look for something else on the Internet: there's a wide variety of choice over there, it's worth taking a look.

The next lesson will be about katakana.

おつかれさまでした!
先生
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Posted 12/11/14
ありがとうございました。Wow amazing post as always せんぱい!  You explain things way more in detail than my own sensei! For example, I never knew the formal names such as: Handakuten, Sokuon, and Chouonpu.

The only question I have is:
Are wi (ゐ) and we (ゑ) the only outdated Hiragana letters? My sensei didn't even mention the outdated Hiragana

And I have an idea: How about we make a thread where everyone compares their Japanese handwriting? I always love to see how people write Japanese!

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Posted 12/11/14 , edited 12/11/14
I didn't know the names either It's just that I'm trying to explain things in (too much) detail so I'm doing my homework And as I said before, what's most important is to know how to use it - the names aren't that important.

As far as I know, yes, wi and we should be the only ones. And no wonder your teacher didn't mention it - it's not such an important piece of knowledge after all. After an entire year in the university plus two months I didn't even have the opportunity to use either of these symbols in any text.

And the idea is awesome I'll contribute once I get my hands on the scanner.

Again, thanks for appreciation :D

ほめられてありがとう!

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Posted 12/11/14
Thanks for all your hard work :D

It's good you included the names, I love all aspects of grammar, even the formal names of grammatical aspects! And I'm sure plenty of old Japanese texts probably use wi and we, though I'm not at the level to be able to read old Japanese yet.

And let me know when you want create the handwriting thread, it'll be a fun thread!

Also I want to share something with you sensei said in Japanese class yesterday: he said 「バカ」comes from Tagalog. There is a Spanish influence in Tagalog (for instance "vaca" in Spanish means "cow"). Did you ever hear of baka being a word adopted from Tagalog?

Just to show you how Tagalog adopted some Spanish words here's how the days of the week are similar to Spanish:

Tagalog

Lunes
Martes
Miyerkules
Huwebes
Biyernes
Sabado
Linggo

Spanish
lunes (Monday)
martes (Tuesday)
miércoles (Wednesday)
jueves (Thursday)
viernes (Friday)
sábado (Saturday)
domingo (Sunday)


Sorry for that random piece of information above!
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Posted 12/11/14
Hm, I haven't heard about the origin of "baka", that's news to me. It's funny how they even made a whole Wikipedia page just for this word; there are various sources given, although I did not see Tagalog there. I'm not sure about that myself but it's an interesting possibility. After all, the kanji with which "baka" is usually written (when it's written with kanji instead of more common kana) represent two large animals as well: 馬鹿. 馬(うま)for a horse and 鹿(しか)for a deer.
先生
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Posted 12/11/14 , edited 12/11/14
I know, i haven't heard that version of the origin of "baka" either. I wonder if there's any truth behind it! And oh yeah senpai I forgot to ask, when would someone write kanji instead of hiragana? For instance, I almost always see "kawaii" written as かわいい. When would someone ever write it in kanji as 可愛い?Another example is I always see arigatou written as ありがとう。And only once I saw it written as 有り難う(but that was on a Japanese greeting card). I hope my question makes sense?
先輩(Moderator)
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Posted 12/11/14
Truth be told, I don't know really. Words like "arigatou" is one of these which are used nearly on a daily basis and thus they are used simplified to kana for convenience's reasons. You hardly ever see "baka" written with Kanji, too.

If I were to guess, maybe using Kanji would make the text look more formal, or maybe more "fancy" or sophisticated? Maybe it's similar to how they tend to use words of Chinese origin instead of more "native" ones in newspapers (like, instead of natively Japanese for "to use":使う - tsukau, they write 使用する - shiyou-suru)

Again, these are all wild guesses and speculations. Thanks for asking the question anyway!
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