So far I haven't seen any jukugo with more than 4 kanji. Is this a limit? Or some of them are made of more than 4 kanji?

Also, I've seen jukugo made of other jukugo. Like 高速道路 is composed with two other jukugo: 高速 and 道路. What if a jukugo would need to be composed with other jukugo, but those smaller jukugo would sum up to more than 4 characters? Is this something that happened when the language was formed? What happens then?

  • Do you say the continuance of kanji like 外国為替市場(foreign currency market)? – Yuuichi Tam Feb 6 '16 at 17:21
  • That's all one word right? So I guess this kind of answers my question. There is no limit to how many kanji can compose a jukugo. The fact that I've never seen any with more than 4 is probably some beginner coincidence. – Felipe Müller Feb 6 '16 at 17:35
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    外国為替市場 should probably be considered three words. – snailplane Feb 6 '16 at 18:13
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    The definition of 「熟語」 is pretty loose to begin with. How do we define it here? Words consisting of multiple smaller words? Words consisting of multiple kanji? Are we including proper nouns or not? – l'électeur Feb 7 '16 at 1:14

I searched for your question on the net. 朝鮮民主主義人民共和国(Democratic People's Republic of Korea) is a string of 11 kanji and it is comparatively well known.

外航船舶建造融資利子補給臨時措置法 is a string of 17 kanji. It is the law about the promotion in the Japanese shipping industry. I saw this for the first time and I think it is very little known.

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    I may be missing the concept of jokugo here. Those continued kanji doesn't seem to be one single word. This 高速道路, I learnt it as "expressway", then 高速 is "high-speed" and 道路 is "route". In english they are different words, but I guess in Japanese you could translate 高速道路 as "high-speed route" as well, its just that we have a specific word for that, which is "expressway". So that's probably not the best example. I though jokugo were kanjis joining to form a different word. Like there is 勉強 "study". 勉 by its own may mean "strive", and 強, "strong", but "strive strong" is not the same as "study". – Felipe Müller Feb 6 '16 at 18:49
  • Don't you say the continuance of kanji? Do you say the continuance of kanji which can't be separated? But It is difficult where it can be separated. The Jyukugo more than 4 is almost combination of the continuance of 2 or 3 kanji which can be separated. – Yuuichi Tam Feb 7 '16 at 6:45
  • Hmm, yes, I think I was trying to mean "the continuance of kanji which can't be separated", at that time. But I thing I get it how it works now. Thank you! – Felipe Müller Feb 8 '16 at 0:20

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