8

They both mean "ship/boat". Are they completely interchangeable? Do they signify boats of different sizes or uses (people, cargo, etc.)? Is only used in compounds to describe metaphorical "boats" of abstract usage, like [風船]{ふう・せん}?

12

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) hand-rowed. 船 refers to a larger boat than a 舟. For this, 船 can be used for a much wider variety of boat sizes. It is all about the physical size, not the purpose of the boat (passengers. cargo, etc.).

Metaphorically, both 舟 and 船 are used as well.

舟:[助け舟]{たすけぶね} = "timely help or support", [舟]{ふね} = "a small boat-shaped dish on which foods (like takoyaki and sashimi) are served", etc.

船:[飛行船]{ひこうせん} = "blimp", [宇宙船]{うちゅうせん} = "spaceship", etc.

  • 1
    そうなら、「小舟」と「小船」はどれだけのもの? – istrasci Feb 28 '14 at 15:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.