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Hanja|Hanzi|Kanji| What are they? Are they really different?

Updated: Jun 16, 2022



안녕하세요! It's Eunho from India. Today I'm going to tell you about Hanja, Kanji and Hànzì. Let's begin!


Things that are common

Chinese, Japanese and Korean use the same characters for Hànzì, Kanji and Hanja respectively. They also follow the same 'stroke order'.


But what does stroke order mean?

While writing Hanja, Hànzì or Kanji we need to follow some definite steps to write it. It's unlike English or any other Lantin Script where we can write A B C D........ the way we want to i. e. We can write the capital A either by / => /- => A or by \=>-\=> A.


It makes no difference at all. But in this case it's different. If you can see the above GIF (character for moon), you can understand better. These letters are written from left to write. We need to know how to draw strokes. All strokes are different and if we don't draw them properly, they might give you another character.


Mostly we draw the left-most stroke first and move right. For each and every character we need to remember a distinct stroke order.


Hànzì:

Hànzì used in Chinese, has originated in China itself. To read a Chinese newspaper you atleast need to remember 'only' 3,000 out of 50,000 characters! However an educated Chinese person knows around 8,000 of them! For me, I know just over 160 characters and is currently at HSK 1 level; although I haven't given that exam yet


Out of the three, for me, Hanzi is second hardest for me, or rather second easiest. You'll get the reason later in this blog itself.

Chinese is a tonal language and has five tones.


For e.g.

妈 (mā) — mom

麻 (má) — hemp or flax

马 (mǎ) — horse

骂 (mà) — to scold or verbally abuse

吗 (ma) — a question particle.


Although they sound almost the same, they pose completely different meanings.

That might seem hard but it's easy as you learn it.


Kanji:

The most difficult one for me! Actually Japanese uses three freaking scripts! Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. Although the first two are pretty easy, but the later is hard.

But what makes it hard?


Kun'yomi (訓読み) and On'yomi (音読み).

On'yumi are readings derived from the Chinese pronunciations and Kun'yomi are the original, indigenous Japanese readings.


So for the character for mountain i.e.

For basic level, we have two distinct pronounciations


Yama(やま) and San (サン)


Here the first one is Kun'yomi and the later is On'yomi.


While On'yomi is written in Kantakana, Kun'yomi is written in Hiragana.


Currently I know around 200 Kanjis along with Hiragana and Katakana. 3,000 Kanjis are needed to be remembered in order to master Japanese.


Many Kanjis have more than one On'yomi and Kun'yomi character and I'm still confused that how shall I use them.:")


Hanja:

Before King Sejong made Hangeul, which is currently mainly and predominatly used in Korean, the people wrote using Hanja.Hanja sounds really similar to Hànzì but don't has any tones. There are total 50,000+ Hanja characters just like Chinese. Till 1950s Hanja was still simultaneously using alongside Hangeul.


But you needn't learn Hanja as it is kinda useless, but if you're interested you can still try because it's the easiest of the three. I currently know only 15 Hanjas. But I don't have any problem with it.


I'll be discussing few more points in the next blog to keep this blog short.

감사합니다! (Gamsahamnida!)

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안녕하세요(Annyeonghaseyo)! I'm EunHo(은호) from India(인도)! I'm learning Korean(한국어) since 1 year(1년) and can write a 150 word paragraph easily...

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