1 Reply ・ Started by AMERIKAJIN at 2015-10-07 23:40:02 UTC ・ Last reply by SenseiHanzo at 2015-10-08 19:18:59 UTC
This is a discussion about 亜米利加

I had a question about this word 亜米利加。

I understand that in the Japanese language, Katakana is used for foreign words and loan words. So, I was always taught that America is written like this: アメリカ。However, as I was studying one day, I realized that America can also be written using Kanji like so: 亜米利加。I just wanted to see if anybody knew about how this came to be?

SenseiHanzo at 2015-10-08 19:18:59 UTC

In the olden days (i.e. 1800s-ish), katakana were used how hiragana are today, and foreign words were all assigned kanji that either matched the pronunciation or meaning of the word. There used to be tons of kanji names for different cities, people, and words, but the vast majority of these have fallen out of use in favor of the much simpler katakana. Here's a list of the kanji names for the countries of the world if you're curious: https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%9B%BD%E5%90%8D%E3%81%AE%E6%BC%A2%E5%AD%97%E8%A1%A8%E8%A8%98%E4%B8%80%E8%A6%A7

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