Take the 2-minute tour ×
Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is one derived from the other? 身近 means - amongst other definitions - "close/near to one(self)", so it's not that much of a leap to say that something near to you is a "short" distance away, and get 短い from that. Is there any truth to this, or is it just coincidental? Or this there some other kind of connection between these words?

  • Bonus Question: Does the correct spelling of 身近 use a or a ? Related Discussion
share|improve this question
    
My guess is that it's coincidence. 身近 is probably spelt with a ぢ - 近 is ちか, and the ち undergoes 連濁. –  Billy Jun 24 '13 at 18:23
    
You can find the kana spelling of 身近 in a dictionary. –  snailboat Jun 24 '13 at 19:02
    
@snailboat: Obviously I've seen it both ways which is why I asked. –  istrasci Jun 24 '13 at 19:34
    
@Billy: Except there are many words where does not 連濁 into , especially examples with or . –  istrasci Jun 24 '13 at 19:39
1  
@istrasci Both of your examples are on-yomi. –  Zhen Lin Jun 24 '13 at 19:44
add comment

1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The historical spelling (歴史的仮名遣い) of 短い uses a じ instead of a ぢ, so this rules out the possibility of an etymological relationship between 短い and 身近.

share|improve this answer
    
Does that mean that up to the spelling reform in 1946, all spellings respected the etymological origin of a word? –  Earthliŋ Jun 24 '13 at 19:21
    
Well, more precisely, there was a spelling reform in the Meiji era which restored spellings to etymological ones. Before that things were more haphazard. –  Zhen Lin Jun 24 '13 at 19:28
    
Thanks, that is very interesting. Do you have any sources, or at least a name, for this reform? Presumably in your answer you assume that this reform didn't overlook みじかい... –  Earthliŋ Jun 24 '13 at 19:37
1  
You can read about it on Wikipedia. 短い (or rather, 短くて) is attested in the Tale of Genji, so presumably they have taken the spelling from there. –  Zhen Lin Jun 24 '13 at 19:41
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.