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  1. 1. Copyrighted Material. PHONETIC ELEMENTS IN JAPANESE CHARACTERS A supportive tool for learning Japanese Mr. Drs. Annemarie G. van Dijk, Mjur (Oxon) First Edition 2010
  2. 2. Copyrighted Material. Published by Annemarie G. van Dijk Copyright © 2010 by Annemarie G. van Dijk All rights reserved ISBN: 978-90-815207-1-3 If you wish to purchase a copy of this book please contact the author by sending an email to vandijk.phoneticelements@gmail.com or via www.linkedin.com. 2
  3. 3. Copyrighted Material. This book is dedicated to my mother for her never-ending love, continuous support and guidance throughout the years. 3
  4. 4. Copyrighted Material. 4
  5. 5. Copyrighted Material. 5
  6. 6. Copyrighted Material. Table of Contents Foreword................................................................................................ 8 Typographical explanation .................................................................... 11 Bibliography .......................................................................................... 15 Phonetic Elements List.......................................................................... 16 ア .......................................................................................................... 17 イ .......................................................................................................... 18 エ ..........................................................................................................20 オ .......................................................................................................... 23 カ ..........................................................................................................25 キ .......................................................................................................... 37 ク ......................................................................................................... 46 ケ ......................................................................................................... 48 コ .......................................................................................................... 55 サ .......................................................................................................... 63 シ ......................................................................................................... 66 ス ..........................................................................................................88 セ ......................................................................................................... 90 ソ .......................................................................................................... 97 タ ........................................................................................................ 102 6
  7. 7. Copyrighted Material. チ ....................................................................................................... 106 ツ ........................................................................................................110 テ ........................................................................................................ 111 ト ........................................................................................................116 ニ ....................................................................................................... 122 ヌ ........................................................................................................123 ノ ....................................................................................................... 124 ハ ....................................................................................................... 125 ヒ ........................................................................................................130 フ ........................................................................................................ 133 ヘ ........................................................................................................ 137 ホ ....................................................................................................... 139 マ ....................................................................................................... 144 ミ ....................................................................................................... 146 ム ........................................................................................................147 メ ....................................................................................................... 148 モ ....................................................................................................... 149 ヤ ........................................................................................................ 151 ユ ....................................................................................................... 152 ヨ ....................................................................................................... 154 7
  8. 8. Copyrighted Material. ラ ........................................................................................................ 157 リ ........................................................................................................ 158 レ ........................................................................................................ 162 ロ ........................................................................................................ 164 Appendix ............................................................................................. 166 8
  9. 9. Copyrighted Material. 9
  10. 10. Copyrighted Material. Foreword In 1997 I obtained my master’s degree in Japanese Language and Culture from Leiden University in the Netherlands. Subsequently, I received my master’s degree in law from Leiden University and a law degree from Oxford University. I decided to pursue a career as a finance lawyer and worked for nearly eight years in lawfirms doing banking and international capital markets transactions. I enjoyed working as a lawyer, but the “mystery” of Japanese characters, especially the question how to pronounce a character, remained to intrigue me. Let me first write down a few words about Japanese characters. Many books have been published about Chinese or Japanese characters. An impressive book is “China: Empire of Living Symbols” by Cecilia Lindqvist. Also “A guide to remembering Japanese characters” by Kenneth G. Henshall, “A dictionary of Chinese Symbols” by Wolfram Eberhard and “Chinese characters; Their Art and Wisdom” by Rose Quong are worth reading. Originally, the characters in Chinese texts were brought into Japan via Korea. The Japanese adopted the Chinese characters and their Chinese reading, but modified the pronunciation to the Japanese phonetic system.1 Chinese characters were also given Japanese readings. Most Japanese characters therefore have both one or more Chinese (on) readings and native Japanese (kun) readings.2 Japanese character dictionaries, like Chinese character dictionaries, are generally based on the system of the 214 basic elements or radicals and not on a system of phonetic elements.3 A radical is part of a character 1 Kanji & Kana, A handbook and dictionary of the Japanese writing system, Wolfgang Hadamitzky and Mark Spahn, Charles E. Tuttle Company, Japan, 1992 (“Kanji & Kana”), pages 18, 48 and 51. 2 Kanji & Kana, page 51. 3 Please also see the New Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary, completely revised by John H. Haig, Tuttle Publishing, 1997 (the “Nelson Dictionary”), page 1233 as well as the Mathews’ Chinese-English Dictionary, revised American edition, Harvard University Press, nineteenth printing, 2000 (the “Mathews Dictionary”). 10
  11. 11. Copyrighted Material. and indicates the field of meaning to which the relevant character belongs.4 Many Japanese characters also contain a sound-indicating part for the Chinese (on) reading which is helpful in guessing this Chinese (on) reading and I agree with W.E. Soothill that the persevering study of both the radicals and phonetics will in the long run save, not waste, the student’s time. 5 6 I believe that a good knowledge of phonetic elements will enable the student to (i) easier recognize and memorize the Chinese (on) reading of Japanese characters and (ii) more quickly use (electronic) Japanese-English (or any other language) dictionaries for the translation of Japanese characters and Japanese character combinations. In this study 7 of Japanese phonetic elements I have selected 349, mainly jōyō8, characters or elements of a character which in my opinion serve as a sound-indicating part or “phonetic element” for the Chinese (on) reading of certain Japanese characters (the “Phonetic Elements List”).9 The selection is based on the comparison of certain characters that have the same or nearly the same Chinese (on) reading.10 I have added, if listed therein, the number assigned to the relevant phonetic element as Japanese character in the Nelson dictionary. 4 Kodansha´s Elementary Kanji Dictionary, Kodansha International, Japan, 2001 (the “Kodansha´s Elementary Kanji Dictionary”), page xx. 5 Kanji & Kana, page 51. Please see also Kodansha´s Elementary Kanji Dictionary, page xvi. 6 The Student’s Four Thousand 字 and General Pocket Dictionary, W.E. Soothill, American Presbyterian Mission Press, Shanghai, 1914 (the “Soothill Dictionary”), page iv. The Mathews Dictionary refers to Soothill by stating that “those who desire to study the combinations of Radical and Phonetic will find Soothill’s Pocket Dictionary invaluable”; please see the Mathews Dictionary, page vi. 7 A first copy of this study was deposited with a civil law notary in The Netherlands on 2 November 2001. 8 Please see Appendix 13 of the Nelson Dictionary. 9 The characters mentioned in The Table of Daily Used Chinese Characters by Do Thong Minh, Tokyo, 1993 were used as a starting point for this comparison. Please note that the Phonetic Elements List is not an exhaustive list of phonetic elements in Japanese characters. 10 I have not performed any other (including etymological) research. 11
  12. 12. Copyrighted Material. I have also included, if listed therein, the number assigned to the relevant phonetic element as Chinese character in the Mathews dictionary, as I generally perceived the comparison of the relevant Japanese phonetic element and its Chinese-derived reading with the equivalent Chinese character and its Chinese pronunciation as useful. Worthwhile to mention is that 325 of the 349 Japanese phonetic elements arranged in this study, are also included in W.E. Soothill’s List of Phonetics (the “Soothill Phonetic List”)11 as phonetic elements in the Chinese language. A reference to the relevant phonetic element in the Soothill Phonetic List has also been included. I trust this selection of Japanese phonetic elements will be helpful to those who wish to master the Japanese language. Finally, I wish to express my thanks to my parents for their invaluable support and encouragement. The Netherlands, 2010 Annemarie Geraldine van Dijk 11 Please see the Soothill Dictionary, pages xiv – xxxv. 12
  13. 13. Copyrighted Material. Typographical explanation Phonetic Elements List Please see below for a sample entry from the Phonetic Elements List with annotations explaining the typography. 1 2i 2ii 2iii 4 4. 韋 韋 偉 違 緯 イ イ イ イ イ N 6601 N 6601 N 285 N 6099 N 4566 M 7080 S 764 – Wei – A thong R 178 [PE [•]] 葦 イ S N 5160 3 2iv 4 2v 1. Each phonetic element is placed before a bar and is assigned a number. 2. Below each phonetic element the following information is given: 13
  14. 14. Copyrighted Material. i. if the phonetic element is a Japanese character, the Chinese (on) reading(s)12 in katakana;13 ii. if the phonetic element is listed in the Nelson Dictionary as a Japanese character, the number assigned to it in the Nelson Dictionary preceded by an N (“X Nelson Dictionary” means that the phonetic element is not found in the Nelson Dictionary); iii. if the phonetic element is listed in the Mathews Dictionary as a Chinese character, the number assigned to it in the Mathews Dictionary preceded by an M (“X Mathews Dictionary” means that the phonetic element is not found in the Mathews Dictionary); iv. if the phonetic element is listed in the Soothill Phonetic List, the number assigned to it in the Soothill Phonetic List including the Chinese reading and English translation 14 mentioned in the Soothill Phonetic List 15 (“X Soothill Phonetic List” means that the phonetic element is not listed in the Soothill Phonetic List; and 12 Please note that a phonetic element may have more than one Chinese (on) reading. If a phonetic element does not have a Chinese (on) reading, the annotation is N.A. (= Not Applicable). The Chinese (on) readings mentioned are based on the (on) readings mentioned in the Nelson Dictionary, Japanese Word for Windows, Kanji & Kana and Do Thong Minh, Table of Daily Used Chinese Characters, Tokyo, 1993. 13 Please see the Nelson Dictionary, page 1250. 14 Please make sure to always look up the meaning of a Japanese phonetic element / character in a Japanese-English (character) dictionary and in relation to Japanese phonetic elements / characters please do not rely on the English translation of the Chinese phonetic mentioned in the Soothill Phonetic List. 15 Only some phonetics in the Soothill Phonetic List are assigned a number (a `numbered phonetic´) whereas the other phonetics are only indirectly numbered, i.e. by reference to the first preceding numbered phonetic. Also, please note that the numbering is not always sequential (e.g. there is no phonetic with number 7). For reference purposes, in order to avoid any confusion, both the Chinese pronunciation and English translation as mentioned in the Soothill Phonetic List in respect of the relevant phonetic is referred to. Any other information mentioned in relation to the phonetics in the Soothill Phonetic List has not been added. 14
  15. 15. Copyrighted Material. v. if the relevant phonetic element is one of the 214 radicals, the number of the relevant radical preceded by an R. 3. The phonetic elements are placed in katakana (a-i-u-e-o) order16 by reference to the pronunciation derived from the relevant phonetic element. If two different pronunciations are derived from the same phonetic element, the phonetic element appears twice in the Phonetic Elements List. A cross-reference to that effect is mentioned below the relevant phonetic element. 4. After each phonetic element two or more Japanese characters are mentioned which contain the relevant phonetic element and which have the same (or nearly the same) Chinese (on) reading (the “Example Characters”). 17 If listed in the Nelson Dictionary, the number of the relevant Example Character in the Nelson Dictionary preceded by an N is mentioned. Some Example Characters have more than one Chinese (on) reading. In this study only the reading linked to the relevant phonetic element is mentioned (however, please note that because of different Chinese (on) readings, an Example Character may appear more than once in the Phonetic Elements List). Appendix An appendix with the Chinese phonetics from the Soothill Phonetic List mentioned in this study in the order of the Soothill Phonetic List, with 16 Please see Kanji & Kana, page 23. 17 It would fall outside the scope of this study to mention all Japanese characters which pronunciation may be derived from any one of the phonetic elements listed in the Phonetic Elements List. The average number of Example Characters is 2 to 3; sometimes the number is 4 or more, if it was deemed to be useful, e.g. for illustrating the position of the phonetic element within the characters. Please see the ON-kun indexes in the standard Japanese character dictionaries (e.g. the Nelson Dictionary) if you wish to further verify which Japanese characters contain the relevant phonetic element and have the same Chinese (on) reading. 15
  16. 16. Copyrighted Material. the numbers assigned to the corresponding Japanese phonetic elements in the Phonetic Elements List is attached. How to use This study is meant as a supportive tool, i.e. it is intended to be used in combination with other Japanese language (study) material. Please see below for a few suggestions on how to use this tool: - On the first reading, mark the Example Characters you already know and familiarize yourself with the phonetic element in these Example Characters. You can do this by checking the phonetic element in the Nelson Dictionary and the Mathews Dictionary (if listed therein) and to learn its pronunciation and, if applicable, its meaning. - Each time you learn a new Japanese character, check whether this character is mentioned as a phonetic element or an Example Character in the Phonetic Elements List and memorize the relevant phonetic element. - Test yourself on the phonetic elements you have learned by covering up the Chinese (on) readings in the Phonetic Elements List. - For those who wish to study both Chinese and Japanese phonetics, please make use of the references to the Soothill Phonetic List and the Appendix. 16
  17. 17. Copyrighted Material. Bibliography I am much indebted to the following dictionaries and literature to which reference is made in this book, where appropriate. - Kanji & Kana, A handbook and dictionary of the Japanese writing system, Wolfgang Hadamitzky and Mark Spahn, Charles E. Tuttle Company, Japan, 1992. - Kodansha´s Elementary Kanji Dictionary, Kodansha International, Japan, 2001. - the Mathews’ Chinese-English Dictionary, revised American edition, Harvard University Press, nineteenth printing, 2000. - the New Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary, completely revised by John H. Haig, Tuttle Publishing, 1997. - Table of Daily Used Chinese Characters, Do Thong Minh, Tokyo, 1993. - The Student’s Four Thousand 字 and General Pocket Dictionary, W.E. Soothill, American Presbyterian Mission Press, Shanghai, 1914. 17
  18. 18. Copyrighted Material. Phonetic Elements List 18
  19. 19. Copyrighted Material. ア 1. 安 安 按 鞍 鮟 アン アン アン アン アン N 1311 N 1311 N 2147 N 6586 N 6861 M 26 S 555 – An – Peace 晏 案 アン アン N 2460 N 2667 19
  20. 20. Copyrighted Material. イ 2. 衣 衣 依 イ、エ イ イ N 5420 N 5420 N 191 M 2989 S 367 – I – Clothes R 145 AS PE 7 3. 尉 尉 蔚 慰 熨 イ イ イ イ イ N 1383 N 1383 N 5181 N 1972 N 3471 M 7111 S 727 – Wei M – Pacify 4. 韋 韋 偉 違 緯 イ イ イ イ イ N 6601 N 6601 N 285 N 6099 N 4566 M 7080 S 764 – Wei – A thong R 178 葦 イ S N 5160 20
  21. 21. Copyrighted Material. 5. 因 因 姻 咽 氤 イン イン イン イン イン N 939 N 939 N 1215 N 788 N 3029 M 7407 S 771 – Yin – Cause, M because 6. 員 員 韻 殞 隕 イン、エン イン イン イン イン N 808 N 808 N 6611 N 2982 N 6474 M 7721 S 760 – Yüan – An official End of preview 21

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