Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Kanji Meanings

In Japanese, the kanji characters may have meanings associated with them.

Knowing the meaning of a kanji is useful because you can guess the meaning of a word from its kanji if you know their meanings. The easiest way to know a kanji's meaning is to find a word the kanji is for, that is, a word that's written with that kanji alone and no other kanji..

Not all kanji have meanings. Some kanji represent words, and they're called logographs. Some kanji represent ideas, and they're called ideographs. But there are also kanji which are phonetic, and other stuff too. So they don't all have meanings. Only some of them do.

For those that do, the meaning may be hinted in the kanji's radical. For example, kin 金, "gold," gin 銀, "silver," and dou 銅, "bronze," all have a 金 radical.

The meaning of a kanji is strongly related to the meaning of the morphemes written with said kanji. Since the readings of a kanji come from the morphemes, the meanings and readings of a kanji end up being related in a way or another.

Sometimes, a kanji's meaning may be completely disregarded and only its reading considered. For example, in ateji 当て字 words.

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