Onyomi/Kunyomi


#1

New user here, and I had a quick question.

Is there any reason that the pronunciation given for the various kanji presented are given with the onyomi (Chinese reading) rather than the kunyomi? And, if they’re giving the onyomi, why are they using hiragana for the pronunciation instead of katakana?

For example, for the kanji 上, the meaning is given as “above” and the pronunciation is given as じょう (jou). However, Japanese for “above” is pronounced うえ (ue). うえ is one of the kunyomi, and じょう is one of the onyomi.

The reason I ask is that in most other places I’ve looked, the base word for a kanji is almost always first presented with the kunyomi with the pronunciation in hiragana, and if the onyomi is given, it’s written in katakana. Also, for the example given with “above,” with my limited experience as a novice Japanese learner, the use of the kanji for “above” pronounced as “ue” is far more common than the “jou” pronunciation (that may change later on as I get more advanced, though).

Anyway, I’m curious because I keep seeing kanji that I know, but then seeing a different than expected pronunciation listed for it.


#2

I think this thread pretty much covers it

https://community.wanikani.com/t/onyomi-vs-kunyomi/16072

#3

Just to add, there’s this userscript which converts the on’yomi to katakana, so if you’re used to that and would like to continue seeing on’yomi like that, this script can help you ^^

EDIT: I know you’re new so you may not be familiar with userscripts, but they’re basically third party add ons that can help enhance and customize your experience here on this site ^^ here’s a guide to how to use a userscript if you’re interested: How to Install Userscripts


#4
  1. WaniKani provides what they consider the most useful reading with the kanji. This is usually the on’yomi, but sometimes it is the kun’yomi.
  2. Using katakana for on’yomi is just a dictionary convention and doesn’t really mean anything.

#5

Ok, I’m cool with that.

I was just a bit confused to see, to continue the example above, the kanji’s meaning of “above” given, but then a pronunciation provided that you wouldn’t use if you were writing, “The light is above the table.” In that sentence, の上に, is read “no ue ni” (which I’m sure all of you already know) as opposed to “no jou ni.”


#6

For your example, you learn the on’yomi (じょう) for 上 first in the kanji lesson because it later becomes considerably useful as a reading when you start learning vocab words that utilize 上

Example:
上級 = じょうきゅう
上述 = じょうじゅつ
上演 = じょうえん
上手 = じょう
上司 = じょう
上旬 = じょうじゅん
以上 = いじょう

and there are several more…

So as you can see, WaniKani deemed the on’yomi (じょう) more useful to learn first for 上 because of the high frequency of use in later vocabulary that you’ll learn here ^^ and then you learn 上 separately as its own vocab to be うえ, so the kun’yomi will come later in this case


#7

If you’re just writing 上, you’re right. But if you’re writing, say, 上手、then the reading for 上 is じょう。

Edit : sniped by @MissMisc. Or should I say @Leebo’d by @MissMisc? :thinking:


#8

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