異字同音・異字同訓. Questions concerned with the fact that many kanji (漢字) may share a reading or pronunciation.

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12
votes
3answers
998 views

Why are there many kanji that are read and mean the same?

My question comes from this case: 会う 逢う 遭う 遇う I see they all are read あう, and mean "to meet". So, why are there these many cases? And more important, which one should I use? I knew 会う, and when I ...
4
votes
2answers
174 views

Where can I find the nuance/meaning differences between words with different kanji options?

This question is related to the questions (here) and (here) regarding a word or verb with multiple kanji options, for example [作る、造る、創る] or [蔵、倉、庫] Is there a resource somewhere that will tell me ...
3
votes
2answers
77 views

[苛々 ]{いらいら} versus [刺々 ]{いらいら}

Is there any difference in meaning between using [苛々 ]{いらいら} or [刺々 ]{いらいら} to indicate annoyance?
4
votes
1answer
110 views

Why write「もの」instead of 「物」 or 「者」?

In the following example, it remains unclear to me why the term もの is written in hiragana. あの真っ黒なものは何 Here is a second example, where 優しい is written in hiragana. とてもあの人はやさしい My ...
5
votes
4answers
410 views

Most egregious examples of the reading of a kanji changing due to (textually) distant characters

I've been thinking about how Japanese people can read a text (out loud, say) when the readings of the kanji can be so variable depending on okurigana, suffixes, or prefixes that change the meaning and/...
2
votes
1answer
78 views

What is the meaning ウソ & 誰向 in this sentence

I've been wondering about the different usage for USO in Japanese. Recently I bumped in this little text: 多分いつも以上に誰向けだか分からない内容になってます 自分の好きなものにウソをついてはいけない松野で! My only issue here is with 誰向 and ...
0
votes
1answer
109 views

Which of these means affection 愛情, 愛 or 情?

Wiktionary says that's in Japanese kanji "愛" means "love" and "affection" however after checking on a Translator in no case does "愛" mean "affection". Supposedly 愛情 is "affection", the only difference ...
1
vote
1answer
135 views

When 澤 has a kunyomi of うるお

I'm working on another kanji riddle. 澤 has a kunyomi of うるお (followed by い or す). I've been digging around to try to figure out what this adjective(?) means. Swamp-like? Is this word the same as ...
12
votes
2answers
426 views

Is there a radiotelephony alphabet standard for kanji, similar to NATO phonetic alphabet (“alfa, bravo, charlie”)?

NATO phonetic alphabet is used for precise dictation of English letters: "A" is pronounced as "Alfa" "B" as "Bravo" "C" as "Charlie", etc. There are similar alphabets for other languages. There ...
6
votes
1answer
162 views

What is the difference between 飲む and 呑む?

I saw a tweet that said 要は日本酒が呑みたい And my dictionary translated 呑む as 'to drink', with 飲む as the default spelling and 呑む as an alternate form. What is the difference between 飲む and 呑む?
6
votes
1answer
136 views

What kanji is used to write かん in 会話かん?

In the first episode of WataMote at about 7:40, Kuroki says this sentence: やはり、中学時代の私の会話かんを取り戻さなくては。 which is translated to Jeez, I've got to get back the conversational nature I had in ...
5
votes
2answers
127 views

Confused in choosing 早い versus 速い

In my understanding, 速い is used for motion and 早い represents "early". Which one is the correct one in this example? A: 授業がそろそろ始まるので、早く来てください。 B: 授業がそろそろ始まるので、速く来てください。
4
votes
2answers
193 views

How many possible phonological forms could be represented by a randomly chosen single character?

In Chinese, every character is monosyllabic and Mandarin has a total of about ~1200 licit syllables including tone (about 400 if you don't count tone). This means that if I take any Chinese character ...
4
votes
1answer
155 views

Differences between the various readings of 描く and 画く

Are there any differences between the following? 画{か}く 画{えが}く 描{か}く 描{えが}く
3
votes
2answers
152 views

Distinguishing between homophones in everyday speech

While trying to figure out the polite imperative form of 呼ぶ I figured the correct conjugation to be 呼んで下さい。I found instead that, colloquially, the imperative is 呼び出して下さい。 Am I correct in assuming that ...
3
votes
2answers
182 views

Difference between 交替 and 交代

Is there any difference between 交替 and 交代 or are they completely interchangeable?
4
votes
1answer
179 views

Which word is this use of かめ specifying?

In Kenji Miyazawa's poem "Thief", many words are left as hiragana: 青じろい骸骨星座のよあけがた 凍えた泥の乱反射をわたり 店さきにひとつ置かれた 提婆のかめをぬすんだもの    にはかにもその長く黒い脚をやめ 二つの耳に二つの手をあて 電線のオルゴールを聴く ...
1
vote
1answer
141 views

Difference between 誠, 実, and 本当

All of them means "truth; reality". 誠 is read as "まこと", and 実 as "じつ", however 実 can also be read as "まこと". 本当 seems to have an inclination to a thing or fact, rather than a concept, but it also means ...
3
votes
1answer
230 views

What is the difference between spellings しまう、仕舞う、終う、了う?

What is the difference of meanings between the spellings しまう、仕舞{しま}う、終{しま}う、了{しま}う? Or at least, between the first two? (They are marked as common.) If there is a source about such nuances, I'll ...
4
votes
1answer
488 views

Multiple common kanji for a word: which to use?

I have been using jisho.org and aedict (android) to look at the definition, kanji and reading of words. Sometimes though, they list words that have multiple kanji in use and they are all indicated as "...
2
votes
1answer
100 views

Different kanji forms for “みる”

Wiktionary lists a couple of different kanji words that are verbs pronounced "みる", some but maybe not all of which are associated with looking at something in one form or another. What's the ...
5
votes
1answer
268 views

もっとも: distinguishing between 尤も and 最も

I found a page in Japanese with title "世界でもっとも汚染された10の都市". Having encountered the phrase 「もっとも」 for the first time, I looked it up on WWWJDIC and found two entries: 尤も 【もっとも】 (adj-na,adv,conj,n) ...
0
votes
2answers
477 views

Same kanji compound, with different readings, and meanings depend on the reading? (heteronyms)

In the thread titled is "こっかい" a heteronym?, the accepted answer explains that there are some because of "pitch accent". However, in Japanese, there are more than one way to think about heteronyms. ...
6
votes
1answer
334 views

Kanji for におい - when do you use 匂い and when do you use 臭い?

Could someone help me understand when which kanji is used? For example I have seen 臭い on a packet of cat sand. I can't remember where I've seen the other but I found the following example sentence on ...
2
votes
1answer
149 views

What is the term for a word which can be written with one kanji or two kanji but where the meaning is the same?

I'm asking mostly about verbs like 陥る / 落ち入る though I'd also be interested in nouns and adjectives. I'm not really looking for synonyms, more words where the meaning and pronunciation are the same ...
3
votes
1answer
128 views

What is the difference between 目を細める and 眼を細める

Example: 「できるのか?」【大男】 大男が眼を細めてくる The definition for the first expression as given from weblio is 目の開き方を小さくする。 うれしそうにほほえみをうかべる Is the reason that this line uses 眼 instead of 目 ...
8
votes
2answers
582 views

Difference between 見る and 観る?

Lately I've seen in some dialog games with this difference. They use 観る rather than 見る, e.g.: ・あなたテレビ観るかな。 ・あんまり観ない方なんだ。 So I'm thinking I can use 見る to make the same dialog. However there ...
3
votes
2answers
448 views

What's with all the possible kanji for とる?

Skimming through the options my IME presents for とる, I'm seeing a whole lot of choices, including the following: 取る 撮る 録る 執る 摂る 捕る 獲る 穫る 採る 盗る While I've seen 取る ("to take") and 撮る ("to record") ...
13
votes
2answers
965 views

What's the difference between 図る、測る、計る、量る、諮る、謀る?

These six words are all pronounced はかる, and many are listed under the same definitions in dictionaries. What are the difference between these words?
3
votes
3answers
335 views

What is the difference between 護る and 守る?

Is there any difference in meaning between 護{まも}る and 守{まも}る? When there are multiple kanji for a particular reading (like 暑{あつ}い/熱{あつ}い or 初{はじ}め/始{はじ}め), they are frequently used in different ...
4
votes
2answers
535 views

Is there a difference between 'hanasu' written 離す versus 放す?

I was looking for the pronunciation of 離す by searching 'let go' on Jdic. I came across 放す, but not 離す. Is there a difference between the 2? The example I was looking at was: あいつはマイクを握ったが最後、...
4
votes
1answer
555 views

硬い・堅い・固い - how are different spellings used?

硬{かた}い, 堅{かた}い, and 固{かた}い all have very similar meaning and can be generally translated to English as "hard, tough, solid, stiff". Yet it seems that different kanji are used in different situations. ...
2
votes
1answer
912 views

Origin of 夜露死苦?

I've seen よろしく written out as 夜露死苦 on a couple of occasions where it's being used sardonically. At first I thought it was just authors having fun substituting characters that sound the same, but it ...
8
votes
1answer
330 views

What's the difference between 舟 and 船?

They both mean "ship/boat". Are they completely interchangeable? Do they signify boats of different sizes or uses (people, cargo, etc.)? Is only 船 used in compounds to describe metaphorical "boats" ...
2
votes
1answer
475 views

What's the difference between 生む and 産む?

These two words both appear to have the meaning "to give birth" or "to produce". However, what is the difference between the two kanji used? I originally assumed that 生む meant "to give birth" and 産む ...
7
votes
1answer
259 views

Oceans — Thick or Big?

Straightforward question. The Pacific Ocean is 太平洋【たい・へい・よう】 and the Atlantic Ocean is 大西洋【たい・せい・よう】. What was the reasoning in using a different character for the たい in each? And why 太 for Pacific ...
9
votes
1answer
487 views

What's the difference between 下りる and 降りる

My current understanding is that 下りる means to go down, for example, 階段を下りる (Go down the stairs); while 降りる means to get off some form of transport, for example, 飛行機から降りる (Get off from the aeroplane). ...
5
votes
2answers
196 views

Questions about 背負う

背負う is pronounced せおう, but many dictionaries also list a second pronunciation as しょう. I've never heard it pronounced as しょう in practice. In what situations does it have this pronunciation? Is ...
17
votes
2answers
4k views

How do you write someone's name if you don't know what kanji to use?

Since kanji can have multiple pronunciations, how would you know how to write someone's name if you've only heard it spoken? What's the convention? Would you just guess, or maybe write it out in ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

What is the difference between the two kanji pairings for 'jellyfish'?

I am aware that animal names are generally written in katakana (although sometimes hiragana), but kanji is sometimes used. I stumbled upon the Japanese word クラゲ, meaning jellyfish. The dictionary said ...
4
votes
2answers
337 views

The differences between 速さ, 早さ, and 速度

I was emailing a friend and used the phrase "タイピングすることの早さ" which I discovered was very incorrect. I did some searching on Google and here is what I discovered: タイピングの速度 <-rare タイピング速度 <-...
3
votes
1answer
256 views

Kanji pairs that mean and are pronounced the same by themselves

I have found several pairs of kanji that are pronounced the same and mean the same when they are used individually: 目 and 眼 足 and 脚 木 and 樹 This especially bugs me because, in Chinese (my native ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

When to use 聴く vs 聞く vs 訊く?

When should one use 聴く instead of 聞く? Is there a precise rule for which one to use in which situation? I have a feeling that 聞 is used more when the source of the sound is a person or other living ...
3
votes
1answer
489 views

Is punning with homophonic kanji common?

I recently discovered that the mascot for テレビ[塔]{とう} is テレビ[父]{とう}さん. Answering whether this was a deliberate pun is probably impossible, but I'd like to know, in general, is it common to replace one ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the difference between 上{あ}げる and 挙{あ}げる?

I searched examples for the verb "ageru - raise" and I found it written with two different kanji: 挙げる 上げる Mostly their meaning is "raise". I found them with the following examples: 棚に箱を上げる。Put a ...
7
votes
1answer
843 views

which instruments use 弾く and which use 引く?

I was wondering how do we identify what instruments may be used with the verb 引く, or 弾く, or both? If both 引く and 弾く can be used is there any difference in nuance between one vs the other?
12
votes
1answer
260 views

Was there a single word/concept もの which was later split into two (now distinct) kanji 者 and 物?

Given that もの has a rather similar usage as a generic modifier for turning a property into a thing with that property (as 物) or turning a property into a person with that property (as 者) -- it seems ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Japanese don't learn kanji meaning only readings? Does it make sense for a kanji to have a key meaning to identify it?

As I understand it works like this. By the time Japanese kids enter first grade they have more or less decent vocabulary of words they know. So when kanjis are taught I can't even imagine how to tell ...
5
votes
5answers
263 views

Rust: 錆 vs 銹 vs 鏽 vs 鏥

In doing some looking around today I found four characters that all mean rust and are all read さび. Is there any distinction that can be made between these characters? 錆 銹 鏽 鏥
3
votes
2answers
222 views

微温い versus 温い versus ぬくい versus ぬるい

According to WWWJDIC, ぬるい and ぬくい are both written 温い. Anthy and the iOS Japanese input systems agree. However a native speaker and the input of an electronic dictionary (広辞苑)say that 温い is read ...