Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kanji Beginner: 1, 2, 3

Kanji, the Chinese characters imported into Japanese, are often intimidating to those unfamiliar to the language, but can be easier than you think.

Every now and then I'll toss up mini-lessons on simple or common characters, in the hope beginners will learn a little something new and get a little closer to Japanese language and culture. :)

While their pronunciation (as in most characters) can change when matched with other words, the first three are nice and easy to write.

ichi (each ee): "One" and it's only one stroke.

ni (knee): "Two" and it's only two strokes.

san (sahn): "Three" and three!

One rule to keep in mind: characters are written moving left to right, top to bottom. If you get into that habit, you'll have much better handwriting down the road.

Besides the usual use of numbers, old-fashioned business or restaurant signs will sometimes have their phone numbers written in kanji rather than Roman numerals, and in a more modern pop culture example, manga volumes are occasionally numbered along the spine like this.

So, let's practice! What number should I call if I see this on a board?
(Highlight for answer: 322-1321)

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