Relationship Kanji--Katakana


#1

Katakana were developed as a reading help for Chinese texts imported into Japan, by taking parts of kanji with the desired reading. I found a list of these kanji in the book The Key to Kanji and figured that it might help to remember the reading of a bunch of kanji, so enjoy. [For some kana it is not so obvious which parts were taken, though.]

(WK level 54)
(47)
(19)
(29)
オ 於

(19)
(20)
(3)
(35)
(35)

(31)
(55)
(52)
(4)
ソ 曽

(5)
(2)
(1)
(2)
(3)

(36)
(41)
(34)
ネ 禰
(52)

(1)
(19)
(4)
(9)
(16)

(3) (7)
(1)
ム 牟
(5) (1)
(3)

(45)
(7)
ヨ 與

(11)
(11)
(12)
(4)
(52)

(9)
ヲ 乎

ン 尓

A few kanji are missing from WK, so some the reading actually doesn’t fit, but I’m pretty sure I picked the right ones.


#2

The same is true for hiragana.

It’s the first two strokes. I guess the font makes it unclear, but the first stroke of 良 doesn’t have to be a straight down stroke, it can be a bit angled.


#3

Yes, I will post it some other day (the kanji taken are different ones there sometimes).

Edit: Hiragana use the complete kanji though, katakana uses parts.


#4

My problem with this was: how does it read ラ?


#5

Same way it already does in some words.

Example found in a brief search: 野良 のら


#6

Oh, thanks, good to know. I just checked the jisho page for 良 and the reading didn’t show up.


#7

It’s there, did you look at the nanori (name reading) section?


#8

Ok, I see it now. Same is true for 介. I was somehow expecting the kanji chosen to represent a kana were the “main” reading, maybe things changed over time.


#9

As far as I understand, the kana weren’t taken directly from kanji, but from man’yōgana, which was basically a way of using kanji for phonetic readings (and how the man’yōshū was written, hence the name). Basically a whole system of ateji. So the assigned mora wouldn’t depend on how the kanji is read, but on how the man’yōgana is read.


#10

I’m pretty sure manyogana were themselves chosen merely for their phonetics… Which makes sense. But it’s possible for those phonetics to change in that time, given how long it’s been.


#11

Nanori readings are basically a collection of archaic readings. But also the mapping of sounds wasn’t always straightforward and occurred in a variety of ways, using both On and Kun readings.

It’s still somewhat arbitrary as Manyogana weren’t particularly standardized. 阿,安,英,足, and 鞅 for example all were used for the あ-sound, there’s no particularly reason to pick 阿 over the others. But it’s also worth noting there are a bunch of Hentaigana which meant one sound could be written in a number of ways up until they were officially made obsolete in 1900.


#12

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