Questions tagged [classical-japanese]

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

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194 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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'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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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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357 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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252 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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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 ...
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How do I understand 「わが身世にふる ながめせし間に」

This might be a difficult question but let me give it a try here. I have trouble understanding this poem by 小野小町: 花の色は うつりにけりな いたづらに わが身世にふる ながめせし間に I understand that the words 「ふる」 and 「ながめ」 are ...
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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 a meaning of しければ in a classical japanese?

I'm stuck with this sentence - "いかにも山の中に只だ独り居たるに人の気はひのしければ少し生き出づる心地して見出だしければ" It's part of the folktale "鬼に瘤取らるる事". I know that ば mean to indicate end of statement in classical japanese, so does it ...
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寄らば from 寄らば大樹の陰

I have trouble understanding the 寄らば from: 寄{よ}らば大樹{たいじゅ}の陰{かげ}. I know it comes from 寄る (to approach/to come near). But how does it becomes 寄らば and what meaning it implies? The ば should be the ...
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What is this 連用形+ゆる grammar? How is it different from the potential form?

I have come across this grammar a lot lately: 連用形+ゆる For example, in this comment, 文語と現代語を交じたる文はインターネットで見ゆるなあ I've also heard しゆる. Judging from the context I think that this grammar is similar ...
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What is the way 召されなば is conjugated?

In a bit old Japanese, the phrase: 草鞋{わらじ}を召{め}されなば means "if you (talking to a superior) put on the straw sandals" (I assume from the context). Where does the conjugation ~なば of 召される come from?
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What do the Long vowel rule and Palatalized long vowel rule represent?

In relation to the Classical Japanese orthography what are the Long vowel (長音 Chōon) rule and the Palatalized long vowel (開拗長音 Kaiyōchōon) rule? What would be some examples of them?
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Where does the particle は come from?

In A Dictionary to Basic Japanese Grammar, it says under the conditional ば that this is the origin of the topic particle は but I haven't been able to find where this claim comes from. Does anyone know ...
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281 views

What is かたじけのう?

This is a quotation from a fairy tale. A young man was turned into a samurai: 信じがたきことなれど、拙者サムライでござる。かたじけのうござる。 I read the first part as 'Although it is hard to believe, I am a samurai'. What is ...
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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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838 views

When was this Japanese standard and why this is so different from modern Japanese?

朕󠄁惟フニ我カ皇祖皇宗國ヲ肇󠄁ムルコト宏遠󠄁ニ德ヲ樹ツルコト深厚ナリ我カ臣民克ク忠ニ克ク孝ニ億兆心ヲ一ニシテ世世厥ノ美ヲ濟セルハ此レ我カ國體ノ精華ニシテ敎育ノ淵源亦實ニ此ニ存ス爾臣民父母ニ孝ニ兄弟ニ友ニ夫婦󠄁相和シ朋友相信シ恭儉己レヲ持シ博󠄁愛衆ニ及󠄁ホシ學ヲ修メ業ヲ習󠄁ヒ以テ智能ヲ啓󠄁發シ德器ヲ成就シ進󠄁テ公󠄁益ヲ廣メ世務ヲ開キ常ニ國憲ヲ重シ國法ニ遵󠄁ヒ一旦緩󠄁急󠄁...
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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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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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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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608 views

Can 〜んとする mean “to pretend, to act as if”?

I'm trying to understand the meaning of the first sentence: 刀の力で日本を牛耳らんとする玲爾{れいじ}たち。その企みを見抜いた晴馬{はるま}たちは...etc. My translation would be "Reiji and his men are not trying to control Japan with the ...
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689 views

Please help me understand this たる?

Please help me understand this たる! 焼きたる 在りたる
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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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255 views

Older Jp had much fewer particles (助詞) ? — The modern “use ALL the particles” written style

. . . A perhaps pedantic comment: The idea that everything has a particle in theory, which is either "dropped" or not, is actually relatively modern. In earlier forms of Japanese, there were ...
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Questions about 絵本 by 林芙美子

I'm reading several short texts as a part of a university course that's starting this fall, but I'm having problem understand parts of this one text. It's called 絵本 and is written by 林芙美子 http://www....
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形容詞 that end in ~しい but were not シク活用 in 古文

I know that in general, if a 形容詞 in modern Japanese ends in ~しい, then it was originally a シク活用形容詞, with 終止形 ~し and 連體形 ~しき. I also know that in the Late Middle Japanese period, シク adjectives ...
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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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The meaning of 二条大宮の百鬼夜行

早い話が堀川のお邸の御規模を拝見致しましても、壮大と申しませうか、豪放と申しませうか、到底私どもの凡慮には及ばない、思ひ切つた所があるやうでございます。中にはまた、そこを色々とあげつらつて大殿様の御性行を始皇帝や煬帝に比べるものもございますが、それは諺に云ふ群盲の象を撫でるやうなものでもございませうか。あの方の御思召は、決してそのやうに御自分ばかり、栄耀栄華をなさらうと申すのではございません。...
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What is the ki used for in this sentence? 懐かし き 故郷 [duplicate]

I'm translating a song as part of a project. What is ki used for? Is it a prefix for kokyou? Natsukashi ki kokyou 晴天の日の少々、感傷に浸る午後 懐かしき故郷 夢見な理想郷 忘れがちな嘘 あるまじきEmotion 企みし今生の消せぬ怨霊の炎
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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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376 views

Two different polite forms of the conditional conjugation

I've noticed some dictionaries give two different results for the polite form of the conditional form, I'll use the verb 戦う for example. I am familiar with 戦いませば but not with 戦いますれば. Some ...
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What is the meaning of 幾里?

I took up a personal translation project--lyrics to a song from a game I played--recently, and one of the words is giving me trouble. The line out of the song is 我れ幾里の路を共に往かむ, and I can understand ...
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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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is there a way to display the hito/jin 人 in non-simplified form?

is there a way to display the hito/jin 人 in non-simplified form ? I see kanji IMAGES everywhere on the net. but I'm looking for a unicode character like the old Chinese Lishu script. I see it in ...
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135 views

Help with understanding a sentence

詩の生命は暗示にして単なる事象の説明には非ず。かの筆にも言語にも言ひ尽し難き情趣の限なき振動のうちに幽かなる心霊の欷歔をたづね、縹渺たる音楽の愉楽に憧がれて自己観想の悲哀に誇る、これわが象徴の本旨に非ずや。されば我らは神秘を尚び... full Is it (syntax-wise) correct to take(かの筆にも言語にも言ひ尽し難き情趣の限なき振動のうちに幽かなる心霊の欷歔をたづね、...
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592 views

Translating 鳴神の少し響みてさし曇り… etc

This passage of the movie, Kotonoha No Niwa: 鳴る神の 少し響みてさし曇り 雨も降らぬか きみを留めむ Several sites translate as: A faint clap of thunder, clouded skies. Perhaps rain will come. If so, will ...
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177 views

What is せる followed by suru-verbs?

専売特許に違背せる物品 infringements on patents 和英字書を編集せるはヘボン博士をもって嚆矢とす。Dr. Hepburn was the first to compile a Japanese-English dictionary. Is it する・す mizenkei followed by り rentaikei (here), or something else?
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327 views

How is を used here?

この大作の完成を願えども余命とぼしきを如何せん。I had hoped to finish writing this novel, but I'm afraid I have little time left. 貧窮なるを如何せん。I am poor, so what can I do? In the sentences above is ヲ used as a conjunctive ...
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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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444 views

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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224 views

Is the negative in ゆめ人に洩らし給えそ implicit?

ゆめ人に洩らし給えそ Never breathe a syllable of it to any one! (NEW斎藤和英大辞典) Is negative meaning here implied but not stated explicitly? ゆめ = 必ず, そ = ぞ as bound particle (it could be negative final particle そ, ...
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224 views

How are the adjectives conjugated to izenkei (うれしけれ, たのしけれ) used here?

I came across a "Mermaid's song" in a text: ものみな眠るさ夜なかに 水底を離るることぞうれしけれ。 水のおもてを頭もて、 波立て遊ぶぞたのしけれ。 澄める大気をふるわせて、 互に高く呼びかわし 緑なす濡れ髪うちふるい、 乾かし遊ぶぞたのしけれ! The bolded adjectives, うれし(い)、たのし(い)、...
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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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70 views

Help understanding 案ずるより産むが易し

案ずるより産むが易し It is better to get down to work than (just) to worry about it (beforehand). | Fear can magnify a danger. | A danger is not as great as it seems in advance. | We have nothing to fear but ...
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153 views

Classical form of 落{お}ちる

I read in a haiku written by Bashō/芭蕉 (source - see my addendum at the end of the post) : をちこちに 瀧{たき}の音{おと}聞く{きく} 落{おち}葉{ば}かな My translation : From far and near, hearing the sounds of the waterfall(...
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1answer
411 views

Auxiliary verb ん

I came across this sentence in a grammar book (Japanese Postpositions: Theory and Practice by Noriko Katsuki-Pestemer): 生きんが為に働く。 In order to live, I work. It is then briefly explained that "ん ...
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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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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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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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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 ...