It must be remembered that the reading of most of the early Sumerian proper names is merely provisional, as we do not know how the ideographs of which they are composed were pronounced in either Sumerian or Assyrian.
For example, the ideographs signifying rice or metal or water in Chinese were used tc convey the same ideas in Japanese.
Analysis showed that all the required sounds could be conveyed with 47 syllables, and having selected the ideographs that corresponded .to those sounds, they reduced them, first, to forms called hiragana, and, secondly, to still more simplified forms called katakana.
Chamberlain, the necessity of committing to memory two syllabaries, one of which has many variant forms, and at least two or three thousand Chinese ideographs, in forms standard and cursive ideographs, too, most of which are susceptible of three or four different readings according to circuinstance,add, further, that all these kinds of written symbols are apt to be encountered pell mell on the same page, and the task of mastering Japanese becomes almost Herculean.
It is not to be inferred that the writers of Japan, enamoured as they were of Chinese ideographs and Chinese style, deliberately excluded everything Chinese from the realm of poetry.
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