Questions concerned with the fact that many kanji (漢字) may share a reading or pronunciation.

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2
votes
1answer
122 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
90 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
195 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
206 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") ...
10
votes
2answers
587 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
192 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
192 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. ...
4
votes
2answers
254 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: ...
2
votes
1answer
164 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
111 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
152 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" ...
0
votes
1answer
96 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
342 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
226 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
220 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). ...
4
votes
2answers
156 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
239 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
188 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
511 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
420 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
321 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
486 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
233 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
990 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
211 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
178 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
280 views

Distinguishing 沙 from 砂

I looked up both 沙 and 砂 in my 学研{がっけん} 漢和辞典{かんわじてん} today. It appears that they share the same list of readings (サ、シャ、すな、いさご). I also see that some words can be written with either kanji. Here are ...
6
votes
2answers
433 views

What's the difference between 上る、登る and 昇る?

According to jisho.org, they all have the same meanings, to climb, to rise, to ascend. Is that true? And do they have differences in usage?
7
votes
1answer
181 views

What's the difference between 平行 and 並行?

They both seem to mean "parallel". In my プログレッシブ dictionary, it seems to point to the former being the more mathematical sense of the definition (two co-planar, non-intersecting lines), while the ...
13
votes
1answer
718 views

What is the difference between “河” and “川”?

I saw the first (河) used for "Hippopotamus", literally mimicking the Greek name (River Horse) but I expected to see 川 in its place... Also, apparently you can use "河川" to mean river*s* (plural)? But ...
7
votes
3answers
475 views

[父]{ちち} vs. [乳]{ちち} — father vs. breast

Can one differentiate by pronunciation between [父]{ちち} and [乳]{ちち} (as for 雨 and 飴)? If not, does anyone have a reasonable explanation for why 父 and 乳 have the same pronunciation? It seems unlikely ...
9
votes
1answer
168 views

What is the difference between 恰好 and 格好?

Is there any difference between the words 格好 and 恰好? Can I actually call them different words, or is it that they are just the same word written differently? I've been told that they have exactly the ...
4
votes
0answers
114 views

same reading, similar meaning, different Kanji [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: do people actually respect the nuances of 探す vs 捜す? There are many kanji that I have come across with similar meanings, and (seemly coincidentally) identical readings. ...
6
votes
1answer
167 views

Which つける do I use?

So I looked up つける and saw it can be written as: 付ける 着ける 附ける And they all seem to have the exact same definition: to attach, to join, to add, to append, etc. So are these "spellings" ...
5
votes
1answer
182 views

Are the meanings of 煙 and 烟 identical?

I noticed that 煙 in the phrase 茶煙永日香{ちゃえんえいじつかんばし} sometimes appears as 烟. For example, here is a teapot with 茶煙永日香 and a scroll with 茶烟永日香. Is there a difference in meaning between 煙 and 烟? 煙 and 烟 ...
15
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
136 views

Are the two kanjis 箇所 and 個所 interchange?

Our customer uses 箇所 but my manager uses 個所 when emailing project status. Are both kanji interchangeable? The context of usage in a sentence is: 一箇所変更しました。 A portion (of the code/software) ...
8
votes
2answers
511 views

Which kanji for はじめます? There seem to be two

I thought the kanji for はじめます was: 始めます However, one of my friends tweeted using 初: トマト鍋初めて食べたけどおいしかった Which is correct? Is there a difference in nuance between the two? jisho.org brings ...
4
votes
1answer
181 views

“Dive” = “fly into”?

The words 飛ぶ and 跳ぶ are both read as とぶ, the former meaning "to fly" and the latter meaning "to jump" (generally; don't know if they are interchangeable at all). The compound-verb suffix 〜込【こ】む means ...
5
votes
2answers
319 views

What is the difference between 楊 and 柳 which both mean “Willow”

I've come across two kanji, which are both read やなぎ and both mean "willow". From what I've found out so far, 柳 has an On'yomi of リュウ and it seems to mean more "things with the qualities of a willow"; ...
3
votes
1answer
292 views

しゅっぱつしんこ〜, what is Yotsuba-chan saying?

Which しんこう is the one Yotsuba-chan meant when she said 「しゅっぱつしんこ〜」 in the manga excerpt below? WWWJDIC lists so many two-kanji words that read as しんこう, and even after eliminating totally irrelevant ...
7
votes
1answer
231 views

Separate kanji for おそい when referring to being late and being slow

The i-adjective はやい can refer to being fast or being early, but each of the meanings has affinity towards separate kanji: 速い (fast) and 早い (early). Yet, while it's not surprising that the antonyms of ...
14
votes
2answers
339 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
156 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) ...
6
votes
1answer
222 views

What's the difference between 作る、造る、創る?

According to jisho.org they have the same meaning. How to know which to use?
13
votes
1answer
543 views

まち: what's the difference between 町 and 街?

My impression is that 町 tends to be used for smaller cities and 街 tends to be used for larger ones. Is this correct? If not, what is the difference?
10
votes
2answers
636 views

do people actually respect the nuances of 探す vs 捜す?

Part 1 I understand 探す to be to search for something (general) and 捜す to be to search for something lost But do people actually care about the difference in nuance when they use it? I mean do ...
12
votes
3answers
343 views

Dissecting つく verbs

I think we all are familiar with する verbs, which are verbs that are formed by appending する to nouns. Examples include 勉強する, 愛する etc. This pattern is very convenient because it can be appended to ...
5
votes
1answer
303 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?
11
votes
6answers
414 views

Computer: 計算機 or 計算器?

What is the difference between the two kanji variants for 「けいさんき」, the other word for 「コンピューター」? 計算器 計算機