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Posted in: Why you won't see a 7-Eleven in Shikoku See in context

Being an idol is tough, huh, Takane?

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Posted in: Declining kanji-writing skill of Japanese blamed on cell phones, computers See in context

http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/kanji

Alternatively, I can just post this (See the "Why Kanji" section).

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Posted in: Declining kanji-writing skill of Japanese blamed on cell phones, computers See in context

I've only been studying the language for about a year, so I can't claim to be an expert on this, but I can't imagine that anyone who's bothered to learn kanji at all could honestly say that Japanese would be better without it. You can't compare compare the homonym issue of Japanese with other languages simply due to the massive density of homonyms in the former due to (1) the small amount of available sounds, and (2) most kanji compounds using onyomi readings, which use even fewer variations in sound than that (I don't want to count how many kanji are read as sei, shou, or jou). The latter issue mainly affects more technical or obscure words, which would be all but killed off without kanji to distinguish them.

On top of that, creative kanji use is an art form in itself. For example, I started playing Dangan Ronpa recently, which revolves around a high school that only accepts the most highly skilled students within its doors. When referring to some of its graduates, the narrator describes them as 高校級 (koukoukyuu), a portmanteau of 高校 (high school, koukou) and 高級 (high class, koukyuu), essentially translating to "High (school) class", or something. It's a rather simple pun, but it's a nuance that would be mostly lost without the kanji to point it out, and effectively utilizing the nuances of a language is something that makes a writer good.

Back on topic, I don't really see the issue with handwriting skills dying out. I've always preferred typing to handwriting, since writing character by character is a pain in the ass. And if anything, computers can improve the average Japanese person's linguistic skills, since anyone can copy-paste an unknown kanji into an online dictionary or draw it in an IME pad - it certainly beats having to navigate a textbook sized dictionary in 8 point font trying to find the one kanji you're looking for. And writers don't have to hold back on using obscure kanji, since they'll show up in an IME with the same reading as a more common alternative, meaning people who read would still be introduced to a wide variety of kanji. The only thing that's really at stake here is sentimentality, since some people attach emotional value to handwritten crap for some reason.

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