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When doing some studying, I came across the verb 達成する which means to achieve/accomplish.

When looking up 達 I realized that this is the commonly used ~達{たち} suffix which used to pluralize something. I don't know why I've never thought the character was a strange character for plural, as the compounds seem to have more to do with travelling or walking than plural.

I see how it could be used in the context of 達成{たっせい} but does anyone know how it came to mean plural? My guesses is that to accomplish a long journey you'd need a large group of things or people or animals to be successful, but that's just a shot in the dark.

Context:

日本語

...平和{へいわ}が 達成{たっせい} されたと主張{しゅちょ}します

English

... claim/insist to have achieved peace.

  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ateji – macraf Dec 12 '19 at 20:01
  • 3
    To avoid confusion, I would be careful to note that it does not pluralize things, at least not in the way that -s/-es does in English. 「Xたち」 is not “multiple X”, it’s “multiple people, one of whom is X”. For example, in a game, you would often not be able to translate 「勇者たち」 as “heroes”, because there’s only one hero in the group. So calling it “pluralizing” can be a bit confusing. – Dietrich Epp Dec 13 '19 at 16:56
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You seem to be really over-analyzing this. It is only an 当{あ}て字{じ}.

The plural suffix "tachi/dachi" already existed when Japanese was merely a spoken language without a writing system. We simply assigned the kanji 「達」 to the suffix later on.

The kanji 「達」 does not have that meaning originally, but that is the whole point of 当て字. It is sound-based.

Definition #5 from Wiktionary for 達 reads:

5.(日本語{にほんご})複数接尾辞{ふくすうせつびご}「たち」(または「だち」)の当{あ}て字{じ}

which is exactly what I stated above.

  • I wonder if it was entirely based on sound alone. 達 could mean "all of ..." as well as "eminent/high-ranking" in old Chinese (from Kanjikai). たち as a plural suffix used to be used particularly for people/beings you respected or thought highly of. – Jerry Fielder Dec 18 '19 at 21:59

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