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Are Onyomi and Kunyomi considered different words?

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Are Onyomi and Kunyomi considered different words?

Postby 8mbdavis8_514589 » December 8th, 2016 5:56 pm

I understand that Kanji have Onyomi and Kunyomi readings, but are they actually different words? I would specifically like to know this for the JLPT N5. Although it doesn't have an official list of vocabulary and Kanji, it is said you need roughly 800 words and 100 Kanji. Are each of the Kanji one of the words with the rest of the words being composed of multiple Kanji, Kanji and Kana, and Kana, counting all readings for a Kanji as one word? Are all the Kanji's readings considered their own words? Also, If anyone could direct me to a vocabulary list that has the kana for each word, and the Kanji for only the words that I need to know the Kanji for, I would really appreciate it.
Thank you.

I'm not the best at typing threads, and this is my first on the site, so I'm sorry if it wasn't very good.

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Re: Are Onyomi and Kunyomi considered different words?

Postby jim.schuler » December 9th, 2016 10:57 pm

They are not different words. Kanji was imported from China along with a raft of Chinese words. That's why the pronunciation is rather flexible. Some of the Kanji came to represent existing Japanese words with existing Japanese pronunciation, while at the same time they maintained their relationship with a Chinese word or words that had their pronunciation filtered through kana. As a result, it's a mess. You will suffer and cry and go insane. Accept and enjoy it!

My recommendation is, if you are serious about becoming fluent in the language as an end goal, to go through the Heisig method first. It's less effort in the long run, although you're going to wind up almost becoming fluent--for lack of a better term--in the written language all at once, so it doesn't lend itself well to classes or going sequentially through the JLPT.

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Re: Are Onyomi and Kunyomi considered different words?

Postby community.japanese » February 9th, 2017 8:14 am

Hi 8mbdavis8, thank you for posting.
And jim.schuler, thank you for answering 8mbdavis8.

As you know, there are three types of scripts for Japanese writing system.
Kanji, hiragana and katakana.

Kanji characters are ideograms and originally came from China about 1600 years ago.
It was used as the only script in Japan for years.
But later hiragana and katakana syllabaries were created as Japanese original scripts.
This complicated history made kanji-reading complicated...

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