Questions tagged [classical-japanese]

文語(古文). The classical literary form of the language based on Early Middle Japanese.

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All conjugation groups of verbs

I believe most learners of Japanese were taught that the verbs of the language are classified into 3 groups: Group 1 / Godan Verbs ([五段動詞]【ごだんどうし】​); Group 2 / Ichidan Verbs ([一段動詞]【いちだんどうし】); Group 3 ...
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What do 科 and 頼母しけれ mean here?

言語を慎みて多くす可らずとは、寡黙を守れとの意味ならん。諺に言葉多きは科少なしと言い、西洋にも空樽を叩けば声高しとの語あり。愚者の多言固より厭う可し。況して婦人は静にして奥ゆかしきこそ頼母しけれ。福澤諭吉の「女大学評論」より What does 科 work there? What does 頼母しけれ mean? Here's a online dictionary explains: ...
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Japanese honourifics during the Heian period

I'm just curious about honorifics during the Heian period. I know that "daredare no kimi" was used often in court however I am curious about other honorifics extant during the period. ...
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What are these kanji? (Image)

For context: I received this 手拭 (I think that's what it's called) a few years ago when I took a high school trip to Japan. I didn't think to ask what it meant at the time but now I am more interested ...
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What does ゑ mean here?

So I was reading an old issue of the Asahi Shimbun and I came across this: [從來]{これまで}[醫]{い}[師]{し}[出]{しゆつ}[張]{ちやう}[診]{しん}[察]{さつ}[所]{しよ}[設置]{まうけ}の[儀]{ぎ}[情願]{ねがひ}に[依]{よ}り[聞]{きき}[屆]{とどけ}[鑑]{かん}[札]{さつ}[下]{...
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What is the difference between 上代日本語 & 中古日本語 and 古文

I know 上代/中古日本語 are Old/Early middle Japanese, and that 古文 is Classical Japanese, and I know the latter is exclusively written since it's the literary language, but what are the other differences? ...
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What does せり mean in 「ワレ奇襲ニ成功セリ」

What does せり mean in 「ワレ奇襲【きしゅう】ニ成功【せいこう】セリ」? We succeeded in our surprise attack. https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/トラトラトラ I get the following vocabulary: 我【われ】 we 奇襲【きしゅう】 surprise attack に particle 成功 【...
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What are all the meanings なり had in Classical Japanese? [closed]

I've tried reading articles in Japanese on the multiple meanings なり has in Classical Japanese, but some articles seem to have more information than others and some just seem not too reliable. To this ...
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Meaning of といえど

In a book I found this sentence: ありえない。そうおもってるつつも、彼は腰からハンマーを引き抜く。亡き師匠から引き継いだハンマー—その名も『万能鉄槌』は、どんな金属の正体も丸裸にする。一見するとただのハンマーだが、使い手の『能力』と結びつくと絶妙な効果を発揮する。そして、世界広しといえどこれを使いこなせる職人はフィーゴ・アンヴィルただ一人だ I ...
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Why did "mairasesoro" (まいらせさうらふ/まいらせ候) have its own kana ligature?

The Japanese Wikipedia notes that before 1900, the kana sequence まいらせさうらふ (mairasesōrō) had its own kana ligature: Poking around Wiktionary, my best guess would be that this is a set phrase in ...
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How are いと and いたう different in 文語?

いと's definition: ①大変。非常に。▽程度がはなはだしい。 ②〔下に打消の語を伴って〕それほど。たいして。 いたう (いたく)'s definition: ①はなはだしく。ひどく。 ②うまく。 ③〔下に打消の語を伴って〕それほど。たいして。 One context which I encountered both words in is from 源氏物語『若紫』 ...
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Negation in 未然形 + む(ん)

This question has been inspired by this Q&A, from which I learned about 未然形 + む(ん)'s various functions. I noticed two lines on the reference page @naruto points to under 推量, both seemingly sharing ...
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What verb form is 惜しみて (from 惜しむ)

I was reading the definition (4) of 惜しむ because I think that's the appropriate one from 大辞林. At least it appeared in 言葉の雨に打たれ 秋惜しむまま冬に落ちる (思想犯): (4)価値あるものが失われたこと,また,活用されずに終わることを残念に思う。「ゆく春を―・む」「...
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How does 形容詞+かる work in Classical Japanese?

I remember reading previously that かる could not be used attributively(1), but that does raise the question: For what else could a 連体形 have been used in the first place? Was it simply an alternate form ...
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文語の文法「動詞連用形+しく」について

... かれ、その老夫の答へ申ししく、「あは、国つ神大山津見の神の子ぞ」。わが名は足名椎と言ひ、妻が名は手名椎と言ひ、娘が名は櫛名田比売と言ふ。 ―「古事記」の「八俣の大蛇」より 「申し」の終止形は「申す」のようです、この「申し」は連用形だと思います。 質問は、動詞の連用形の後に「しく」を付けて、何の意味か表現を表しているのですか?
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What's な doing in 絶えなんとする?

I'm reading Harry Potter in Japanese and it goes: 力は失せ、命も絶えなんとする姿で、ヴォルデモートは逃げ去った。 His powers gone, his life almost extinguished, Voldemort had fled; 命も絶えんとする姿で would make sense to me, but it's a bit ...
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Unclear about meaning of くみす, 天道, and grammar of a Classical Japanese sentence

When looking up online, I found a seemingly old Japanese sentence highlighted in the picture below. What's the meaning? PS: sorry, I'm not asking for a translation. I did look up くみす in the ...
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How did Classical Japanese's 二段 (bigrade) become modern Japanese's 一段 (monograde)? Especially in regards to the 終止形 and 連体形?

It seems very strange to me that the 終止形 and 連体形 of a word like 食べる used to be 食ぶ and 食ぶる, Vovin says in his A REFERENCE GRAMMAR OF CLASSICAL JAPANESE PROSE that 食べ is the stem to which -u, -uる and -...
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What is the difference in nuance between 思ったら and 思えたら?

敷島の日本の国に人二人有りとし思はば何か歎かむ is always translated into modern Japanese as some variation of 大和の国にあなたが二人いると思えたら何かを嘆こう and I'm wondering why is 思はば translated as 思えたら. Why not 思ったら? -aば is the conditional ...
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恨なし (恨がない or 恨なす?)

I'm reading a text which uses a lot of classical grammar and there's a sentence which I'm not sure how to translate. 同胞に恨なし、遂に魔の物を統べる魔帝をも討ち負かせり The text is about a swordsman and the part I'm not ...
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(Classical Japanese) A question about 舎人が寝たる足を狐に食はる from the Tsurezuregusa

The meaning of this sentence is quite clear: the feet of the sleeping servant (舎人) were eaten by a fox. However, there are two things I don't understand (you can reply to just one of them if you don't ...
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Understanding japanese verb suffixes

I recently learned the meaning of the verb suffixes す, む and ぶ (respectively to do, to seem like or to indicate volition, to act like). I would have two questions : Does every verb ending with す can ...
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What does き do in this sentence: あんな目に遭ってもなお 気高き兵士のままだ! [duplicate]

I saw this sentence in an episode of Attack on Titan, a soldier is having a panic attack and the speaker says あんな目に遭ってもなお 気高き兵士のままだ! What does き do here? What's the difference from い? あんな目に遭ってもなお ...
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Where does the ます形 masu form comes from? I noticed that the す conjugates like the Kyoto dialect [duplicate]

I really can't figure out where the masu form comes from. I thought it might be from kobun volitional む + causative す but that's -(a)ます not -(i)ます. Both conjugations of ません and ましょう are identical to ...
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What means お before person's name and how to read kanji after お? [duplicate]

I'm reading Kidou Okamoto's Japanese novel right now. It was written in 1950 and its title is "半七捕物帳 01 お文の魂". I noticed that in this novel there are lots of female names that starts with お. ...
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When is 事業 read as じぎょう and when as ことわざ

I came across the following sentence from the Dictionary of Japanese Grammar series: X氏は、一方で慈善事業をやりながら、他方でかなりあくどい商売をしているという噂だ。 I think 慈善事業 should be read as じぜんじぎょう. But as I look up the dictionary ...
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The grammar of the Dokkōdō by Miyamoto Musashi

I have chosen the sentence 何れの道にも別れを悲しまず How would you translate it to match the meaning literally and with the intended message ? According to The Complete Musashi translated by Alexander Bennet ...
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What is 已然形? I know its classic Japanese but that's as far as I got

Can someone explain to me what 已然形 is? I've seen it brought up being related the hypothetical form like 已然形+ ば but I just can't figure out what it was for. I know its related to classical Japanese but ...
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What is the meaning of こそ...め?

I've come across a construction, こそ...め, that I don't know how to translate. Specifically, め, which I know is the [已然]{いぜん}[形]{けい} of む, since it comes after [未然]{みぜん}[形]{けい} inflections, is being ...
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How do you join たる-adjectives?

When joining い-adjectives and な-adjectives, you simply put them in 連用形 + て: この料理は美味しくて安いです。 田中さんは綺麗で親切です。 However, I have a bit of trouble with たる-adjectives. I couldn't find any resources on it. ...
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How to differentiate between the meanings of けり?

けり has 2 meanings: 過去 and 詠嘆. Is there some sort of trick to find out which one is being used? (besides context, of course)
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かつおぶし but かつをぶし

While explaining かつおぶし via the English Wikipedia. There is a picture that has かつをぶし on a のれん: In the dialect that I speak, we do make vocal substitutions, but we generally write with standard かな。If ...
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What is the meaning of "できたれば"?

What does "できたれば" mean in the following sentence? 予とてわかっておる……目の上の瘤が取れ、心持ちに余裕ができたればこそそんな思いも浮かぶのだ。かつては考えもせなんだことを I assume it's related to できる but why is it not できれば?
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Why 燃ゆる in a modern slogan?

The Kagoshima National Athletic Meet seems to have been postponed indefinitely from 2020 for obvious reasons. However, I'm more interested in its slogan 燃ゆる感動. 燃ゆる is indeed the 連体形 of 燃ゆ, so I ...
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4 votes
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Did the られる potential form come from 得る?

One of the shows I've been watching lately kept using some more classical forms of Japanese for style purposes, that I was not too familiar with ; this led me to notice how 得る{える} was often used as an ...
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What is the function of やらで?

What is the meaning of やらで in this tanka and where it comes from? 春のよの月は木のまを出でやらでまづ山のはの花ぞみえ行く I found that the expression 出でやる could be an equivalent of 出てくる but I don't really understand the ...
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Apparent honorific use of 参る

I'm puzzled by the appearance of 参る in this dictionary entry. The example sentence is archaic:「こなたにてみぐしなど参る程に」 In the modern language, this becomes: こちらでお髪などおととのえになるころに。 Notice that the modern version ...
4 votes
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What is the meaning of らん in ゆくらん?

I saw it in this tanka that I'm trying to translate: 偽のある世にだにもふるさとの契りわすれず雁のゆくらん
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using 未然形 and 已然形 with conditional ば

I am reading through Shirane Haruo's Classical Japanese: A Grammar, and I've come across what I think is a discrepancy. The example given for ナ変 verbs is 死ぬ: Mizenkei: 死なば一所で死なん. SHINA-ba issho de ...
2 votes
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Is it considered natural to use ども (in the context of 'even if') in written or spoken Japanese today?

A beautiful thought by 小林先生 in 窓ぎわのトットちゃん is conveyed as follows: 世に恐るべきものは、目あれど美を知らず、耳あれども楽を聴かず、心あれども真を解せず。。。の類である。 I haven't seen this usage of ども much. How natural is it to use this form in ...
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Medieval Japanese

Is reading early Medieval Japanese for a modern Japanese speaker like reading Chaucer for a modern English speaker? Ie, slow and head-scratching but otherwise can get the gist of it.
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Few questions about this quote 力求むるも、修羅に染まれぬか!腑抜けが!

I have several questions about this quote which is spoken by the character Akuma in the Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 game. It's very different from the English localization ("Now you have ...
7 votes
1 answer
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邂逅せし瘴炎 what does the せし part mean?

I found that title in the Monster Hunter game and it was translated as "A Meeting with Blazing Miasma", but what does せし mean there? It kind of sounds that it might be a case of classical Japanese ...
5 votes
1 answer
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漢文・古文-type expressions that survive in modern Japanese

I was translating an academic paper that quoted some articles that were written before WW2, and I came across the expressions [noun]+たらしむべく and きたらしめる (from 来る) for the first time. Thanks to these ...
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What is the meaning of "迷い" in the phrase 夜の街迷いし穢れの乱歩

This phrase is from a song the translation of   "夜の街迷いし穢れの乱歩" would be: Lost in a city at night, I take a random impure walk. The question is: "迷い" in the dictionary means hesitation, perplexity, ...
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What is the etymology of とある?

ある ‘some’ is an obvious rentaikei of the verb 有り, ‘to exist’, and its emergence as a pronominal is due to the kanbun influence of Chinese 有 ɦuwX ‘same’ (Zisk, M. (2018). Middle Chinese Loan ...
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6 votes
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Verb ending in -ん with positive meaning?

I was watching an anime, and this is the context: prior to the series, the main character went in hiding after betraying her peers, since she was the only against a peace she deemed fake; while ...
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4 votes
3 answers
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Why is there a が in 深淵に臨むが如し?

In the sentence 深淵に臨むが如し why is there a particle が after the verb 臨む? Shouldn't it be 深淵に臨むよう?
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努める and 努むる nuance differences

What is the difference in nuance between 完成に努{つと}めるand 完成に努{つとむ}むる? I heard 努むる{つとむむる} and it threw me as I had never heard it before.
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Meaning of もてり and use of が

白き布 もて盤上を 磨きたり 人は心に 鏡をもてり。 Is もてり 持てる? If so, in that case why does a potential verb have the が particle?
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