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I always found 進捗 to be an odd Sino-Japanese compound for two reasons:

  • it involves the character 捗 which barely occurs in Chinese, except for one rare compound 捗攄 (bu4 shu1) "to vanish" in which it has a pronunciation that suggests that its right hand side 歩 is the phonetic, instead of anything that might have a SJ reflex ちょく.
  • it is visually suggestive of 進歩 but is of course a different word with an unexpected pronunciation.

Does anyone know if the compound 進捗, which to my knowledge doesn't exist outside of Japanese, is perhaps 和製漢語? Is it an old Sino-Japanese compound, or something more recent?

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  • A Chinese dictionary I have (from Taiwan) lists zhì as one of the readings of 捗. Maybe it had a /k/ coda when it was introduced in Japan?
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 3:32
  • Interesting. I did find a site that included a Cantonese reading zik1, alongside other readings pou4 and bou6. It's still an exceedingly rare character, so I'm really curious how it ended up in a common Japanese compound.
    – jogloran
    Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 3:36
  • Interesting question, never thought about this. 捗 is quite familiar in Japanese as in 捗る{はかどる}. 新漢語林,a 漢和辞典 at hand, lists three meaning for this character; 1. おさめる(収)2. うつ(打) 3. はかどる, and mentions (3) is specific in Japanese. So probably 進捗 is of Japanese origin.
    – Yosh
    Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 5:22
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    If this is supposed to be a Sino-Japanese compound, the underlying word is probably cognate to Chinese 進陟.
    – dROOOze
    Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 6:26
  • Found this: detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q10221608235
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 8:19

1 Answer 1

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We have the following mass of evidence:

  1. Modern Chinese dictionaries don't have anything relevant for 捗.

Quoting the Jíyùn 集韻 (1037) for all cases, they would give three definitions:

buH > (like 步) [Japanese ] 'used in 捗攎 buH lu > bùlú, collect and store';

bu > pú 'used in 捗攎 or 荹攎 bu lu > púlú, pick overgrown grass';

trik > zhi 'to hit'.

The latter would be チョク, for sure, but the meaning does not match. More importantly, all three definitions are apparently Jíyùn-internal, and there are only marginal appearances in actual transmitted texts.

  1. On the other hand, there is 陟, which is well-known and attested, occurs in texts many times, has the required reading (trik > zhi, fit for チョク), as well as the required meanings 'to ascend; to progress'.

  2. Furthermore, the compound 進陟 tsjinH trik > jìn zhi is actually attested, in the meaning 'advance in office' from at least the Wèi Shū (6th cent.), and in Tang literature already as simply 'make progress'.

  3. In Korean, the corresponding Korean word 진척 (chinch'ŏk, 'to advance, progress') is given as 進陟 in Korean dictionaries.

  4. Even further, in 大漢和辞典 there are two entries, the second marked not as a separate one, but the part of the previous:

  • 進陟 シンチョク, defined 官位などをすすめのぼす 'advance in rank' (with quote from the 7th-century History of the Northern Dynasties) and 仕事がはかどる。はかがゆく '(the work) is making progress' (without quotes).

  • 進捗 シンチョク, defined 〔邦〕すすみはかどる。仕事などが進行する。本邦で、進陟の㊁と同じく用ひる。 '(in Japanese) to make progress. (Of work or similar) to move forward. In Japanese, used instead of 進陟 in its second meaning.'

To conlude, it may be almost conclusively established that 進捗 is an anomalous Japanese-only spelling of 進陟 'to advance, progress', which was used in Tang-era China, later lost in Chinese, but remained in Korean and Japanese. As 陟 itself is somewhat marginal in Japanese, it is not implausible that the spelling in the only word containing it that was used frequently has morphed somewhat. Anyway, this 捗 is independent of the 捗 of the dictionaries.

Perhaps 捗 as a form of 陟 was actually more widespread in China itself than the received texts on paper want to persuade us. A similar case would be 楪 in 楪子 (ちゃつ), where the Chinese dictionary definitions ('window' and similar) as well as readings make no sense ('small plate'), but in reality this is the same word as Mandarin 碟子, where the first character, taking form only in medieval Chinese writing, oscillated between various semantic components and finally picked different ones in China and Japan.

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  • Would an ordinary native speaker of Mandarin understand what 進陟 means?
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 9:59
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    Can't say for native speakers, but unlikely. The word is not present in any common dictionary, and there are other, more obvious jìnzhì, like 盡致, 禁制, 進制. Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 14:04

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