I am not sure if this is a question, or not, but that is correct. Kanji (the chinese characters) mostly have multiple readings (different ways to read them). When to use which reading depends on the context and you will have to learn by heart. So, 中, means middle and is read as なか. 国 means country and is read as くに, yet combined it means 'China' and is read as ちゅうごく. This makes kanji so hard to learn, as you need to memorize multiple ways to read them and you have to know which reading to use when (though there are some basic rules for that, but there are MANY exceptions to it).
To solve the problems with memorizing each way to read a kanji, I simply memorize how it's spoke in word A and in word B, word C, and it keep going.
It is waaay better than having to know each of the cases on how to read it. I simply know what it means. If some other words use it, it doesn't matter, I learn to read that word without caring about which kanjis are in that word, because THAT especific word have this sound and that's it.
I don't know if I made it clear, but yeah
They haven't really gone into on-yomi and kun-yomi yet, but yes, kanji can have numerous pronunciations, and unfortunately, it isn't always easy to know which one to use.
In this case, the character 中 is pronounced なか, but when paired up with 国 in 中国, it becomes ちゅう.
This mechanic is present to an extent in English - the symbol "2" is pronounced "two", but "2nd" is "second," or "1/2" is "one half."
Before 1945, the word for China is 支那 (Shina.) Then Chinese people thought this name was insulting, and forced Japanese to change the name. Although I do not understand why it is an insult. Chinese people called themselves 支那 in early 20th century, too.
The current name comes from the Chinese language. Currently Chinese call themselves 中国 (Zhung-guo.) Now, pronounce these two characters in Japanese instead, you get ちゅうごく. Before 1945, 中国 meant the area west to Kyoto.
You're right to some degree,the two characters"shi" "na"could be a word of the "western"(ancient India) notion and phonetically translated from Sanskrit language，which was first seen in "Budkdhist Records of the Western World" (646A.D.) by Monk Xuanzang of the Tang dynasty China(618-907A.D.).
It is apparent that the monks from Japan（kentoshi）adopted the writing system as well as the word from the book during the period of time from 630 to 894. Eventually being popularized during the Edo Period(1603-1868) to distinguish the area west to Kyoto.
"shi""na" was therefore not an insult to Chinese people in its origin until early 1920s. Qing dynasty China was replaced by Republic of China(中華民國） in 1912, abbreviated as "中國“.Which also can be an abbreviation for PRC(中华人民共和国）
For your "Although I do not understand why it is an insult", inferring that you may not be familiar with the modern history in oriental countries. Or you may have a different approach towards the modern history of imperialism.
I try to be in simplicity, while the shift of meaning is related to the thought of "Language Games " from Ludwig Wittgenstein. That is, the meaning of a word is determined by how it is used and in which the context it is used. Which means the word ”shi””na” reminds Chinese people of the past history of suffering.
Just like the "N"word for the black people of the past history of being enslaved(it just means "black"in Spanish). And some disparaging names for Jewish people for reasons alike.
They need to be consistent within a lesson. ESPECIALLY so early. At least be consistent in the early lessons with what you have shown us. Certainly when it comes to the Lesson where they first introduce a character! And definitely when it's one of the FIRST characters introduced. It's not the right time to Randomly throw in various readings. Sure that May come Later. But PROGRAMMATICALLY it IS Possible to Ensure That the Lesson matches what the Lesson is teaching. Yes, they may need to record Both Readings. Yes, they'll need to tag the reading to match the Lesson. Sure it's a challenge. Software is written to do much more complex stuff than that. And we can't learn if were given conflicting lessons.
In later lessons, is ok to mix and match. But this isn't appropriate, or ideal at this stage. We're still learning the alphabet, so to speak. And barely touching on characters.
Just needs a bit of proofing.
There are actually three different categories of pronunciation for kanji (the characters borrowed from Chinese hanzi). -Onyomi (loosely "Chinese reading") derives from the Chinese pronunciation, at least at the time the characters were assimilated into Japanese. -Kunyomi (loosely "Japanese reading") derives from the pronunciation of the Japanese word when hanzi was assimilated. -The third is "special readings" and typically cover names.
All three may have many different pronunciations, especially if it's a very common kanji. Japanese was a fully functioning language before it adopted Chinese characters in the Heian Period, so a lot of "awkward but at least it fits enough to go about other business" ended up forming.
A good starting point is that when a character is by itself or only has kana extensions you often use the Japanese (kun'yomi) reading. When part of a word with multiple kanji you often use the Chinese (on'yomi) reading. But that's just a starting point, because there are exceptions as well as multiple on and kun readings, and which get used depends on character position in the word and so on.
中, look at the structure of this character, quite symmetrical right? It has the meanings of "center"/"middle"/"intermediate"/"just"/"appropriate" in classical chinese. While "中国” can be regarded as a proper noun, the notion of "middle kingdom" /"central kingdom" spreaded around the oriental region such as korean penisular, islands of japan ,vietnam（Trung Quốc） and Indonesia（Tiongkok）. But, when China was weak, things different, even the name was different. History is too long to type, I would better stop here