Questions tagged [classical-japanese]

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

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20
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3answers
4k views

What form is あり?

On the road outside my daughter's nursery is painted 保育園アリ. I guess this is a form of ある, but what's it called, and why is あり used not ある?
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432 views

Old way of counting people?

I always found it funny how the counter for people, 人, has the special cases [一人]{ひとり}, [二人]{ふたり}, but then continues [三人]{さんにん}, [四人]{よにん}, ... However, this summer I came across a neat bit of info. ...
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2answers
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Haphazard usage of katakana and hiragana for particles and okurigana

I'm looking at this picture of the 日米和親条約 (Kanagawa convention) from the late Edo period and it seems rather strange: It looks like the non-kanji parts are rather haphazardly written in katakana and ...
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1answer
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Use of kana iteration marks (ゝ, ゞ, ヽ, ヾ)

Kana iteration marks are are rarely used today, and hence there is not much online information on it besides this Wikipedia article, which leaves me with a couple questions. Is there any kana that ...
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1answer
713 views

“Irregular” 命令形 of some verbs

Recently I've noticed several verbs where the imperative form is used in a way that is not the "correct" conjugation. くれる → くれ! → The one we're all used to つける → つけ! → An example from my ...
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2answers
519 views

Why was 邪 chosen to spell the names of 伊邪那岐神 and 伊邪那美神 in the 古事記?

I had been wondering about this for a while. Consider the spelling of he names of Izanagi and Izanami in the 古事記: 伊邪那岐神【いざなぎのかみ】 and (妹【いも】)伊邪那美神【いざなみのかみ】 (source) Both of their names ...
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1answer
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Recognizing old Japanese handwriting

Can you please help me with recognizing this line in old Japanese handwriting? As I suppose, this is: ? やき ? っすれ ? の二 but it's most likely that I am wrong
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3answers
690 views

Mora count for 思ふ in Classical Japanese?

During an analysis I was performing of the poems contained in the 古今集 I noticed a curious pattern. Otherwise perfectly-formed poems included in the collection seemed to ignore the morae-count on a ...
12
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1answer
2k views

What does 「/\」 mean in this sentence?

皆さん、こんにちは! Now, I've been reading 竹取物語 and have come across (another) set of symbols that I've yet to understand. Given the following sentence. かくて翁やう/\豐になり行く。 What does the sudden 「/\」 mean?
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Why do 為る【する】 and 為す【なす】 use the same kanji as 為【ため】?

Why do the verbs 為る【する】 and 為す【なす】 ("to do") use the same kanji as 為【ため】 ("because of", "for the sake of", etc.)? I'm not seeing any obvious connection between the meanings of する・なす and ため that would ...
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What old Japanese texts can be used in the same fashion as the latin “Lorem Ipsum”?

"Lorem Ipsum" is used as a place holder when creating designs or formatting media that will have actual text and functionality. Question I would like to know what the Japanese equivalent is of this ...
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483 views

Does the verb 死ぬ has a 死ぬる form?

I have come across a conjugation of 死ぬ verb which I've never heard before. It is 死ぬる, I have heard it in a TV show, you can see the relevant part in this video. Is this a depreciated form? If so, ...
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2answers
783 views

What function did あり perform in classical Japanese 形容詞?

In classical Japanese, many uses of 形容詞{けいようし} had あり "embedded" in them, e.g.: 熱からず = 「熱し」の連用形+「あり」の未然形{みぜんけい}+「ず」 熱かりたり = 「熱し」の連用形+「あり」の連用形{れんようけい}+「たり」 熱かれ = 「熱し」の連用形+「あり」の命令形{めいれいけい} 熱かる人 = 「熱し」...
10
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1answer
786 views

Did standalone noun “好き” mean a person in classical Japanese?

In classical Japanese, did standalone noun “好き” mean a person who likes something? I do not think that it does in modern Japanese, although it sometimes means a person when used as a suffix (e.g. ...
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1answer
340 views

(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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Etymology of transitive/intransitive verb pairs

Many verbs come in pairs, frequently but not always transitive/intransitive pairs. These verbs generally have multiple okurigana characters, but according to my dictionary one of the pair was formerly ...
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1answer
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Grammar of (verb)し(noun) such as in 選ばれし者

Is there a grammatical explanation for this pattern, which I have seen a couple times in writing? I'm guessing it comes from classical grammar.
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2answers
467 views

Similarity between 挟む and 狭む

today I came across a certain sentence and I was confused by one word in it: 親指の腹で石を支えながら、人差し指と中指の間に挟む。 When I read this, I mistook 挟む for 狭{せば}む, and apparently, 狭{せば}む is barely used outside ...
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1answer
267 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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3answers
721 views

When ない becomes ぬ

Does anyone know what to call the outdated, high form of language which will say for example "ならぬ" rather than "ならない" or more accurately "だめだ"? Specifically, I would like to know if there is a name ...
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4answers
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How do Japanese make language sound old (e. g. in historical dramas)?

When English speakers try to make a text sound old (like in historical dramas), they for example use "thou" together with the "-st" verb ending. What's the equivalent in Japanese, i.e. what kind of ...
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2answers
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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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2answers
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Why do Japanese people read Classical Japanese with a set of weird sound shifts?

I'm learning a bit of Classical Japanese recently, and of course the spelling of words is pretty different, due to sound changes over the centuries. For example, きょう was spelled けふ. That I can ...
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1answer
287 views

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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1answer
305 views

I know that the word 広し means 広い, but which rule or grammar is included?

The sentence is from my textbook みんなの日本語 世界広しといえども ... that means 世界が広いと言っても ... right? But what function has it when you use 広し instead of 広い? During some research I found this Website/ ...
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What is しか here?

[至誠]{しせい}に[悖]{もと}る[勿]{な}かりしか [言行]{げんこう}に[恥]{は}づる[勿]{な}かりしか... What part of speech is it? Wiki translates it as 真心に反する点はなかったか, which going by meaning only fits with 2(連語) here, but I couldn't find ...
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655 views

Difference between ~ざる and ~ぬ

A sentence from 五輪書: おのづから道の器用有りて、天理をはなれざる故か。 I found a question about ~ざる and ~ぬ on 知恵袋. The only answer claims that ~ぬ and ~ざる are both the 連体形 of ~ず and ~ざる is a "complementary" conjugation, to ...
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1answer
374 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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2answers
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What the grammar/syntax of 御来駕被成下度奉懇願候?

Dictionary translation is "I beg you will favour me with your company―I request the pleasure of your company." 御来駕被成下度奉懇願候 I can only surmise about ご来駕 noun 懇願候 verb (ask), sourou being a polite ...
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1answer
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Name of レ点 in 漢文

In 漢文, why is the レ used for レ点? Is it purely a graphic representation of returning to an earlier point in the text, or does レ stand for some word?
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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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1answer
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Why is an anachronistic modern conjugation thrown into the lyrics of 軍艦行進曲?

軍艦行進曲 seems to be written mostly using Classical Japanese grammar. Here's the first stanza: 守るも攻むるも黒鐵{くろがね}の 浮かべる城{しろ}ぞ頼{たの}みなる 浮かべるその城{しろ}日{ひ}の本{もと}の 皇國{みくに}の四方{よも}を守{まも}るべし 眞鐵{まがね}のその艦{ふね}日の本に 仇{あだ}...
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1answer
461 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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2answers
204 views

Help for this expression: 猿は人間に毛が[三筋]{みすじ}足らぬ

I read this expression in a text. It seems to be an old proverb about monkeys. But I am not sure about its meaning. Why 筋, for instance? Does it mean muscle? reasoning faculty? Why would they be ...
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2answers
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Do Japanese study classical Chinese? [closed]

Kinda out-of-topic. I know that old Japanese books are written in Classical Chinese (or Written Chinese), like 日本書紀/Nihon Shoki. As I have known, Chinese people learn Classical Chinese quite well and ...
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2answers
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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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1answer
315 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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1answer
308 views

How wrong is my constructed poem?

I tried writing a classical Japanese poem: 赤き空 青かりたり根 夢がごとし 元を返るべし 汚さざらまし And here is a rough literal translation: The red sky, The origin that was once blue, Like seeing a dream, It would be best ...
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2answers
239 views

不被下候: When was it common, and what were the rules?

In a shrine graffito written in 1559, two carpenters complain: 其時座主ハ大キナコスデオチヤリテ一度モ焼酎ヲ不被下候 'At that time, the high priest (stingy bugger!) gave us not even a drop of shochu to drink.' The form ...
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1answer
338 views

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
530 views

What is the difference between 美しき and 麗しき?

What is the difference between 美しき and 麗しき and what is the difference between 美しい and 美しき? I know that both 美しい女性 and 美しき女性 are correct. But what is the difference between these two?
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1answer
849 views

What does「ゝ」mean?

Now, I've been at least trying to read 竹取物語, and in the second sentence of my version it shows a odd symbol that I've yet to see. 野山にまじりて、竹を取りつゝ、萬づの事に使ひけり。 The symbol in question is the 「ゝ」 what ...
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1answer
248 views

What is the explanation for the archaic attributive particle が becoming a modern subject particle?

While reading though Haruo Shirane’s Classical Japanese: A Grammar, I came across the following passage: が started as an attributive case particle, became a subject particle, and then turned into a ...
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1answer
706 views

Casual Speech Particles in Classical Japanese

I'm writing a simple Japanese skit for my class and there is a place where an ancient samurai needs to speak a few sentences of Classical Japanese. I can mostly make the sentences, but it seems weird ...
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1answer
246 views

Apparent reversals of conjugation patterns in classical 形容詞 and 動詞, origin?

We observe the following peculiar apparent relations between the conjugation patterns of 形容詞 and 動詞 (using 赤し and 行く as examples): 連体形: 赤き / 行きし (past recollective) 終止形: 赤し / 行きき (past recollective) ...
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2answers
313 views

Couple of classical Japanese questions

I found a poem by Nagai Kafu entitled 震災 (The Earthquake) in a volume of Japanese prose and poetry. It's a short poem about the Ansei Edo Earthquake (安政江戸地震) in 1855 which destroyed the red light ...
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2answers
226 views

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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1answer
307 views

What does the ぬ in 詰まぬ mean?

I encountered a Shogi saying: 三桂あって詰まぬこと無し And I'm pretty confused about the ぬ there. If it was る I'd expect the meaning to be something like: "If you have 3 knights, you can't be mated" But ...
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2answers
343 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
145 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 ...