Quote Originally Posted by Anatoli View Post
Proper names (place or personal) ARE confusing and difficult, even for Japanese, the names can have really unexpected readings or you may get them wrong. That's why a phonetic aid is sometimes essential.
Umm, that is exactly what I was saying. I was simply adding that it could also be used to help children, or foreigners. And not all proper names are confusing. Many are quite obvious to any educated Japanese person. And if you already knew the answer why were you asking a question?

Well, that's pure arithmetic, isn't it, less kanji, less problems? Instead of deciding between 言う/云う/いう just use いう.
In your example you are saying it would be better to write something like 話す、離す、放す all as はなす? How is that beneficial? Having that kanji there makes for faster reading, and less confusion.

Reducing the number of readings for any given kanji would not be helpful. I'm certain that more homonyms (words that sound exactly the same) would arise or would have arisen. And that would make for confusing reading (without kanji), and problems for foreign learners trying to figure out what is being talked about.

Kanji has multiple readings because if it did not, either 1. more kanji would be necessary. or 2. the Japanese language would have to use even less sounds or have a smaller amount of words.

I still say that Chinese with its sounds system and the sheer number of Hanzi you have to learn make it lot harder than memorizing multiple readings for roughly 2000 characters. Now I have never tried to learn Chinese so I cannot know that for sure, but that is my impression right now.

Yes and no, the problem with Chinese in this case is that rarely used words are harder to memorise if they use rare characters, whereas Japanese simply fall onto kana (hiragana/katakana) instead of using rare or too difficult kanji or use a loanword in katakana (a blessing for foreign learners).
I beg to differ. Katakana and the billions of unnecessary loan words and wasei eigo etc. that come with it are anything but a blessing to foreigner learners.

Admittedly, the thing with loanwords makes the Japanese writing system (+ speaking and understanding) somewhat easier (this particular aspect) compared to Chinese, as loanword creation is not intuitive in Chinese, they don't stand out in a text like katakana and may be confused for what the actual hanzi stand for, like ateji in Japanese.
As long as the loan word is necessary then I would say I agree. But the loan words are getting out of hand. and when they are used in Japanese they many times take on different meanings, and the pronunciation many times does not even closely resemble that of the original word, which makes listening and even reading comprehension more difficult, since you have to stop and sound out the word, trying to figure out the original word it was created from.