OT: Re: Weekly Classic Computer Trivia Question (20150105) (Kanji)

Tapley, Mark mtapley at swri.edu
Tue Jan 6 11:09:10 CST 2015

On Jan 5, 2015, at 7:22 PM, Rich Alderson <RichA at LivingComputerMuseum.org> wrote:

> No, they are not.  Kanji are *LOGOgrams*, expressing *words*, not *ideas*.
> (In fact, in Japanese they can express more than one word, given whether
> they are read as Japanese or one of several different Chinese pronunciations,
> of which kanon[1] and goon[2] are most common.)

That is a pretty interesting statement. There are many words in Japanese which are written as a combination of two or more kanji (possibly plus word endings, written out in hiragana). That to me fits a lot better with the description “ideogram” than “logogram” (based on the etymology of both descriptions). “Ideogram” is also the description I have heard most often (by far).

How does the “logogram” description deal with combinations of kanji?

										- Mark

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