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37

I ran across this paper today (via languagehat): "The indeterminacy of word segmentation and the nature of morphology and syntax", by Martin Haspelmath. It's a bit technical, but the boiled-down summary is that it is difficult to define "word" such that the concept is applicable and useful to all languages. (Some linguists might disagree; I tend towards ...


24

The phenomenon that the beginning of the first consonant of the latter component of a compound word is often altered as k→g, s→z, t→d, and h→b (sometimes h→p) is called rendaku (連濁). I explained it a little in another answer, but here is a more detailed explanation. There are no firm rules to tell when it happens completely. However, as the Wikipedia ...


14

It's read as はつしょうぎょうし. You can never find it in dictionaries because it's actually three words: 初【はつ】: first (jisho.org) 商業誌【しょうぎょうし】: commercial book/magazine (often as opposed to dōjinshi) 商業【しょうぎょう】: commerce (jisho.org) 誌【し】: (suffix) magazine (jisho.org) 初商業誌 is typically used when a dōjin manga-ka makes a debut on a magazine available in the ...


13

As @sawa posted with the link in the comment, sometimes words have exceptional readings when in compound form. 白(しろ) is the colour white, but in certain compound words it has the reading しら. Exs: しらゆき → pure white snow しらさぎ → white heron しらが → white (grey) hair


12

I don't have a full answer here (at least not yet), but I do want to note that the kanji here are definitely not any kind of ateji - they are actually the exact opposite, a gikun (義訓 - 'meaning reading'), since 山 has no reading わさ, and 葵 has no reading び. That means the etymology of the word わさび itself is unrelated to the etymology of the kanji わさび, and ...


12

I'd add to @istrasci's answer that: 知能 is more oriented towards mechanical problem solving skills, while 知性 is more about reasoning and discerning abilities only thought to be possessed by humans. Words like 人工知能 (artificial intelligence), 知能指数 (IQ) show this aspect of 知能. Also, because of these differences, you will hear more about "動物の知能" (animal ...


12

Technically speaking, kanji don't compound. The Japanese language is not made of kanji. It's made of words and and parts of words, many (but not all) of which can be written with kanji. When you put these words or parts of words together, you can often (but not always) write the resulting compound using kanji. Still, let's talk about "kanji compounds" ...


12

I think the difference is somehow similar to that between ice cream and iced cream, or popcorn and popped corn. When you combine two nouns directly, it becomes one fixed idea. 日本料理 is the name of traditionally recognized Japanese local cuisine, in the same way French cuisine, Chinese cuisine or Turkish cuisine are. It includes sushi, soba, tempura etc. ...


10

Both are different spellings of ありがとう, neither is more formal, although all three spellings may be differentiated by frequency (see below). ありがとう "thank you" may be derived from ありがたい through sound change; ありがたい is a compound of 有る and 難い. In forming compounds, the first verb conjugates to the ren'yōkei (= "masu-stem"). In compound verbs, like 有り得る or ...


9

I don't believe that sudoku exists as an actual word. Literally it does mean "single number," as it is a combination of the characters for "number" and "single." However the mathematical term for singular (versus plural) is 単数{たんすう}. According to the Wikipedia page for it, the name is a reduction of the phrase "数字は独身に限る," or basically "limited to one number....


9

First, I want to give my personal impression. (Keep in mind that I'm just learning Japanese, so I have less experiences to call on than some other people! But I think perhaps I've seen enough Japanese to give an impression worth sharing, nonetheless.) My impression is that 字引 is just another word for dictionary, but that it's quite a lot less common. The ...


9

As for your last question, please read this question and answer first: Can kanji compounds be formed arbitrarily? This question is about two-kanji compounds (熟語 in the narrow sense), but the answer there is basically true for many cases involving four kanji or more. In fact, most of the "四字熟語" you encounter, like 火力発電 or 愛国精神, are established set phrases, ...


9

人 following a place name is read as じん: 関西人, 韓国人, 宇宙人 人 following the name of a field or a social group is read as じん: 芸能人, 業界人, 社会人 人 following a number is read as にん: 三人, 五人 人 following a suru-verb is read as にん: 世話人, 商売人, 使用人, 苦労人, 通行人 人 following a na-adjective tends to be read as じん: 自由人, 有名人, 野蛮人 (exception: 貧乏人: 貧乏 is also a suru-verb, though) 人 ...


9

Well, this isn't totally a Japanese problem, but a nature of Chinese vocabulary. You said "菜 by itself mean vegetable", but more exactly speaking, 菜【さい】 means: "edible plant": 菜食, 山菜, 菜園 etc. "dish (cooked food other than grain)": 主菜, 惣菜, 前菜 etc. A single kanji is often polysemous, and the most of those kanji are only viable within compounds, being ...


8

You're probably thinking of the word menkui (面食い).


8

What is the literal meaning of it? A literal translation will sound very awkward: (just) if doing. In any case, it is an expression of supposition about something that may be possible. Hence, "perhaps". Does it have a Kanji form? 若しかして (perhaps even 若しか為て), but it will usually be written in hiragana. While not recognized as modern readings, the ...


8

知恵 - means "wisdom" 知能、知性 - means "intelligence" or "intellect"; my dictionary cites them as similar meanings 知識 - means "knowledge (of/about)"; that is, the knowledge itself, not the property of "having knowledge" So, 知能、知性 are probably what you'd use for "the ability to reason over things" since 知恵 ("wisdom") has some kind of moral/ethical/right-wrong ...


8

夫妻 is the more formal of the two, and shouldn't be used when talking about yourself or people from your inner circle. As a general rule of thumb, use 夫婦 for such close relations or for general comments about married couples, and 夫妻 when talking about people outside your group.


8

Whether the emperor meant it as a "pun" (or something similar) is pretty hard to know. But it is doubtful. 昭和 means harmony for the same reason that 和 is associated to Japan: in both cases, 和 represents the very specifically-Japanese conception of "social harmony" (which is different enough from the western word, for many scholars to use "Wa", even in ...


8

It is read すう in this case From Tangorin: PEEJIsuu From Weblio 読み方:ページすう


8

「ページ数」 is always read 「ページすう」. Generally speaking, 「数」 is read 「かず」 when preceded by originally Japanese words, and it is read 「すう」 when preceded by Sino- and Non-Sino loanwords. Be reminded that exceptions abound regarding this matter. When unsure, consult a dictionary or call me collect. 「かず」: 「[口数]{くちかず}」(talkativeness), 「[場数]{ばかず}」(number/amount ...


7

Yes, they're both the same. It's just an alternate spelling, think color vs. colour. Not to my knowledge.


7

If you already know the masu-stem of some verbs can act as a noun or na-/no-adjective, you can think these ず-words are almost the same except that negation is included as part of the word. That is to say, there are a few lexicalized ず-words that work as nouns or na-/no-adjectives. Just like non-negative ones, many ず-words have unpredictable meanings, and you ...


6

1) I don't think that you have missed anything or that you should really be concerned about it too much. Even without exhaustive research, people who know a lot about kanji know that these readings stand out as being special. Perhaps one of the readings is used in two, rather than just one word, but the sound would still seem unique in comparison to the ...


6

Here is the list, I've filterd from dictionary with a script, and added links to jisho.org for reference. Regarding commonness, I would choose some like 伊勢海老, 回転寿司, 有耶無耶, 大馬鹿者, 我武者羅, 興味津津, 一人相撲, 滅茶苦茶, 読売新聞. 「浅草海苔」 あさくさのり 「彼方此方」 あちこち 「阿仏利加」 あふりか 「亜刺比亜」 あらびあ 「亜爾加里」 あるかり 「安母尼亜」 あんもにあ 「如何様師」 いかさまし 「伊勢海老」 いせえび 「稲荷寿司」 ...


6

Wasabi 「山葵」 is jukujikun -(熟字訓 - word reading), which is kind of 当て字、but based on word 「熟語」 level Regarding origin, 語源辞典 says that 山葵's leaf is looks like Hollyhock 葵, so used it such way from Heian-Era 「794年-1185年」 Following are "Three Hollyhocks inside Circle" logo from Tokugawa clan and Wasabi leaf. Note: Images taken from Wikipedia 1, 2


6

「[新]{しん}メニュー」 is a very common phrase. We say 新ドラマ、新アニメ、新プラン、新ビール, etc. all the time and I do not think anyone finds it "improper". At least, I have never heard a native speaker complaining about it. What is extremely uncommon is that they inserted the 「ウ」 in there. Or is that a typo on your part? We do say 「[新]{あたら}しいメニュー」 as well, but the phrase lacks ...


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