Have you, as a Japanese learner, ever noticed many traditional Chinese characters appearing in Japanese drama subtitles? They bear a striking resemblance to the traditional Chinese we're familiar with. This similarity offers Taiwanese students a unique advantage in learning Japanese - they can often guess the meaning of Kanji! However, not every Kanji character aligns with the Chinese meaning. Let’s dive deeper into the connection between Kanji in Japanese and traditional Chinese characters in Taiwan!
Kanji was introduced to Japan from China, roughly between the 5th and 6th centuries AD. Along with the spread of Buddhism and other Chinese cultures, Kanji became prevalent in Japan. Simultaneously, the Japanese adapted and altered some original Kanji, developing their syllabary systems - Hiragana and Katakana.
Now, let's delve into some tips for learning Japanese!
**First**, focus on similar characters. Many Kanji characters are similar to both traditional and simplified Chinese, so beginners can start with these familiar characters.
**Second**, master the Kana scripts. The 50 sounds (or Kana) in Japanese are like our phonetic symbols in Chinese or the English alphabet. Look up the "50 sounds song" on YouTube or other platforms. Singing along can make memorizing the order easier.
**Third**, learn basic grammar. The sentence structures in Japanese and Chinese differ, so understanding basic sentence patterns and grammar is crucial! Consider Berlitz's online Japanese courses. With just a laptop and internet access, you can learn from Berlitz's Japanese teachers. Engaging in frequent dialogues during lessons, coupled with our online materials offering audio materials and reading exercises, ensures students can fluently apply their knowledge in everyday life.
**Fourth**, beyond writing, listen to Japanese songs, watch your favorite Japanese movies or anime, and try to mimic the dialogues. This can provide insights into grammar applications and commonly used sentences in daily life.
The meanings of Kanji in Japanese can sometimes differ from those in traditional or simplified Chinese, leading to confusion. Therefore, we recommend students invest in a bilingual dictionary to understand the similarities and differences between Kanji and traditional Chinese characters. Here are some examples illustrating these differences:
- Japanese: Refers to "Japan," as in "和食" which means "Japanese cuisine."
- Traditional/Simplified Chinese: Means "harmony" or "together with."
- Japanese: Means "study" or "learning."
- Traditional/Simplified Chinese: Refers to "making an effort" or "reluctantly."
- Japanese: Means "husband."
- Traditional/Simplified Chinese: Refers to "owner" or "boss."