Talib wrote:Hasn't the government seen fit to simplify and streamline the writing system?
Talib wrote:Why are two sets of kana still used when it seems to me that one would do?
Talib wrote:And is there any sort of linguistic purism (against the many Chinese and English loanwords) comparable to that of say, Czech?
Talib wrote:Doesn't the government set standards for which characters are officially part of the orthography?
That's like Stockholm syndrome for writing systems.Sobekhotep wrote:Nope. They're content with it the way it is.
What I don't understand is how they came to use three different writing systems, and why they persist in it. I know how they are used, but not why. Korean uses an alphabet, so why not Japanese?I'm sure they could abandon one and use only the other but I don't think that will happen anytime soon.
Well, that's good news.Hypothetically, any traditional sinograph can be used in Japanese orthography. Realistically, though, if it's not 1 of the 2500 most used kanji in newspapers most people won't recognize it.
Neqitan wrote:@Kaenif: Thank you for the info! Wow, and that's Hong Kong. I thought you were taught some kind of Standard Written Cantonese. So all those articles in the Cantonese Wikipedia and Uncyclopedia are written just using de facto characters (not following any standard)!?
Is Putonghua your language of instruction, or you just take it as a second language?
Wow. I remember reading somewhere in the Internet (Wikipedia?) that reading Baihua with Cantonese pronunciations was really odd and not recommendable, and now you're telling me you're even used to that!
Ok, too much shock for a day.
Talib wrote:What I don't understand is how they came to use three different writing systems, and why they persist in it. I know how they are used, but not why. Korean uses an alphabet, so why not Japanese?
Tae Kim wrote:Some people feel that the system of using separate, discrete symbols instead of a sensible alphabet is out-dated and overly complicated. In fact, it might not have been a good idea to adopt Chinese into Japanese since both languages are fundamentally different in structure. But the purpose of this guide is not to debate over the decisions made thousands of years ago but to explain why you must learn kanji in order to learn Japanese. And by this, I mean more than just saying, "That's how it's done so get over it!".
Some people feel that Japanese should have just switched from Chinese to romaji to do away with all the complicated characters that was bewildering the foreign white devils. In fact, Korean has adopted their own alphabet to greatly simplify their written language to great success. So why didn't it work for Japanese? And I ask this in the past tense because I believe that the government did attempt to replace kanji with romaji shortly after the second world war with little success. I think anyone who has typed at any length in Japanese can easily see why this did not work. At any one time, when you convert typed hiragana into kanji, you are presented with almost always at least two choices (two homophones) and sometimes even up to ten. (Try typing kikan). The 46 or so character alphabet of set sounds in Japanese makes it hard to avoid homophones. Compare this to the Korean alphabet which has 14 consonants and 10 vowels. Any of the consonants can be matched to any of the vowels giving 140 sounds. In addition, a third and sometimes even fourth consonant can be attached to create a single letter. This gives over 1960 sounds that can be created theoretically. (The sounds that are actually used is actually much less than that, though I don't know the exact number.)
Since you want to read at a much faster rate than you talk, you need some visual cues to instantly tell you what each word is. You can use the shape of words in English to blaze through text because most words have different shapes. Try this little exercise: Hi, enve thgouh all teh wrods aer seplled icorrenctly, can you sltil udsternand me?" Korean does this too because it has enough characters to make words with distinct and different shapes. However, because the visual cues are not distinct as kanji, spaces needed to be added to remove ambiguities. (This presents another problem of when and where to set spaces.)
With kanji, we don't have to worry about spaces and much of the problem of homophones is mostly resolved. Without kanji, even if spaces were to be added, the ambiguities and lack of visual cues would make Japanese text much more difficult to read.
Talib wrote:Are there that many homophones in Japanese? There are Chinese, but that language is also tonal, whereas Japanese is not. As well, that article talked about switching to romaji which isn't what I was talking about. I was wondering if Japanese could be written solely in kana.
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