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Official Kanji Count Increasing Due To Electronics

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the switch-to-english-it's-easy dept.

Education 284

JoshuaInNippon writes "Those who have studied Japanese know how imposing kanji, or Chinese characters, can be in learning the language. There is an official list of 1,945 characters that one is expected to understand to graduate from a Japanese high school or be considered fluent. For the first time in 29 years, that list is set to change — increasing by nearly 10% to 2,136 characters. 196 are being added, and five deleted. The added characters are ones believed to be found commonly in life use, but are considered to be harder to write by hand and therefore overlooked in previous editions of the official list. Japanese officials seem to have recognized that with the advent and spread of computers in daily life, writing in Japanese has simplified dramatically. Changing the phonetic spelling of a word to its correct kanji only requires a couple of presses of a button, rather than memorizing an elaborate series of brush strokes. At the same time, the barrage of words that people see has increased, thereby increasing the necessity to understand them. Computers have simplified the task of writing in Japanese, but inadvertently now complicated the lives of Japanese language learners. (If you read Japanese and are interested in more details on specific changes, Slashdot.jp has some information!)"

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Frost piss (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32515868)

Your mother takes it in via the passage and outputs disease via her fecal tubes

TROLLKORE ARE THE BEST

What about Official English? (3, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32515888)

Have Meriam and Webster added
Noob
Leet
Haxxor
Lolcat
pwned

yet?

Re:What about Official English? (1, Insightful)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 4 years ago | (#32515904)

We're talking characters in a language not words in a dictionary...

Re:What about Official English? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32515940)

I'll try to say this as simply as possible:

The characters *are* words.

Re:What about Official English? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32515978)

I'll try to say this as simply as possible:

The characters *are* words.

But are they perfectly cromulent words and/or characters?

Re:What about Official English? (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516780)

I'll try to say this as simply as possible: The characters *are* words.

Japanese is not Chinese.

Re:What about Official English? (5, Informative)

CecilPL (1258010) | more than 4 years ago | (#32515942)

Kanji are words, they're just words whose "spelling" is entirely unrelated to their pronunciation.

Hiragana or Katakana are the equivalent of English letters, and nobody's suggesting that those ever change.

Re:What about Official English? (3, Funny)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516124)

...they're just words whose "spelling" is entirely unrelated to their pronunciation.

That is to say, it's the closest thing that they have to the English language. /drumroll

Re:What about Official English? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32516154)

Not really, Kanji have "ON" and "KUN" readings. One is for full words, others is to mix with other kanjis and make other words. Forgot which is which, but in many cases kanji can serve the same use as kana.

Re:What about Official English? (0)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516332)

since you're anon and nobody cared to promote this, I posted something similar above. Just wanted to give you credit (no mod points though, sorry)

Re:What about Official English? (4, Informative)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516296)

Not quite. Yes, kanji have meaning where katakana and hiragana do not. However, each kanji can have multiple meanings and pronunciation which is only known through context or what other characters follow it. For example, the website here (http://www.saiga-jp.com/kanji_dictionary.html) has a lot of kanji with different meanings and readings. They aren't quite unique words, but they aren't characters only. They're more of a hybrid.

Also, depending on context, the pronunciation of a word might be the same, but the spelling could be different. For example, the word "kami" can mean "God" or "paper". Both sound the same, but each has its own kanji character. So as for your statement that spelling is unrelated to pronunciation is somewhat incorrect.

Re:What about Official English? (4, Insightful)

angus77 (1520151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516446)

Also, depending on context, the pronunciation of a word might be the same, but the spelling could be different. For example, the word "kami" can mean "God" or "paper". Both sound the same, but each has its own kanji character. So as for your statement that spelling is unrelated to pronunciation is somewhat incorrect.

Uh...didn't you just actually show how pronunciation is unrelated to spelling?

Re:What about Official English? (2, Insightful)

John Whitley (6067) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516318)

Hiragana or Katakana are the equivalent of English letters, and nobody's suggesting that those ever change.

To be pedantic, Hiragana [wikipedia.org] and Katakana [wikipedia.org] glyphs are the equivalent of English syllables. Kana generally represent consonant-vowel pairs, with a few exceptions, such as 'n' [wikipedia.org] . For example, this is what causes the additional ending "oh" vowel on many loan-words in Japanese. Even though the consonant sound exists, it's completely unnatural for a native Japanese speaker to "stop" mid-syllable.

The syllables represented by these two syllabaries (akin to 'alphabets') are the same, with hiragana used for phonetic spelling of native words, names, etc.; katakana is used both for foreign words/phrases as well as for emphasis, similar to italics in English and other Latin-based writing systems.

Re:What about Official English? (4, Interesting)

angus77 (1520151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516524)

To be pedantic, Hiragana [wikipedia.org] and Katakana [wikipedia.org] glyphs are the equivalent of English syllables.

To be extra pedantic, they're not necessarily syllables, but morae.

For example, "o" is a one-mora syllable on it's own, whereas "oo" is also one syllable, but containing two morae (two beats to one syllable). "Oto" would then be both two morae and two syllables.

Re:What about Official English? (1)

angus77 (1520151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516400)

There are numerous kanji that never appear in isolation in Japanese, and thus cannot be considered actual "words".

Also, when the kanji is a verb or verbal adjective, it requires hiragana tagged on at the end to give you the "conjugation" of the word, so the kanji by itself again cannot be considered a complete word.

Re:What about Official English? (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516498)

Kanji are words, they're just words whose "spelling" is entirely unrelated to their pronunciation.

Not entirely. For example, sensei, teacher. 'Sen' comes from the kanji for before, 'sei' comes from the kanji for birth/life. Gakusei, student. Gake comes from the kanji for 'study/learning', and again, 'sei' comes from the same kanji for life. 'Sui' is a sound associated with the kanji for water, 'hi' with the one for day, 'dai' with the one for big...it really isn't correct to say that the kanji are unrelated to their pronunciations, even though it is a bit more complicated that using kana. It's one of those things that a fluent person (which I am far from) might be able to use to pick up on to deduce the pronunciation of an unknown word.

It'd be a lot easier to show you if /. would join the rest of the world in supporting non-Latin characters.

Re:What about Official English? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32515944)

What about <3 or smilies? ;-)

Re:What about Official English? (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516014)

Actually, that's not really true. If they were adding more characters (i.e. sounds) to the language they'd be adding kana, kanji are usually used to represent words. However, IDNSJ (I do not speak Japanese)

Re:What about Official English? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32516102)

Here we have another case of "UANATISOTAANUTAADTPOAA" (Use a new acronym then immediately spelling out the acronym and never using the acronym again defeating the purpose of an acronym)

Re:What about Official English? (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516440)

and perhaps also pointing out that people that use "However, IANAL" had to also start out at the same point before constantly confusing and forcing people to look it up.

i'll further waste people's time in defense of not wasting their time.

Re:What about Official English? (4, Informative)

TheBig1 (966884) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516250)

Characters do not necessarily map one-to-one to phonemes. For instance there are 12 vowels in English, but these are represented with only 5 characters.

Re:What about Official English? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516082)

Umm... Maybe YOU are.

WE are talking about Kanji, where a combination of WORDS make another word, and only rarely can they be used to sound out the word. (Kind of like if I said sound-emitter for stereo)

Don't be a noob.

Re:What about Official English? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32516390)

In languages like Japanese, they're the same thing.

Re:What about Official English? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32515950)

So far only leet.

Re:What about Official English? (2, Interesting)

dbet (1607261) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516280)

Hmm, how "official" are Meriam and Webster? Or any dictionary? These are guides that help people understand new words, they're not necessarily the boss of the English language. OTOH, what the Cultural Center is doing with Kanji does seem somewhat official.

Let me get this straight (-1, Troll)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32515902)

Something developed in China is being bastardized by a foreign country who basically copied it and is changing it at it's will?

Is this that irony I have been hearing so much about?

Re:Let me get this straight (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32515928)

Have you ever had your dick sucked by a man?

Do you want your dick sucked by a man?

No (-1, Troll)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516070)

Irony is the Americans claiming they won the war of independence yet still speaking the queens English and then raping the hell out of it and telling everyone else their spelling is the correct one.

The Japanese have copied the Chinese characters but they are not changing Chinese, just the subset (the characters) they copied. Nobody is suggesting China should adept them, if this would even be possible.

Re:No (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32516132)

I'll bet you would love to be the guest of honour at a bukkake party.

Re:No (1)

Zantac69 (1331461) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516160)

Irony is the Americans won the war of independence and annexed ownership of the English language and adjusted pronunciations and spellings and informed everyone else that American English is correct.

Fixed that for you.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32516228)

If the Brit's wanted to keep Humour and Colour, and other odd sayings (Chips instead of Fries for example), maybe they should have tried harder to win the war?

[/sarcasm]

Re:No (1)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516262)

Irony is the Americans claiming they won the war of independence yet still speaking the queens English and then raping the hell out of it and telling everyone else their spelling is the correct one.

Actually, being able to not speak and speak the Queen's (or King's) English at the same time shows innovation.

Re:No (3, Insightful)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516288)

Irony is the Americans claiming they won the war of independence yet still speaking the queens English and then raping the hell out of it and telling everyone else their spelling is the correct one.

Call it a war of independence, revolution, whatever, the semantics tend to be irrelevant as the fledgling United States DID win.

Is it perhaps ironic that you claim post-revolutionary American's kept speaking the "queens English" and yet "raped" the hell out of it? Perhaps that should tell you something? It's called linguistic evolution! It happens to everyone, even you.

Besides... who _exactly_ "tells everyone else their spelling is the correct one" ?

Re:No (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32516610)

Besides... who _exactly_ "tells everyone else their spelling is the correct one" ?

apparently anyone with a keyboard on slashdot.

English language (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516764)

Is written with Roman characters, taken from the Greeks, taken from probably the Phoenicians.

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516096)

I don't see whats Ironic about it. Whats your definition of irony?

Re:Let me get this straight (4, Funny)

TheBig1 (966884) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516278)

"These nails taste irony."

Re:Let me get this straight (5, Informative)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516244)

Boy, this is really going to blow your mind when you realize that the English alphabet you're typing in is a modified form of the Latin alphabet, which was a borrowed and changed form of the Etruscan alphabet. The Etruscans had of course borrowed and modified the Greek alphabet (get it, Alpha Beta??). The Greeks had taken the Phoenician Alphabet, "bastardized" and "basically copied" and "changed it at it's [sic] will." The Phoenicians were uncreative hacks as well, and starting from Egyptian hieroglyphics just changed it without any respect to the original creators.

Now we're talking about 3000+ years of bastardization, copying, and changing at will (irony? no), so the evidence is a little shaky, but who knows who the Egyptians shamelessly copied from? Probably the Sumerians. Awful.

Some information for you...truly independent creations of writing systems have been rather rare worldwide. Take for instance Mongolian script. It looks pretty unusual right? Pretty geographically isolated area, far from e.g. the Middle East. Possibly unique? Nope. The Mongols (an Altaic language) borrowed from the Uyghurs (a Turkic language) who borrowed from the Sogdians (an Indo-European language) who borrowed from Syriac (Semitic language) and Aramaic. And so on, further and further back.

That process of bastardization, copying, and changing at will is how knowledge and language and culture throughout history has progressed. The total vast majority of people on the planet write their native language in a script that can be traced back to Phoenician or Chinese characters.

Re:Let me get this straight (4, Funny)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516770)

That's why we need strong Intellectual Property protection.

Just think of the real true thing, hieroglyphs, provided by the clergy of Amon, available through scribes for Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory fees. Don't accept counterfeit alphabets!

Patent protection would have to be extended to 3000 years, but we're getting there.

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

ljgshkg (1223086) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516448)

Well, Chinese words have a much larger set than what's in the offical set of Traditional Chinese of Taiwan/HK or simplified Chinese of mainland China/Singapore/etc. In the traditional time, although there is offical set of words, there are usually more writing form of the same word that are used and recognized by scholars, and they are often used freely without a very strong constraint on "you must use the offical form", even in Chinese classics and classic history books. The offical form also changes depends on a balance in "which form is used more" and "what's more correct". An example is, I know 3 different forms of how to write the word "fish" in Chinese. And 4 different ways to write the word "one". And I've seen all those in differnet classic books (in their original word form). Now, a certain form of Chinese words get passed to Korea and China at different time, from different location, and from different people. And they have been using it for hundreds of years themselves. So you can call them Chinese writers, and scholars in Korea and Japan write their writings in classical Chinese for years. They ARE Chinese scholars and users. They know our words, and they know our literatures. So they have all the rights to Change word form as long as it's following the rules. Personally, I'd say the way the Japanese simplified their words are much better than those simplified Chinese in terms of following the traditional rule. The original draft of simplified Chinese created by the Nationalist Party/Republic of China government was based on the Japanese simpilfied Chinese, adding in "scremble form" () and "smooth form" () of Chinese. and are written form and putting those as printed/standard word form breaks the rule of Chinese word. So the China-Simplified-Chinese creaters actually break Chinese way more than the Japanese did. Unfortunately.

That's nothing (4, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32515916)

There is an official list of 1,945 characters that one is expected to understand to graduate from a Japanese high school or be considered fluent. That's nothing... there's a lot more than 1,945 characters that kids are now expected to be able to recognize in order to be considered fluent in Pokeman!

You can use katakana (1)

OutputLogic (1566511) | more than 4 years ago | (#32515932)

As far as I know, you can use katakana [wikipedia.org] to write any foreign word. It's not absolutely necessary to add kanji characters.

Re:You can use katakana (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32515968)

Or you could just, you know, use English to utterly butcher the representation of any foreign word, e.g. "Peking" and "Bombay", now called Beijing and Mumbai.

Re:You can use katakana (2, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516068)

"Bombay" and "Mumbai" are actually two separate words, not the same word differing from transliteration principles. "Bombay" is from the Portuguese bom baia "good harbor", while "Mumbai" is from the Hindu goddess Mumba Devi, to whom a prominent temple in the city is dedicated.

Re:You can use katakana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32516138)

and Peking changed to Beijing because of a change in Mandarin pronunciation, not anything related to English bastardization. Otherwise Locke was spot on...

Re:You can use katakana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32516522)

Now it's Istanbul not Constantinople

Re:You can use katakana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32516162)

bom baia

That's not Portuguese. Baia is a feminine name so bom becomes boa. Boa baia. Also, it used to be pronounced in Portuguese as Bombaim which is even more distant to boa baia.

Re:You can use katakana (2, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516164)

Or you could just, you know, use English to utterly butcher the representation of any foreign word

I think the Scot's are worse for it. Have you ever heard them say Edinburgh?

Re:You can use katakana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32516178)

Peking changed to Beijing not because English was used to butcher the spelling, but because the peoples republic of china adopted a different transliteration method for proper names. The pronunciation didn't change, only the spelling. Shanghai, in comparison, is still Shanghai because it is spelled the same way under both transliteration methods.

The spelling of many cities in India have been changed, subject to India government approval, and Bombay to Mumbai was to switch from a name of European origin to a name of Indian origin (again, not due to butchered spelling, minor exceptions; Simla to Shimla for example). The concept of Indian cities changing names was a consequence of the end of British Imperialism. Most of these name changes still haven't caught on in English [Bengaluru (Bangalore), Kolkata (Calcutta), and Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)], to name a few.

Re:You can use katakana (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516322)

Ok, my off-the-top-of-my-head examples suck. How about using "Spain" for Espana, and "Germany" for Deutschland?

Re:You can use katakana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32516328)

See also Nippon and Japan

Re:You can use katakana (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32516028)

I know this is slashdot but you could at least RTFS. These characters already exist in the language. They just are not part of a list of required characters that someone must know to be considered fluent. The reason these characters were excluded was because they were not common in written Japanese. The reason those characters were not common is theorized to be because they were difficult to hand write. Now that a computer can automatically convert a hiragana word into the appropriate kanji, that limitation has been removed and these characters have become more common. The fact that these characters are more common means that to be considered fluent you must now know them. This has nothing to do with foreign loan words.

Re:You can use katakana (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516048)

As a non-Japanese-speaking-person-who-watches-anime-and-stuff I've always wondered why they have both (well, several) writing systems. They have katakana, and Kanji, and sometimes Kanji with furigana to help with pronunciation. Is it just because it takes less space to write in Kanji? Kind of like how we abbreviate things?

Re:You can use katakana (1)

jepaton (662235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516292)

One reason is the lack of sounds in Japanese resulting in huge numbers of homophones. Both Katakana and Hiragana encode each of the homophones in a fixed way unlike in English (e.g. in English "One" vs "Won"). The use of Kanji reduces the amount of ambiguity in the written language. The Chinese characters were used first anyway.

Disclaimer: I don't speak Japanese, yet.

Re:You can use katakana (1)

angus77 (1520151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516644)

One reason is the lack of sounds in Japanese resulting in huge numbers of homophones. Both Katakana and Hiragana encode each of the homophones in a fixed way unlike in English (e.g. in English "One" vs "Won"). The use of Kanji reduces the amount of ambiguity in the written language. The Chinese characters were used first anyway.

Disclaimer: I don't speak Japanese, yet.

Which, unfortunately, doesn't helo one whit once you put away your books and open your mouth. And last I heard, most Japanese learn to speak before they learn to read.

It must have been terrible for us all when we couldn't distinguish "one" from "won" before we learned to read!

Re:You can use katakana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32516330)

As I understand it...

Kanji was the original system of writing. Hiragana was a "simplified" version of phonetic writing originally used mostly by women. Katakana was introduced for phonetic writing of foreign words (similar to our process of italicizing in English), and Furigana is used to help pronounce Kanji.

So really, Kanji is augmented by everything else, and this system leads to occasional confusion (for example, it can apparently be difficult sometimes to work out the proper Kanji for someone's name based on the pronunciation.)

Re:You can use katakana (2, Insightful)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516576)

Word of advice, spend less time watching Anime, and more time studying Japanese. You'll never have time to deal with that tripe again. Hiragana you can write any Japanese word with, and or modify verbs, adjectives, etc. with. Katakana you'll write foreign words or their version of ALL CAPS for native words. Kanji however is for the majority of words of Japanese words. Kanji get dropped here and there because either no one remembers, or does remember, and doesn't want to write the f'ed up Kanji, and use Hiragana usually. It's actually much easier, and faster to read a sentence full of Kanji vs a sentence populated with just Hiragana. Plus there are so many nouns, and verbs that are so similar in sound, it's easier when reading to use the characters, and more representational objects. Even if it's a words you may not know, a few Kanji in it can make a WORLD of difference. Plus it's just faster really. Really it's quite simple!

Re:You can use katakana (2, Informative)

Yuan-Lung (582630) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516584)

As a non-Japanese-speaking-person-who-watches-anime-and-stuff I've always wondered why they have both (well, several) writing systems. They have katakana, and Kanji, and sometimes Kanji with furigana to help with pronunciation. Is it just because it takes less space to write in Kanji? Kind of like how we abbreviate things?

Actually, 3 systems:

  • hiragana, which are based on cursive Chinese characters; used as phonetics to spell out words in native language
  • katakana, which are based on partial Chinese characters; used to spell out foreign words
  • kanji, Chinese characters integrated into the Japanese language; used as names, nouns or the root of verbs.

IMO, Kanji are used partly due to the fact that Japanese has a limited set of pronounceable sounds (~70) which creates many ambiguous situations. Writing the kanji root out instead of having bare hiragana helps to remove some of that ambiguity... So it's actually the OPPOSITE to abbreviation as it provides more accurate information.

Also there are those who consider it more 'elegant' as it's a time-consuming process to lean and use kanji, and even more time consuming to write them with elegance. (something even many Chinese people are struggling with).

Re:You can use katakana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32516050)

Yeah. Let's remove kanji from the language. Then we can keep English speakers from using anything other than IPA and take out the funny accent marks from French that are hard to type on US keyboards.

While we're at it, let's not restrain our criticism to communication languages. The C preprocessor is a useless piece of garbage, let's just remove it from the standard. XML attributes? Who needs 'em? Oh, and while we're at it, let's remove Perl from every Unix machine. PHP is better anyway and it still has those funny variable symbols you like so much.

Re:You can use katakana (1)

Chad Birch (1222564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516108)

So you read the title, but didn't make it to the summary?

They're not adding new kanji for electronics, they're saying that some kanji are becoming more commonly used because using them when writing electronically removes the difficulty of actually writing those characters.

Computer rendering required? (2, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32515962)

Is it just me, or is having your language based on a character set that requires computer rendering for most people to be able to communicate clearly somewhat asinine?

No disrespect to those that practice the art of cartography, but for day to day communication... wow.

-Rick

Re:Computer rendering required? (1)

themightythor (673485) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516080)

No disrespect to those that practice the art of cartography, but for day to day communication... wow.

That word [wikipedia.org] does not mean what you think it means.

Re:Computer rendering required? (1)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516246)

That word does not mean what you think it means.

Uh oh. Not only do we have Grammar Nazis, now we have Malapropism Nazis! The horror!
I'm sure it was the Roman alphabet equivalent of missing a single brush stroke on a kanji.

Re:Computer rendering required? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516420)

Actually, cartography is an excellent way to transmit electronic communications securely.

You see you take the lattitude and longitude of a city. Take those numbers and convert them into their ASCII equivalents.

However, day to day communication, doesn't work so well.

Cost along the Peninsula Northeast of Vorkuta
In the Laptev Sea directly North of Novvy-urengoy
About the islands in the Kara Sea Directly North of Murmansk

See what I mean?

Fail on my part (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516664)

I meant to write 'calligraphy' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calligraphy). Brain to finger malfunction.

-Rick

Re:Computer rendering required? (2)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516156)

Kanji are asinine. Have always been. You don't know the kanji, you'll have no way to figure it out in most writing because there are no clues how to sound it out. Which is why so many manga have kana above the kanji.

Western languages have many flaws, english grammar is inconsistent and english spelling is horribly inconsistent in some cases, but Kanji is such a pain that the Chinese even thought of dropping their own system decades back in favor of pinyin (romanization).

Once you get beyond the mysticism that cause people to get kanji tattoos, it's a little like writing roman numerals in some ways (which can be added and subtracted easily, but a pain to multiply and divide by hand).

Re:Computer rendering required? (1)

ljgshkg (1223086) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516608)

Well, if you look at those words everyday, you'd know what those words are. Much like I look at some English words, be able to read them, but still have no idea what it means.

And Kanji is really not a pain to Chinese at all. The background of that "romanize Chinese" is the chaos era when all those Chinese people are crazy about revolution to "save China" and try to copy the whole western set of knowledge and culture over.

Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan easily proves that the problem is really about the lack of "education" for many farmers etc. It has nothing to do with Chinese itself. Chinese have many dialects that sound very different or even say things totally differently. Their sentence structure my be slightly different, and the term they use are different. The fact is that, if you romanize Chinese, but don't provide a good education system, people are still not going to understand those romanized writing at all.

The problem, is education.

Also, except the most original Chinese words, many Chinese words that were developed later on are based of a "side" and a "sound". Looking at the word, you can figure out most sound of word. Now Japanese have a problem in that because they don't say it the Chinese way. But they only have some 2000 frequently used Chinese words. If you're learning the language and use it everyday, see it everywhere, you don't need to memorize. It just gets into your mind and you'll remember.

Re:Computer rendering required? (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516646)

Actually manga do it because the people who write these things usually use awkward, or rare words. Title's of books, and people's names are especially guilty about this. They tend to write furigana above other Kanji because they write these things in the hopes that kids get into them. Not because they are shitastically hard (which they totally are). If they didn't do that, 4th graders working on 6-kyu level Kanji wouldn't have a chance with a book using 5-kyu Kanji. Plus it's an asset to kids since they end up learning how the Kanji looks while doing something they LIKE!

Re:Computer rendering required? (1)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516678)

I am a native Chinese speaker. The human mind has more than enough power to memorize the pronunciations of words even if the words give no clue of pronunciations. Eventually, when you look at the word the pronunciation just pops up in the mind automatically. The reverse is also true.

I can see why adults would have problems learning Chinese characters. But from my experience learning English, it also feels overwhelming even if there is some association between words and pronunciations. There are so many other things to learn as well.

Re:Computer rendering required? (1)

angus77 (1520151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516698)

Which is why so many manga have kana above the kanji.

No, it just means that you read children's manga.

Re:Computer rendering required? (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516168)

Is it just me, or is having your language based on a character set that requires computer rendering for most people to be able to communicate clearly somewhat asinine?

It's even more confusing than that. Japanese use two other character sets besides Kanji, and generally wind up using 2 or 3 character sets in every sentence.

Kanji = words taken into Japanese from Chinese

the 'kana' are made up of these two:

    Hiragana = native Japanese words for which they don't use kanji
    Katakana = words taken into Japanese from languages other than Chinese

Here's where it's hilarious - Hiragana and Katakana characters represent syllables, not entire words. And the two sets are made up of the same 46 syllables! (though there are some extra compound syllables in Katakana)

Plus Katakana is often used for other things, like product names, or for the 'coolness' factor. "It's complicated."

Really, they only need one set of kana, and no kanji at all, because you can write out any word in the language using either set of the kana. There is something called 'furigana', which is tiny little hiragana characters printed next to unusual kanji so the reader knows what they are (even Japanese don't know all THAT many kanji besides the 'joyo' kanji mentioned in this article. This is getting so bad that subtitles on movies in Japan are using less and less kanji because the people can't read them very well.)

Re:Computer rendering required? (1)

angus77 (1520151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516782)

Kanji = words taken into Japanese from Chinese

Except for the kanji that are natively Japanese (like "hatake", which was borrowed back into Chinese).

(Does anyone know how to input CJK characters on Slashdot? Slashdot ate my kanji!)

Re:Computer rendering required? (1)

cbev (1769390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516442)

Somehow I think Kanji has been around a bit longer than ASCII.

Re:Computer rendering required? (1)

Platinumrat (1166135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516488)

Not really being a grammer Nazi, what "themightythor" and I both realised was that "cartography" (map making) wasn't anything like what the poster meant. I guessing that the appropriate word was "caligraphy" (the art of writing). Not to be confused with caligula.

Kanji Test (2, Insightful)

Dutchy Wutchy (547108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32515964)

But we are left with a problem: the kanji test that people take to get a certificate showing what they have learned (taken by students and others in Japan) will now become more difficult. This technology has allowed people to become more exposed and use a wider variety of kanji, but it has also become a crutch. Many people can read a lot of kanji, but are hard pressed to remember it and write it by hand (which is required for the test).

Re:Kanji Test (2, Informative)

ljgshkg (1223086) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516672)

I'm Chinese migrated to foreign country for years. I can tell you that I do, in fact forget some words when it gets down to writing because I don't write it. But it just take a little bit of thinking to get the memory back.

Now, if you write it or see it everyday, you shouldn't have the problem. If you're having problme, it's most likely that you're not seeing it everyday in real life but just on your book or computer screen. I find reading words from books/monitor every day give you less strong memory about the words than if you see them in real life.

Re:Kanji Test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32516724)

But we are left with a problem: the kanji test that people take to get a certificate showing what they have learned (taken by students and others in Japan) will now become more difficult.

Cry me a river...

Seriously, what's the problem? You're taking a test to show that you're proficient in a certain language. The test is revised to reflect the language "as she is spoke", today. Surely that's the right thing to do? What good is a language proficiency test that doesn't change as the language changes?

Worst Languages Ever (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32515992)

Japanese and Chinese.

Re:Worst Languages Ever (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516062)

Really, why have three sets of script/alphabet/glyphs?

Re:Worst Languages Ever (2, Insightful)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516176)

Why have a definite article? Why have different ways to pronounce the same syllables as presented in different words? Why have silent letters? Why have emphasis marks on different syllables? Why capitalize certain words, like the cardinal directions? Languages aren't exactly developed by informed committee. The reason you have little quirks like this in Japanese is because, much like English, it's an amalgation of other languages that has developed over centuries rather than a "pure" development.

Re:Worst Languages Ever (1)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516454)

Really, why have three sets of script/alphabet/glyphs?

The main usage is kanji for roots of words, then kana for inflectional endings, like the -s ending of English plurals. Some words are spelled phonetically in kana. Some company names are spelled in katakana (e.g. Toyota, Suzuki), while others are spelled in kanji (e.g. Mitsubishi).

...laura

Re:Worst Languages Ever (1)

nebaz (453974) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516638)

Historically Japanese took Chinese characters (Kanji) for its writing system, as it had none of its own. It wasn't a perfect fit, as the languages were different. Chinese characters are pictoral/conceptual, not phonetic. The Japanese characters that were adapted were based mostly on meaning, so reading a character in Japanese would sound different than the same character in Chinese, but some were based on similar sounds too. This was all done more than a thousand years ago, so some associations no longer make sense. Katakana and Hiragana were independently developed phonetic alphabets that were essentially derived from "shorthand" for the various Kanji. One could theoretically use only one of the phonetic alphabets, but there are relatively few distinct sounds in Japanese (5 vowels, for one) that there are lots and lots of homophones. It is actually easier for reading comprehension to use the Kanji to distinguish between these items.

Re:Worst Languages Ever (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516696)

Because it's easier than one set like Chinese. Hiragana to help you learn how to sound it out, Katakana for foreign words, and Kanji for big boys, and girls. I still am sad I can only read roughly 400 ;_;

Re:Worst Languages Ever (1)

Yuan-Lung (582630) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516756)

Really, why have three sets of script/alphabet/glyphs?

Says the the person typing in a language using at least 4 sets. {capital, lower case}x{printed, cursive}

Re:Worst Languages Ever (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516826)

Why don't you add a set for every god damn fonts while you are it, Mr. Einstein?

Japanese people forgetting how to write kanji (1)

greggman (102198) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516002)

It's also contributed to many Japanese forgetting how to write many less common kanji because in their day-to-day life most of them rarely have to write by hand anymore. They type the sound and press "convert" and pick from a list on both their PCs and cell phones.

UTF-8 (4, Funny)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516044)

The only thing I can think when I see this story is, WTF? Why does Slashdot.jp get UTF-8, and regular Slashdot gets ISO-8859-1? I know I've tried to post foreign characters before, as others have, and they just get ignored.

    I figured they were too lazy to implement it into Slashcode. Now it's obvious that they're avoiding it.

(5:erocS) tuoyal eht kaerb dluow 8-FTU (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516198)

Why does Slashdot.jp get UTF-8, and regular Slashdot gets ISO-8859-1?

One old crapflooding technique was to use characters intended for use with right-to-left scripts (Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, Thaana) to spoof moderation and distort the layout of other comments to the article. See my earlier post on the topic [slashdot.org] , as well as Encyclopedia Dramatica's [encycloped...matica.com] .

Re:(5:erocS) tuoyal eht kaerb dluow 8-FTU (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516590)

    Nice. The Encyclopedia Dramatica page renders backwards. :)

   

Re:UTF-8 (5, Interesting)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516206)

The usual explanation given is that people were injecting unicode characters as part of trolling attempts to break Slashdot's layout. So trolls were doing things like using right-to-left control characters to spoof their comment score. See this comment [slashdot.org] , which explains the situation and links to some examples. Slashdot reacted by blocking anything not in the basic character set.

Frankly this is an unsatisfying answer. Or rather an unsatisfying solution. It seems like it wouldn't take that long for a developer to go through some of the unicode set and build a whitelist and/or blacklist that was comprehensive enough to allow us geeks to use useful symbols (currency, micro, greek letters, etc.) without allowing damaging characters.

It seems like many of Slashdot's anti-trolling features (e.g. trying to prevent allcaps or ASCII art) are somewhat misguided. Nowadays the moderation is pretty good, such that troll comments are basically buried. You may as well let regular posters with good karma post in caps or use ASCII art if that's what their post requires (e.g. posting some calculations that uses lots of symbols and few words ends up being flagged unnecessarily).

All that to say that Slashdot could presumably fix these things, but apparently they have little interest in doing so.

Re:UTF-8 (1)

Tynin (634655) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516748)

The usual explanation given is that people were injecting unicode characters as part of trolling attempts to break Slashdot's layout. So trolls were doing things like using right-to-left control characters to spoof their comment score. See this comment [slashdot.org] , which explains the situation and links to some examples. Slashdot reacted by blocking anything not in the basic character set. Frankly this is an unsatisfying answer. Or rather an unsatisfying solution. It seems like it wouldn't take that long for a developer to go through some of the unicode set and build a whitelist and/or blacklist that was comprehensive enough to allow us geeks to use useful symbols (currency, micro, greek letters, etc.) without allowing damaging characters. It seems like many of Slashdot's anti-trolling features (e.g. trying to prevent allcaps or ASCII art) are somewhat misguided. Nowadays the moderation is pretty good, such that troll comments are basically buried. You may as well let regular posters with good karma post in caps or use ASCII art if that's what their post requires (e.g. posting some calculations that uses lots of symbols and few words ends up being flagged unnecessarily). All that to say that Slashdot could presumably fix these things, but apparently they have little interest in doing so.

This is very good insight on the problems that plague /. and reasonable suggestions on how to fix them. The idea to whitelist/blacklist specific strings of unicode is really the best idea I've heard in a while. Then, as /. editors come across further unicode exploits they could refine their lists. Again, great post. I agree with everything wrote. I hope this gets read and enlightens some editor/slashcoder to bring about a better /. for us all.

Sadly, the new kanji consist of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32516092)

...words related to the describing of new variants of tentacle rape. And Godzilla.

finally! this is like a rosetta stone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32516112)

Finally we can decipher slashdot.jp [slashdot.org] . For surely among the top stories there must be precisely the following text:
"Those who have studied in our country know how imposing kanji, or Chinese characters, can be in learning our language. There is an official list of 1,945 characters that we are expected to understand to graduate from one of our high schools or be considered fluent. For the first time in 29 years, that list is set to change — increasing by nearly ten percent to 2,136 characters. 196 are being added, and 5 deleted. The added characters are ones we all know are found commonly in life use, but are obviously harder to write by hand and therefore overlooked in previous editions of the official list. Our officials seem to have recognized that with the advent and spread of computers in daily life, writing in this country has simplified dramatically. Changing the phonetic spelling of a word to its correct kanji only requires a couple presses of a button, rather than memorizing an elaborate series of brush strokes. At the same time, the barrage of words that people see has increased, thereby increasing the necessity to understand them. Computers have simplified the task of writing in Japanese, but inadvertently now complicated the lives of learners of our language. (Oh, if you read English and are interested in more details on specific changes, Slashdot.org has some information!)"

With this summary, we can finally crack the Japanese language!

It's all Greek to me. (1)

Above (100351) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516284)

I checked out the Slashdot.jp article, and got absolutely nothing out of it.

Why would those who read a roman alphabet be directed to a site in Japanese for more information?

Re:It's all Greek to me. (1)

vxice (1690200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516456)

If read the summary, just before where they send you to slashdot.jp, it says "if you read Japanese." You are not meant to be sent there if you don't read Japanese.

Re:It's all Greek to me. (1)

angus77 (1520151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516804)

I checked out the Slashdot.jp article, and got absolutely nothing out of it.

Why would those who read a roman alphabet be directed to a site in Japanese for more information?

Because readers who are interested in what's going on with the writing system of a foreign language are highly likely to be speakers/readers of that language?

Re:It's all Greek to me. (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516812)

Or we're slightly crazy. I'm working on learning my 5th language. But I found Japanese unbelievably daunting, even moreso then Mandarin.

Talk about old fashioned.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32516650)

The asian countries need to "get with the times". Pictographic languages are so 1100BC.

Parsed the title wrong (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516688)

At first i thought they meant they were adding completely new kanji specifically dealing with modern electronics (presumably to replace older kanji that had previously been adapted to the task.) Which led to the thought that since originally a lot of kanji got their start as pictograms [wikipedia.org] that were them simplified to their current forms, wouldn't it be cool if new kanji for electronics were developed from simplified versions of circuit diagrams?

Alas, it was not to be.

Big deal (1)

noisebar (1641161) | more than 4 years ago | (#32516740)

Big deal. I have to remember like 20000 of them.
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