Reading in a book by 落合淳思 I wonder about (what looks like) the compound verb 益し加える in the sentence 「自は鼻の象形であり、それに声符を益し加えた繁文である。」 (繁文 is used by Ochiai as a technical term for the modern shape of a sinogram that used to have a different shape. Ochiai uses 声符 in the meaning of 音符. The topic is the development of the sinogram 鼻)

I suspect that 益し加える is simply a different way of writing 増し加える, that is ましくわえる. Even then I’d wonder why not simply use 加える? But as it is, why use 益し?

I’d understand the meaning of the sentence as something like“It [鼻] is a hanbun (sinogram with a changed shape) in which 自 is a pictogram of a nose to which a phonetic is added.” What adds 益し to this and why use the graph 益?

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    益す is a valid alternate form of 増す, both of which have the same meanings. Why 益し加える and not 加える? Well, probably the author wanted to emphasize somehow. In any cases, the meaning conveyed doesn't change.
    – dvx2718
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 13:26

1 Answer 1


増し加える/益し加える is not a (compound) verb I recognize as a native speaker of modern Japanese. Of course it doesn't hinder my understanding of the sentence's overall meaning, but I don't see any notable nuance added by using 益し加える instead of simply saying 加える. So my advice here would be, "Don't worry, just move on".

  • My decision to ask was partly that I see instances of expressions like this one somewhat regularly. In an impulse I decided to ask a question this time. Expressions that aren’t listed in dictionaries and also don't give matches in search engines. I might be reading the wrong books. Like books by 加藤常賢 who sometimes uses words that are actually Chinese words. Perhaps Japanese authors are simply creative in creating new words as they please? Or perhaps compound verbs are too productive to list them all in dictionaries. I know I could make new verbs in Dutch that aren’t in the dictionary.
    – hurdsean
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 20:56
  • Confession: I was really trying to see some meaning in the author’s decision to use 益 instead of 増.
    – hurdsean
    Commented Jul 20, 2023 at 21:00
  • @hurdsean I doubt this is a custom of his research field, so it may just be his idiosyncratic habit. If you ask himself, he may give his own reason why he doesn't like the standard 増.
    – naruto
    Commented Jul 21, 2023 at 1:33
  • Thanks for your time!
    – hurdsean
    Commented Jul 21, 2023 at 5:18

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