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I've noticed on my travels around Japan that on maps there are two ways of indicating the viewers position in the manner of the English "You are here":

  • 現在地{げんざいち} is common on maps in Japan, and seems to be directly from Chinese as I saw it on maps in China and/or Taiwan (possibly with variant characters).

  • 現在位置{げんざいいち} is common here in Sapporo and I think elsewhere in Hokkaido, though I first saw it on the ferry from Okinawa to Kagoshima.

Now are these both words? Or are they phrases? Or is it a case of one of each? How do I parse them? Are there any subtle differences between them?

I just got reprimanded for adding the longer variant to the English Wiktionary for being "not a word and obviously sum-of-parts". What makes the first good and the second bad? Is the first the only one that has entries in dictionaries?

At the very least would the second be considered to at least be a set phrase?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

"Chi" is a pretty common morpheme but seldom used as a word, except in certain fossilized phrases. "Ichi" is unambiguously an independent word. So they are different in that respect. I would call it a qualitative difference; others may disagree.

Whether that difference is sufficient to allow one as a Wiktionary entry but reject the other depends on Wiktionary policy, I guess. FWIW the Kojien has "genzaichi" but not "genzaiichi", so Wikipedia is not in bad company.

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Oh don't worry I'm not asking you guys to back me up or make Wiktionary policy decisions. I just want to be informed. It just happens that I'm learning Japanese and contributing to Wiktionary in parallel. – hippietrail May 5 '14 at 9:55
FWIW Wiktionary has "boiled egg" and "fried egg" so is in peculiar company even with itself (-: – hippietrail May 5 '14 at 9:58
No argument there! I should have restricted that comment to the case of these two potential entries specifically. – Matt May 5 '14 at 10:00

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