動物. Japanese vocabulary for animals.

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16
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3answers
16k views

What's the difference between “さけ” (sake) and “しゃけ” (shake)?

Today I saw onigiri claiming to contain "しゃけ" (shake). When I asked my friend what that was, she said it was the same as "さけ" (sake), "salmon". So are these two just different readings of a kanji, ...
16
votes
2answers
714 views

Kitten: 子猫 vs 小猫 vs 仔猫

Are there any differences (nuances or usage) when using prefix 子, 小 or 仔 for denoting young animals? Examples: Kitten: 子猫 vs 小猫 vs 仔猫 Puppy: 子犬 vs 小犬 vs 仔犬 Pony: 子馬 vs 小馬 vs 仔馬 Calf: 子牛 vs 小牛 vs 仔牛 ...
12
votes
2answers
522 views

Non-distinguished animal pairs in Japanese

This is something I first noticed when I was at an aquarium in Japan (as evidenced in my examples) and continued to see ever since. There are certain pairs of animals, that while extremely similar, ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

What's the difference between “マグロ” (maguro), “ツナ” (tsuna), and “シーチキン” (shiichikin)?

It seems that there are (at least) three words for "tuna" in Japanese: "マグロ" / "鮪" / "まぐろ" (maguro) - Seems to be the native name for the creature and used at least in sushi "ツナ" (tsuna) - Seems to ...
8
votes
1answer
121 views

Why are some sharks named after birds?

Some sharks are seemingly named after birds: great white shark: hoojirozame 頬白鮫 from hoojiro (meadow bunting) sandbar shark: mejirozame 目白鮫 from mejiro (white-eye) blue shark: yoshikirizame 葦切鮫 from ...
7
votes
2answers
662 views

Can そばかす be used to describe a pattern on dog face?

Are these 斑{ぶち} or そばかす? Are freckles (そばかす) in Japanese limited to human? Would it be a mistake to describe a pattern on dog's face as そばかす?
6
votes
2answers
203 views

Does the use of 百足 as ateji for ムカデ come from calquing “centipede” (or a cognate)?

The English word "centipede" refers to basically the same type of disgusting creepy-crawly arthropod as the Japanese ムカデ. Sometimes, ムカデ is written in kanji as 百足. This is an obvious case of ateji (...
6
votes
1answer
203 views

When should I use「かも」 versus 「アヒル」?

My Japanese friend uses the work 「アヒル」when referring to ducks in a public park. However, another Japanese friend uses 「鴨」(かも)in similar situations. In English, as far as my limited knowledge of the ...
5
votes
1answer
152 views

What kind of organisms can be covered by 益虫, 害虫 or 虫?

I came across someone describing a Nihon yamori / gekko as a 益虫, and using "useful insect" in English. Gekkos aren't insects, but it made me curious what it actually does mean. jisho.org only ...
5
votes
1answer
183 views

How to know when I should use katakana form words referring to animals, lesser creatures, or other organisms?

I know many words for animals are usually written in katakana in contemporary Japanese, even though kanji exist: イルカ クマ And it seems some very common domestic animals I don't seem to notice ...
5
votes
1answer
81 views

Japanese for baby kangaroo

How would I describe a baby kangaroo in Japanese? Would I call it "ジョーイ" (katakana for "joey", which is used in English for pretty much any baby marsupial), or "子カンガルー" (literally baby-kangaroo). The ...
3
votes
1answer
295 views

Meaning of “gkbrです”

I have noticed the usage of gkbrです in sentences not related to the G insect: 田中さんに掘り返されたことでgkbrです。 恐怖でgkbrですが続きテツヤ待機。 Does it mean "I am afraid and want to crawl under the furniture"?
3
votes
2answers
158 views

In daily conversation, frogs are called かえる not かわず, right?

I'm pretty sure that, in daily conversation, "frogs" are called かえる, right? Can someone please confirm this? I know that "frogs" are also called かわず in this 諺{ことわざ} 井の中の蛙{かわず} But, by ...
3
votes
1answer
176 views

Octopus kanji: 章魚 vs 蛸 vs 鮹

I'm trying to determine the most appropriate kanji for タコ (octopus), and have come across three possibilities: 章魚, 蛸, and 鮹. According to jisho.org, all three possibilities are read as たこ. The ...
2
votes
1answer
120 views

Are けもの and けだもの different types of beasts, or simply two variants of the same word?

Both けもの and けだもの are written in kanji as 獣, but is the beast with 'だ' inside more brutal than the one without 'だ'? Or are they simply two variants of the same noun, thus they refer to exactly the ...
2
votes
1answer
321 views

What are the origins of the names of tanuki and kitsune noodle dishes?

Two of Japan's native wild animals are the きつね fox and たぬき raccoon dog. Interestingly there are also noodle dishes apparently named after each. (Not containing the meat of those animals!) The terms ...