Hey guys, I have an important question about writing and reading (I hope i’m in the good category)
I’m reading a lot lately and encountered this problem multiple time
Here it is :
Usually in books, in a sentence, almost all the words/adj/verbs are written using their respective Kanji, which makes things easy to read.
I sometime encounter words/adj/verbs that are writtin solely in hiragana. Which makes things a lot more complicated since that word might mean A LOT of things. There is no kanji to relate it.
Example : the verb " つく " which can be a lot of different verb without the kanji.
So when i encounter this verb written in hiragana in sentences, i don’t know which verb it is!!
I know you guys will tell me that in a given “context”, only 1 will make “sense” because all the other options would not makes sense. But what if multiple verb can be correct in that specific context??
It doesn’t really answer the question, per se, but most of the verbs that are read as つく are basically the same core idea… “an object comes in contact with another object.” Though sometimes they are more abstracted.
Maybe it would help to think of the verbs like that. When you don’t have the kanji helping to guide the nuance, there’s still a core meaning there.
The verb つく (or its predecessor) existed in the language before kanji came along. And so even though 付く and 着く and 就く and 突く all use different kanji, they share the same core concept.
Sometimes two verbs legitimately share the same reading even though they have no connection, but those are issues to deal with as you notice them.
Why do they use hiragana for some JLPT grammar/vocab exercises too? It seems to complicate things. Is it used to test your comprehension without the visual clue of the kanji or something??
Indeed, that brings the other question of why do they sometimes use only hiragana when they could use kanji? Using kanji all the time would make things a lot easier for everyone no?? haha. Maybe it’s for the kids who do not know all the kanji yet. or maybe its some kind of writing style?
partly that, I think, but I’ve been told by several (non-JLPT affiliated) people that it’s also to give everyone a “fair”-er chance to pass. For example, individuals taking the test with a chinese-language background (mandarin, cantonese) have an advantage if kanji were used throughout, because they would be able to infer meanings more easily than other test takers just based on their native language.
I think there’s also a gender difference here. Kanji and katakana (for whatever arbitrary historical or cultural reason) is considered more manly and masculine, and hiragana more feminine. Many girls would write わたし in hiragana, especially if they want to give a youthful impression (fact check me if I’m wrong, I’m not 100% confident in my assessment).
There are also differences of formality. Writing 有難う御座います to your friend is weird. Reading it in an official statement from a company to it’s customers, not that much. Reading a novel, you expect more kanji than in a text from a friend. It’s not at all unusual for commonly used words like 有る, 居る, 時, 後, 人 to be written in hiragana in casual messages, memos, etc.
Continuing off what @jneapan said, there can also be reasons beyond formality to choose kanji.
When a word can express either a concrete concept or an abstraction of that concept, it’s more likely to get kanji when it’s being used concretely.
If くる is the main verb, where you are physically moving, you would probably use kanji. If it’s being used as an auxiliary to express an abstract idea of “to come,” then you would be more likely to use kana.