Chinese "kanji"

Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Thu Oct 6 10:55:30 UTC 2005

In my experience, "kanji" seems to be
better-known among the general public for
"Japanese characters" that "Hanzi" is for
"Chinese characters." That may indeed lead to the
backwards development described here; as yet, I
have not encountered it either.


>The Mandarin Chinese word for the Chinese characters is Hanzi (first
>syllable [xan], second syllable syllabic [dz], falling tone on each
>syllable).  Kanji is a Japanese word, denoting the Japanese orthography
>that's closest to Chinese characters.  I guess I can see some logic to
>applying it to the Chinese characters that kanji was derived from, even
>though it's a kind of backwards logic.  If "kanji" is becoming the general
>American term for Chinese characters, it's a trend I've missed completely.
>Peter Mc.
>--On Wednesday, October 05, 2005 7:21 PM -0400 Gadi Niram
><gadi at MANIAGRID.COM> wrote:
>>I've occasionally heard people use the Japanese word "kanji" when
>>referring to Chinese characters used to write Chinese.  Bryan Preston's
>>review of the movie _Serenity_ is the first time I've come across it in
>>written form.
>>"Though the film never spells it out explicitly, itÂ’s clear from the kanji
>>characters on viewscreens and in advertisements everywhere that at some
>>point China surpassed the United States on the way to dominating the
>>It's also interesting that Preston uses "kanji characters", as opposed to
>>just "kanji".  At any rate, perhaps "kanji" is becoming the general
>>American term for Chinese characters?
>>Gadi Niram
>>gadi at
>Peter A. McGraw       Linfield College        McMinnville, Oregon
>******************* pmcgraw at ****************************

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
15C Morrill Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
preston at

More information about the Ads-l mailing list