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16

It depends on what you're writing, I would think. If you're writing a note to yourself, like "Call Suzuki-san later", of course you could guess or just write it with kana. If you're writing something to the person themselves, I tend to write it in katakana. I don't know why, but this seems to be politer, in a sort of neutral way. But this is just my ...


14

To answer your second question--- When I'm talking on the phone and want to say how to write someone's name or address in kanji, I often say like; 1. 「[京子]{きょうこ}」の「きょう」は、「[京都]{きょうと}」の「[京]{きょう}」です。 2. 「[明日香]{あすか}」の「あす」は、「[明日]{あした}」で、「[香]{か}」は、「[香]{かおり}」です。 3. 「[聡]{さとし}」は、[耳偏]{みみへん}に「[公園]{こうえん}」の「[公]{こう}」と「[心]{こころ}」です。(or 「[聡明]{そうめい}」の「[聡]{そう}」です。) 4. ...


13

The answer lies in the kanji. This data is from EDICT/Jim Breen's kanji lookup: 分: "...understand; know..." 解: "unravel...explanation; understanding; untie; undo; solve; answer...explain..." 判: "judgement; signature; stamp; seal" 分かる is clearly the most common - just to know or understand something: 私は日本語が分かります。 I know/understand Japanese. 解る ...


13

When you type in the word, many IMEs will also display a side dictionary with supplemental information. On my PC, for 川 is says: (一般的)川が流れる、川を渡る、三途(さんず)の川. For 河, it says: (限定的)(外国の)大きな川。→川. Hence, 川 is general while 河 is limited in usage and typically represents (foreign) large rivers. In addition, 河 often refers to the Yellow River (黄河). That being the ...


12

Dave already answered that there is no difference in 迷う and 紕う in modern Japanese. Dictionaries agree on this. However, the original meanings of these two kanji are completely different, and the reason why まよう has these two kanji notations is related to the history of the Japanese word まよう itself, which is explained in Daijisen. Originally, the Japanese ...


12

Before answering the question, I would like to clarify one thing: for most purposes, [物]{もの} and [者]{もの} are not two separate words, but a single word もの which has two kanji notations depending on its meaning. This is clearer when we consider compound words such as にせもの. When someone uses the word にせもの, it is not always clear even to the speaker whether it ...


11

Together with many other questions on this website tagged as 'homophonic-kanji', this is a case where in ancient Japanese when there was no writing system, there was no distinction among these words (i.e., they were a single word), but Chinese had finer distinction, and when Chinese characters were brought into Japanese, different Chinese characters came to ...


10

You are confusing the two examples. Both of your examples are correct. Why do you assume as if one in not? Only the first one is read as "はじめます". You never use 初 to write "はじめます". A close usage I can think of is 初めまして, which is a fixed expression and is not constructive. For writing はじめます, you always write 始めます. 始める verb 'start' 初めて adverb/noun 'for the ...


10

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

父 and 乳 cannot be differentiated by pronunciation (including accentation). While the word titi "father" is attested in Old Japanese (8th century), titi "breasts" is not extant until the 17th century. However, it is more complicated than that. titi "breasts" is a reduplication of ti "breasts" which is extant in OJ. Also, titi "father" seems to be a ...


9

First, before getting into the semantic difference, it's worth noting that 分かる is rarely written with the two alternate kanji you listed. The general consensus (after searching through several Japanese Q&A sites, since this is a question that native Japanese have about their own language) is that 分かる is universal enough to cover all situations. (And if ...


9

In English and most other languages, words as part of spoken language and words as part of written language are in a 1-to-1 mapping. In Japanese, 漢字 are just a means for expression, and so there exist both many-to-1 (e.g. こんじつ & きょう -> 今日) and 1-to-many (e.g. みる -> 見る, 観る, 看る, ...) mappings. To describe what 漢字 you have in mind, you usually give more ...


8

OK. Not the greatest answer (based on partial ignorance rather than knowledge), but on the chance nobody can come up with better: 紕う and 迷う are ostensibly two spellings of the same word (まよう). This happens a lot in Japanese, as you probably know and is a characteristic feature of the weird marriage of native (oral) Japanese with native (written) Chinese ...


8

Historically, all of these are indeed the same word, which had a base meaning of "clearing an obstruction". From this base meaning you can easily get to "making/getting empty" and "opening". As for the meaning of "brightening", if I understand correctly, the story goes like this: Since ancient time had a metaphor of dawn (夜明け) as the night (夜) clearing up ...


8

屋 and 家 both roughly mean "house", with 屋 tending more towards the meaning of building and 家 more towards home. The choice of which to use is entirely the owner's. や is the ambiguous way to write either and is pretty much a stylistic choice. Do keep in mind that in the olden days Japanese stores tended to be part home, part store, with the owners living in ...


8

This page on alternative renderings of kanji compounds says that in order to simplify the kanji set, some compounds which contained uncommon kanji had components replaced with common homophonous kanji. One set of changes was promulgated by the 国語審議会 in 1956, but the page also lists a number of changes which came into de facto use. 恰好→格好 is one such pair. ...


8

My dictionary lists five uses: 上げる - moving something to a higher position / status 荷物を棚に上げる Put the luggage on the shelf 利益を上げる Raise profits 上げる - give or supply something 歓声を上げる Give a cheer プレゼントを上げる Give a present 挙げる - indicate, or cause something to happen 手を挙げる Raise your hand 式を挙げる Hold a ceremony 揚げる - suspend in space, fry 国旗を揚げる ...


8

If I had to try to generalize, I'd say: 下りる is used for moving downward, including a number of metaphorical or idiomatic uses 降りる is used mainly for falling back or getting out of a vehicle But I think it helps to be more specific, so I've put together a little outline with some examples: 下りる Move downward [descend, climb down, fall, fly down, land] ...


8

As the characters clearly suggest, 大西洋 simply refers to the big Western ocean. Not much confusion there. 太平洋, however, is an adaptation of the English "Pacific" Ocean. 太平 is a word in its own right that means roughly this: "peaceful" or "tranquil," or "pacific," if you will. According to the page linked at the bottom it had previously been known as 大東海. It ...


8

The interchangeability between [舟]{ふね} and [船]{ふね} , in theory, is close to non-existent. In real life, however, it is left to the judgement of each individual. Generally speaking, the more educated or well-read you are, the less interchangeable the two will become. In school, we are taught to use 舟 to refer to a small boat, usually (but not necessarily) ...


7

引く and 弾く, while pronounced the same, mean different things: 引く means to pull, draw or otherwise move or lead in a literal or mostly literal sense (e.g. 手を引く, to lead someone by the hand; 引っ込める, to withdraw or retract) 弾く means to play, for a wide variety of instruments, ranging from the piano to the violin, i.e. string instruments and keyboards ...


7

Ignoring the difference in kanji, there are three common meanings of もっとも. (1) (adverb) most (2) (na-adjective) reasonable (3) (conjunction) but, however When written in kanji, 1 is 最も (Daijirin and Daijisen) and 2 and 3 are 尤も (Daijirin and Daijisen). There was an adverb もっとも which meant “undoubtedly” and “at all” and was written as 尤も, but this usage is ...


7

大辞泉 shows 鈍い as well, but I think this is more often 【のろい】. However, the same dictionary shows that (this) のろい can also mean "slow of speed"; but I've heard it mostly used as "slow-witted". As an aside, 鈍い can be any of 【のろい】, 【にぶい】, or 【おそい】. They all carry different primary meanings though, so be careful of their usage. Is this really the case that ...


7

平行 can mean the same thing as 並行 in the second sense (物事が同時に行われる), so it does not encompass 並行 completely. For example, 電車と並行して走る should not use 平行 (although don't be surprised if you see the two mixed up). However, just look at the characters, the 並 of 並行 can be seen in words like 並ぶ while the 平 of 平行 can be seen in words like 平面. So, in general, 平行 is ...


7

user1205935 is right but I just want to add a few things. When I see 聴 my mind basically jumps first to 音楽を聴く. As mentioned this has the meaning of listening to something with some sort of interest in it. You might want to connect it to the word 傾聴, which means "to listen intently," or roughly that. Of course you can use 聞く in that sentence but that kanji ...


7

The nouns 早さ and 速さ are derived from the adjectival verbs 早い and 速い, which both can mean both "fast" and "early". Being derived from adjectival verbs, they are native Japanese words. On the other hand, 速度 is a Chinese-derived word, which means "speed" or "rate" (and doesn't mean "earliness"). The kanji 早 is usually used for the sense of "early" and 速 ...


6

Was this the one where they went fishing? That was a fun story. I'm starting to wish I hadn't eBay'd my Yotsuba books last year. Anyway, I'm pretty sure 出発進行 is what you want. There's even a Wikipedia page for 出発進行 which says that this phrase is in the lingo book for train operators as part of the safety procedure of pointing and calling (指差喚呼). (The phrase ...


6

Just for reference, according to an online Chinese dictionary 烟 appears to be considered the simplified variant of 煙. I don't think that the right-hand components have anything to do with the meanings here. Both of these look to have right-side phonetic components relating to their on-reading of エン. Other kanji using 因 have readings of イン or エン, as do other ...


6

This is one of the many cases where ancient Chinese had finer distinctions for a single concept in ancient Japanese, which lead to the same pronounciation and varied ways of writing in Japanese. As usual, there is a general one, in this case 作る 'make'. Then, there are the specific ones: 造る 'craft', and 創る 'create'. Usually, the specific ones can be replaced ...


6

That is correct. According to 文化庁, 町 is similar to town whereas 街 is similar to street or avenue. 街 can also refer to a developed town with lots of streets and avenues, so to say. For example, you can say センター街 (center-gai), but not センター町 (center-cho). This is because センター街 refers to "streets with small businesses". If there was a センター町, hypothetically ...



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