When did Chinese become Japanese?

Discussion in 'China Forum' started by beelzebub, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. beelzebub

    beelzebub Kouhai

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    I read that Japanese roots from Chinese but when did this all happen? Is it that Kanji were translated over to Japanese? Were the Chinese words kept? How did this work exactly?

    I wasn't sure which category to throw this one in lol
     
  2. nekojita

    nekojita 先輩

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    Chinese never "became Japanese", there was a spoken language and then the kanji were adopted/adapted from Chinese. There is some vocabulary that was imported along with the kanji (called 漢語).

    There's plenty of the history on Wikipedia:
    Kanji - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Kanbun - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Man'y?gana - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    etc.etc.etc.

    It's not so straight forward as there was a point when all the kanji were imported at once in an organised fashion. This is part of the reason that there's such a mess of on-readings/kun-readings/name readings/special readings/etc in Japanese.
     
  3. GrinningBobcat

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    I think it happened during the Askua period, under Prince Shotoku. He initiated the Taika Reforms (Taika Reform - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and imported Chinese culture wholesale from the Tang dynasty (I think?), including the writing system called Kanji (Han characters). Japan at that time didn't have a writing system so the characters were not translated, but directly applied onto the existing oral language. I think in the beginning there was a debate on whether the Chinese characters should be used for their sound or for their meaning. In the end, the characters retained their meaning in Chinese and were used in Japanese in the same way.
    Japanese language itself is very different from Middle Chinese spoken in China at the time. But Japan borrowed a lot of Chinese vocabulary (Kango Sino-Japanese vocabulary - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for terms they didn't have yet. So while the two languages have very different roots, you can find a lot of Chinese vocabulary in Japanese. Something like 60% of Japanese I think. But today Japan also has a large Western vocabulary.
    Japan also used Chinese characters (Kanji) to invent their own words that didn't exist in China, e.g. Daimyo.
    The pronunciation is a mess and such a pain in the *** for me. Basically some are pronounced in a native Japanese way, and some are pronounced using Chinese pronunciation. I forgot what the system is called, something like onyongmi??? :emoji_stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: sorry
    Hope this helps.
     
  4. nice gaijin

    nice gaijin Resident Realist
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    音読み (onyomi, "sound reading") is from the Chinese pronunciation, and often is used for kanji compounds. 訓読み (kunyomi) are the readings that were applied to kanji when they imported.

    The development of language is accelerated by the fluidity of cultural exchanges, that introduce new concepts and vocabulary. Japanese has taken kanji and applied them to Japanese concepts that don't have Chinese equivalents, creating new words and combinations. Some of those new words have different meanings if you're reading them in Chinese, and some of those words have been re-absorbed into the Chinese lexicon.

    Sino-Japanese vocabulary - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  5. Mark of Zorro

    Mark of Zorro 先輩

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    No exact point in time can be pinned down to determine when this mess was created. This train wreck of a written language has taken centuries to get to this point of twisted carnage.
     
  6. Mike Cash

    Mike Cash 骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう

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    It could have been worse. Just imagine if Japan had been adjacent ancient Egypt.
     
  7. Mark of Zorro

    Mark of Zorro 先輩

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    In terms of writing basics, they ARE adjacent ancient Egypt.

    I debate with myself if they formally adopted Roman characters along with kanji, hiragana and katakana, writing western loan words in properly spelled Roman characters, if it would be better or worse. On the surface it seems worse. But on the plus side, it would free up katakana for other uses, and it would end attempts to alter kana to approximate sounds such as v and je, and allow Japanese to readily search especially English to Japanese dictionaries for the new, technical loan word of the day since these words take time to appear in Japanese dictionaries in katakana.
     
  8. Mark of Zorro

    Mark of Zorro 先輩

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  9. Mike Cash

    Mike Cash 骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう

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    I find it interesting that in that entire list there are only two kanji which are not among the kanji taught to elementary school children in Japan.

    I imagine China might balk at borrowing without revisions any word which includes kokuji.
     
  10. GrinningBobcat

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    @nice gaijin. Interesting topic there about Chinese loans words from Japan. It makes total sense that most of these words are related to modern society/science since Japan industrialized and westernized much earlier than China. But it's surprising to see very basic terms like "history" and "time" in the list. Japan got the concept of history from China, and since Chinese started keeping historical records since like 3000 years ago, there is no way that this could be a term that China imported during the late 19th and early 20th century.
    I showed the words to a few Chinese-speaking friends and they were baffled too. Some swore that they saw words like "time" and "history" in poems from like the Tang dynasty (7th-10 cen AD).
     
  11. nice gaijin

    nice gaijin Resident Realist
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    @GrinningBobcat take a look at the discussion below the list in the first link, there are some interesting points there. The general idea is that Japan didn't necessarily identify the concepts before China, just the particular compounds, many of which were the result of translations from western words. Of course China had history and records long before the word 歴史 came into existence, but perhaps those concepts were described using different combinations of characters.
     
  12. GrinningBobcat

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    #12 GrinningBobcat, Feb 15, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2015
    yup guess that makes a lot of sense! But one of my Chinese friends stubbornly insists that the list made a mistake about the terms "history" and "time". Guess he just didn't like the fact that China borrowed something from Japan :emoji_stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
    Edit: Ok it seems that the list has indeed made a mistake about the term "history". My friend, given his personality, actually went on with a research and convincingly showed that the term history 歴史 (with the exact same two characters, exact same meaning) appeared first in China during the Eastern Jin dynasty in the early 5th cen AD, in a commentary of the Records of the Three Kingdom by Fei Songzhi. At that time Japanese haven't started mass import of Kanji yet, so they could not have had the term 歴史 yet.
    I mean given how hard it must have been to compile such a list (you must know the origins of the words not only in one language, but in two), the occurrence of such a mistake is understandable. You can never be sure if one term appeared in some obscure works the linguists haven't bother looked in, so the accuracy of such a list (except for the very modern terms) should indeed merit more scrutiny. My friend taught me a good lesson lol. :emoji_stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
     
  13. nice gaijin

    nice gaijin Resident Realist
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    Hmm well I only found that list through a quick search. I was surprised to see 歴史 on that list as well; I was only aware of words like 電話 myself. Without knowing the sources for the list, I can provide no explanation or counter to what your friend has found out
     
  14. GrinningBobcat

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    LOL I'm not accusing you of anything, and I was definitely not holding you responsible for that mistake, so no need to feel that you have to rebuke the claim. Personally I couldn't care less about the origins of these words even though it's interesting to know. I only stated my friend's findings because I was quite amused at his behavior. He was committed to such a thorough research as if he had something at stake. So I just share it so his research wouldn't go in vain :emoji_stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
    Anyway thank you for that list it gave me some good chuckles during my discussion with my friends. :emoji_grinning:
     
  15. katricia

    katricia Registered

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    I believe that these are the wrong information
     
  16. nice gaijin

    nice gaijin Resident Realist
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    Sorry, but what are you referring to?
     
  17. BillMad

    BillMad Kouhai

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    I was trying to google "chinese history" and ended up doing "chinese tourist" by and mistake found this lovely thing.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Uncle Frank

    Uncle Frank SECURITY-you SPAM/we BAN
    Staff Member Admin

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    This is what you see now when a person is hurt or injured or needs some assistance ; the person dies while everyone gets their pic. Also like this when a police officer is trying to do his job , LOL.
     
  19. BillMad

    BillMad Kouhai

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    "I'm hurt can you help me?"
    "Yea in a minute lady if you could just let me tweet this pretty quick, this is gonna get me SO many shares!!"
    "But IM DYING OVER HERE!!"
    "STOP TAKING PICTURES I"M BLEEEDING TO ASAGFIYUdA --- .... t...t... ..h........"
    "......."
    OMG totes had this crazy lady getting hurt
    #accident_pic #trigger #panic_attack #helplessness #ZOMG
     

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