The Writing of One-Fifth the World

 Kanji Speaker is a project for teaching essential familiarity of the Chinese-Japanese writing system, using associations to Revelatory (Biblical) vision & concepts as an aid to memory.
 There are 3 phases of the Study Plan: Revelation (Incident of), Comprehension (Rollback via), and Memorization (Commit to).

 Kan-ji refers to the modern Han Chinese characters, also called Sinographs. It is a logographic system which resembles the Shinar/Sumerian cuneiform, as well as the Egyptian hieroglyphs, in their form and function. These were both systems developed by Ham-itic peoples. Logographs are a means of sharing information, independent of any particular world language.

 The Classical Age of China (480BC ~ 220AD) saw the unification of China and its literary tradition, and in the periods that followed, this classic written language (Literary Chinese) remained quite constant, as it continued to be used for all official documents. As the spoken dialects of the North and South diverged, a centralized pronunciation system was developed as a compromise for the reading (and rhyming) of Classical works, and it was named "Middle" Chinese (i.e. "between North and South").

 The first dictionary of Middle Chinese was published at the end of the 6th century. During this time, the highly-influential Classical Chinese literature, and its curated system of pronunciation, was imported by Japan. Now, 1400 years later, 20% of normal Japanese speech is Sino-Japanese vocabulary, rooted in Middle Chinese (termed, the "phonetic" or "ōn" readings of kanji).

 In contrast to varieties of Chinese, the sounds of Japanese are easy for Westerners to learn. Japanese has all simplistic consonants (k/g, s/z, t/d, f/b, m & n). The set of 5 vowels (ah, ee, oo, eh, oh), as well as the 'R' sound, are like that of Roman languages. This makes a convenient point-of-entry for English speakers. It is the case that many features of the Chinese language were dropped when adapted into Japanese, and unfortunately, it resulted in a very great number of homophones. This creates monotony in learning kanji in Japanese, and also makes it infeasible to transfer your kanji knowledge well to other Chinese languages. (Ironically, the situation is the same if you were to learn in Standard Chinese: it has lost about as many features as Japanese discarded!) I developed a "Pseudo-" Middle Chinese which is, simply, Japanese romaji with features of Standard Chinese re-added, as diacritics. With this, your beginning knowledge of kanji might then be generalized enough to extend globally.

 Literary Chinese continued to be used officially in China until its replacement by Standard Chinese, in 1919. In that year, the first complete Chinese translation of the Holy Bible was published. The Chinese Union Version is the title of two "twin" translations: the Literary Chinese ("Wenli") version, and its Standard Chinese conversion. This Bible translation is valuable for a study of the phonetics of kanji, because of the great collection of familiar Biblical names that are transliterated using Chinese-Japanese characters purely for their sounds.

 In this project, I have organized, set logical rules, assigned singular English meanings to characters, and assigned singular English names to kanji components. And this assigning of names is a statistical game, depending to an extent on the whole set of kanji that one chooses to handle. Taking the 3,080 Standard Chinese kanji of the CUV Bible in one hand, and combining them with the set of all 2,730 Standard Japanese kanji in the other, 2,100 kanji are held in common (total of 3,720). To this are added another 625 high-frequency Chinese characters, for a grand total of 4,345, excluding variants.


2021 A.f.e.v.

Bellingham, WA




Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License