Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Words Written With Kanji in Japanese

Most Japanese words are written with kanji, or with a mix of kanji and kana, which might be okurigana, instead of solely with hiragana or katakana.

This is the norm. When there's a kanji for a word, that word normally gets written with that kanji, even thought it could be written with hiragana and katakana instead if one wanted to.

In some cases, a word that doesn't have kanji can get written with kanji anyway. This happens when people simply pretend that kanji exist for that word, turning the word into an "artificial reading," a gikun 儀訓. In this case, the kanji are chosen based on their meanings. If the kanji are chosen based on their readings instead, it's called an ateji 当て字.

Note that there are exceptions: some words are written without kanji, even though they have kanji. Some words are normally written with hiragana. Some words are normally written with katakana.

Sometimes, a word that's normally written without kanji may get written with kanji deliberately. This can happen, for example, to give a more literary feel to the writing, since aesthetically kanji looks like serious writing.

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