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Post Reply 冊のパーフェクト漢字教室
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Posted 12/19/14
Excellent work as always! That lesson has radically improved my understanding of kanji! < 申し訳ありません!>
Ahem.
I love the use of "88888" as applause, that's really neat! Do you think they use the number 5 as a motivational shout?
先生
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Posted 12/19/14
I know! 8888 as an applause is really awesome Also, I've never seen 5555 used by itself before, but I did once see 2525. I had no idea what 2525 meant 'til I looked it up. Apparently, it stands for niko niko ("Smling"). Isn't that awesome? I love Japanese internet slang!
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Posted 12/20/14
I didn't know about 2525 either! Darn, all that time I spent on NicoVideo and I know, like, nothing about what people write in the comments Got to do my homework, I guess ┐(︶▽︶)┌

Thanks for yet another piece of knowledge!
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Posted 12/21/14 , edited 12/21/14
LESSON 6 – 第6課

こんにちはぁ~ じゅぎょうがはじまりまぁ~す

Hello again, everyone! Today, as promised, will be the last theoretical lesson about kanji. What do you mean by “theoretical”?, you may ask. Well, it's not like there will be no theory at all during next lessons – it's just that from lesson #7 (and on) we'll be discussing actual kanji one by one, not just talk about it.

So anyway, I was thinking about introducing you to several different types of kanji. Again, this is not something you will absolutely need to know when learning kanji – you might as well treat it as a piece of trivia. And, indeed, it appears to be so, as from what I read about it the division seems to be somewhat obsolete and unclear. I thought it might be interesting anyway.

Truth is, I have a very vague idea about the subject so all that appears in this lesson could be most probably found somewhere else on the Web. So in fact, unless you already know about these categories, then I'll be learning alongside with you during this lesson :)

The division of kanji into categories has its origin in a Chinese dictionary Shuōwén Jiězì (說文解字), written by a scholar from the times of Han Dynasty, Xu Shen (許慎). He enumerated six categories of kanji (六書 - liùshū in Chinese or りくしょ in Japanese). The first four categories inform us about the way the characters were formed, i.e. about their structure; the last two are connected with their usage – these are also the characters whose meaning has evolved to some extent.

Without further ado, let's head to the categories themselves:

- Shōkei moji (象形文字) – Japanese translation of the word shoukei would be something like pictographs and it's also the word used to refer to Egyptian hieroglyphs. Hieroglyphs, you might recall, were pictures that stood for the things they actually represented, e.g. a hieroglyph of a dog would mean dog. Kanji characters of a shoukei category are pretty much the same, in that the character actually resembles the object it refers to.

Examples: 木 (き; “tree”), 日 (ひ; “sun”), 目 (め; “eye”), 山 (やま; “mountain”), 人 (ひと; “person”)

Now you may say that some of these characters don't look even remotely like what they're supposed to depict. 月 (つき; “moon”), which also falls into this category, bears almost no resemblance to the celestial body we see so often in the night sky. But that's only because of the fact that kanji as we know today were not the same in the past. 月, for instance, actually was a crescent moon (like ☽ ) while 日 was a circle with a dot inside (☉).

Speaking of “older” forms of kanji characters, I'll try to include these along with the actual characters if I'll be able to find them somewhere. It's what my teacher does during kanji classes and I think it's quite interesting (and sometimes amusing since we often make weird interpretations of what the character depicts; it gets awkward at times, too).

- Shiji moji (指事文字) – shiji characters are so-called ideographs – kanji that refer to abstract concepts instead of objects. Because of this, figuring out what a kanji like that stands for is kind of impossible. Okay, maybe not impossible but hard in general. Let's take 上 (うえ; “up”) or 下 (した; “down”). In the first character the ト-like element is above the horizontal stroke, while it's below in the second one; hence, the meaning could be derived by just looking at them. But then, would it occur to you (assuming you haven't seen the character before) that 明 stands for “light”? True, it's composed of “sun” and “moon” which both give off light – however, as far as Japanese is concerned, it could mean anything for a beginner (if they're both celestial bodies, then why shouldn't 明 mean “stars” or “planets”?).

- Kaii moji (会意文字) – the so-called compound ideographs. Instead of compounding kanji into words (e.g. 重力; じゅうりょく; “gravity”) they were made into entirely new kanji with new meanings (e.g. 動; どう; “motion”). Other examples include: 鳴 (る; “to ring, to sing” | from 口 and 鳥), 男 (おとこ; “man, male” | from 田 and 力) or 森 (もり; “forest” | from 木 used three times)

- Keisei moji (形声文字) – the bread and butter of Japanese contemporary kanji, said to comprise about 90% of what you can read in an average Japanese text. These are called phonetic-ideographic characters (形; かたち; “shape” | 声; こえ; “voice”), which basically means that one element of the kanji hints at its meaning, while the other suggests its pronunciation. Most usually, the semantic element (the one that carries meaning) is on top or on the left side of the character, while the phonetic element (the one that carries sound) is either on the bottom or on the right side.

Recall the character for bronze? 銅 is a perfect example of keisei characters (with 金 radical suggesting it being a metal and 同 element informing us about its pronunciation). In this case, the semantic component is on the left, while the phonetic one is on the right.
As for the example where the semantic element is on top and the phonetic one on the bottom, I've been unable to find one (even though it was supposed to be a tendency, huh). Actually, I've found something quite the opposite in this character: 盲 (モウ, めくら; “blind” | from 亡; ボウ, モウ; “deceased” and 目; め; “eye”).

- Tenchū moji (転注文字) - “derivative characters”, those whose meaning is extended. In other words, these would be kanji that acquired a[n additional] meaning over time. Or at least that's what the websites say. The only example that I've been able to find on three independent websites was 楽 (ラク, ガク). This character, you see, was originally associated with music (as in 音楽; おんがく; “music”) and had no other meanings. However, since some point in the past it was also started to be used in context of “comfort”, “ease” or “relaxation”, supposedly because listening to music evokes these emotions. If we were to believe Auntie Wikipedia, then 楽 means “music” as ガク and “comfort” as ラク.

- Kasha moji (仮借文字) – kasha characters are phonetic loans, which are used solely for their phonetic properties with absolute disregard for their original meaning. For example, take 来 which originally (that is, in Chinese) meant wheat and was adapted into Japanese as “to come” solely because it sounded to them like the verb in question. Remember man'yougana? I believe we're dealing with something very similar here.

Again, sorry for the lesson to be so half-assed but my knowledge about the subject is really minimal as there are very few sources on which I can base. I hope it made some sense to you at the very least :)

Unless I become so entangled with Christmas preparations that I won't have a minute for myself (unlikely) I'll be publishing my first few characters very, very soon. We'll start easy – numerals, hours, dates, etc., gradually moving towards the harder ones. You get the gist.

So anyway, see you all till then! In the meantime, enjoy the incoming Christmas!

ごくろうさまでした!

 



先生
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Posted 12/22/14
いつもありがとうございま〜 2525 I absolutely love reading your lessons and learning from senpai!!!

Like you, senpai I also knew some of this about kanji, like some are used phonetically, while others are like pictographs. It's amazing to see how ancient Chinese, like that used in seal script looks nothing like modern Chinese. Do you have a favorite kanji character senpai? Mine is 福 I even have a pair of glasses with that character on the sides of the glasses (Wow I sound like a total otaku ) Anyway, have a very Merry Christmas everyone! And ooh yay I love Kanji numbers and also how Sunday and Monday are like almost the same in Japanese: 日曜、月曜 (Sun+day =Sunday; Moon + day = Monday)
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Posted 12/22/14
ありがとう、先生 (//▽//)

Hm, I've never really thought about my favourite kanji but I guess I could say it's 冊. I've used it as a nickname in a couple of other sites and it also reminds me of the time when I actually read books TAT. I mean, I still love them but I find it hard to find time to read lately. And, wow, it's nice to have something personal with a Japanese theme to it But don't worry, you're not an otaku (in that you're not fixed just on one thing and do have some social life, right?).

And yeah, it sort of surprised me when I realized how similar these days of the week are. Wonder if it's merely a coincidence, huh.

And, of course, Merry Christmas to you all as well!
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Posted 12/22/14
That's cool your favorite kanji is 冊! Isn't it used as a book and magazine counter? Also talking about otakus, I've once read somewhere that otaku means "you" Is that true senpai? Also, I was watching an anime today and a girl said "Anata-sama" I'm confused about anat now because my teacher said you should;t really use anat in a formal situation since the other person would consider it rude. So senpai, what do you think of "anata-sama" it sounded kinda strange to my ears

Also did you draw that picture? if you did: すごい絵ですよねー 8888 ^^
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Posted 12/23/14
Yeah, that's exactly what 冊 is used for As I said, I wanted to make some reference to books.

Literally, otaku means "house". Yes, it can mean "you" but also "your family", "your husband", "your organisation", "your house/home" - it would be one of these terms where we make the distinction between 内(うち; all that's closest to you, usually within the limits of your own household)and 外(そと; everything that's not 内). Anyway, this word is extremely formal and honorific and you don't really hear it in your average conversation. The otaku (I mean the other group of people fanatically obsessed with sth), however, having very little social interaction outside of their tiny group of co-enthusiasts, tend to use such vocabulary sometimes. At least that's what I heard.

Anyway, I would discourage any of you to call themselves an otaku. If you love anime/manga and such, you're simply a fan, an enthusiast. Otaku, in case you didn't realise, is a very derogative term in Japan as it refers to people to have little to none social life and that have given up everything for their hobby (although the word hobby would be an understatement here). Keep in mind that not all otaku are M&A diehards - it can be any other hobby as well.

Hm, so I'm not an expert but "anata" sounds somewhat straight-forward and, since Japanese language is based on several levels of honorification and such, I would refrain from using it towards my higher-ups, people with more authority, etc. I've never really heard "anata-sama" being used and I'm not sure whether you could use it freely in a real-life conversation. Remember - it's an anime. And what we hear in anime is not always entirely correct. I, for once, have heard a guy from Bleach referring to himself as "ore-sama". Now that's something you really wouldn't use in a formal conversation.

No, no, no - I didn't draw it! Sweet goodness, if I only could draw like that... Anyway, no, it's a fragment of a manga panel from one Touhou Project doujin by Kamo Nari. All I did was to give it some colour, insert the text and put the hats on Cirno's and Rumia's heads. I love this artist's style - so simple yet very warm and cute. And the story... (*ノ▽ノ)

先生
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Posted 12/23/14
Senpai, I was researching anata-sama and I found this:



I think it's one of those rare words that are hardly ever used. Anyways, which character form Bleach said "ore-sama"? Someone who thinks highly of himself, probably! I'm just interested in seeing which character said that since I love Bleach so much! Also, speaking about "otaku" I feel like in the Western world, "otaku" doesn't carry the negative connotation it has in Japan. For instance, do you know there is a magazine called "Otaku USA"?

Also, your coloring in that picture is really good! What program did you use to color it?
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Posted 12/23/14
Oh yeah senpai i was just reading a manga and this really bothered me how they left it untranslated. Is he actually saying anything ?

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Posted 12/24/14 , edited 12/24/14
Okay, so I was wrong about the usage of 'anata' (as usual). I guess I should stop depending on my [near-zero] knowledge of conversational Japanese. As I had said once, I should probably stick to writing Oh, and thank you for the explanation as well, 先生.

If I remember correctly it was Shiba Ganju - the guy with explosives that accompanied Ichigo to save Rukia.

Yeah, I guess it doesn't have the negative meaning only because most people don't know what it actually stands for and it became kind of equivalent to 'anime/manga fan' in the West. I still ask you to be careful with that - you probably wouldn't want to say that to a Japanese person. Oh, and I haven't heard of a magazine like that but we have a similar one in Poland (called simply 'Otaku').

Thanks, but I feel I needn't have used so much blue colours (Cirno is an ice fairy but still). And the program is called GIMP. Some people say it's something like a freeware Photoshop, although I've no way of confirming that It's really fun to colour black and white manga panels in this way - reminds me of these books for kids And it's super easy - a 5 minute YouTube tutorial would do to get the gist of it. Of course, unless you wanted to do some more advanced stuff, whatever that might be. I stick to simple colours.

Oh, and about that panel below, I'll try to have a look at it in a while. At the first sight it doesn't seem like standard Japanese to me. And oh my God, this footnote (funky Buddha talk) is pure gold.

EDIT: It is some funky Buddha talk indeed. I can't make heads or tails out of it and the lack of kanji just worsens everything. It might be the case that it's some sort of sutra (hence the lack of kanji) but that's only my speculations. Can't know for sure.
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Posted 12/24/14
I love learning about conversational Japanese (even though my textbook doesn't teach it). I usually depend on the book "Japanese the Manga way" for all my informal/conversational Japanese knowledge!

Oh! Shiba Ganju! I totally forgot about that guy! Also, that's true. I'd never refer to myself as an otaku to a Japanese person! I've never heard of GIMP. I have photoshop but I barely use it. The last time I used it was for a Crunchyroll Halloween contest. I'm a more traditional person--I prefer paper and ink! I even have sumi watercolors and a personalized, hand-carved hanko! (I added Copic markers to my Christmas list--you know those markers the manga pros use to color in their work! I hope I get them tomorrow...they're really expensive markers )

The "funky Budda talk" footnote was so funny! And wow, I bet the author just made up some random words, no wonder why no-one can understand what this guy is saying, not even the characters in the book understood him!
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Posted 12/27/14
I'm planning to post another lesson in a few, probably tomorrow, so have no worries, I haven't forgotten about this thread, guys.

For now, I'd like you to check a sheet for the first kanji character I've prepared and tell me whether you like it or not (i.e. if it's too cramped, hard to decipher, too many shades of grey used, too many/few examples, etc.) I'd really love some feedback so I could improve it if necessary!

Here you go: http://1drv.ms/1t97WLN

では、また明日~♪
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Posted 12/27/14
Awesome job senpai! I love it how it says "no goddamn copyright at all". I have no problem with the gray color scheme at all. The only advice I can add is: my kanji book ("Essential Kanji") also includes the handwritten and calligraphy form of each kanji character, so if you can also add that on top near the stroke order diagram, that would be awesome. If you can't, I'd understand! Anyways thanks for all your hard work and effort:) 一 is also the first character in my kanji book! また明日ね〜。(*^^*)
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Posted 12/27/14
Hm, I had a feeling I was missing something! I had handwritten examples in my old dictionary, too. I'll make sure to add it, thank you!
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