Thread: Kanji help?
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Old 11-30-2006, 08:17 PM   #8
Carl Thompson
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Location: Kasama
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 491
Re: Kanji help?

Soon-Kian Phang wrote:
Actually, Japanese have katakana for transcribing foreign words, i.e. they don't use Kanji to spell things out phonetically (they did historically, but the characters became hiragana and katakana), so this method looks a bit unnatural from the Japanese viewpoint.

On the other hand, using Kanji to spell things out phonetically is used in Chinese, e.g. tank becomes 坦克 (tanke), clone becomes 克隆 (kelong) and David becomes 大卫 (dawei)
You're quite right: Loanwords, onomatopoeia, scientific words and words that just need emphasised or written clearly, tend to be written in katakana. However, there's nothing wrong with using kanji for names, right? For example Peking 北京, Taiwan 台湾, Hannah 花 etc.You'll have seen plenty of non-Japanese sensei with their names rendered in kanji on the mat. In Japan, foreigners can have their hanko (personal seals) written in romaji, katakana or kanji, although the tendency is towards katakana. I'm no native speaker though, so if I'm missing something from the Japanese viewpoint, I'd be interested to know.

I agree; my suggestion of writing "hawkshead" phonetically was pants . Your suggestion was much better. I have one question though -- why kashira over atama? I know the reading, but I just wondered if there was a particular reason for using the more unusual kashira. I get the impression it might be a bit more 動物っぽい which would be appropriate.
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