About Onyomi and Kunyomi

Ilhem_roori

New Member
Arabic,french,english
Hello, I started learning Japanese a few months ago but I gave up many times because of Kanji, I didn't know how I am supposed to learn them. I know that every kanji has two different readings ( On: which is the chinese way of reading it when there are more then 2 kanjis, Kun: which is the Japanese reading of the Kanji) is that right?
The question is: Are there any exceptions? if yes, are they rare or I can find many kanjis who are read in Onyumi even if they stand by themselves?
I have another question, What do you think is the best way to learn kanji? Do I have to learn the radicals by school grades or I just have to memorise the Kanji words?

Thank you! :)
 
  • tos1

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I know that every kanji has two different readings ( On: which is the chinese way of reading it when there are more then 2 kanjis, Kun: which is the Japanese reading of the Kanji) is that right?
    The question is: Are there any exceptions?
    Yes, We can divide Japanese kanjis into three groups;
    - Readable in both On and Kun. Each of them has at least one On-yomi and at least one Kun-yomi.
    - Readable in only On. Each of them has at least one On-yomi.
    - Readable in only Kun. Each of them has at least one Kun-yomi.
    if yes, are they rare or I can find many kanjis who are read in Onyumi even if they stand by themselves?
    I'm not sure but the only-On might be less than 500, and the only-Kun might be less than 100. Total number of Joyo kanji (常用漢字, some kind of legal kanji in Japan) is 2136.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_jōyō_kanji
    In the rightmost column of this table, On-yomi(音読み) is described with Katakana(カタカナ; アイウエオ...ン) character, and Kun-yomi(訓読み) is with Hiragana(ひらがな; あいうえお...ん). But, note that the columun shows only legal readings, just a part. For example, Yomi of No.11 嵐 is described in only Kun-yomi "Arashi" but 嵐 can also be read as "Ran" commonly.
    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/嵐#Japanese
    You would be able to find more information by searching "音読みのみ” or "訓読みのみ" via net.

    About kanjis standing by themselves
    There are more singly usable only-On-yomi kanjis than Kun-yomi. Not so many only-Kun-yomi kanji stand by themselves, for example, 峠 (Touge; mountain pass/crisis/climax) does. Most Kun-yomi kanjis must be followed by Okurigana (送り仮名).

    I have another question, What do you think is the best way to learn kanji? Do I have to learn the radicals by school grades or I just have to memorise the Kanji words?
    I recommend to seek Japanese media (Manga/Anime and other magazines/books/movies, web sites, news, etc.). You would be able to get much information if you select something related to your interests as textbooks.
     

    Yatalu

    Member
    Dutch (Flanders)
    I'd also like to add that even though most multi-character words are read with on'yomi, this is not always the case.
    Example: 友達 (ともだち tomodachi) [friend], vs. 友人 (ゆうじん yuujin) [friend] ← the second one in this case feels more formal, like is often the case with on'yomi words.

    Sometimes, a multi-character word exists with both on'yomi and kun'yumi readings:
    Example: 市場 (いちば ichiba) [market place], vs. 市場 (しじょう shijou) [economical market]

    They're quite rare though, and rather than looking them up, I'd advise to just make a mental note when you encounter them, and memorize them like that.
     

    Ilhem_roori

    New Member
    Arabic,french,english
    I'd also like to add that even though most multi-character words are read with on'yomi, this is not always the case.
    Example: 友達 (ともだち tomodachi) [friend], vs. 友人 (ゆうじん yuujin) [friend] ← the second one in this case feels more formal, like is often the case with on'yomi words.

    Sometimes, a multi-character word exists with both on'yomi and kun'yumi readings:
    Example: 市場 (いちば ichiba) [market place], vs. 市場 (しじょう shijou) [economical market]

    They're quite rare though, and rather than looking them up, I'd advise to just make a mental note when you encounter them, and memorize them like that.
    I see :) That's clear. Thank you very much!
     
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