On someone's kanji blog this week, a commenter (purportedly a Japanese man) sneered at the way kanji learners "overuse" the characters. In his view, enthusiasts tend to use kanji for words that the Japanese would render in hiragana.
This distressed me on several levels.
First, why squash enthusiasm about anything, particularly about kanji learning?
Second, why introduce toxicity into anyone's blog, especially one with an upbeat, fun approach to kanji? (For that matter, why be nasty to anyone at all? I know it's unavoidable sometimes, but this was not one of those cases!)
Third, is it truly harmful to "overuse" kanji? Doing so may not mimic the way Japanese would write, but does it actually matter? Extra exposure to the characters might help.
In Joy o' Kanji essays I sometimes alter sample sentences to include more kanji than a native speaker would. I do so when the kanji clarifies a meaning that the hiragana has hidden.
I've been led astray by hiragana time and again. Here are a few examples.
1. Some People
Consider this sentence, which a Japanese friend wrote in an email:
Some people are wounded by words that don't bother other people at all.
人 (ひと: people); 同じ (おなじ: same); 言葉 (ことば: words);
傷つく (きずつく: to be wounded); まったく ... ない (not ... at all);
なんとも (not at all); 思う (おもう: to feel)
With phrases such as ある人, I've long thought that the ある corresponded to 有る (to have). I never knew why ある could suddenly refer to people, given that the Japanese mainly use いる for that.
However, I've recently realized that the ある in ある人 corresponds to 或る (which contains a non-Joyo kanji). This word means "some." Ah! That makes more sense.
[To read the rest, just go to Joy o' Kanji!]
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