"I am a high school student."
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Technically, it is shortened in the other expressions, we've learned here, too.
小学 + 学生 = 小学生
中学 + 学生 = 中学生
大学 + 学生 = 大学生
In all those cases, 学生 is shortened to 生. It's just that there are not two 学 kanji here since the short form 高校 has no 学 kanji. But the 学 kanji of 学生 is removed again.
So it's the same pattern:
高校 + 学生 = 高校生
That is common practice in Japanese. By mixing hiragana, kanji and katakana, parsing a sentence becomes much easier. This is because kanji can convey a lot of meaning in a small space, hiragana has the job of indicating grammatical tense and roles, and katakana for indicating loan words.
For example, compare the following:
- ジョンさんは高校生です。(mixed writing)
- じょんさんはこうこうせいです。(all hiragana)
Once you're familiar with kanji (and radicals), you can look at 高校生 and immediately associate the characters with meaning, whereas in the all hiragana version, you first have to read the whole thing and try to determine where all the different words start and finish so you don't immediately get that こうこうせい means "high (高) school (校) student (生)".
shrugs The closest thing I have found to this english concept in japanese is the indicators for a word to show its purpose. (Think Ni, wo, wa, he, ga and others I have yet to discover.) (Please excuse the lack of japanese characters as I dont have access to them atm lol)