Monday, January 28, 2008

See how easy Kanji can be?

I wonder why my Japanese teacher didn't slap us full in the face with Kanji right from the start?

The rational thinker in me suspects that certain students never intended to 'go the distance' and really become fluent in Japanese. 'Impossible!' you say, 'That simply can't be!' Oh yes - some students are down right lazy...

So the teacher wanted to go easy on us. Easy is learning it the right way once. Easy is taking 3 different forms of the written Japanese word and condensing the unnecessary into as small a space as possible. Cram it in. 詰める。

There are some words that you see right from the start that, rendered in Kanji the second time you ever saw them, would become second-nature over night.

Words like お願いします。

This is probably one of the first five words I ever heard in Japanese. But for the first two years, all I knew was it's hiragana half-bastard-brother: おねがいします。 Why not cut out the four play and get straight to the dirty? 願う means 'to desire' or 'to wish for'. I mean - that makes perfect sense! The Kanji doesn't muck it up right? Not at all.

Here's another word that I've heard thousands of times but find it's sequestered inside the kanji for Level 2: 缶詰。Canned goods. Ok this one is great: 缶 which is not only pronounced 'kan' but freaking _means_ 'can', but then we get the awesome 詰める which means 'to stuff into' or 'to cram'.

So we cram stuff into cans and end up with canned goods?! Are you freaking kidding me? Can it be this easy?!

Kanji is the way. I'm slapping myself every day for knowing words that I didn't know that I knew but didn't know... or... something like that.

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i agree, leaning the meaning behind the kanji, especially simple words really help in understanding how the language is used.
this is true for all common phrases

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