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22

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

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


13

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 ...


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 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 ...


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 ...


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

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


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

As I commented earlier, I am pretty sure that much of these alternations are due to phonological rules. I realized that, among your patterns, a/e-alternation and u/i-alternation follow naturally from assuming: 露出形 vs. 被覆形 alternation hypothesis (which you also mention) as in my answer in Why is a place that sells さけ a さかや? The phonological rule described ...


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 ...


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

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)


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} = ...


4

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


4

In word formation, there is a rule known as Right Hand Head Rule, which states that the component that comes to the right side of a complex word determines the base meaning and the grammatical category (parts of speech) of the whole word, and is called the head. This applies to Japanese as well. In all of your examples, 好き and 嫌い are the heads of 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 ...


3

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 ...


3

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 ...


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.


2

The only place you would find morphemes that span multiple kanji are in gikun or in reformed words, simply because "morpheme" in Japanese is defined as the sound a single kanji or kana has/makes. 「[海鷂魚]{えい}」 「[今]{け}[日]{ふ}」 -> 「[今日]{きょう}」


2

They mean the same thing but 夫妻【fusai】is more polite. For example, you can use 夫婦【fuufu】to refer to yourselves (私たち夫婦), you can use for others and use it formally (ご夫婦). But you can't use 夫妻【fusai】to refer to yourselves (私たち夫妻 = NG). Also when speaking formally, ご夫妻 is better than ご夫婦.


2

児 is just means child, but could also be used for adopted, and can even used to non-humans. the one you seen in 中国系混血人児 is not supposed to be 人児, but which should be 中国系(ちゅうごくけい) + 混血人(こんけつじん) + 児(じ) - chinese related (japanese) + mixed blood people's + child Note: according to some searches, that place is looks like adult store or kind of, ...


2

I think this is more about formalizing the use of technical vocabulary and eliminating ambiguity than any concern about unnaturalness. For example, if they didn't include that note, then a beginning student might misunderstand the discussion of 弱い相互作用 to cover any sort of sufficiently weak interaction (like gravity from a distance, say), rather than only ...


2

For tomatoes, there is プチトマト as opposed to ordinary トマト. For corns, there is ベビーコーン as opposed to とうもろこし. For cabbages, there is ミニキャベツ as opposed to キャベツ. Since the counterpart for watermelon is not popular in Japan (as well as in most countries), there is no word for personal watermelons that you mention. It you want to create a new word, you might want to ...


2

From what I understood from Wikipedia, it was meant to express the hope for peace at home and the desire for the rest of the world to be prosperous together: 国民の平和および世界各国の共存繁栄を願う意味である。 It lists a few other ideas for the name of the era as well: 「神化」「元化」「同和」「継明」「順明」「明保」「寛安」「元安」


2

As the other two answers say, 夫妻 'husband and wife' is a more proper way to say. That is probably because 夫婦 'huband and woman' is not politically correct. Interestingly, it goes the opposite of the phrase used in Western wedding ceremony: 'man and wife', but the idea is the same; both phrases are based on sexual discrimination. However, since the word 夫婦 ...


1

It's worth mentioning that 閉じる has a spatial nuance to it. When I studied Japanese as an undergraduate, we were taught to differentiate 閉める and 閉じる by this nuance. For example: プログラム、目、扉 ー ひらく、とじる 瓶、パッケージ、ドア ー あける、しめる What we were taught is that if it involves opening something outward/to the side (and vice versa if it were being closed), like a book or ...



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