What are On’yomi and Kun’yomi? Are they important?

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No, they are not a synonym of omnomnom and you don’t have to worry about not being able to pronounce them either. Basically are part of kanji (the complex Japanese character) which mentioned everywhere in common textbooks. But what are they really? And are they important?

You may know that a kanji can be read in a lot of different way. Well, while some kanji can be read in more than 5 different ways, there are divided into just 2 big group actually. One is On’yomi, the Chinese reading and the other is Kun’yomi, the Japanese reading.


Differentiating Kunyomi and Onyomi

When a kanji is paired with another kanji, it’s most likely that it’s being read with On’yomi

輸出 yushutsu : export
感謝 kansha : gratitude
大丈夫 : alright

When a kanji is paired with hiragana, it’s most likely that it’s being read with Kun’yomi

きい ooki : big
みます yomimasu : to read
さい chiisai : small

Are they important?

The big question! Are they important? Well…, you may notice that in all dictionary, they will list you both type of reading. To tell you the truth, they are mostly useless since there are too much to memorize and in practice, you don’t really remember which reading is Kun’yomi or which one is On’yomi.

It’s also worth to notice that when you’re looking at a word in dictionary, you will rarely search for it as a single kanji, but instead as a word. And the dictionary will let you know instantly the specific reading for the kanji in that word. That’s why Kunyomi and Onyomi are not important.

But knowing about Kun’yomi and On’yomi might increase your popularity in Japanese class and that should be a good thing, right? tehee!

In summary, knowing which reading the kanji use is basically useless…
The only important thing you need to work on is to remember how a kanji is read as a compound sentence or as a verb.

So don’t try to remember and try to differentiate all the reading of “” kanji

Just remember that:
一つ is hitotsu
一 is ichi
一人 is hitori
一番 is ichiban
and 一緒 is issho

Hope it helps! Happy learning 。゚✶ฺ.ヽ(*´∀`*)ノ.✶゚ฺ。

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