Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Applied Kanji Lesson One: 氵水 主 王 注 心 音 意

In this post I decided to break the series of Japanese verbs-related posts and learn some kanji. I did not figured out "my" best way to learn kanji yet, so, I'll be experimenting.
I'm not using japanesepod101.com but videos they produce are fun and professional. I will use few of them as my study subject. Let's start!

So here is the first kanji I'm going to learn:

What I see here is a universal "don't touch it" pictogram followed by a hiragana word that means "burn": やけど(yakedo) – burn. It's quite easy to remember - it's reminds me a barbecue word "yakitori" やきとり焼き鳥

彼は手にやけどをしました。 かれ は て に やけど を しました means "He burned his hand"

BTW, a verb I learned recently was "to do" (来る) suru. And...Suru…. Makes any noun into a verb...やけどする(yakedosuru) – get burned. Easy enough right?

OK. Back to the topic. The first kanji I see here is

I found it. It happens to be in the first 500 kanji set here and it means "pour". Kids learn this kanji in 3rd grade.

  • pour; irrigate; shed (tears); flow into; concentrate on; notes; comment; annotate
  • チュウ (chu) - "on" reading
  • そそ.ぐ (soso gu) - "kun" reading

It see two readings for all japanese kanji. The first called "on" reading and it's a chinese reading. What "kun" reading is for? Hmm... I guess it is a japanese reading?

It also visually appears to me that this 注 "pour" kanji has two parts - left vertical set of 3 short strokes and a bigger symbol on the right. Short research ...and yes I'm right.

The left three strokes is a "radical" of kanji "sui", or "shui" in chinese reading that stands for "water" in chinese. "Water" in japanese is "mizu" みず and kanji for it is 水.

A kanji radical is a common sub-element found in different kanji characters. Radicals express the general nature of the kanji characters.

is a "radical" of

  • water
  • スイ sui
  • みず mizu
What chinese themselves say about this kanji?

The second part is

  • master; lord; chief; owner; main thing; principal matter
  • シュ、ス shu, su
  • ぬし、おも nushi, omo

Digging little bit deeper earned me a similar kanji:

  • king; rule; magnate
  • オウ o(u)
  • *
So, "King 王 with bit extra is a real master 主"

And,氵(water) and 主 (master) together make "master of water" ...
Nop! Write answer is:
Pours Water . They make 注 (pour) together.

Now the second kanji barely seen on the picture above:

  • idea; intention; mind; heart; taste; thought; desire; care; attention; liking
  • イ i
  • *
It obviously means "attention" in this case. It also happens to be in the first 500 kanji set here.
This symbol looks a way too complex to me to be a radical. Short research... and ...bingo!
The lower part of this kanji is:

  • heart; mind; spirit
  • シン shin
  • こころ kokoro

The upper part of this kanji is:

  • sound; noise
  • オン、イン on, in
  • おと、ね oto, ne
The sound of mind is an idea 意. Wow. That was cool.
A thought is a sound from the heart. Even cooler.

Now, to finish this, let's combine everything together.

Two kanji together 注意 pronounced as ちゅうい (chui).

やけど(yakido) + 注意 (chui) = やけど注意 "burn pour attention" or "be careful not to burn yourself"

So, what was the kanji we learned today?

氵, 水 - water - sui - みず - mizu
主 - master - shu - ぬし - nushi 
王 - king - o(u) - オウ - * - ou
注 - pour - chu - そそ。ぐ - soso gu
心 - heart/feelings - shin - ここる - kokoru
音 - sound - on/in - おと, ね - oto/ne
意 - attention/idea - i - イ- i

Seven kanji and one radical! Not bad for a start!

Plus we learned:
やけど - burn - yakedo
やきとり - yakitori

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