文語(古文). The classical literary form of the language based on Early Middle Japanese.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

4
votes
1answer
56 views

What is the ki used for in this sentence? 懐かし き 故郷 [duplicate]

I'm translating a song as part of a project. What is ki used for? Is it a prefix for kokyou? Natsukashi ki kokyou 晴天の日の少々、感傷に浸る午後 懐かしき故郷 夢見な理想郷 忘れがちな嘘 あるまじきEmotion 企みし今生の消せぬ怨霊の炎
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Recognizing old Japanese handwriting

Can you please help me with recognizing this line in old Japanese handwriting? As I suppose, this is: ? やき ? っすれ ? の二 but it's most likely that I am wrong
7
votes
3answers
252 views

When ない becomes ぬ

Does anyone know what to call the outdated, high form of language which will say for example "ならぬ" rather than "ならない" or more accurately "だめだ"? Specifically, I would like to know if there is a name ...
6
votes
2answers
165 views

Help for this expression: 猿は人間に毛が[三筋]{みすじ}足らぬ

I read this expression in a text. It seems to be an old proverb about monkeys. But I am not sure about its meaning. Why 筋, for instance? Does it mean muscle? reasoning faculty? Why would they be ...
0
votes
2answers
801 views

What does 見ぬ/minu mean in this sentence?

The phrase is: mada minu kimi e tsudzuku. I believe the kana is: まだ見ぬきみへつづく。
1
vote
0answers
109 views

I'm confused about the English title for the movie “Kaze tachinu” [duplicate]

風立ちぬ has just been released where I live. I'm a bit confused about the translation of the title, "The Wind Rises". I would have thought the title should have been translated "The wind doesn't rise." ...
3
votes
1answer
286 views

Grammar of (verb)し(noun) such as in 選ばれし者

Is there a grammatical explanation for this pattern, which I have seen a couple times in writing? I'm guessing it comes from classical grammar.
5
votes
1answer
200 views

What does the ぬ in 詰まぬ mean?

I encountered a Shogi saying: 三桂あって詰まぬこと無し And I'm pretty confused about the ぬ there. If it was る I'd expect the meaning to be something like: "If you have 3 knights, you can't be mated" But ...
0
votes
1answer
124 views

Two different polite forms of the conditional conjugation

I've noticed some dictionaries give two different results for the polite form of the conditional form, I'll use the verb 戦う for example. I am familiar with 戦いませば but not with 戦いますれば. Some ...
3
votes
2answers
140 views

What is the meaning of 幾里?

I took up a personal translation project--lyrics to a song from a game I played--recently, and one of the words is giving me trouble. The line out of the song is 我れ幾里の路を共に往かむ, and I can understand ...
8
votes
2answers
100 views

What is しか here?

[至誠]{しせい}に[悖]{もと}る[勿]{な}かりしか [言行]{げんこう}に[恥]{は}づる[勿]{な}かりしか... What part of speech is it? Wiki translates it as 真心に反する点はなかったか, which going by meaning only fits with 2(連語) here, but I couldn't ...
4
votes
1answer
194 views

Translating 鳴神の少し響みてさし曇り… etc

This passage of the movie, Kotonoha No Niwa: 鳴る神の 少し響みてさし曇り 雨も降らぬか きみを留めむ Several sites translate as: A faint clap of thunder, clouded skies. Perhaps rain will come. If so, ...
-4
votes
1answer
98 views

is there a way to display the hito/jin 人 in non-simplified form?

is there a way to display the hito/jin 人 in non-simplified form ? I see kanji IMAGES everywhere on the net. but I'm looking for a unicode character like the old Chinese Lishu script. I see it in ...
8
votes
2answers
217 views

Why was 邪 chosen to spell the names of 伊邪那岐神 and 伊邪那美神 in the 古事記?

I had been wondering about this for a while. Consider the spelling of he names of Izanagi and Izanami in the 古事記: 伊邪那岐神【いざなぎのかみ】 and (妹【いも】)伊邪那美神【いざなみのかみ】 (source) Both of their names ...
2
votes
1answer
95 views

Help with understanding a sentence

詩の生命は暗示にして単なる事象の説明には非ず。かの筆にも言語にも言ひ尽し難き情趣の限なき振動のうちに幽かなる心霊の欷歔をたづね、縹渺たる音楽の愉楽に憧がれて自己観想の悲哀に誇る、これわが象徴の本旨に非ずや。されば我らは神秘を尚び... full Is it (syntax-wise) correct to ...
13
votes
2answers
561 views

Haphazard usage of katakana and hiragana for particles and okurigana

I'm looking at this picture of the 日米和親条約 (Kanagawa convention) from the late Edo period and it seems rather strange: It looks like the non-kanji parts are rather haphazardly written in katakana ...
3
votes
1answer
218 views

Auxiliary verb ん

I came across this sentence in a grammar book (Japanese Postpositions: Theory and Practice by Noriko Katsuki-Pestemer): 生きんが為に働く。 In order to live, I work. It is then briefly explained that ...
3
votes
1answer
98 views

What is せる followed by suru-verbs?

専売特許に違背せる物品 infringements on patents 和英字書を編集せるはヘボン博士をもって嚆矢とす。Dr. Hepburn was the first to compile a Japanese-English dictionary. Is it する・す mizenkei followed by り rentaikei (here), or ...
4
votes
1answer
128 views

How is を used here?

この大作の完成を願えども余命とぼしきを如何せん。I had hoped to finish writing this novel, but I'm afraid I have little time left. 貧窮なるを如何せん。I am poor, so what can I do? In the sentences above is ヲ used as a ...
5
votes
2answers
170 views

Couple of classical Japanese questions

I found a poem by Nagai Kafu entitled 震災 (The Earthquake) in a volume of Japanese prose and poetry. It's a short poem about the Ansei Edo Earthquake (安政江戸地震) in 1855 which destroyed the red light ...
6
votes
2answers
231 views

What the grammar/syntax of 御来駕被成下度奉懇願候?

Dictionary translation is "I beg you will favour me with your company―I request the pleasure of your company." 御来駕被成下度奉懇願候 I can only surmise about ご来駕 noun 懇願候 verb (ask), sourou being a polite ...
2
votes
0answers
146 views

Is the negative in ゆめ人に洩らし給えそ implicit?

ゆめ人に洩らし給えそ Never breathe a syllable of it to any one! (NEW斎藤和英大辞典) Is negative meaning here implied but not stated explicitly? ゆめ = 必ず, そ = ぞ as bound particle (it could be negative final ...
3
votes
1answer
143 views

How are the adjectives conjugated to izenkei (うれしけれ, たのしけれ) used here?

I came across a "Mermaid's song" in a text: ものみな眠るさ夜なかに 水底を離るることぞうれしけれ。 水のおもてを頭もて、 波立て遊ぶぞたのしけれ。 澄める大気をふるわせて、 互に高く呼びかわし 緑なす濡れ髪うちふるい、 乾かし遊ぶぞたのしけれ! The bolded adjectives, ...
6
votes
1answer
140 views

What is the explanation for the archaic attributive particle が becoming a modern subject particle?

While reading though Haruo Shirane’s Classical Japanese: A Grammar, I came across the following passage: が started as an attributive case particle, became a subject particle, and then turned into ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Help understanding 案ずるより産むが易し

案ずるより産むが易し It is better to get down to work than (just) to worry about it (beforehand). | Fear can magnify a danger. | A danger is not as great as it seems in advance. | We have nothing to ...
0
votes
1answer
109 views

Classical form of 落{お}ちる

I read in a haiku written by Bashō/芭蕉 (source - see my addendum at the end of the post) : をちこちに 瀧{たき}の音{おと}聞く{きく} 落{おち}葉{ば}かな My translation : From far and near, hearing the ...
2
votes
3answers
317 views

What is an example of how the 推量の助動詞 「む」 can be used to mean 反語?

One of the listed meanings of the 推量の助動詞 「む」 on Wikipedia is that of 反語, which I understand to mean "saying the opposite of what one means for rhetorical emphasis" in this context (as opposed to just ...
8
votes
1answer
285 views

“Irregular” 命令形 of some verbs

Recently I've noticed several verbs where the imperative form is used in a way that is not the "correct" conjugation. くれる → くれ! → The one we're all used to つける → つけ! → An example from my ...
12
votes
1answer
254 views

Old way of counting people?

I always found it funny how the counter for people, 人, has the special cases [一人]{ひとり}, [二人]{ふたり}, but then continues [三人]{さんにん}, [四人]{よにん}, ... However, this summer I came across a neat bit of info. ...
2
votes
1answer
77 views

Classical: On the subject of a sentence with 連用形/て clauses + ば condicional

I'm having some trouble with this beautiful passage from the Kana Preface to the Kokinshū, which is talking about us (spaced for clarity):  1 人まろ なくなりにたれど、  2 うたの こと ゝどまれるかな。  3. たとひ とき うつり こと ...
3
votes
1answer
124 views

The origins of なんだ as in 飲まなんだ or せなんだ

Even here in Osaka I don't hear it very often among anyone even remotely young, but where does this come from originally? Does anyone have a reference on hand? If I myself had to guess from what I ...
4
votes
1answer
449 views

What's this -れり ending?

I'm really a 初心者 when it comes to Classical Japanese, and I guess that is what I have here... 一日の苦労は一日にて足れり. 【聖】 Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Please, can someone tell me what ...
3
votes
3answers
442 views

Do 形容詞 have a 未然形 in Classical Japanese?

I was reading Eiríkr Útlendi's answer about -い vs. -き in 形容詞 and noticed that he identified -く as the 未然形 of 形容詞. When I studied classical Japanese, though, I was taught that 形容詞 lack a 未然形 (and also ...
5
votes
1answer
317 views

What is the difference between 美しき and 麗しき?

What is the difference between 美しき and 麗しき and what is the difference between 美しい and 美しき? I know that both 美しい女性 and 美しき女性 are correct. But what is the difference between these two?
9
votes
2answers
511 views

Mora count for 思ふ in Classical Japanese?

During an analysis I was performing of the poems contained in the 古今集 I noticed a curious pattern. Otherwise perfectly-formed poems included in the collection seemed to ignore the morae-count on a ...
2
votes
2answers
200 views

Why is する considered irregular?

Yes, this sounds like a really confusing question. But I suddenly realized that する seemed to be a perfectly regular 上二段活用 (kami nidan; upper bigrade) verb with a stem of s-: 未然形: し (as in しない) 連用形: し ...
4
votes
1answer
171 views

「の」followed by 「…なき」

In the lyrics of a song by Utada Hikaru I came across two lines (starting from 0:40) saying: 開いたばかりの花が散るのを 見ていた木立の遣る瀬無きかな My questions: How to explain the 「の」 in the second line? I ...
10
votes
2answers
358 views

Why do 為る【する】 and 為す【なす】 use the same kanji as 為【ため】?

Why do the verbs 為る【する】 and 為す【なす】 ("to do") use the same kanji as 為【ため】 ("because of", "for the sake of", etc.)? I'm not seeing any obvious connection between the meanings of する・なす and ため that would ...
4
votes
1answer
183 views

Apparent reversals of conjugation patterns in classical 形容詞 and 動詞, origin?

We observe the following peculiar apparent relations between the conjugation patterns of 形容詞 and 動詞 (using 赤し and 行く as examples): 連体形: 赤き / 行きし (past recollective) 終止形: 赤し / 行きき (past recollective) ...
5
votes
1answer
157 views

Why is an anachronistic modern conjugation thrown into the lyrics of 軍艦行進曲?

軍艦行進曲 seems to be written mostly using Classical Japanese grammar. Here's the first stanza: 守るも攻むるも黒鐵{くろがね}の 浮かべる城{しろ}ぞ頼{たの}みなる 浮かべるその城{しろ}日{ひ}の本{もと}の 皇國{みくに}の四方{よも}を守{まも}るべし ...
6
votes
2answers
554 views

What function did あり perform in classical Japanese 形容詞?

In classical Japanese, many uses of 形容詞{けいようし} had あり "embedded" in them, e.g.: 熱からず = 「熱し」の連用形+「あり」の未然形{みぜんけい}+「ず」 熱かりたり = 「熱し」の連用形+「あり」の連用形{れんようけい}+「たり」 熱かれ = 「熱し」の連用形+「あり」の命令形{めいれいけい} 熱かる人 = ...
9
votes
1answer
485 views

What old Japanese texts can be used in the same fashion as the latin “Lorem Ipsum”?

"Lorem Ipsum" is used as a place holder when creating designs or formatting media that will have actual text and functionality. Question I would like to know what the Japanese equivalent is of this ...
8
votes
2answers
444 views

Difference between ~ざる and ~ぬ

A sentence from 五輪書: おのづから道の器用有りて、天理をはなれざる故か。 I found a question about ~ざる and ~ぬ on 知恵袋. The only answer claims that ~ぬ and ~ざる are both the 連体形 of ~ず and ~ざる is a "complementary" conjugation, ...
4
votes
1answer
192 views

Differences between なし and あらず?

At some point in history, ない replaced *あらない as the negative of ある, at least in the Kantō dialect (Kansai seems to have あらへん; あらん is also apparently attested in some dialects). When did this happen? ...
3
votes
1answer
408 views

Casual speech particles in Classical Japanese

I'm writing a simple Japanese skit for our JAPAN 112R class and there is a place where an ancient samurai needs to speak a few sentences of Classical Japanese. I can mostly make the sentences, but it ...
3
votes
1answer
180 views

Does the たり in Modern Japanese come from the Classical たり?

For example, in the sentence 飲んだり食べたりした. Does this たり have anything to do with the -(i)tari ending in Classical Japanese that meant the present progressive (and later semantically shifted to past, and ...
1
vote
2answers
293 views

What is the origin of けれど, ければ, けど, etc?

In Classical Japanese (correct me if I'm wrong; all my CJ was from Wikipedia and linguistic papers), the 已然形 could attach a lot of things: ど, ば, ども, etc. So I would be able to say 会へども話せず rather than ...
0
votes
1answer
463 views

History and Meaning of Soran Bushi

Recently I've found several versions of Soran Bushi, and this puzzles me-I don't understand why it would be different in different places. Moreover, I don't understand some of the vocabulary in it: ...
7
votes
1answer
946 views

Etymology of transitive/intransitive verb pairs

Many verbs come in pairs, frequently but not always transitive/intransitive pairs. These verbs generally have multiple okurigana characters, but according to my dictionary one of the pair was formerly ...
2
votes
3answers
389 views

Why does the 文語 version of the Bible have so many nonstandard readings?

For example in Genesis 1: 元始{はじめ}に神{かみ} 天地{てんち}を創造{つくり}たまへり Why are the kanji 元始 and 創造 given the interesting readings? Moreover, they seem to be given the readings of the less specific words 始め ...