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Japanese scripts

A discussion of the peculiarities of languages and the differences between them.

Japanese scripts

Postby frank » Fri Mar 03, 2006 8:54 am

Hi all,

I'm currently working on a list of (English) grammatical terms in various languages, and i'm a bit stuck with the Japanese terms / scripts.
The purpose of the list is to provide the "easiest" term, the most known term, but for most of them i find two versions. For example:
Japanese: 名詞 (めいし, meishí)
Which one of the two is understood by most Japanese?
Any ideas?

Thanks in advance.

Frank
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Postby Brazilian dude » Fri Mar 03, 2006 10:10 am

It's not two versions, it's the same word spelled in kanji and in hiragana (syllabary, phonetically). I'd go for kanji if you have to choose one. What also happens a lot of times is that you may find the "reading" of the word in hiragana on top of the kanji, that's especially used in kid books and in teaching materials for foreigners, I would say. Some kanjis, are unfortunately, not that widely known and hiragana is used instead, but this is not the case in your example. Let's see what Flam says.

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Postby Flaminius » Fri Mar 03, 2006 11:04 am

The Japanese term for noun is 名詞. If spelt out in hiragana, めいし, it can be confused with homonyms.

Flam
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Postby frank » Fri Mar 03, 2006 11:24 am

Hi

Thanks both of you for your quick replies!

Would it be 'wrong' to use the kanji throughout for my list? ('wrong', 'right', i mean, it has to be understood by the 'average' non-glott/sso-maniac Japanese.)

It would make my job slightly easier: i don't always find the version in hiragana, and i can more or less check the Japanese terms in kanji since i already found the Chinese ones.

Frank
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Postby Flaminius » Fri Mar 03, 2006 11:34 am

Actually, for proficient Japanese speakers hiragana renderings are more difficult to read. Kanji is the right, official, more accurate version for grammatical terms.

I was trying to make comparison between Hiragana in this case and Arabic fateha, qasra and damma in Arabic. The two are not exact parallels but I think they are both childish and uncommon.

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