Questions tagged [classical-japanese]

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

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1answer
100 views

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 witnessed ...
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362 views

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 ...
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144 views

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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1answer
110 views

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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336 views

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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1answer
401 views

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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3answers
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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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337 views

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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98 views

How to write existential/locational sentence in Classical Japanese?

In Modern Japanese, one can use "がある” and "がいる” to express "There is/are ...". The existential sentence can be further used to assert the presence or existence of something in a particular place: "[...
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395 views

拈得せん in a writing by Genkaku

水中に月を捉ふ爭でか拈得せん What does 拈得せん mean there? Is some classical construction? I cant quite find an explanation for it
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Are there any differences between 〜けらず and 〜ざりけり? Are they interchangeable?

Was ~ざりけり used in place of 〜けらず, for example in 知りけらず, to indicate the past tense in the negative form? Did 知らざりけり exist?
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440 views

What does らん in 「強からん事を祈る」 mean?

I came across this sentence while reading Osamu Dazai's Ningen Shikkaku. The sentence is pretty long, so I have only included the relevant part. あまりに人間を恐怖している人たちは、かえって、もっともっと、...
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0answers
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鵺 Chimera Bird in Making of Cyborg and Reincarnation

This question is related to my Sci-fi Fantasy question "Japanese Wedding Chant from Ghost in the Shell". That question is concerned with Japanese folk traditions and mythology, and please ...
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1answer
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An unclear form in a song

In「命火眩暈」by 杏ノ助, there are the following lines. 頽るる松、 甲羅なき亀 御簾を上げれど けふも宵 The other text is perfectly imitating a Sengoku-period Late Middle Japanese with occasional classical. However, this ...
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2answers
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Unknown Kanji on Mountain Rock

I've been studying Japanese for about 3 years, passed N1 last December (was not expecting that) and wanted to brush off one of the biggest questions I've ever had on Kanji (bugging me for about 2 of ...
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1answer
294 views

How to read this sign and what it means?

A friend sent a picture he received from another friend of this framed parchment with some very flowery and old looking Japanese written on it asking me if I could read it and if I knew what it meant: ...
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1answer
137 views

Meaning of ものかわ in a Haiku

Bashō: ふつかよい ものかわはなの あるあいだ. I’m completely lost by ものかわ. Any idea?
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Meaning of 折らで in a haiku

From Basho: 蓮池や折らでそのまま玉祭 I have the impression that 折らで would be 折らないで without ない. If that's the case is it an artistic choice or some obscure grammar?
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Is 選ばれし者 a grammatically correct translation of “The Chosen One”?

I have frequently seen 選ばれし者 used as a translation for the English phrase "The Chosen One". I know that し is the 連体形 of the auxiliary verb き which, quoting from デジタル大辞泉, is used when expressing things ...
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219 views

Why is まじる a 五段 verb?

As far as I know all じる verbs are supposed to be 一段. I found an interesting set of rules online: Does the verb end in る? No → 五段 Yes → Does it have an e or i sound before the る? No → 五段 ...
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308 views

What is the meaning of the radical 手 as a part of character?

I know that the radical 手 means "hand" but I wanna know meaning does 「手」 contribute as a part of a character If anyone can give me five examples and it could be better if he can bring example with a ...
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123 views

Translation for [竜とは逃げぬものなれば]

new in the language so I am having a hard time figuring out the meaning of this sentence. 'When it comes to dragons, you can't escape' would be my translation, but pretty sure I am wrong. If it doesn'...
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Questions on an 1840's text: Battle at Yamaki Palace 治承四年八月中句右兵衞佐頼朝公

I am a bit lost understanding and translating elements of this text from the 1840s, even after persevering for a couple of days. Two versions (with reasonable detail when viewed at actual scale). My ...
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How should I translate “驚破という場合に望みては”?

I am reading 外科室. At some point, there is this sentence: さてはいかなる医学士も、[驚破]{すわ}という場合に望みては、さすがに懸念のなからんやと、予は同情を表したりき。 [驚破]{すわ}という場合 is a reference to an earlier passage, 手術台なる伯爵夫人は、純潔なる白衣を絡いて、...
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どうして「お聞き遊ばして」が現代語訳では「お吸いなさいまして」になるのか分からない

現代訳を頼りに、泉鏡花さんの「外科室」を読もうとしているところですが、分からない箇所があります。 原文の  看護婦は医学士の旨を領してのち、かの腰元に立ち向かいて、 「もう、なんですから、あのことを、ちょっと、あなたから」  腰元はその意を得て、手術台に擦り寄りつ、優に膝のあたりまで両手を下げて、しとやかに立礼し、 「夫人、ただいま、お薬を差し上げます。どうぞそれを、...
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(伊曾保物語) 鼠と猫の事 comprehension problem “只、人は、愚にして、他人にぬかれたるにしくはなし”

I am having trouble parsing/understanding/translating a sentence in the last section of the fable "the mice and the cat" (鼠と猫の事) from the 仮名草子 伊曾保物語 (Aesop's fables). Here is the paragraph in question;...
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158 views

What does the kana 「し」 do in this phrase?

It comes from the video game title. 過{す}ぎ去{さ}りし時{とき}を求{もと}めて I looked up in online dictionary thinking that it should be a conjugated form of the verb 去る but it is not.
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征伐, せいばつ, seibatsu: a conquest or a 'righteous conquest'?

征伐, せいばつ, seibatsu An old Japanese friend suggested that 征伐, “conquest,” has a moral tone to it and might be better translated as “righteous conquest,” however, most dictionaries simply define it as ...
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123 views

Is there a good reason why I can use a polite form before から but not before ので? [duplicate]

Does anybody know why - historically, etymologically or logically - one can use polite forms (e.g. -ます) in causal subordinate clauses before から, while one must use the plain form before ので?
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だ versus な in causal subordinate clauses

Why do causal subordinate clauses ending in -から take だ as a means to connect nouns and な adjectives (e.g. 日本人だから), whereas causal subordinate clauses ending in -ので take な (e.g. 日本人なので)? I read that だ ...
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Is there a good explanation for the forms 大きな, 小さな and 多くの?

Is there a good historical/etymological explanation why 大きい and 小さい can take the な ending in attributive position? Also, is there a good historic/etymological explanation why 多い in attributive use ...
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Is there a historical explanation why verbs fall into two categories of pitch accent?

Is there a good historical or logical explanation why all verbs fall into two categories of pitch accent: either accentless (such as 買う, 浴びる) or accented (such as 食べる, 書く)? I am having a hard time ...
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Difference お疲れ様です vs お疲れ様でした while leaving from office?

Most of the time, I use to say "お疲れ様です" while someone else leaving the office. But many of my colleagues say "お疲れ様でした". Does it have any difference? Also, I want to know, can we use "お疲れ様です" while ...
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Is there a good historical explanation why we cannot generally use 言う in the 3rd person in the past tense?

Is there a good historical or logical explanation why we cannot generally use 言う in the 3rd person in the past tense? Why do we have to resort to 言っている for the 3rd person part tense (言っていた), unless it ...
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313 views

Is there a good etymological reason why the potential form in Japanese requires the が particle?

Is there a good etymological reason why the potential form in Japanese requires the が particle? When dealing with the -たい suffix, which also requires the -が particle for what in other languages would ...
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1answer
204 views

Is there a reason why the passive and the potential form are identical (at least for える/いる verbs)?

Is there a reason why the passive and the potential form in Japanese are identical (at least for える/いる verbs)? I mean, does one etymologically derive from the other? Or were they perhaps modelled on a ...
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271 views

Question about verbs in Old Japanese

Does anybody with in-depth knowledge of Old Japanese know why vowel-based verbal stems could only end in -e or -i (leading to the える/いる or type 2 class of verbs in Modern Japanese)? Why are there no ...
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1answer
124 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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1answer
137 views

What is the meaning of 「れど」 in the waka poem title 「忍ぶれど」?

「忍ぶれど」 is the title of Taira no Kanemori's waka poem in Ogura Hyakunin Isshu and I'd like to know the translation of this title in English. I already looked up the meanings and 「忍ぶ」 means to ...
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1answer
127 views

What does 形ク mean in japanese?

I was searching for the meaning of "時すでに遅し。" but I couldn't find 遅し in the dictionary goo.ne.jp and weblio tells me that it's おそい with 形ク in parenthesis.
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Cannot recognise the kanji in a cartouche 保里尾[ ][ ][ ]晴

In the context of a C19th work titled Takamatsu no shiro mizuzeme no zu, "Picture of the Flooding of Takamatsu Castle" (髙松城水責之圖 with furigana たかまつのしろみづぜめのづ), there is a name cartouche, but I am ...
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188 views

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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321 views

'to appear': arawareru, arawaruru, and arawaru

Arawareru, あらわれる: "to appear, to come in sight, to become visible, to materialize, to manifest." It looks as if arawareru can be written: 現れる, 現われる, 表れる, 表われる, 顕れる, 顕われる (Readings: 現 = gen, ken, ...
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260 views

Did つ (助数詞) actually mean の?

There are quite a few examples were tsu actually means no. まつ毛・睫毛・睫 matsuge actually comes from 目の毛 me no ke (ma is another pronunciation for 目 me) 沖つ宮 okitsumiya(aslo written 沖津宮, but, as Meikyou ...
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1answer
351 views

Why is 「てふ」 pronounced 「ちょう」?

I recently purchased a copy of One Hundred Leaves: A new annotated translation of the Hyakunin Isshu to try and improve my Japanese reading level. In addition to the English translation, each poem ...
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1answer
244 views

What verb form is くださねばなるまい

The following is from a mystery manga. The criminal mastermind is lamenting that his accomplice Masumi failed to properly kill Kimisawa. ますみの奴・・・ 最後の最後でしくじったな あの至近距離でよもや急所をはずす ...
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156 views

What does 「なりき」 mean in this context?

I came across the sentence 「宇宙KOMAなりき」in a Dragon Ball song. The context is like this: 回り磁極踊れば 大地も空も 世界は巡る 宇宙KOMAなりき The song lyrics are here: http://www.kget.jp/lyric/112532/KOMA_CHIHO What ...