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Swedish students and the phonetic component of Kanji


  • Jesper Gustafsson

Summary, in English

This thesis was written to answer the questions How much do Swedish students of Japanese know about the phonetic component of kanji? and Does awareness of the phonetic component help students guess the reading of kanji?. The phonetic component of kanji gives you the reading of kanji, and can give you an edge in correctly reading unfamiliar kanji.
By doing some background research into the curricula of Swedish universities and kanji knowledge of their students, an online questionnaire fit to their presumed knowledge was constructed. The questionnaire measured the participants’ ability to guess the reading of unfamiliar kanji before and after being given information regarding the phonetic component of kanji. The results of this questionnaire indicates that the participants in general seem to know of the phonetic component, but are not utilising it very well. There was a significant improvement in most of the participants, and as such, introducing, or focusing more on this topic in school could prove to be beneficial.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Japanese language
  • kanji
  • phonetic component


  • Axel Svahn (Doctoral Student)