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.

What is the relationship between 左様なら and 左? I assume there's some idiomatic meaning for "left" but how does it fit?

share|improve this question
2  
The 左 is ateji, though 様 is not. –  Zhen Lin Jan 18 '12 at 22:53
2  
ZhenLin's comment and cypher's answer is right. If it is 上 or 右, then it would mean something proceeding in the context as texts are written from top to bottom or right to left (in ancient times). But for 左, it does not have significant meaning. –  user458 Jan 19 '12 at 0:12
    
@sawa, I don't understand. I realize that 左 (as 左記), 右記 and I guess also 上 have the meaning of "the preceding" or "the following" based on the old writing order. But if it's ateji, what difference does it make? –  mmdanziger Jan 19 '12 at 8:41
1  
以上, 上記, 右記 are not ateji. –  user458 Jan 19 '12 at 17:29
1  
@mmdanziger I don't understand why you generalize like that. They are not ateji in the words I mentioned. They may be used in ateji in some other words. –  user458 Jan 20 '12 at 20:18

1 Answer 1

up vote 11 down vote accepted

According to this okwave post, さよう was originally written as 然様{さよう}. It says that さよう has the meaning of そのよう/そう and that the in 左様{さよう} is an 当{あ}て字{じ} (a Kanji used as a phonetic symbol, rather than for it's meaning.)

In other words, the meaning doesn't have anything to do with , it's uses that character because of it's reading/pronunciation.

share|improve this answer

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.