July 12th, 2009

While fixing the “unavailable” bug, I came across another interesting problem that I hadn’t previously considered.

Most Kanji have at least two “readings”, or methods of pronunciation.  Since the Kanji writing system was imported from China, most characters have at least the original Chinese pronunciation (on’yomi) as well as a Japanese pronunciation (kun’yomi) corresponding to the word for which the Kanji was introduced.

In Kanji Fuda, under “Settings”, one can choose which parts of a Kanji reading to show:  at least one of the translated “meaning”, the Chinese on’yomi, and/or the Japanese kun’yomi.    This works well generally, however I hadn’t taken into account that some characters have only on’yomi, while others have only kun’yomi.

For example, the character 校 (コウ, koh), meaning exam, school, proof, correction, etc., has only it’s Chinese on’yomi reading; there is no corresponding Japanese kun’yomi.  The character 峠 (とうげ, touge), on the other hand, is one of the few Kanji invented in Japan, and consequently has only kun’yomi with no on’yomi reading.

A problem arises in Kanji Fuda when one elects to show, for example, only kun’yomi.  In this case, the block matching the character 校 (コウ, koh) would be blank.  Likewise, if one switched on only the on’yomi setting, then the block matching a chartacter like 峠 (とうげ, touge) would also be blank.

To work around this problem, I have decided to show the alternative reading when the preferred reading is not available.  If only kun’yomi are being shown and the character 校 (コウ, kou) appears, then Kanji Fuda will display the on’yomi reading コウ (kou) instead.  Conversely it will display the kun’yomi とうげ (touge) for 峠 if only on’yomi are set to be shown.

A little bit confusing, and probably this will be reported as a bug at some point, but I think it’s a fairly good work around.

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