Characters (kanji etc.)

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by kusurija, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. kusurija

    kusurija Senior Member

    Lithuania, K. city
    Lithuania Czech
    Hi, all!
    How do You name characters (e.g. Japanese kanji or Chinese characters) in Your respective language? What is meaning of this word?

    In Czech:
    znaky (marks)

    In Lithuanian:
    hieroglifai (hieroglyphs :eek: )(came from Russian)

    In Japanese:
    字[ji] or 漢字[kanji] (character or character from Han(漢) dynasty 206BC. - 220)

    In Russian:
    иероглифы[ieroglify](hieroglyphs :eek: )
  2. andlima

    andlima Senior Member

    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Portuguese (Brazil)
    In Portuguese:
    ideograma (or simply "caractere", as in "caracteres chineses")
  3. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    In German, we say "Zeichen" (signs/characters).
  4. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    In our language, though, the main characters are called letras (letters). ;)

    In addition, we use punctuation marks and diacritics, but I don't imagine that Kusurija wants us to be that thorough.

    BTW, the correct singular is carácter. Many people don't know this.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2008
  5. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    I was thinking about this myself. Does Kusurija want us to translate "Chinese/Japanese characters" into our language or how we call our characters?

    If it's the latter, you'd say "Buchstaben" (letters) in German.
  6. andlima

    andlima Senior Member

    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Portuguese (Brazil)
    Yes, a regular letter like "A" or "Z", or even one from Cyrillic or Greek alphabet, is called "letra", but I thought he was referring specifically to Chinese and Japanese characters, wasn't he?

    You're right, Out (as usual, hehehe)... In this context, the correct is "caráter" (in Brazil) or "carácter" (in Portugal).

    In Brazilian Portuguese we actually have the word "caractere", but it's restricted to computer related areas, such as "caractere ASCII", "digite um caractere"... I bet in Portugal you guys use the word "carácter" for this too, don't you?
  7. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    It would be best if Kusurija explained for himself what he meant to ask.

    In Portugal also, there are people who think there is a word caracter or caractere specific to computer contexts, but this is a misconception. It just happens that this word has an irregular inflection.
  8. andlima

    andlima Senior Member

    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Portuguese (Brazil)
    Actually, as far as Brazilian Portuguese is concerned, Houaiss dictionary has both words: "caractere" (although not "caracter") and "caráter". The first one has a single aception, with its use restricted to "Rubrica: informática", while the second one is more general, meaning written letters and symbols and a type (as in typography).
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2008
  9. kusurija

    kusurija Senior Member

    Lithuania, K. city
    Lithuania Czech
    I did mean only Japanese or Chinese type of characters(), not other type letters (as e.g. Latin, Cyrilic and so on). Anyway I'm very thanksfull for Your answers. I think names of all other types of letters/characters we could discuss in other thread?
  10. Erebos12345

    Erebos12345 Senior Member

    They're called han4 zi4 in Mandarin. 汉字 [simplified] 漢字 [traditional]
  11. ErOtto Senior Member

    38º 35' 32'' N - 0º 03' 59'' O
    Bilingual: Spanish (Spain) / German (Germany)
    I guess in Spanish it would be ideograma, but usually they are called "caracteres chinos"... even the Japanese :D

  12. Flaminius

    Flaminius coclea mod

    capita Iaponiae
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    What other writing systems do you include in this group? Depending on the answer, which is actually a definition of 漢字, the label in Japanese is either 表意文字 (hyōi moji; ideogram) or 表語文字 (hyōgo moji; logogram).

    It must be mentioned also that Japanese uses besides Chinese characters two sets of phonograms.
    字 [ji] does not specifically mean a character in Japanese. A component of any script can be referred to as 字. 文字 (moji) is an entire writing system or a component thereof. In fact, Japanese (and perhaps Chinese too) is not very interested in telling a characters system (or components thereof) from other types of scripts (or components thereof).

    An alphabet, such as <A>, <B>, <C>, or <D>, can be referred to as a 字母 (jibo) but this is a very technical term. Most of the time, <A>, <B>, <C>, and <D> are referred to as four ji's or moji's, just as <あ>, <い>, <う>, <え> and <天>, <地>, <玄>, <黄> are. In a sense, therefore, the answer to your question is that there is no such concept, thus no word, in Japanese.
  13. Black4blue

    Black4blue Senior Member


    We also use the word karakter (character).
  14. sakvaka

    sakvaka Senior Member

    Finnish: merkki, -n, -ä

    This is obviously etymologically related to mark (in English). The Finnish word also means "sign".
  15. Orlin Banned

    Bulgarian: йероглифи (hieroglyphs) or sometimes (писмени) знаци ((written) signs).
  16. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek:
    iðeo'ɣramata plural neuter; in sing. «ιδεόγραμμα», iðe'oɣrama
    lit. "ideograms". Compound formed with the joining together of the feminine noun «ἰδέα» (ĭ'dĕă, i'ðea in Modern Greek)-->idea, from PIE base *woid-, to know, or *wid-, to see + neuter noun «γράμμα» ('grammă, 'ɣrama in Modern Greek)-->written character, letter, from the verb «γράφω» ('grapʰō, 'ɣrafo in Modern Greek)-->to write, inscribe from PIE base *gerbʰ-, to scratch

    [ð] is a voiced dental non-sibilant fricative
    [ɣ] is a voiced velar fricative
  17. Orlin Banned

    Bulgarian uses идеограми/ideogrami too, but this is usually in specialized contexts.
  18. English Speaker Member

    Mexican Spanish
    Hummm I'm not agree with you.

    For Chinese ideograms we just say: ideogramas. But for Japanese characters we say just as in Japanese: Kanjis not "caracteres Chinos".
  19. Tjahzi

    Tjahzi Senior Member

    Umeå, Sweden
    Swedish (Göteborg)
    Swedish uses the word tecken which means character or sign together with the corresponding adjectives: kinesiska/japanska tecken. The latter is, at least by uneducated people used to denote Japaneses kana as well. (Similarly, I would assume the same principle being applied to refer to hangul characters as koreanska tecken).

    However, in educated speech, I would say that the native names: kanji, kana and jamo are used.

    (Notes: tecken belongs to the neutral gender and is hence identical in singular and plural. The "borrowings" kanji, kana and jamo are all treated as uncountable utrum.)
  20. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Hungarian írásjel, jel [írás writing jel sign]
  21. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Icelandic myndletur (< mynd "picture" + letur "written character", related to Eng. letter, etc.) is used to refer to the characters in Chinese and other logographic writing systems; stafur "letter" is also used to refer to Chinese characters, but I'm not sure if this is considered technically correct

    Welsh arwyddlun "emblem, pictograph" < arwydd "sign" + llun "picture, form"

    Armenian նշանագիր (nshanakir/nshanagir) "character, symbol" < նշան "sign" + գիր "letter"

    (I hope it's OK that none of these three is "my language" (in the sense of my native language), as the original question asked. :))
  22. puny_god Member

    English - US language learning circles here in the Philippines, we call them by their proper names like Kanji or Hanzi or Hiragana or Katakana, whatever is applicable.
    But outside the circle, I normally hear "sulat Hapon" or "sulat Intsik", sulat meaning writing.
  23. Holger2014 Senior Member

    Another version is Schriftzeichen ('script signs/characters'). Sometimes a more international term is used as well: Ideogramme (of course only referring to Hanzi / Kanji, not to Katakana / Hiragana)
  24. Sempervirens Senior Member

    Ciao! In lingua italiana; ideogrammi, ma anche sinogrammi o caratteri cinesi.
    Pure in riferimento alla lingua giapponese, lingua sinoxenica, per tale sistema di scrittura cinese generalmente si fa uso delle stesse parole: ideogrammi, sinogrammi, caratteri cinesi.
    Per i segni autoctoni giapponesi si usa la definizione sillabario giapponese, o sillabari giapponesi quando si vuole specificare sia il sistema hiragana sia quello katakana.

    Ragazzi, c'è Google che vi può tradurre le frasi.:)

    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
  25. 涼宮

    涼宮 Senior Member

    Sbaeneg/Castellano (Venezuela)
    In Spanish people colloquially call them ''letras'', ''letras chinas'' or ''símbolos'' (letters, Chinese letters, symbols).
  26. Sempervirens Senior Member

    Interessante! Grazie per aver condiviso il tuo sapere con tutti noi!:)

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