The Stack Overflow podcast is back! Listen to an interview with our new CEO.
38

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 ...


36

This phenomenon is called 連濁 (rendaku). The basic rules for rendaku can be found in the following question, so please take a look at it first: Rules or criteria for 連濁: Voiced or unvoiced syllables in compound words Now, in addition to the rules mentioned in the linked question, there is yet another rule (or "tendency") regarding rendaku: there are several ...


27

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 ...


15

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. ...


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

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" ...


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

思{おも}い付{つ}く and 思{おも}い浮{う}かぶ are compound verbs (複合動詞{ふくごうどうし}) - [思{おも}う + 付{つ}く] and [思{おも}う + 浮{う}かぶ]. 思{おも}う implies the action that the doer works his/her mind subjectively and emotionally to image/determine/worry/hope/expect/like or love. 日本{にほん}の将来{しょうらい}を思{おも}う。"I think of the future of Japan." 問題{もんだい}ないと思{おも}う。"There should be no problem." ...


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 ...


6

店頭 means "store front" and 店頭分 means " items which is sold in a shop".


6

Shouldn't there be の to signify that 悪 modifies 魔? No. This term was borrowed in its entirety from Chinese, as a single term. Borrowing aside, two-character compounds are generally parsed as single terms -- even those coined in Japan. It seems to be a one word and not a phrase, how do we know if a double kanji is such a single word and not two separate ...


6

[翻]{ひるがえ}す is a transitive verb of [翻]{ひるがえ}る. It seems that it shows the movement of a flag originally. This theory remains a matter of speculation. 翻る…[旗]{はた}が翻る(A flag flaps)  →ひらひらと[裏]{うら}[返]{がえ}る→ひるがえる others: [蘇]{よみがえ}る…[死者]{ししゃ}が蘇る(The dead revive)  →[黄泉]{よみ}から[帰]{かえ}る→よみがえる ※黄泉 is the land of the dead. I did not understand about [覆]{...


6

「かけ」 comes from the verb 「かける」, which is a key verb with over a dozen meanings. See definition #15 in this dictionary. To summarize the pertinent parts of #15 in my own way, it says the following. 「Verb in [連用形]{れんようけい} (continuative form) + かける」 means: "to start (verb)ing", "to start (verb)ing and stop in the middle without completing", "to be ...


6

I searched for the meaning in Japanese (googled 馬面の意味) and got the following: 馬の顔のように長い顔。 From this, I feel that it is safe to assume that by 'long face' they were talking about the physical shape of the face, not the English idiom. For more information, I'd look at the following page: https://www.weblio.jp/content/%E9%A6%AC%E9%9D%A2 https://...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible