Questions tagged [classical-japanese]

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

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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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58 views

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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Trouble understanding small bits of poetry in a japanese novel

Recently, I bought my first all-in-japanese novel to improve my reading skills. The novel itself uses a modern, very simple grammar (it's Ningen no kouta by Kō Machida) so it's not hard to understand. ...
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78 views

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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838 views

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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114 views

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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140 views

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 ...
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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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179 views

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 ...
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126 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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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261 views

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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140 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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105 views

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 ...