ISSN: 2534-5192


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ISBN: 978-2-9570549-0-9
e-ISBN: 978-2-9570549-1-6

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What Do Kanji Graphs Represent in the Current Japanese Writing system? Towards a Unified Model of Kanji as Written Signs
Keisuke Honda ORCID iD icon
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Abstract. In the current Japanese writing system, kanji graphs constitute a major subpart of its signary. There are two opposing views on how to characterise them in linguistic terms, making different claims about the type of linguistic unit they represent. The first view claims that kanji graphs are based primarily on the morpheme because a majority of currently used graphs represent individual morphemes. The second view maintains that they are based primarily on the sound and only secondarily on the morpheme because all graphs represent sounds that may or may not correspond to individual morphemes. The present paper discusses the advantages and disadvantages of both views and sketches out a new, unified model of how kanji graphs function as written signs. In this model, kanji graphs are seen as the formal building blocks of simplex or complex written signs representing the phonological exponents of individual morphemes.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.36824/2018-graf-hond


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Keisuke Honda ORCID iD icon (2019), What Do Kanji Graphs Represent in the Current Japanese Writing system? Towards a Unified Model of Kanji as Written Signs, in Proceedings of Graphemics in the 21st Century, Brest 2018 (Yannis Haralambous, Ed.), Brest: Fluxus Editions, 185–208

@INPROCEEDINGS{gla1-hond,
   AUTHOR = {Keisuke Honda ORCID iD icon},
   EDITOR = {Haralambous, Yannis},
   TITLE = {{What Do Kanji Graphs Represent in the Current Japanese Writing system? Towards a Unified Model of Kanji as Written Signs}},
   BOOKTITLE = {{Proceedings of Graphemics in the 21st Century, Brest 2018}},
   PUBLISHER = {Fluxus Editions},
   ADDRESS = {Brest},
   YEAR = {2019},
   PAGES = {185--208},
   DOI = {https://doi.org/10.36824/2018-graf-hond}
}