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how to use kanji in japanese writing (hiragana)

Hello everyone I am a beginner and I need help with the kanji ... I do not understand how to use the kanji in the Hiragana ...
I'll explain ... in a sentence like 犬 は 台所 に いる (the dog is in the kitchen) there are 3 kanji : 犬 meaning dog, 台 which means stand, pedestal, table and 所 which means place.
how do I associate them with the hiragana and how do they change in meaning in "the dog is in the kitchen"? please help ..

ask me more if you don't understand my problem
posted by alefinal

Comments 11

  • Peacherine
    Hi! I think I understand what you're asking. I'll actually answer more about when to use hiragana though. But let me change your sentence a little to better explain my answer.

    白い 犬 は 台所 に いる。 (The white dog is in the kitchen.)

    Hiragana is used for a few different main reasons.

    1. As okurigana- like the い in 白い. They're still part of that word, but they're the part that changes when you conjugate the word. For example, you can form 白くない (isn't white), 白かった (was white), or 白くなかった (wasn't white) just by changing the い to other things. That way, the root kanji part never changes its spelling or meaning, but you can still conjugate the word. Okurigana is used on nouns, adjectives, and verbs since they all can conjugate.

    2. As particles- like the は and に in the example sentence. Particles are a much larger topic than this question, so I won't say much. But basically they mark the word before them, showing what grammatical part the word has in the rest of the sentence. For example, は tells us that 白い犬 is the topic of the sentence.

    3. For words that don't have kanji, or when the kanji isn't usually used- like いる. Many words are written just in hiragana/katakana (like onomatopoeia words, for example). Children's books or other things written for beginners often use mostly hiragana and almost no kanji because they assume you haven't learned many kanji yet.


    In the example sentence, the maybe confusing kanji are 台 and 所. Are you wondering how "stand/pedestal" and "place" combine to make "kitchen"? Honestly, I'm not really sure! 台所【だいどころ】 is its own word though, not just two kanji put next to each other. In this case, maybe you could think of it as "place with a table" = "kitchen"? ┐(‘~`;)┌

    Sometimes you can loosely figure out a word by using each kanji's meaning. For example, 自動販売機 自=self 動=moving, soooo 自動 could mean automatic, 販 and 売 =sales/selling, 機=machine... so altogether, automatic selling machine... vending machine! 自動販売機=vending machine. Sometimes this method works, sometimes it's really a stretch.


    Basically, as you learn vocabulary like on this site, try to recognize both the kanji and hiragana readings. When you write in Japanese, if you remember seeing kanji in a word, use it! If it was all in hiragana, then you can keep it that way too. Personally, I also double check with the Japanese input on my computer- as I type a word in hiragana, I'll hit the space bar to see if it changes the word into kanji or keeps it as hiragana. That's usually a pretty good answer!

    If you use an internet dictionary like Rikaichan or WWWJDIC, the definition will also tell you if a word is usually spelled just using kana. (uk) in parentheses before the definition means "usually kana" and (uK) means "usually kanji."


    Let me know if I answered your question at all... I'll try to help more if I can!

    がんばって〜 ☆
  • alefinal
    thank you very much!
    I understand a lot of things!
    You understand perfectly my request

    at the moment I can not read kanji well because I do not know yet so many ... but I'm already trying to put into practice your advice thank you very much I would be grateful if you could help me in the future :)
  • Peacherine
    You're welcome! I'm glad I could help. Kanji are tough, since there are so many! Keep it up though, and you'll get them little by little~

    Along with this site, I'd also recommend http://www.yosida.com/en/kanji.php?level=5&page=1 to learn kanji. It groups kanji by JLPT level, meaning the most basic common ones are level 5, and they get more advanced up through level 1 (yes 5 is the lowest, 1 is the highest). This site shows the stroke order, only a few most-used onyomi and kunyomi readings, the meaning in English, and some examples of words that use each kanji. It really cuts out a lot of the overwhelming stuff and focuses on what's most important. See if it helps you learn more!

    Feel free to ask if you need any help ♬
  • Mica
    Peacherine, do you know if there is a way to search for a specific Kanji on the Yosida site?
    Aside from figuring out the JLPT specific level of the kanji and going through all the pages of that specific level.
  • alefinal
    these days I trained a bit with the kanji. Although I understand a little more, still do not understand well how they work.
    here the word has caused me serious problems "伊 贺 上 野 Iga Ueno" now I really can't understand how can these kanji: (伊: which means Italy, 贺: which means congratulations, 上, which means over, up and 野 that means civilian life, field, plains, rustic) to form the name of the town of Iga Ueno, please help me and let me know your opinions on the matter.
    thanks to Peacherine for helpful sites that posted :)
  • Mica
    When it comes to names of people at least~ The meaning and kanji used may not have any relation to the person or thing~ And the kanji or whole compounded may be pronounced different than the on/kon readings of the kanji I believe~

    I also wish to learn more on names, but from what I recently heard~ It may be one of those things where "it just is that way" and you shouldn't really think too deeply into it~

    It's a bit like~ One person may use the kanji meaning 'water' and the kanji meaning 'sky' to write their name, which is said one way~ while another person may use the exact same pronunciation, but use 2 different kanji's to write their name~
    In a sense~ there is some meaning to the kanji used and given to them by the parents~ but that doesn't mean that if someone used the kanji for anger in the name of their kid~ that the kid would always be angry as their name may imply~

    It is all done within the confines of what kanji can be used as names and the ways in which they can be pronounced~

    I'm sure there are some location names which may have some relation to the kanji's meaning~ So if you are curious~ Go ahead and continue to ask or google/look up~ ^^
  • alefinal
    thank you for the answer!! for the moment i'll leave aside the names...I was only interested to know how they worked
  • Peacherine
    Hi, Mica! To answer your question first, no, I don't think there's a way to search for kanji on that site unfortunately. In fact, I don't know a way in general to search for a kanji and find out its JLPT level either. Part of the problem is that there are no longer official JLPT kanji lists as far as I know, so sites that have them in levels are basing their lists off of the previous JLPT test lists.

    I did find this, which may be a little helpful, but probably not much since it seems to still follow the old JLPT levels (there were only 4, not 5). If you type in the kanji in the search bar, then hit "show details" on the next page, a long list of information shows up and the old JLPT level is somewhere near the top.

    To convert the old levels approximately to the new ones:

    4 → 5
    3 → 4
    ~ → 3
    2 → 2
    1 → 1

    It's a bit much work. However, I think trying to learn them primarily by JLPT level is the best way to go, since they seemed to be grouped by ease/commonness. From what I remember, the JCJP level 1 chapters are pretty basic kanji, so they're fine. I don't remember from there though if there's really any system. You could try to learn the JLPT level 5 kanji more simply using the Yoshida site, then come back to JCJP and blow through most of the level 1 chapters, and so on. Just a thought! ☻


    alefinal, hi again! Good work sticking with trying to learn kanji! To respond to your previous question:

    The problem may be that you're mixing together English meanings of kanji and Japanese readings. (Meanings are the definition, readings are how you would pronounce the kanji.) Yes, 上 can mean "up/above" and 野 can mean "field," but if you try to combine those definitions to get "above field," that won't help you read it as "Ueno." Using that English definition method works better for nouns like "vending machine" that I explained last time. For place/people names, the reading is more important. In that case, it's better to know that 上 can be read as うえ and 野 can be read as の, leading to うえの "Ueno."

    Since kanji can have lots of meanings and readings, they don't always make much sense. Sometimes, like Mica said, it just is that way. Maybe there are better explanations, but it's sometimes easier just to learn it without researching the origins of the words I think!

    Keep it up! ✾
  • alefinal
    thanks guys
    I am continuing to train with the kanji doing readings and translations.
    these days I also got the books of Japanese so now I finally have a serious plan of study. :)
  • Mica
    Thank you for the advice Peacherine~
    Although~ I ended up doing it the hard way~ I spent 8 hours saving each gif showing the Kanji's stroke order on my computer, and named them by the kanji they represent~ Now I just go to the root folder where the kanji gifs are saved~ and Ctrl+F to search for the specific Kanji I wish to learn to write~

    It took long to get all of them~ But now I can get to them far quicker~ And am able to access them even if my internet isn't working~

    The main reason I wanted them was because I actually ended up buying 西の魔女が死んだ, and am currently using http://www.jisho.org/kanji/radicals/ in order to find out what the Kanji are~ and this site in order to find out how to pronounce them~ In doing so~ I type up what I have read onto a notepad to keep my progress and have quick access to previously read kanji~

    After finishing a page~ I add the Kanji/vocab in to Anki corresponding to that page~
    On one side of a card~ I place the kanji (I am now also placing the gif that shows stroke order) And on the other side I place the Hiragana to see if I can recognize the kanji and help pronounce it~ I have given an attempt at pronouncing the words~ so I also have recordings/clips of me saying the word played out after I show the answer~

    My attempts are at writing out the kanji while I figure out what the meaning of the kanji/compound-kanji are~ And by having the kanji's stroke order be on the card~ I get the ability to practice the correct stoke order from the start~ I may have a better time recalling what the kanji is if I have more memories attached to it~ or so I hope~ ^^
  • Mica
    Don't let us scare you away from researching more on names~ Japan has a system designed on which kanji's can be used as names~ how they are supposed to be read (in their name form) when combined~ and other things about it that I don't know yet but which may be interesting~

    If you're curious about something~ Look it up or ask someone as you did~ Just don't always expect there to be a reason for why something is the way it is~ Some things may have explanations~ while others may not~ and some explanations may be too confusing because of the the cultural difference~ Something that seems 'logical' to them may not seem so 'logical' to us~

    Hopefully you continue to have fun learning Alefinal~ ^^