Can へ mean "and"? In Chinese 和 means "and" and is read "he", so I'm just hopeful... I don't mean in the present necessarily, just at any point in the language's history. I know へ is used as a direction marker... just wondering if there was another use.


No, it can't.

へ as a particle in Japanese maintains the meaning of direction and is unrelated to any meaning of "and." Furthermore, the pronunciation of "he" i Chinese is quite different from the pronunciation of へ in Japanese, so even that much is a but of a stretch. They're alike in romanization only. This is even more irrelevant because when Japanese uses the character 和 with its Chinese-derived pronunciation, it becomes "wa."

和 in Japanese refers to peace/harmony, like in 平和, or to Japan itself as in 大和{やまと} or 和風{わふう}.

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Absolutely not. 和 doesn't even mean "and" in Chinese generally – only in Mandarin. Moreover the on-yomi for 和 are わ and か, as expected – at the time Chinese words were borrowed, the /h/ phoneme was pronounced with the lips (most likely [p] or [ɸ]).

The etymology of the particle へ itself is well-understood: it derives from a (now extinct) noun meaning something like "neighbourhood" or "surroundings".

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  • Why does へ work as a direction then? I mean, just because you're referring to a neighbourhood or something like that? – user3457 Dec 11 '13 at 3:27

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