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Questions tagged [archaic-language]

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

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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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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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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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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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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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218 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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-...
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archaic -an conjugation

This is a prayer uttered by someone who I presume is imitating archaic speech: 遍く邪悪より御身を守らん What is the conjugation used in 守らん? It's doesn't seem like a negative which was my first thought.
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Can へ mean “and”?

Can へ mean "and"? In Chinese 和 means "and" and is read "he", so I'm just hopeful... I don't mean in the present necessarily, just at any point in the language's history. I know へ is used as a ...
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なり as an archaic 'to be'?

In the following saying: 時は金なり。 What exactly is なり? My dictionaries seem to give a number of different options that could all explain its use here. Is it 成る? Is it 也, an archaic version of です or ...
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285 views

The etymology of the word バックシャン

What is the etymology of the word バックシャン? I understand it commonly refers to a woman beautiful only from behind. See this definition- 女性のうしろ姿が均整がとれて美しいこと。また、その女性。多く、前から見ると失望するような 場合にいう。 I ...
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understanding hōgejaku — an archaic imperative?

I would like to understand this Zen calligraphy:                          &...
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Rare/Obsolete verb forms

I have noticed that some verbs have this "rare" or old form that is no longer used much (if at all). Here are some examples. おそる: おそるべき者 → One who is feared ほむ: ほむべきお方【かた】 → Seen often in my ...
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What is the proper term for the use of archaic kanji?

I noticed that in various works of Japanese art, the artists sign their work with a seal whose contents range from fairly regular kanji to very abstract variations of kanji. I have also seen it used ...
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What is the nuance when は directly follows a verb in plain form?

It seems like this is a remnant of (or reference to) older forms of Japanese. Is that all there is to it, or does it have special meaning? Examples from songs: 歌声 笑い声 満ちる大空 目指すは憧れ (DuDiDuWa*...
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When and how to use 来る 【きたる】

Of course 来る is most often read as くる. However, it can also be read as きたる. Is きたる mostly an archaic reading? Does it carry a different, or any additional meanings?? When are "appropriate" (...
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What form is 恐るる?

In Final Fantasy VIII, Bahamut has a little speech: …G.F.とは我らのことか 我らを力として使うとは… 恐るるべきは人間どもよ I'd never seen two るs doubled up like that. Which conjugation is this? It seems to have plenty of ...
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are the usage of うるさい to mean “fussy” and the usage of 草 to mean “substandard” archaic? [closed]

I was thinking what things could be described with 草 (3) not genuine; substandard;) Can we describe someone who is a ゴミ as 草? Like say: アイツはどうおもう? くさだ! Or is the "substandard" meaning of 草 already ...
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If I wanted to sound more like a Samurai, what words and phrases should I learn?

Having watched jidai-geki for a long time, I have come across many Samurai-isms, but I can recall only a few. I would like to be able to do this more believably the next time I'm at the Izakaya. What ...