Monday, March 12, 2007

Japanese script writing

Writing might be one of the most difficult, but also fun, parts of learning Japanese.

The Japanese don't use an alphabet.

There are three types of scripts in Japanese: hiragana, katakana and kanji.

HIRAGANA: expresses the grammatical relationship between blocks of meaning (endings of adjectives and verbs, particles) - existing of 46 characters.

KATAKANA: is used for foreign names, the names of foreign places and words of foreign origin - existing of 46 characters.

KANJI: represents blocks of meaning (nouns, stems of adjectives and verbs) - existing of over 2000 characters.

I will focus on the last and most difficult one, kanji.

Horizontal or vertical
In old days Japanese was only written vertically, top to bottom. Nowadays, writing horizontally has become popular (left to right). Since each kanji has its own meaning, they can be arranged either way without losing their meaning. I stick with vertical here.

Stroke count and stroke order
Both stroke count and stroke order help you to write a kanji character properly.

The stroke count is the number of strokes used to write the kanji character.

The stroke order follows below rules:
  • Horizontal strokes are written from left to right and are parallel.
  • Vertical strokes are written from top to bottom.
  • When strokes cross each other, horizontal strokes are usually written before vertical strokes.

Last but not least, all kanji should be uniform size.

Here we go...

meaning: BIG

meaning: SUNSHINE

Together they mean: SUN

The characters that make up Japan's name 日本(国) literally mean "sun-origin", which is why Japan is sometimes identified as the "Land of the Rising Sun".

More practising on next blogs ;o)


Doerak said...

We have a hard time to learn all the details! Nevertheless I try to understand everything.

Nadie said...

Good for people to know.