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デジタル大辞泉 gives the following definition of 間投詞:


It also gives the following definition of 感動詞 (emphasis added):


Both terms are identically glossed as "interjection" in all the J-E dictionaries I can find, and the definition for each in デジタル大辞泉 gives the other as a synonym.

This is the only case I'm aware of where there are multiple ways of referring to a part of speech (a la 動詞, 名詞, etc.), and so I cannot help but wonder if there is some technical sense in which these two terms differ.

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There are other examples, e.g. 並立助詞 and 並列助詞. – snailplane May 23 '14 at 5:18

From what I know, 感動詞 is the term more commonly found in Japanese language textbooks and is the standard term used in discussions about the Japanese language among linguists or translators. By contrast, 間投詞 is a synonym typically glossed in dictionaries by referring to the entry on 感動詞.

Separately, the terms 形状言 and 様言葉 do not appear in any reference material I have, including Kenkyushu'a J-E Dictionary, the Kojien or Meikyo J/J dictionaries, or any of the typical J/E online dictionaries. As far as I know, neither of these words exists in Japanese.

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Shogakukan's definition of 間投詞 certainly matches this: 「(英interjectionの訳語)ことばの間や切れ目に入れていうことば。時に、「感動詞」と同義にも用いられる。」 That's all they give. Meanwhile, the 感動詞 entry is much more extensive. – Eiríkr Útlendi May 23 '14 at 17:08
There have been various formulations for Japanese grammar over the years. 形状言 and 様言葉 both exist, but they are not in current use. 形状言 is used in the title of this book from 1874. (I was amused to find that book even has a page on Amazon.) – Eiríkr Útlendi May 23 '14 at 17:15
様言葉 shows up in this Waseda publication from 1974. I also bumped into 有様{ありさま}言葉{ことば}, found in various titles on Google Books. Perhaps not current or widely used, but certainly extant. – Eiríkr Útlendi May 23 '14 at 17:17
My ultimate point is that grammar terminology, like any set of terms, can be fluid. New terms show up, and either fall by the wayside, displace the previously current term, or snuggle into some parallel usage for a while. 間投詞 as a term apparently arose as a result of Japanese scholars studying English and other European languages. In time to come, this term might displace 感動詞, or it might become another historical footnote. The mere existence of multiple terms for the same part of speech (or for any other noun) does not, in itself, necessarily mean there's much of any difference in meaning. – Eiríkr Útlendi May 23 '14 at 17:25
I agree with your point. From what little I know about Meiji-era Japanese language scholars, there was an effort to "import" ideas from European philology for use in the historical study of the Japanese language. – Ben May 24 '14 at 15:01

Shogakukan gives much the same definition. However, I don't think that's necessarily a big deal -- multiple terms of reference for a single part of speech is not unknown in Japanese. 形容詞{けいようし}, for instance, have also been called 形状言{けいじょうげん} and 様言葉{さまことば}. I suspect the difference between 感動詞 and 間投詞 might depend on which grammarian you ask. For what it's worth, the latter appears to be more of a direct translation of the English term "interjection".

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Aha! 間 = "inter-", 投 ~ "-ject". That's pretty cool. (Also, I wasn't aware of the alternate names for 形容詞 - so the presence of two words for "interjection" is less surprising, too.) – senshin May 23 '14 at 5:11

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