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11

Kanji were originally from Chinese. Japanese used extremely accented Chinese (sorta like what they do with English now) to pronounce Middle Chinese words, which eventually became 音読み. For example 日本 /njit.pon/ became /nippon/. For 訓読み, they simply find the nearest native Japanese word in meaning. You can imagine an English person seeing 走 and pronouncing it ...


6

There are no character-level differences. Hiragana and katakana are, for all intents and purposes, the same, differing only in how they are used with regard to the broader idea of choice of system. You say you know what each is used for, so that's the key distinction you need to focus on. I think one thing we might be able to mention is elongated vowels. ...


6

Extensive use of hiragana by intent will make yourself look immature, childish, unserious, drowsy, cute, innocent, or sometimes less intelligent, depending on the context. A good but exaggerated example is found here. A very childish character in a game, who is always talking in hiragana. ...


5

I'm no expert in the history of the Japanese writing system so I'm going to be putting a lot of faith this chart and the idea in general that katakana are derived from small parts of larger kanji. This appears to be generally accepted though Japanese wikipedia notes opposition by one scholar. If we go by this chart, it's no coincidence that katakana ニ looks ...


5

It appears that one more-formal way to describe characters like 「っ」 is to use the phrase 「小書{こが}き」文字{もじ} or simply「小書{こが}き」。 So, in the case of 「っ」, it would be something like: 小書{こが}きの「つ」. But in an informal context, something like「小さい『つ』」would probably get the point across. For more information, there is a more detailed writeup by a user named ...


4

For 静か and 暖かい, the か is a fossilised grammatical element (cf. 静まる and 暖まる, which don't have it). As for 大きい, it's written with き to differentiate it from 大い, which is a 形容動詞 (albeit with a similar meaning). 小さい's case is a little less clear, since while there is a word that's written 小い, it's a very informal word (ちっこい) typically written with kana. It may ...


4

It does indicate a more childish audience—or at least that you don't think they can read kanji. It also, interestingly, makes things much harder to read for those who know kanji—doubly so if you don't put spaces in between words or after particles. Hiragana can also be used in place of kanji at times to allow for the execution of Japanese puns in text as ...


3

Starting from zero I'm afraid there isn't, however once you have learned a couple dozen you'll start to notice phonetic elements that some characters have in common. For example: All the following are pronounced ドウ because they contain 同: 同、胴、銅、洞 All the following are pronounced チュウ because they contain 中: 中、仲、忠 All the following are pronounced チョウ ...


2

Even though there are some similarities and some rules that might help you to remember kanji (as pointed out by Kaji), they are not systematic. The way the on-reading has come to its present form from Chinese means that there are really no overall rules. See what works well for you but for me trying to remember any possible rules of kanji pronunciation was ...


2

re: カ (katakana) and 力 (kanji) Well, I can normally distinguish them quite well. Now, that is. When you draw an imaginary basic bottom line to the kana per line, the chikara kanji normally looks a bit as if it is too far below, by fractions of an inch; whilst the katakana ka does not cross that line by any means. Hmm, do I have some back up? Yes I do. I had ...


1

In IPA this phenomenon is captured by the little circle under the u, i.e. [u͍̥] which indicates voicelessness. When pronounced (almost) silent, what's left of the vowel in す and つ kana sounds pretty close to [ɨ], which makes sense, since neither [ɨ] nor [u͍̥] are rounded. Pronouncing /u/ almost silent is not always possible, however. E.g. compare する and ...



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