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30 October 2006 @ 10:01 pm
Writing in general and specific  
First, I'll include a bit that I've learned about kanji while studying Japanese,


Originally, I thought that kanji were needlessly complex (probably a bias of my native language having an alphabet). After I've studied them for a while, though, I've found that kanji actually have a lot of nuances that an alphabetic language lacks. For example, the kanji in 好き suki ("like") is composed of two individual kanji, onna ("woman") and "ko" (child). So, "like" is what a woman feels for her child. The word for foreigner is 外国人 gaikokujin (often abbreviated "gaijin"), from gai ("other"), koku ("country") and jin ("people"). 電車 densha ("train") literally means "electric vehicle." 先生 sensei ("teacher") means "before (ahead of) students."

Some individual characters also look like what the represent. gaku ("school") looks like a roof over a child's head. ta ("rice field") and ame ("rain") also look like their meaning.

NaNoWriMo begins in two days. I'm going to post all of the novel I work on here...but I'm planning on doing it under a lock, so people aren't subject to constant story spam. If you want in on the NaNoWriMo story, let me know and I'll put you in the lock.
 
 
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jdcohen on November 1st, 2006 04:56 pm (UTC)
(I think I'll be the only one to comment on the Kanji part of your post, but here goes anyways...)

That's actually very cool - that you can combine what are basically alphabet-words to make more complex words. Much more robust than the English/Romantic equivalent, e.g. fire truck, superhero, fan-fucking-tastic, and mouthgasm (some of which may or may not be real words in common usage). Somewhat similar (and also fairly different) to Middle Eastern languages that use alphabet roots to form words of similar meanings. For instance, in Hebrew, Kesher means communication (root K-Sh-R) and Lehitkasher means to call someone on the telephone. There are even roots which differ only by a letter (or numeric value, as Hebrew is crazy like that) that are also similar in meaning: e.g. Emoona (root A-M-N) means belief and Emet (root A-M-T) means truth. However, that's not nearly as cool as with Kanji, it seems. Kanji is true doubleplusgoodspeak.

--Jeff