Wa-pedia Home > Japan Forum & Europe Forum
Results 1 to 24 of 24

Thread: Write English in Kanji !

Threaded View

Previous Post Previous Post   Next Post Next Post
  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434

    Lightbulb Write English in Kanji !

    With a quarter of the world population using kanji (the Chinese and Japanese), I guess the time will come when Westerners will have to learn kanji at schools. China already has the 3rd GNP after the EU and the US, respectively. At the speed it is growing, China might very well become the world dominant power in less than half a century. Mandarin Chinese is the language with the most native speakers, though it comes 2nd to English if you consider people who have it as a second-language.

    So why not to make it easier for everyone and use kanji in English to promote understanding between the two cultures.

    As you'll see it isn't so difficult to write English in Chinese characters, because English also has logical roots in most words.

    For example, the kanji ’† would be read "middle" alone and "mid-" in kanji compound such as ’†“ú@mid-day, ’†–é mid-night,@’†‹ó mid-air, ’†’n@mid-land, ’†‰Ä mid-summer.

    The easiest is to find a kanji that has a meaning in itself, alone, like ”L@cat, Œ¢@dog, ì@river, ‰Æ@house, l person, ‰Ì@song, etc.

    As Japanese doesn't use kanji for all words, especially grammatical words (and, to, form of tenses...), it could be the same in kanji English. I guess Chinese does have particular kanji that would be suited for English though, as Chinese grammar is said to be more similar to English than Japanese. The big advantage English has over other European languages (especially Latin ones) is, first, that there is no conjugation, and second that a noun can easily become a verb (eg. to run, a run ; to dance, a dance, to talk, a talk...). That is how Chinese works as well. Words with Latin roots in English are a bit more complicated : to compehend > comprehesion, to introuce > introduction... How to render this -tion or -sion ending ?

    The kanji compound in English and Chinese/Japanese wouldn't be compatible though, as the origin and structure of the words is different. We must go back to Latin, Greek and Old-English for this.

    Greek words usually have two compound that can be converted in kanji easily. Ex. : ’n‘@geo-graphy, ’nŠw@geo-logy, ’n¡@geo-metry, ¯Šwastro-logy,@DŒ« philo-sophy, DŒê@philo-logy,@Dl phil-anthropy, lŠw@anthropo-logy, –¯—́@democracy...

    Geo = earth/land >@“y or ’n
    Philo = like >@D
    Astro = star, planet (conveniently the same kanji in Japanese) > ¯
    anthropo = man > l
    graphy = write >@‘
    logy = study or language >@Šw or Œê
    metry = measure >@¡
    sophy = wisdom > ’m or Œ«
    demo = the people >@–¯
    cracy = power >@—Í or ¨


    Then, you could just add ŽÒ, ‰Æ, Žt@for the person who practice it. An Anthropologist become lŠwŽÒ, where the ŽÒ stands for -ist. As we have several kanji for the end of the word, we should use them according to the sound in English. -ist might be ŽÒ, -er ‰Æ and other Žt. That's just an example. A convention must be found. We don't (re)create a writing system in one day !

    It's very good on a etymological point of view, as English-speaking children will have to know the original meaning behind each word and will also be able to guess the meaning of little used, academic words quite easily.

    It doesn' always work. In "sociology", socio means the society, but 2 kanji are needed in Japanese (and I guess Chinese) : ŽÐ‰ï Shall we invent knew kanji adapted to Western etymology ? (etymo-logy = root + study > Œ¹Šw@or ŒêŒ¹Šw in Japanese, which give the precision it's about the language.

    Kanji also works for Latin words, but it's a bit harder. A lawyer is law+person > –@ŽÒ, –@‰Æ or –@Žt (see above).

    There are prefix and suffix in Latin as well, but their meaning more difficult to root back from English (so it works well from Italian).

    con-, com- > like in : compromise, content, comprehesion, convention, construction, completion, competition, conviction...
    pro- > like in : protect, programme, progress, project...
    and many more.
    pre- > like in precede, precaution, precarious, precedent, precocious, precondition...

    For example, "pre" means "before" and "con" mean "with" or "together" in Italian/Latin (I know better Italian than Latin, so I'll give you the Italian translation here). A comprise is a like a promise between two people. Convention comes from the "con + venire" = come together. Comprehension comes from "con + prendere" = take together. Content comes from "con + tenere" = keep together. Conviction comes from "con + vincere" = win together.

    You can track back all words like this (eventhough I can't as some have changed to much from there original form), they give them a kanji. The problem is what kanji ? I don't know any kanji for "with" for example.

    European kanji compound would look very different from the Asian ones. But that may be a good way to understand the structure and origin of the language. People travelling to China or reading signs/books/websites in Chinese would be able to understand them at least partially. As kanji have a strong evocational power and are read more quickly than the alphabet, we could use them for road signs, warnings and all kind of things that need to catch the attention or be understood by everybody whatever language they speak.
    Last edited by Maciamo; Aug 25, 2002 at 15:01.

    Visit Japan for free with Wa-pedia
    See what's new on the forum ?
    Eupedia : Europe Guide & Genetics
    Maciamo & Eupedia on Twitter

    "What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone?", Winston Churchill.

Similar Threads

  1. How do you write...in Chinese?
    By Mikawa Ossan in forum Chinese language
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: Oct 7, 2007, 22:11
  2. Japanese and Chinese Kanji
    By hkBattousai in forum Chinese language
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: Aug 18, 2007, 13:01
  3. Gaijin, but with what kanji ?
    By Maciamo in forum Japanese Language & Linguistics
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: Oct 24, 2005, 16:53

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •