The curriculum lineup has been updated!

第3課: 人, 土, 円, 字, 天, 車, 中, 鳥, 魚, 足, 子, 目, 口, 手, & 耳

To help you remember 音 from Lesson 2, 音よみ will be how ON reading(s) will be spelled. Rare readings will be marked with ▽. Exceptions will be noted with ●.

This person means person because it comes from a standing person. It takes a lot of interesting shapes in other characters. For instance, it's the feet looking part in 児 (infant). It's the roof part to 会 (to meet). And, it's the left side to characters like 個 (piece). 

音よみ: ジン, ニン
くんよみ: ひと, -り 

 When to use ジン and ニン is very difficult for many students. The first is used in nationality, but it's also used constructively in Sino-Japanese words to mean "person". This is problematic because ニン has this meaning too; however, this latter reading is most often used to show occupation and character of people. It is also used as a counter for people after 3 people. The latter reading is the oldest reading, so when you see words like 人間 (ニンゲン), you know that from the reading alone that it's an older word. How old a word is a last resort, but generally speaking, what has been mentioned thus far can help tell you which reading to use most of the time. 

As for the native readings, -り is a native counter for people, and it is used for 1 person and 2 people. 

 人生 じんせい (Human) life 人情 にんじょう  Empathy; human nature 
 人出 ひとで Turn-out 人数 にんずう Number of people 
 人類 じんるい Mankind 一般人 いっぱんじん Ordinary person
 案内人 あんないにん A guide person  住人 じゅうにん Resident
 人口 じんこう Population 一人 ひとり 1 person; alone
 二人 ふたり 2 people 三人 さんにん 3 people
 人柄 ひとがら Character; personality 人声 ひとごえ Voice

This character is from a pictograph of a lump of dirt. It eventually came to look like a plant growing from the earth, but it is sadly not the origin of the character. 

音よみ: ド、ト
くんよみ: つち 

The first 音よみ is the most common, but it actually came about from a mistaken change of pronunciation from the second one, which is really rare. However, the words with ト tend to be very common. 

 土曜日 どようび Saturday 土地 とち Ground
 土着 どちゃく Indigenous 粘土 ねんど Clay
 領土 りょうど Territory 土煙 つちけむり Cloud of dust
 土間 どま Earth floor 土橋 どばし・つちはし Earthen floor
 土佐 とさ Tosa 土砂 どしゃ Earth and sand
 土産 みやげ ● Souvenir 土筆 つくし ● Horsetail (plant)
 土竜 もぐら ● Mole (animal) 土手 どて Bank (river)

円 used to be 圓. The encasement represents roundness, and the inside part is from a pictograph of a round kettle, and it reinforces the sound for the word "round" in Chinese. This character would then be adapted to mean yen in Japan, and due to yen's association with bank-teller windows, the character was simplified to look like one. 

音よみ: エン
くんよみ: まる(い), まろ(やか), つぶ(ら)、まど(か) 

まろやか, an adjective, may refer to something being round, but it may also describe mild/mellow flavor. つぶら is another adjective and also means round, but it also infers that the object is also cute. まどか is also an adjective and means round or tranquil. Except まるい, these adjectives are rather uncommon in the spoken language, but they are more refined. 

 円貨 えんか The yen currency 円顔 まるがお Round face
 円周 えんしゅう Circumference 円満 えんまん Amicable

This is the character for character. The top roof has a child underneath it, and this can be interpreted as an emblem of education and the written word. In Chinese it can sometimes mean to nourish, but the figurative associated with children proliferation and the complication that comes about this is just as bad as 漢字.  

音よみ: ジ
くんよみ: あざ, あざな 

あざ actually refers to a section of a village. あざな is an even rarer and worthless reading that refers either to a Chinese courtesy name or a nickname, but nickname is usually あだな.

 数字 すうじ Numeral 赤字 あかじ Deficit
 字引き じびき Dictionary 英字 えいじ English letter
 活字 かつじ Printing type 黒字 くろじ Balance

The heavens is definitely something that man has looked upon with the head up high, which is really how this character came about. In Japanese "the heavens" may not necessarily have religious connotations, but if it does, it should be obvious. It can also just mean "sky", but this is typically the case in compounds. 

音よみ: テン
くんよみ: あま- 

  The くんよみ is not all that common because native words in relation to the heavens are usually not all that common.  

 天国 てんごく Heaven 天使 てんし Angel
 天皇 てんのう Emperor 晴天 せいてん Clear day
 曇天 どんてん Cloudy day 天つ風 あまつかぜ Heavenly wind

This is from an abbreviation of a pictograph of a long-shafted two-wheeled chariot, and although cars typically have four wheels, it has been changed in meaning in modern times to mean car. Before the age of the car, it would refer to carriages. Before the age of carriages, it referred to oxcarts.

音よみ: シャ
くんよみ: くるま 

 電車 でんしゃ (Electric) train 車いす くるまいす Wheelchair
 自動車 じどうしゃ Vehicle 自転車 じてんしゃ Bicycle
 新車 しんしゃ New car 車庫 しゃこ Garriage

This means "center/middle". It's a pretty straightforward pictograph. 

オンヨミ: チュウ
くんよみ: なか、あ(たる・てる)▽

 Word Reading Meaning Notes
 中国 チュウゴク China; Chugoku (Region of Japan) Not チュウコク!
 真ん中 まんなか The very middle 
 中立 チュウリツ Neutrality Think Switzerland (スイス)
 中学校 チュウガッコウ Junior high 
 中年 チュウネン Middle age 
 中型 チュウがた Medium size Not なかがた!
 中心 チュウシン Center The heart of...

Gotta love birds. After all, they are the surviving dinosaurs. This character comes from a pictograph of a bird. Exceptional readings come from あてじ. So, this character is pretty straightforward on how to read. 

オンヨミ: チョウ
くんよみ: とり 

 Word Reading Meaning Notes
 鳥居 とりい Shinto shrine gate A nostalgic symbol of Japanese traditional beliefs
 野鳥 ヤチョウ Wild bird 
 白鳥 ハクチョウ Swan Swans are white birds.
 海鳥 うみどり Seabird 
 雌鳥 めんどり Hen 
 雄鶏 おんどり Rooster 

This is fish. 

オンヨミ: ギョ
くんよみ: さかな、うお

The latter くんよみ comes from the original word for fish and the second acquired the meaning much later on. Both are used frequently, but a specific reading may be needed in compound words.

 Word Reading Meaning Notes
 魚市場 うおいちば Fish market 
 魚屋 さかなや Fish store 
 金魚 キンギョ Goldfish 
 大魚 タイギョ Big fish 
 人魚 ニンギョ Mermaid 
 小魚 こざかな Small fish 
 雑魚 ざこ Small fry Exceptional reading

This is a pictograph of a foot and a knee cap, and so logically this is used to mean leg/foot.

オンヨミ: ソク
くんよみ: あし、たりる 

 Word Reading Meaning Notes 
 足音 あしおと Footsteps 
 足元 あしもと The foot of 
 足跡 あしあと・ソクセキ Footmark 
 満足 マンゾク Satisfaction Not マンソク.
 足りる たりる To be sufficient 

is from a pictograph of an infant in swaddling clothes. 

オンヨミ: シ、ス
くんよみ: こ

The ス reading occasionally pops up.

 Word Reading Meaning Notes
 子供 こども Child 
 子音 シイン Consonant 
 太子 タイシ Crown Prince 
 様子 ヨウス Appearance 
 椅子 イス Chair 
 帽子 ボウシ Hat 
 利子 リシ Interest As in finance.
 息子 むすこ Son One's son.
 梯子 はしご Ladder 
 玉子 たまご Egg Usually spelled as 卵.
 障子 しょうじ Paper sliding-door Exceptional reading.
 餃子 ギョウザ・ギョーザ Gyoza dumplings Usually in カタカナ.
 螺子・捩子・捻子 Screw As in a screw Usually in ひらがな. Also s

This is a pictograph of a titled eye, and it means "eye". Thankfully that was straightforward. 

オンヨミ: モク、ボク
おんよみ: め、ま-、-め

モク is used in most Sino-Japanese words with this character. In rarer instances where the character is used to refer to attitude, ボク might be used. ま- is usually used as a prefix in native words, but it can be used in isolation in the phrase 目のあたり (right before one's eyes).

 Word Reading Meaning Notes
 注目 チュウモク Attention Pay attention!
 目下 モッカ At present Somewhat formal
 目下 めした Junior Junior as in inferior. Don't confuse with モッカ
 面目 メンモク・メンボク Prestige Options...lovely
 目蓋 まぶた Eyelid 蓋 = lid
 効き目 ききめ Efficacy -目 can indicate ordinal numbers, border, degree, or role. 
 役目 やくめ Role; duty Ditto
 切れ目 きれめ Rift; gap 

This is a pictograph of a mouth wide-open, and lo and behold it means mouth. It is perhaps one of the most straightforward characters aside from 一, 二, and 三. It looked a little bit more like ㅂ in Korean at the onset. As words come out of people's mouth, it can also symbolize speech.

音よみ: コウ, ク 
くんよみ: くち

  The first 音よみ is the most prevalent, and the latter is an older and less frequently used reading. 

 一口 ひとくち Sip; nibble; a word 出口 でぐち Exit
 口語 こうご Spoken language 口座 こうざ Bank account
 口説 くぜつ Lovers' fights 口説く くどく To persuade; seduce
 口調 くちょう Tone of voice 入口 いりぐち Entrance

This is from a pictograph of a hand with all fingers out but one bent. When seen in other characters it becomes 才 like in 持 (to hold). As you can guess, this is the character for hand. 

音よみ: シュ 
くんよみ: て、た- 

 手段 しゅだん Means; measures 手繰る たぐる To pull/draw in
 手首 てくび Wrist 手綱 たづな Rein
 手の平 てのひら Palm 手の甲 てのこう Back of one's hand
 手腕 しゅわん Ability 手本 てほん Model; example
 下手 へた ● Bad at 上手 じょうず ● Good at

This looks like an ear, and that's exactly what it means. See, some characters can be completely straightforward. 

くんよみ: みみ

 耳鼻 じび Ear and nose 耳障り みみざわり Hurting one's ears
 耳鳴り みみなり Tinnitus 耳ピアス みみぴあす Ear piercing

I'm Moving!

I will moving the think tank, which is myself, to a new location this weekend and will be low on funds for a while. New lessons are still being made, but any donations at this time would greatly be appreciated.
Aside from the Donation tab, there are also two GoFundMe campaigns to help out.