Chinese characters

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by on (#13894)
In this post, Bregalad wrote:
I really don't know how you guy could be so interesed about japanese and chinese languages. Learn an language that only use latin letters is really hard enough, I wouldn't assume to learn one wich has totally different and unreconisable letters.

Don't think of Chinese characters as letters - that's a poor way of thinking about them. Instead, think about them as being groups of symbols (commonly called "radicals"), such that each symbol contributes either meaning or pronunciation to the character overall. There are only a few hundred radicals overall, and once you learn to recognize them individually, it becomes far easier to recognize a single character as a particular combination of symbols.

by on (#13895)
Only a few hundred...... that's quite a lot of stuff to learn... but on the other hand, represent each word with only a combination of a few hundreds symbols is an impressive idea. I have really a lot of trouble to imaginate how it works, because of the impressively high number of words, doing all this with only combination of a few hundreds of symbols is I think a lot easier once you masterise the basic system. You'll so never meet a word you don't know its meaning at all, since you will reconise parts in it. Well, it's a system soo much different from ours !

by on (#13906)
This page from should help you understand how Chinese characters work, though it does use some nonstandard terminology ("kanji" instead of "Chinese character" and "sematic hemigram" or "classifier" instead of "radical").

by on (#13907)
Yeah, thinking of kanji (in japanese, anyways..) as a couple of parts that make up the kanji, they are really really really ALOT easier to remember. And I don't think a few hundered symbols is hard to remember. In a short timespan, yes. But I know all of hiragana and katakana, and that's like 100 letters or something (Do you know, Quietust?), and I've been studying for like 7 or 8 months. Okay, I learned Hiragana and Katakana a long time ago, it didn't take me 8 months... Maybe like 1 or 2 though.

Actually, some of the kanji are made up of hiragana and katakana letters, even though they don't necissarily make the sounds that the letters make. Example: タ and ト make 外- soto, which means outside. It has other meanings, but that's just one of them.

by on (#13908)
Celius wrote:
Actually, some of the kanji are made up of hiragana and katakana letters

Actually, it's the other way around - hiragana and katakana were both made by simplifying kanji. Back when Japanese first started using Chinese characters, they used a great deal of them phonetically, and it wasn't until a while later that they were simplified into kana.

More details can be found on wikipedia.

Also, it's time this topic got split over to General Discussion.

by on (#13910)
Well, I actually don't know why I forgot about that, but I did know that they came from kanji. But I was just saying like soto is easy to remember, because it's made up of a katakana "ta" and a "to", or the "ta" and "to" that are used today at least (Sorry, I'm too lazy to open japanese IME).

I think it's good that there's katakana and hiragana along with kanji, because otherwise, learning the language wouldn't be as easy, in my opinion. I'm sure after I pretty much master japanese, I'd be interested in learning chinese. More games come from japan though, and that's the main thing I'm interested in. So learning japanese is more important to me, at least.

by on (#13912)
I'm sure after I pretty much master japanese, I'd be interested in learning chinese.


by on (#13922)
Owwwwww..... It hurts to try to undertand anything to those horrible characters...
I like not to understand them, because it is fun when playing a game in japaneese, you can just guess the meaning of the text you're reading to your own likeness... While this cause troubles in command menus, items inventories, etc...., it is great for story, because you can immaginate your own story.
What I like with japaneese/chineese characters is that they all have the same height and width, wich isn't the case of ours characters. The texts looks overall better and are easier to represent trough a computer, because all fonts are fixed anyway.
What I don't like is that many of them are too complicated to be reconizable. I know one or two hirgagana characters, and I can reconize a text in japaneese from something in chinnese, but not very reliably.

by on (#13928)
Yeah, I can tell japanese apart from chinese really easily. One thing I don't like about japanese SNES games, like FFVI, is the kanji are so detailed, they have to be really big (2x2 tiles), and the hiragana and katakana characters are also the same size, so it doesn't look really good. I like that FFIV uses hiragana and katakana like FF1, 2, and 3. I try to learn more japanese by playing japanese games, but when they use kanji, it kind of makes it harder, because you don't know how to read the kanji most of the time. I have a kanji dictionary, and I have to look up kanji I don't know by the stroke number, and it takes a hundred years to look it up. At least they list kanji that have similiar characteristics in a group. It's hard though.