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Kanji confusion


I bought the book "Essential Kanji" by P.G. O'Neill but, I'm really confused by all the pronunciations and when to use them. Could someone explain to me exactly when to use the onyomi and kunyomi pronunciations. I also need information as to why there are so many ON pronunciations and what the difference is. Any answers and advice on learning kanji would help immensely. I think my head exploded a while back so thanks for answering even If I may be overthinking it.

For learning: Japanese
Base language: English
Category: Language


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    Here's a good explanation:

    Basically, Japanese imported a ton of Chinese words. These were easy to write in Chinese characters, but they also had to find a way to write native Japanese words. So for those, you just use a Kanji with an appropriate meaning instead of the word, and write the ending in Hiragana if you need to conjugate it. This is the Kun-Yomi, the meaning-reading. Sometimes you can even use different Kanji for the same word to express different shades of meaning.

    For Chinese words, the Chinese pronounciation of the Hanzi/Kanji was adapted to Japanese phonology, which has less sounds, and some sound change rules (Sokuon and Handaku). Also, they were important at different times from different Chinese dialects. So you get different On-Yomi, sound-readings.

    What works for me is not to learn how to read Kanji. Instead you learn words. If you know the meaning of a native Japanese word and the meaning of a Kanji, you can associate the word with the way it's written. So that takes care of kun-pronounciations. Whenever you learn a word of Chinese origin, start associating the on-pronounciation with the Kanji. Ignore all on-pronounciations if you don't know any words for them yet. Often different on-pronounciations will be used for different aspects of the meaning of the Kanji, so you can keep them apart.

    I don't know why people are so obsessed with kanji. Learning kanji readings is a very bad idea.

    Why not just learn vocabulary like you would do for any other language? The reading comes naturally after a time.

    But generally you can say Kunyomi is for when the kanji has hiragana attached and Onyomi is when the kanji is attached to other kanji.

    But again, learning readings is a waste of time, some kanji have 20 different readings.

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