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24

I ran across this paper today (via languagehat): "The indeterminacy of word segmentation and the nature of morphology and syntax", by Martin Haspelmath. It's a bit technical, but the boiled-down summary is that it is difficult to define "word" such that the concept is applicable and useful to all languages. (Some linguists might disagree; I tend towards ...


14

The phenomenon that the beginning of the first consonant of the latter component of a compound word is often altered as k→g, s→z, t→d, and h→b (sometimes h→p) is called rendaku (連濁). I explained it a little in another answer, but here is a more detailed explanation. There are no firm rules to tell when it happens completely. However, as the Wikipedia ...


13

As @sawa posted with the link in the comment, sometimes words have exceptional readings when in compound form. 白(しろ) is the colour white, but in certain compound words it has the reading しら. Exs: しらゆき → pure white snow しらさぎ → white heron しらが → white (grey) hair


11

I don't have a full answer here (at least not yet), but I do want to note that the kanji here are definitely not any kind of ateji - they are actually the exact opposite, a gikun (義訓 - 'meaning reading'), since 山 has no reading わさ, and 葵 has no reading び. That means the etymology of the word わさび itself is unrelated to the etymology of the kanji わさび, and ...


9

I'd add to @istrasci's answer that: 知能 is more oriented towards mechanical problem solving skills, while 知性 is more about reasoning and discerning abilities only thought to be possessed by humans. Words like 人工知能 (artificial intelligence), 知能指数 (IQ) show this aspect of 知能. Also, because of these differences, you will hear more about "動物の知能" (animal ...


9

I don't believe that sudoku exists as an actual word. Literally it does mean "single number," as it is a combination of the characters for "number" and "single." However the mathematical term for singular (versus plural) is 単数{たんすう}. According to the Wikipedia page for it, the name is a reduction of the phrase "数字は独身に限る," or basically "limited to one ...


8

You're probably thinking of the word menkui (面食い).


8

What is the literal meaning of it? A literal translation will sound very awkward: (just) if doing. In any case, it is an expression of supposition about something that may be possible. Hence, "perhaps". Does it have a Kanji form? 若しかして (perhaps even 若しか為て), but it will usually be written in hiragana. While not recognized as modern readings, the ...


8

Technically speaking, kanji don't compound. The Japanese language is not made of kanji. It's made of words and and parts of words, many (but not all) of which can be written with kanji. When you put these words or parts of words together, you can often (but not always) write the resulting compound using kanji. Still, let's talk about "kanji compounds" ...


7

Whether the emperor meant it as a "pun" (or something similar) is pretty hard to know. But it is doubtful. 昭和 means harmony for the same reason that 和 is associated to Japan: in both cases, 和 represents the very specifically-Japanese conception of "social harmony" (which is different enough from the western word, for many scholars to use "Wa", even in ...


6

夫妻 is the more formal of the two, and shouldn't be used when talking about yourself or people from your inner circle. As a general rule of thumb, use 夫婦 for such close relations or for general comments about married couples, and 夫妻 when talking about people outside your group.


6

知恵 - means "wisdom" 知能、知性 - means "intelligence" or "intellect"; my dictionary cites them as similar meanings 知識 - means "knowledge (of/about)"; that is, the knowledge itself, not the property of "having knowledge" So, 知能、知性 are probably what you'd use for "the ability to reason over things" since 知恵 ("wisdom") has some kind of moral/ethical/right-wrong ...


6

「[新]{しん}メニュー」 is a very common phrase. We say 新ドラマ、新アニメ、新プラン、新ビール, etc. all the time and I do not think anyone finds it "improper". At least, I have never heard a native speaker complaining about it. What is extremely uncommon is that they inserted the 「ウ」 in there. Or is that a typo on your part? We do say 「[新]{あたら}しいメニュー」 as well, but the phrase lacks ...


5

Here is the list, I've filterd from dictionary with a script, and added links to jisho.org for reference. Regarding commonness, I would choose some like 伊勢海老, 回転寿司, 有耶無耶, 大馬鹿者, 我武者羅, 興味津津, 一人相撲, 滅茶苦茶, 読売新聞. 「浅草海苔」 あさくさのり 「彼方此方」 あちこち 「阿仏利加」 あふりか 「亜刺比亜」 あらびあ 「亜爾加里」 あるかり 「安母尼亜」 あんもにあ 「如何様師」 いかさまし 「伊勢海老」 いせえび 「稲荷寿司」 ...


5

Wasabi 「山葵」 is jukujikun -(熟字訓 - word reading), which is kind of 当て字、but based on word 「熟語」 level Regarding origin, 語源辞典 says that 山葵's leaf is looks like Hollyhock 葵, so used it such way from Heian-Era 「794年-1185年」 Following are "Three Hollyhocks inside Circle" logo from Tokugawa clan and Wasabi leaf. Note: Images taken from Wikipedia 1, 2


5

Would it surprise you if I told you that you are likely to have been using Japanese words of the same structure as 「開け口」 for years already --- 「[着物]{きもの}」,「[焼]{や}き[鳥]{とり}」, 「[食]{た}べ[物]{もの}」, etc. The structure is "[連用形]{れんようけい} of a verb + Noun". It is as simple as that. 「[開け口]{あけぐち}」= The 連用形 of the verb [開]{あ}ける, which is [開]{あ}け + The noun [口]{くち} = ...


5

[飲]{の}み[干]{ほ}す, [燃]{も}えゆく are compound verbs(複合動詞): 飲む + 干す >> 飲み干す, 燃える + 行く >> 燃えゆく 例: 死にゆく、食べ続ける、話し終える、飛び立つ、言い出す... ← continuative form(連用形) verb + verb Compare: 燃えてゆく(燃えていく) is made of the verb 燃える + the subsidiary verb(補助動詞) ゆく/いく(行く). 例: 死んでいく、食べてもらう、話してくれる、飛んでくる、言ってしまう... ← te-form verb + subsidiary verb


4

I think そのようにして(その様にして) is similar in meaning to そんなふうにして(そんな風にして). (The former sounds more literary than the latter to me.) Eg: そんなふうにして事故が起こったのです。 That is how the accident occurred. (From http://ejje.weblio.jp/sentence/content/%E3%81%9D%E3%82%93%E3%81%AA%E3%81%B5%E3%81%86%E3%81%AB%E3%81%97%E3%81%A6 ) I think it's read as きょじょう, though I couldn't find ...


4

I think you might have confused 名種設定 for 各種設定, or "various settings".


4

When written with kanji it is 若しかして. I imagine it to be made up of: 若し particle か して (て-form of する)


4

1) I don't think that you have missed anything or that you should really be concerned about it too much. Even without exhaustive research, people who know a lot about kanji know that these readings stand out as being special. Perhaps one of the readings is used in two, rather than just one word, but the sound would still seem unique in comparison to the ...


4

First, I want to give my personal impression. (Keep in mind that I'm just learning Japanese, so I have less experiences to call on than some other people! But I think perhaps I've seen enough Japanese to give an impression worth sharing, nonetheless.) My impression is that 字引 is just another word for dictionary, but that it's quite a lot less common. The ...


4

What makes something 四字熟語 is not very easy to define. What you are talking really comes down to a concept known as idiomaticity in Linguistics. Having that said, 四字熟語 are generally words used as idioms (i.e. 慣用句). A 慣用句 is an expression that often utilizes more than one unrelated words to mean something completely different. For example, 画竜点睛 means ...


4

As for your last question, please read this question and answer first: Can kanji compounds be formed arbitrarily? This question is about two-kanji compounds (熟語 in the narrow sense), but the answer there is basically true for many cases involving four kanji or more. In fact, most of the "四字熟語" you encounter, like 火力発電 or 愛国精神, are established set phrases, ...


4

思い付く is used to when you deliberately try to come up with something, and succeeded. You can think of it as going through some kind of algorithmic steps to reach the idea. 思い浮かぶ can be still used in the same situation , but it emphasizes the cases where ideas naturally came into your mind. It's more like getting a virtual light bulb above your head. But ...


3

If you're sure about み, it could be 見た目重視, or maybe some other phrase starting with 見た目.


3

Your example is indeed pronounced 新{しん}メニュー. Because 新メニュー is shorter, and thus more convenient. It's just a common compound noun. If you look up 新{しん} in your dictionary, it should mention that it can be (and very commonly is) used as a noun prefix, unsurprisingly meaning "new". Plenty, but a large share of them are long technical compound nouns such as ...



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