4 Replies ・ Started by Sheikh_Saadi at 2017-10-11 04:35:06 UTC ・ Last reply by jakobd2 at 2017-10-15 08:00:31 UTC

Which Kanji to use?

I mean there are several kanji having the same meaning and pronunciation, but how do I know which one to use? What would a Japanese do?

This question may have been answered previously. But, I couldn't find it (as there is no search option for the forum)

Leebo at 2017-10-11 04:55:37 UTC

Sometimes a note is included, such as in the word つとめる

  1. to work (for); to be employed (at); to serve (in)​usu. 勤める
  2. to serve (as); to act (as); to fill (the position of); to play the role (of)​usu. 務める
  3. to conduct a religious service​usu. 勤める

When there isn't a note like that, it doesn't necessarily mean they are interchangeable. Sometimes the alternate ones are archaic or non-standard. Your best bet is to consult an actual Japanese dictionary, which will spell out all the details of how various kanji are used to represent homonyms.

Sheikh_Saadi at 2017-10-14 08:38:40 UTC

I couldn't clarify my point.

Here is an example of what I am trying to say...

Hajimaru, Hajimeru, Hajimete all stems from the kanji meaning beginning. But, for Hajimaru and Hajimeru the kanji used is 始, while for hajimete it's 初.


Leebo at 2017-10-14 09:09:43 UTC

As I said, you can consult a Japanese kanji resource or dictionary to drill down on the core meanings. Both kanji do have the meaning of "beginning" or "start," but 初 also has the nuance of "first" or "new". You can see it in other words that use those kanji in compounds.

Kanjipedia is a free Japanese resource for the details of kanji.

At school, I see Japanese kids use Kanji dictionaries frequently.

But in a pinch, a Japanese person is going to do what any modern person does. Google it. Just toss the kanji you want to know about into a google search, along with 違い and you'll get results of Japanese people discussing it.

I'm not sure what else to say... English language resources are always going to be limited on this.

jakobd2 at 2017-10-15 08:00:31 UTC

But, for Hajimaru and Hajimeru the kanji used is 始, while for hajimete it's 初.

This is mostly right, but over-simplified. Of course you'll find 始める in Te-form sometimes. (Be it 始めてください or 仕事を始めていない etc.) I guess you could say 始める is used when it's a verb and 初めて when it's an adverb as in 初めての体験. And that's also exactly what is reflected on Jisho.org.

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