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Thread: Japanese and Chinese Kanji

  1. #1
    Nihongo Learner hkBattousai's Avatar
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    Japanese and Chinese Kanji

    I am learning Japanese on my own. I finished grammer topics, and now I am studying on Kanji. I have already memorized about 150 kanjis yet.
    During my study I realized that some of Japanese kanji are same with Chinese kanji, also in the meaning.

    I want to ask that if Japanese and Chinese kanji are completely same, or Chinese kanji set encapsulates Japanese kanji set (I heard that Chinese language has no syllable alphabet like hiragana and katakana, if so Chinese language should have more kanji by simple logic).

    Can you explain it?

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    Tubthumper JimmySeal's Avatar
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    Most Japanese kanji are borrowed from Chinese, but there are still a few hundred that were invented in Japan and do not exist in Chinese, such as:
    “­@ž@”¨
    and the names of many fish.

    Others are simplified versions that are not the same as simplified Chinese characters:
    “Ç(=æ¤)@—³(=—´)

    And in many cases, the meanings have changed quite a bit, for example ‘ almost always means "write" in Japanese, while I understand that it usually means "book" in Chinese. Japanese has many words for book, but the most common one is –{ (and I don't think that –{ means book in Chinese).

    Many Hanzi don't exist as Kanji at all, a very common one being ni (=you) from "ni hao."
    Last edited by JimmySeal; Feb 15, 2007 at 09:17.

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    Resident Realist nice gaijin's Avatar
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    I'm in Taiwan now (out on a lark), which uses the traditional characters, and my friend's dad last night gave me several examples of kanji that are different in all three styles (Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Japanese Kanji). Quite interesting stuff.

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    Nihongo Learner hkBattousai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmySeal View Post
    And in many cases, the meanings have changed quite a bit, for example ‘ almost always means "write" in Japanese, while I understand that it usually means "book" in Chinese. Japanese has many words for book, but the most common one is –{ (and I don't think that –{ means book in Chinese).
    Exact meaning changes but it remains similar, is that what you say?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimmySeal View Post
    Many Hanzi don't exist as Kanji at all, a very common one being ni (=you) from "ni hao."
    It is first time I hear the word "Hanzi". What is that, can you explain?

    I read some topics on this China Forum thread, what I saw is that Chinese has about 20000 kanji, but not all of them are frequently used in daily life. Knowing 3000 of them works for a beginner, is that really so?

    I want to ask one more question, what is the Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese distinction about? How do they differ from each other?

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    Regular Member Supervin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nice gaijin View Post
    I'm in Taiwan now (out on a lark), which uses the traditional characters, and my friend's dad last night gave me several examples of kanji that are different in all three styles (Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Japanese Kanji). Quite interesting stuff.
    Yep, it's fun isn't it?

    For instance, 'Cantonese':
    œA“Œ˜b (Traditional)
    ›ö东话 (Simplified)
    L“ŒŒê (Japanese Kanji)

    Quote Originally Posted by hkBattousai View Post
    It is first time I hear the word "Hanzi". What is that, can you explain?
    I read some topics on this China Forum thread, what I saw is that Chinese has about 20000 kanji, but not all of them are frequently used in daily life. Knowing 3000 of them works for a beginner, is that really so?
    I want to ask one more question, what is the Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese distinction about? How do they differ from each other?
    'Hanzi' = Mandarin Chinese way of saying 'Kanji'.

    3000 characters would definitely not be beginner - it's more like advanced. Knowing 3000 would give you a very comfortable level of fluency in reading the demanding character-intensive materials like newspapers and articles.

    To put it very briefly, since the Communist Party came into power in China in 1949, the set of Chinese characters that had long existed -- Traditional Chinese -- was simplified in the 1950's for various (possibly political) reasons resulting in a new set of simpler characters -- Simplified Chinese -- that have been in use since. Due to the 'separation' of Hong Kong and Taiwan (long story for each), these places still use the original Traditional set today, whilst Singapore and Malaysia had decided to follow China's simplification. The Simplified characters have less strokes and are more phonetically based.

  6. #6
    ~‹óŽèŽÒ~ —À铠赞's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmySeal View Post
    And in many cases, the meanings have changed quite a bit, for example ‘ almost always means "write" in Japanese, while I understand that it usually means "book" in Chinese. Japanese has many words for book, but the most common one is –{ (and I don't think that –{ means book in Chinese).
    Many Hanzi don't exist as Kanji at all, a very common one being ni (=you) from "ni hao."
    for Information...:
    ‘=‘–{=书–{=book

    what is the meaning of 写真 in Japanese?
    Last edited by —À铠赞; Apr 23, 2007 at 05:17. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Tubthumper JimmySeal's Avatar
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    Interesting.

    ŽÊ^ means photograph in Japanese. It's pronounced "shashin." I think the Chinese equivalent would be xie3 zhen1.

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    ~‹óŽèŽÒ~ —À铠赞's Avatar
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    thx alot jimmy......^^

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    ~tanoshii StandAlone2323's Avatar
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    ive noticed that watashi (Ž„) means "I" in japanese but means "mysterious" in chinese.
    Œô“c˜Ò–¢ Kingdom:2008”N1ŒŽ30“ú

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    “ú–{Œê‚ÌŠw¶ tanhql's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StandAlone2323 View Post
    ive noticed that watashi (Ž„) means "I" in japanese but means "mysterious" in chinese.
    Ž„ mean 'private', not 'mysterious' in chinese.

  11. #11
    Resident Realist nice gaijin's Avatar
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    It also means private in Japanese, when used as part of a compound (ex 私立)

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    ~tanoshii StandAlone2323's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tanhql View Post
    Ž„ mean 'private', not 'mysterious' in chinese.
    huh, well never mind. at least i was write about it not meaning "I". I guess my memory doesnt serve to well...

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    Quote Originally Posted by hkBattousai View Post
    Exact meaning changes but it remains similar, is that what you say?

    It is first time I hear the word "Hanzi". What is that, can you explain?

    I read some topics on this China Forum thread, what I saw is that Chinese has about 20000 kanji, but not all of them are frequently used in daily life. Knowing 3000 of them works for a beginner, is that really so?

    I want to ask one more question, what is the Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese distinction about? How do they differ from each other?
    "hanzi"(汉Žšjmeans chinese words...
    yah, knowing 3000of them is pretty good for a beginner, because i don't think you really need to learn all of the words unless it's for a specific reason, because usually we don't use much of them.

    tranditional chinese is more like japanese kanji , and also used in taiwan..
    but simplified ones are the modern ones which most chinese people use, and after you learned the simplified ones you can sorta understand what the traditional ones mean too..even if it is writtened in a more complicated way.

    Quote Originally Posted by nice gaijin View Post
    It also means private in Japanese, when used as part of a compound (ex Ž„—§)
    i think Ž„—§also kind of means independent in Chinese.
    Last edited by hot12lips12; Aug 18, 2007 at 14:04. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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