I've been playing around with using Kanji as a quick way to convey a company's goals and/or ideals. As I understand it, Zen 全 means "whole/complete", Kō 効 means "efficiency/result" and Kotae 答え means "answer/solution". Does 全効答 have a meaning of "total effectiveness" / "all right now" or does it simply become gibberish? Is the symbolism retained in the full statement of "Zen kō Kotae"? Any insight would be appreciated.

  • If you're using 音読み for 全効, you may try also using 音読み for 答 which is とう. However, other than being a compounded term you may have coined yourself, it may not be understood by most people this way, if you read it as ぜんこうとう for example. – psosuna Mar 20 at 23:11
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    Imagine you didn't speak English and didn't know any of the rules for how words were put together, but you wanted to put a word together using some Latin roots and then stick an English word on the end, so you grabbed a dictionary and found some bits that look good, then you asked "Would plefectanswer mean 'total efficiency' to English speakers?" – snailboat Mar 21 at 0:30
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    Just to be the off-topic guy, it's 'kotae', not 'katae'. – BJCUAI Mar 21 at 2:32

The short answer is "it is gibberish". It's not a Japanese word Japanese people recognize. It indeed looks like plefectanswer, as snailboat pointed out in the comment section. See also: Can kanji compounds be formed arbitrarily?

But each kanji is easy and has at least some positive meaning. So if you separate each kanji with a nakaguro and write the phrase like:


...then it could be understood as the list of three concepts, like "Completeness, Effectiveness, and Answer". (I'm not saying it's a nice slogan, I'm only saying the meaning is at least understandable)

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    Also worth noting that these types of lists can eventually turn into something more like ‘words’ too if they become popular enough (like 報{ほう}・連{れん}・相{そう} ⇨ 報連相{ほうれんそう}). But that’s obviously a process which takes considerable time and adoption. – Darius Jahandarie Mar 21 at 19:45
  • @DariusJahandarie, 報連相【ほうれんそう】 is helped along by the existence of 菠薐草【ほうれんそう】. (And, apparently, it's old enough that Microsoft has included 報連相 in the list of autocomplete candidates for ほうれんそう.) – Eiríkr Útlendi Mar 21 at 22:08

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