ERIC Number: ED024917
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1968-Apr-27
Reference Count: 0
The Occurrence and Function of Chinese Characters in Modern Japanese Orthography.
Crowley, Dale P.
One of the objectives of this paper is to point out that the essential function of Chinese characters for the reader of Japanese is that of mediating, or evoking the sounds of Japanese directly, and the meanings secondarily, as the meanings are derived from the sounds. The author suggests that this is what happens, despite the fact that Chinese characters are known as "ideographs" (graphic representations of objects or thoughts); he prefers to call Chinese characters "morphographs"--they elicit auditory responses, or phoneme sequences, and function as graphic representations of the morphemes of the language. From these phoneme sequences, whether verbalized or silently conceptualized, come the meanings or ideas being communicated. The ultimate step in the evolution of graphic symbols from representations of objects and thoughts to representations of morphemes is the complete cancellation of any connection that the graphic symbol has with meaning (as in the English alphabet and the syllabary systems of Japanese). Topics dealt with are the Kanji used by Japanese scholars as Chinese words, the use of Chinese characters as phonetic symbols, the introduction of Chinese loan-words, homophony, modern occurrence and function, and recent investigations. In summary, the author states that the occurrence of approximately 2,000 Chinese characters in Japanese writing is excessive and inefficient. (AMM)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Kanji; Morphographs; Phonographs
Note: Paper presented at the 21st University of Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, Lexington, Kentucky, April 27, 1968.