How can you differentiate Chinese, Korean and Japanese Characters?

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Lorenzo

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How can you differentiate Chinese, Korean and Japanese Characters?

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Lorenzo

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Re: How can you differentiate Chinese, Korean and Japanese Characters?
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2013, 02:58:37 AM »
At first glance, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean characters may be difficult to tell apart, but there are differences between each of them that can help you. All three are written with characters that are unfamiliar to Western readers, but you do not need to be intimidated by this unfamiliarity. These steps can help you be a lot more sure which of three you are looking at.

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Lorenzo

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Re: How can you differentiate Chinese, Korean and Japanese Characters?
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2013, 02:59:17 AM »
1. Look for circles and ovals. Korean uses a phonetic alphabet called Hangul, which is distinguishable by the large number of circles, ovals, and straight lines (example: 안녕하세요)If the block of text you are reading has these characteristic round shapes, chances are it is Korean. If not, go to step 2.


Korean Hangul text

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Lorenzo

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Re: How can you differentiate Chinese, Korean and Japanese Characters?
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2013, 03:00:17 AM »
2. Look for simple characters. Japanese writing has 3 main components: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Hiragana and katakana are syllabic systems, while kanji are derived from Chinese characters. Many hiragana characters are curvy, but do not have the neat round shapes of Korean (e.g さっか). Katakana, on the other hand, uses mostly straight or slightly curved lines in relatively simple combinations (e.g. チェンジ ). Chinese and Korean do not use either of these systems. Note that Japanese writing uses a mixture of hiragana, katakana, and kanji in the same text, so if you see either hiragana or katakana or both, you are looking at Japanese. The links below show you full lists of hiragana and katakana characters.


Sample Japanese text with hiragana, katakana, and kanji

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Lorenzo

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Re: How can you differentiate Chinese, Korean and Japanese Characters?
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2013, 03:03:36 AM »
3. If you do not see the characteristic shapes of Korean Hangul or Japanese hiragana or katakana, then you are probably looking at Chinese. Chinese writing has complicated characters called hanzi in Chinese, kanji in Japanese, and hanja in Korean. Although these characters are also found in Japanese, if there are hiragana or katakana, it is Japanese. So if you are looking at a small block of text that has only complex hanzi characters, you cannot rule out that it is Japanese. However, if you are looking at a large block of text and see no hiragana or katakana, then you can be pretty sure that it is Chinese.


Chinese Script in its complex glory! ;D

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