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Context: I don't exactly remember how, but when I traveled in Japan three years ago, I somehow picked up this phrase: その通りです. I didn't speak Japanese then and I really still can't now, but the word 通り sounded just like 道理. Therefore, I had always thought that the phrase was その道理です. It stuck in my head like that.

Now, where I'm from, people speak Mandarin Chinese (Taiwan), and in Chinese, we have its *cognateー道理 (dào-lǐ) ーwhich is to me identical to its Japanese equivalent. In Chinese, 道理 can mean "sense," "argument," "reason," etc. This confuses me tremendously. Why aren't 通り and 道理 interchangeable according to some? For instance, the answer in this Japanese topic seems to state that they're not the same: https://oshiete.goo.ne.jp/qa/977067.html

Nonetheless, I could've understood it wrongly. The Japanese answer is really beyond my two-month beginner level.

I couldn't find anything in English that compares the two. Please help clarify this issue. Thank you.

*Or is it a stem? I'm not familiar with linguistics.

  • Could you clarify the question? Is it just whether the words 通り and 道理 are linguistically related? Or whether, when people say, e.g., マニュアル通り, whether they're sometimes actually saying マニュアル道理? Also, are you aware that when 通り follows a verb it's pronounced とおり? – mamster Mar 25 '18 at 15:03
  • Or, wait, are you specifically asking about the phrase その通り, not other uses of 通り and 道理? – mamster Mar 25 '18 at 15:06
  • My mistake. The question is a mess. I see where you're coming from. My bad really. I understand how 通り works generally. However, when one says その通りです to show agreement, I really don't understand the logic behind it. Saying その道理です just seems to make more sense to me. On top of that, I believe even Japanese people misuse them sometimes. (Cf. kextukonn.jp/archives/6950 and/or uranaru.jp/topic/1029487) Of course, I guess we could simply write it off as a set phrase. Case closed. – Yeti Ape Mar 25 '18 at 16:58
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    道理 and 通り mean different things. As the link in you question suggests, 道理 means that things are such and such because of logical necessity or due to common sense - they are expected to be this way. 通り simply says that something is in accordance with something else. You can say [予定]{よてい}[通]{どお}り, yet there's nothing logical nor common-sensical when things go as planned, they could go otherwise. その[通]{とお}り is not a truth statement, though it's often translated as "that's right" it actually means that [this is] in line with that ([言]{い}う[通]{とお}り - as was said - no truth claimed). – kroki Mar 25 '18 at 21:54
  • This is exactly the explanation I was looking for. Thank you. Please make it an answer so that I can choose yours. – Yeti Ape Mar 26 '18 at 3:49
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道理 and 通り mean different things. As the link in you question suggests, 道理 means that things are such and such because of logical necessity or due to common sense - they are expected to be this way. 通り simply says that something is in accordance with something else. You can say [予定]{よてい}[通]{どお}り, yet there's nothing logical nor common-sensical when things go as planned, they could go otherwise. その[通]{とお}り is not a truth statement, though it's often translated as "that's right" it actually means that [this is] in line with that ([言]{い}う[通]{とお}り - as was said - no truth claimed).

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