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15

まぐろ (also written as マグロ and 鮪) is the Japanese word for thunnus, a specific kind of tuna. It refers to both the living fish and the food. Traditionally, まぐろ also referred to billfish because billfish was considered to be a close kind to thunnus. Because of this, even today まぐろ can also refer to billfish. ツナ comes from the English word tuna and it refers ...


13

Both さけ and しゃけ mean salmon and are written as 鮭 in kanji (but I will avoid using this kanji in this answer for an obvious reason). As far as I know, there is no difference in meaning, but some people seem to distinguish the two words in meanings (see below). According to a webpage by Maruha Nichiro Foods, Inc., the Kōjien dictionary lists the word しゃけ as ...


11

First, I think speculating on what people actually know based on what options the language provides is too speculative. For example, I don't know the difference between a porpoise and a dolphin, even though the English language provides the option to specify either one. So the issue of what Japanese speakers know should simply be put aside. However, it is ...


11

The OP's comment just now is on the right track: 小猫 certainly could be just a small cat. 仔猫 would be more common in science, but for a different reason than you guessed: 仔 is actually the correct character for a child animal, but it's not one of the 1945 -- er, 2136 as of last year, is it? -- 常用漢字. Since 子 looks and means almost the same, it took on the ...


10

This answer from another site claims that しゃけ is an accent difference in Saitama, Chiba, Shizuoka (basically Kantou). http://oshiete.goo.ne.jp/qa/11481.html But, when I did a part-time job at an 居酒屋(いざかや) during my college time in 四国 (Shikoku - not in Kantou region) around 2005, some people used しゃけ. I didn't know the meaning at that time, and some people ...


7

The Japanese Wikipedia has an entry for 益虫 which links to the English Beneficial insects, while 害虫 links to Pest. However, unlike the English term it does look like 益虫 include not only insects (昆虫) but also other small animals: 益虫(えきちゅう、英: Beneficial insects)とは、何らかの形で人間の生活に役に立つ、昆虫など小動物のことを指していう言葉である。 "Beneficial insects(?)" refers the the various ...


5

Apparently the reading comes from "毛の物", (as くだもの = 木【く】の物), so both mean "beast" as in "furry mammal" (although I'm sure it will stretch to cover those hairless cats). けだもの has an additional meaning that けもの doesn't, when applied to people (strongly negative, like "he's a monster"). That might also be the reason that 獣道 uses the more neutral reading けもの ...


5

Referring to Japanese Wikipedia, it seems the main difference is that アヒル is used for domestic ducks and 鴨 for wild ducks. According to this Chiebukuro post, 家鴨{あひる} "house duck" came about due to selective breeding from 真鴨{まがも} "true duck" or "mallards". Apparently the former is a tame duck created for food and enjoyment. I think there's a fair amount of ...


4

百足 is an ancient Chinese colloquial name for a sort of arthropod. It can be traced to the 6th century document Book of Wei, which includes the passage 百足之蟲,至死不僵,以扶之者眾也 -> "A worm with a hundred feet does not go stiff upon death, since it has many support". The phrase has since found its way into common Chinese idiom in a slightly altered form. The term 百足 ...


4

きつね (foxes) are regarded sacred animals in Shintoism, being servants of the god of harvests ([稲荷]{いなり}神). (The sign on the 鳥居 (Shinto archway) says 稲荷大神.) According to legend, a fox's favourite food is 油揚げ (deep-fried tofu slices). Stripes of 油揚げ are what makes きつねうどん きつねうどん. (By the way, 油揚げ can also be sliced up and filled with 酢飯 (sushi rice) and ...


3

If the kanji for that word is not part of the list of joyo kanji, you should probably go for the kana equivalent. The word is already sort of done for you in this sense. The ones that you're already familiar with, like 魚, 鳥, 馬, 牛, etc. are all common, and you were able to come up with them pretty easily. Something like 欅 though... could you read that? No? ...


1

http://www.geocities.jp/holmyow/mukade.html This document seems saying the use of 百足 is at least as old as in the 10th century. So if this research is correct, it shouldn't be considered as a calque from the western languages. (But I'm not sure about the reliability of this document.)



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