Is 所為's components supposed to make it parsed as "thing that is wrought from a place"? Is 勉強 similar to 所為 in that way with the parsing of its components? What are the (all the) other ways (that you can find/think of) of parsing the components or understanding the construction of 漢語?

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    Does this answer your question? Can kanji compounds be formed arbitrarily? It's basically not a good idea to worry about the components of a word too much. There are many obscure compounds, and 所為 is one of them.
    – naruto
    Commented Mar 8 at 4:03
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    Knowing the etymology of 所為 requires knowledge of (Classical) Chinese syntax. As such I think the first part of this question is a valid question on this site, even if the answer is "the etymology relates to Classical Chinese". The last part is a bit too open-ended for me.
    – jogloran
    Commented Mar 8 at 6:01

1 Answer 1


Regarding 勉強 and 所為 in particular, no, they have different structures.

There should be several ways to categorize structures of kango, but looking at Wikipedia, 勉強 can be categorized as 並列構造 (with 類義語) since 勉 and 強 both mean some sort of enforcing (not necessarily negatively though).

On the other hand, 所為 is the same thing as:


In case of 所為{しょい}, it is 為{な}す所{ところ} where 所 means essentially that which. So 所為 is that which (subj.) does = behavior, cause (as someone who 'started').

所得 is that which (subj.) gets = income, and similarly for

  • 所見 that which (subj.) sees = observation
  • 所業 that which (subj.) did = somebody's (usually wrong) doing
  • Why does 所 come first in all of those words
    – Star Peep
    Commented Mar 8 at 23:29
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    @StarPeep That's the grammar of classical Chinese. (In my understanding,) It is similar to that which in terms both of grammar and of meaning. It encapsulates what follows and means the thing that ...
    – sundowner
    Commented Mar 8 at 23:46

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