Questions tagged [archaic-language]

古語. Old words or phrases no longer in general spoken or written use.

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2answers
293 views

Power words: what are they, and what meanings do they have?

Can someone explain the “power words” in Japanese? I remember learning that it was once thought that Japanese had reached a level of completeness beyond many other languages because of certain words ...
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82 views

あわれめ? (“Greetings”)?

Can あわれむ be used as the Sanskrit “hare”? My dictionary gives “enjoy the beauty of” as an obsolete definition. However, compassion, mercy, and sympathize are also listed, so it’s not clear to me. Most ...
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151 views

What role do the Siddham characters have in Japanese?

The bonji, 梵字, are somewhat common. Are the only used as germ letters in Japanese, as has been explained to me, or are they used to form words and other higher concepts? Is this a living language ...
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Confusing interchangeability of 汝 and 己

In most cases, 汝 is the formal/archaic second person pronoun, "you/thou", and 己 is a humble and archaic first-person pronoun or a way to refer to oneself. However, confusingly, in many ...
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99 views

Does anyone recognize these characters? [closed]

Does anyone recognize these? I have a hard time recognizing more calligraphy-esque characters. Thanks in advance.
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What is the meaning of 「はあ」 in this excerpt?

日本語 こんにちは。 川上弘美著の「神様」という小説を読んでいます。 「河童玉」という章の以下のくだりに、男河童と女河童と人間のウテナさんの三人がいます。 「ほれご挨拶を」と(男河童に)うながされて、女河童はもじもじしながら頭を下げた。下げるなり、ウテナさんににじり寄って、「うちのひとがはあお世話に。河童玉やらなにやら、できることは全部してみたんですが、いまひとつ効果なしなんですよう、...
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128 views

「つきおうて」や「あいおうて」はどういう意味でしょうか?

こんにちは、 川上弘美著の「神様」の小説を読んでいます。 「河童玉」という章で、ある男河童が女河童についてこう言っています。 三百年もつきおうてござりますから、些かのいさかいもありましたし気持ちが行き違うこともありました、つまりはまあ山も谷もあったということでございますが、三百年にしては波瀾は少なかったほうであるように思います。儂と女河童はなんといっても気持ちが寄り添ってござったし、...
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93 views

What does “近侍の臣” mean?

I'm reading a story about ancient Japan and I have a problem with what seems to be a title of some kind (?): 近侍の臣. Here's the context: この年の春、樹々 の芽吹く ころから、クナ国の兵がしきりに国境を侵しはじめた。ここ数年、たえて無かったことである。 ...
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141 views

What is the proper way to use 余[よ] as a personal pronoun?

Whenever I play Fate/Grand Order, one thing I often hear when I use that game's version of Nero Claudius is her using 余 when referring to herself. Looking it up shows me that this particular pronoun ...
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1answer
130 views

Suffixes: らしき versus っぽい

I came across the following sentence recently: バイトらしき女の子に優しく教えてくれた。 Strangely, it was my first time encountering this form of らしい and I understood the meaning immediately, but it brought to mind ...
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228 views

How was the Pacific Ocean named in Japan before Magellan?

The word 太平洋{たいへいよう} can be translated literally as "peaceful ocean" as somebody noticed in the question Oceans ー Thick or Big?. But, as far as I know, the name was invented by Ferdinand Magellan: ...
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210 views

Meaning of “お戯れを”?

Can someone tell me what "お戯れを" means? I came across this in a Japanese drama. I can't quite figure out if this is almost like a formal and polite request to make somebody stop 'kidding around' or if ...
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1answer
145 views

Etymology of bateren (伴天連 / 破天連)

The archaic Japanese word bateren 伴天連 / 破天連 (referring to a missionary [Jesuit] priest) is derived from the Portuguese padre. The Portuguese word notably does not contain or end in a nasal consonant, ...
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591 views

What is the usage of these 12 kanjis (彁, 墸,壥,挧,暃,椦,槞,蟐,袮,閠,駲,妛)+18 more in modern Japanese? How to read it?

I read from this interesting article that it's included in 幽霊文字 (yuurei moji/ghost kanji (character). I tried to look up each of those kanjis: I use these sites to look up those kanjis: a.jisho.org ...
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128 views

Is まはりて an archaic form of 廻って, and how is it broken down grammatically?

I came across a cover version of "Bad Apple", where the singer uses a more traditional style than the original song, including a translation of the (modern) lyrics into more archaic/poetic language. ...
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255 views

Word lists/sources for pitch accent in Middle Japanese

Is there anywhere I can find a list of words and what their reconstructed pitches were in Middle Japanese? Or especially what words we have tone dot information on (with a preference for the oldest ...
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Transcribing iteration marks: kunojiten , くの字点

The iteration marks 々, ヽ, ヾ, ゝ, ゞ are slightly smaller than standard kana, and are often seen in print when a contemporary scholar is transcribing text, a printmaker's seal, etc. My question relates ...
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其之 what's the exact meaning of this?

I'm translating a comic and I found this kanji combination on the headers. It's like a counter for pages. 其之一 其之二 etc. その is the reading. I wanted to get more info about that but I didn't find ...
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The logic behind なくば

だが、主であるそなたの許可なくばそれも許されぬ…! I understand it pretty much means "However, being our master, we can't even do that without your permission." but I don't get why なく and ば are both together. I would have ...
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565 views

Questions About Archaic Japanese

I recently came across this song that I really like, 「神居謡{かむいよう}」. (Link to the full lyrics here.) This sparked a few questions about archaic Japanese, which I know little of. How would you translate 「...
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372 views

Grammar of “なかれ”

When I read the story, I found "なかれ"this word occurred several times. 「若い衆、知らない人を信用するでなかれ。」 「お前の持っていたお守りのおかげで命拾いしたのじゃ。望みすぎるなかれ。ここに幸なかれ。」 I looked it up and the sentences my dictionary provide ...
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1answer
376 views

What happened to original, pre-Kanji, Japanese words?

Some of the most common words in Japanese seem to have their origin in Chinese: 会議、日本、世界、先生、。。。 The evidence for this is, as far as I know, the fact that these words are written with characters, ...
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308 views

Meaning of 「かくや(という)」

A quote from 80日間世界一周: 巨大な湖が凍ったらかくやという景色だった。 It seemed like a vast frozen lake. I'm guessing the 「かく」 is this one, but I don't understand how the 「や」 works. Could this be a set phrase?
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382 views

Questions about の→ん contraction, でござる→でございます shift

【原文】Original version 各これらの語の特徴はいつからなの?何時代ですの? 第一、「のです」と「なのです」を書いて「んです」と「なんです」を書かなかったことはいつからなの? 第に、「でござる」を書いて「でございます」を書かなかったこともいつからなの? 私の日本語がよくないですと、すみません! Edited version I have two questions ...
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318 views

Kun Yomi of Chinese origin, like 竹 (take)

I have came across an English book on Ancient Japanese languages. (Sorry I forgot the book name) In the book, it says some Kun Yomi of Kanji actually come from early contact of Chinese languages. ...
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3answers
730 views

The meaning of やわこく in archaic dialog

Reading a novel and there's a part of a sentence that I don't quite understand. For context, the person speaking is at a small party, being completely drunk while speaking to this fit, sober woman. ...
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287 views

What is this archaic female honorific form called, and what relationship does it describe?

I stumbled upon this way of referring to women that was apparently used in pre-war Japan。I can't remember where I found it, or what was said about it's name or purpose, just that it went something ...
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1answer
642 views

Meaning of さすれば as a verb

In the passage, この救済の光を さすればここは幸福な場所となる what is the meaning of さすれば? Is it the kana for 然すれば? In this context, I would have expected 射せば to be written instead.
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290 views

What is the use of 他(ひと)in this sentence?

この間もちょっと畳で爪を磨いだら細君が非常に怒ってそれから容易に座敷へ入れない。 The other day when I happened to be sharpening my claws on some straw floor-matting, the mistress of the house became so unreasonably incensed that now it is ...
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146 views

What is つ in 中つ国 and why is it equivalent to の?

According to Wikipedia: 中つ国(なかつくに)とは中間の国、中央の国を意味し、「つ」は現代語の「の」に相当する。中津国、中国とも書く。 I looked for 津 in a dictionary but it seems to be an 当て字 so I did not get new information. But I can't get why の was ...
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270 views

Oldest Japanese Pronunciation for “When Is It?”

I'm writing a story with some... very old people, so I'm chasing down some very outdated pronunciations. What's the oldest known pronunciation for the sentence "When is it?" (I'm not directly asking ...
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Help with understanding a “broken” 手紙文

A letter from a story, where a character (又八) elopes with a woman (お甲), with both writing a letter each to the man's betrothed (お通, who 又八 abandoned with said woman) (お甲's letter quoted full, for ...
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Is なくなく an emphatic negative expression (e.g. in 力なくなく)?

I guess it is an archaic form... Sometimes I hear an adverbial phrase 力{ちから}なくなく used in context when someone resigned something after an effort. Let's say a warrior was pursuing another one to no ...
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229 views

What is ~やまさりけん and what part of sentence is it used as?

In the scenes of fight in old stories, I sometimes encountered a phrase ~やまさりけん usually in the compound form: 力やまさりけん 腕やまさりけん What is the exact meaning of the phrase and what part of the ...
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でありません vs. ではありません [duplicate]

I have come across a book Japanese in 30 hours by Eiichi Kiyooka published in 1942. On page 5 it gives an example of a sentence This is not a book. translated as これは本でありません。 However, when looking at ...
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1answer
657 views

The meaning of 来なんだ (a seemingly archaic form)

Situation from a story: 侍A is pursuing 侍B. 侍A meets 町人C and interrogates him: 侍B (some description)、逃げては来なんだかな。 I guess it must mean something like "didn't he come here while running away?" I ...
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1answer
271 views

Origin of the word 烏有

I saw the phrase 烏有{うゆう}に帰{き}す, which means to "become nothing" as if turning to ashes. The word "烏有" means nothing, but its parts are 烏 (crow) and 有 (to be). How did 烏有 come to mean nothing? When I ...
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1answer
130 views

Would a phrase 人の跡を求める be understood without a reference to Basho?

There is a quote from Matsuo Basho: 古人の跡を求めず、古人の求めしところを求めよ Nowadays, would a phrase 人の跡を求める be understood as "to follow someone"s footsteps". Would it be grammatically valid in contemporary ...
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674 views

What is this script called?

I have seen this script many times before, but the best information anyone can give me is that they are archaic and almost no one uses them. Here is a photo of the characters then versus now:
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225 views

Grammatical construction「placeはsubplace、story」 as an introduction

In old stories I often find the following structure: general place は specific place 、 story unfolds for example: ① 江戸は芝、増上寺門前町で (例: ◯◯人が歩いた) ② 東海道は宮宿、ただいま名古屋市の熱田神宮辺で (例: ◯◯浪人の二人が出会った) I took ...
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190 views

How does かたじけなや differ from regular かたじけない?

Many times I heard/read an archaic form of giving thanks to somebody かたじけない modified to かたじけなや. I also think I heard ありがたや quite a lot. What exactly does this や at the end (is it regional, emphatic, ...
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2answers
2k views

What does とくと mean?

At one point in a particular work of fiction, a character announces 我が力、とくとご覧あれ! As I understand, it means 'Behold my power!' But I don't know what とくと means. I would guess it's archaic, since the ...
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1answer
1k views

When to use べき and when to use べし

From my meager understanding of Middle Japanese, I have learned that, in essence, べき is the attributive form and べし is the predicative form (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong), but in Modern ...
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2answers
459 views

Meaning of “生まれし” [duplicate]

I wanted to ask this question because it is the first time I have honestly been unable to find any information on a given form. I know it involves the verb "to be born," but I've never seen a stem+し ...
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2answers
2k views

What does 花つ月 mean?

緋【あか】色【いろ】の花【はな】つ月【づき】 I'm trying to figure out the meaning for this part of kanji in a title for a series. The red flower month? The red flower moon? The month of blossoming red flowers? I'm totally ...
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1answer
326 views

What does “本気になれぬ” mean?

So I am going through song lyrics, and the new grammar and vocab that I learn from them goes into my studying. One song I came across was “Wolf Boy” (ウルフボーイ) by Morning Musume (モーニング娘). The first ...
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1answer
409 views

Can I get a grammatical breakdown of “通りゃんせ”?

So, I recently learned that there's this song called 「通りゃんせ」, which I guess would be familiar to all of you who have lived in Japan. The grammatical form "通りゃんせ" (and later in the song, "[下]{くだ}しゃんせ"...
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1answer
233 views

Is 忝い(かたじけない) used in contemporary language?

I'm currently watching Rurouni Kenshin, and Kenshin says 忝い(かたじけない) a lot to express his gratitude. I looked it up a little and based on this it seems like it's old Samurai language, but I wonder if ...
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705 views

Translating “Walk your own path. Let people talk.”

After all this time I think I finally have my translation of "Walk your own path. Let people talk." But before I put it in my CAD program, I would like to get an opinion on the word usage and grammar. ...
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2answers
1k views

Archaic “Keri” Origins

I read that "Keri" is a verb suffix used to denote the realization of something, and is also poetic- I was wondering if anyone knew where it came from, kanji etc. For more context it was used with ari-...