One more example of why we love Kanji.
The character 生 is obviously related to life, but how do you pronounce it? (To put it more technically, “What is it’s reading?” To put it even more technically, 読み方は何ですか。To put it in Spanish…no, wait. Sorry. I was getting carried away. )
The short answer is that, like Kanji in general, the way it is pronounced depends on the characters around it and its place in the word.
That isn’t particularly helpful, so let’s look at some examples:
生き物 – いきもの – living things
生物 – せいぶつ – organisms
誕生 – たんじょう – birth
生える – はえる – growth
On the plus side, these words are clearly all related, so it makes sense to have the same kanji appear in them all, but it is pronounced 、い、せい、じょう、は and probably some others ways in words that I can’t think of at the moment.
You either love Japanese or you don’t. If you do, it’s quirks are fascinating and fun. If you don’t, I guess they drive you bonkers. Me, I love it. Since you’re reading this, I’m assuming you do too.