Reading the Kanji
Should you have read my previous articles about the Japanese Kanji, you should now be able to recognize quite a few Kanjis at a quick glance. Note that it is strongly recommended that you read my previous articles about this subject before reading this article as a lot of important elements have already been covered.
There is still so much to be said and learned about the Japanese Kanji. In fact, we’ve only just scratched the surface of its fascinating complexity. I’m sure some of you have wondered: “Sure, I can recognize a Kanji, but how do you actually verbalize this aspect of the Japanese writing system?" This article will answer in great detail that very question.
An important thing to understand about Kanji is that it doesn’t always represent a single idea. Words in Japanese are not always represented by a single Kanji; in many cases, a Japanese word is composed of a combination of two or more Kanjis.
A FEW EXAMPLES:
Allow me to represent the combination of Kanjis by giving you some examples. Let’s look at the following sentence:
- “The eye is the window to the soul."
This sentence has three different Kanjis (I’ve put them in bold), namely:
心： Heart (translated as soul here)
All three Kanjis are words (in this case nouns) on their own.
Now let’s look at a different sentence (I’ve once again put the Kanjis in bold):
- “This doll belongs to me."
Once again, there are three different Kanjis in that sentence.
私： I, me.
The difference between this sentence and the previous one is that this one has a word composed of two Kanjis (人＋形＝人形 ). To put it simply, this word is composed of two precise Kanjis which cannot be separated.
人形： a doll. What is interesting about this word in particular is its composition. 人 here means a person whereas 形 means shape. Something which has the shape of a person is a doll! It makes sense when you think about it.