Multiple characters listed on search?

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Multiple characters listed on search?

Post by Beghty » Jun 3, 2010 5:04 am

I am trying to translate some written words into their respective chinese characters (preferably traditional). I understand that the dictionary search shows both Japanese and Chinese characters and while I can see distinctive Traits between the two I am still having trouble seeing which is which or whether the word consists of two characters. I have no knowlege of Mandarin so forgive me for my ignorance of the matter. For example the word "nengkan" or "neng kan" shows two symbols; 能 and 堪. Does the site show the Chinese character on the right and the kanji on the left of vice versa? Or is "neng kan" two characters like 能堪? In either case I would greatly appreciate knowing in what order characters are listed in the dictionary by their country of origin.

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Post by Gary » Jun 3, 2010 12:25 pm ... D%E5%A0%AA

In the case of "neng kan", this is a two-character word.

The first character shown (we arrange them from left-to-right on our dictionary) is "neng". The second character is "kan". In Japanese, these are pronounced/romanized as "no kan".

If you see both a definition for both Chinese and Japanese (look for the flags) then they are valid words in both languages. In many cases, words are written exactly the same in both Chinese and Japanese (Japan borrowed their entire written language and many words from Chinese).

There is an exception where a word may have a pronunciation guide, but no language-specific definition. In this case, there will be a Buddhist definition. Most of the time, this means the word is only used in the context of Buddhism, and may not be familiar to Japanese/Chinese people who are not devout Buddhists (most of the population of Japan/China are not devout). This is the case for "neng kan" or "no kan".

Matching up characters with pronunciation:
Chinese is a bit easier to match up the characters with the pronunciation. Each Chinese character is just one Chinese syllable. Japanese is a bit different, as in some cases, a Japanese Kanji can have two or more syllables. Japanese Kanji can also have many different possible pronunciations. The pronunciation will depend on the context in which it is used.