Questions tagged [etymology]

語源. The study of the origin of words and the historical development of their meanings. Sometimes used for kanji as well; we currently don't have a separate tag for character origins.

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Iterative / repetitive る evolving from classical 連体形【れんたいけい】

This is somewhat related to the discussion of classical auxiliary verb ふ, mentioned in the answer to snailboat's question, What is the わ in 忌まわしい and 嘆かわしい?. Another apparent iterative / repetitive ...
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Why is the Japanese term for grammatical case 「格」? How did this translation come to be?

From Google's definition of 格: きまり。法則。標準。  「格式・格言・合格・別格・破格・規格・本格・古格・適格・律令格式(りつりょうきゃくしき)」 《名・造》地位。身分。程度。  「格が違う」 方形に組みあわせた材。  「骨格・格子(こうし)・格天井(ごうてんじょう)」 くる。いたる。とおる。きわめる。  「格物致知」 ...
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1answer
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「春じゃもの」の「じゃもの」はどういう意味?

What does the じゃもの in 春じゃもの mean? The phrase is a koto song title, so I can't give much context. I think my teacher said it meant something like "clearly", or "the essence of". But I can't remember, ...
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What is the reason for the odd vowel values of Japanese ココア?

I've done a bit of digging, and for the life of me, I cannot find any clear record or explanation for why Japanese ココア is pronounced the way it is. Sources researched to date: Lots of different ...
3
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1answer
173 views

Origin of 「~ にとって」?

I just encountered the 「~ にとって」 construction, as in: 「私にとって家族は大切です。」- "Family is important to me". I think I understand what it's supposed to mean. However, I couldn't find any information about the ...
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Why use 一本 in the expression 一本取る

I was watching an episode of ファニエスト外語学院 on judo. At 6:26, the judoka remarked how his opponent ボビー could win him just by his horrid face, saying 「顔で一本取られた」って感じです. I am interested in understanding why ...
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How did 賃 get its 慣用音 reading?

賃 has the 慣用音 reading ちん, as in 家賃{やちん}. I understand that a lot of 慣用音 readings arise from interpreting the phonetic wrongly (for example 消耗{しょうこう} vs 消耗{しょうもう}), but in this case how did 賃 receive ...
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What do the names 不二夫 and 不二雄 mean?

I am from Hong Kong. I know Chinese language. I know very little about Japnanese language. My question is - What do the names 不二夫 and 不二雄 mean? Do they mean "loyal man/hero"? Links to ...
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What is the origin and meaning of the street names 一年坂, 二年坂 and 三年坂 in Higashiyama, Kyoto?

Obviously "1-year hill", etc., but what is the context of that? And sometimes we see it spelled with 念 (nen) or 寧 (nei) instead of 年 (nen). Why is that, and which one would be correct?
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Why are there so many カ行、サ行、ラ行五段活用 verbs?

If you go into a dictionary like Weblio, and you look through their list of verbs, you'll see that each of the consonant 行s of 五段 are in separate categories. However, there are a ton of カ行、サ行、ラ行 verbs,...
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Why do Latin letters have English pronunciations in Japanese?

The Latin letters A–Z are used in Japan today and they each have a name just like in English. Take the first five Latin letters, A–E. Source: https://jisho.org A 【エイ】【エー】 B 【ベー】【ビー】 C 【シー】 D【ディ】【ディー】 ...
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爵 how do the 'elements' combine to result in 'baron'

The 4 elements of this japanese kanji are understood, but I cannot see/intuit any connection between them that might result in the concept of 'baron'. Can anyone shed some light on this mystery?
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1answer
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Questions about の→ん contraction, でござる→でございます shift

【原文】Original version 各これらの語の特徴はいつからなの?何時代ですの? 第一、「のです」と「なのです」を書いて「んです」と「なんです」を書かなかったことはいつからなの? 第に、「でござる」を書いて「でございます」を書かなかったこともいつからなの? 私の日本語がよくないですと、すみません! Edited version I have two questions ...
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Why do some endings have no verbs for them? I.e. ず・ぷ・ゆ

There seem to be a limited number of u-row characters that do not have verbs associated with them, and I'm curious why some of them do not exist. There once were ふ verbs, but there are no ぷ、ず、ゆ、づ ...
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71 views

What is the etymology of さて, and why are the kanji 偖・扠・扨 used for it?

This is a relatively simple question: what is the etymology of さて, and why are the kanji 偖・扠・扨 used for it?
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184 views

What does Kenneth Henshall mean by “X is used phonetically to express Y”?

Henshall seems to have a quite specific idea about how many phonetic elements end up in characters, which diverges from explanations I find online, but I'm not sure I'm reading him correctly. ...
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Etymology of 山賊

The contrastive pair made by 山賊 (brigand) and 海賊 (pirate) works pretty well on a mountainous island, where there are few other places for banditry. But if the words are of Chinese origin, this ...