38

Is there an etymological connection between 輪{リン} as in 車輪{しゃりん} and "ring" in English? Or is this a false cognate? There are a few things we have to look at to answer this. Derivation of different Japanese readings As we can see in the Jisho.org entry, rin is an on'yomi for the kanji 輪. On'yomi are the "sound readings", the literal meaning of the ...


20

In many kanji, some of the components do not provide meaning, but only sound.「桃」(On'yomi: とう) is made up of semantic「木」(tree) and phonetic「兆」(On'yomi: ちょう). Remember: Kanji were created for Chinese vocabulary, so the phonetic component is only relevant to On'yomi. Here's some relevant vocabulary with these On'yomi readings: [桃花]{とうか} (peach blossom) [吉兆]...


20

It's just a coincidence. According to this article, the word 「写真」 and its usage predates photography. The 「真」 part referred to 「人の姿」, so 写真 was used to mean 「姿を写したもの」, and was used for other things such as ink drawings, 浮世絵, and other illustrations of people. From the article: このフォトグラフィ以前の写真とは、(王様や身分の高い)人物の姿をそっくりに描くことを指している。日本でも天皇の写真のことをかつては「御真影」と言ったが、...


18

Rather than interpreting「食」as its original meaning eaten, it is probably more accurate to interpret it for its secondary meaning that developed in Old Chinese: wear away, corrode, damage [something]. This is the same kind of semantic extension as English (e.g. acid eats away at metal > corrosion). Thus, eclipses are a wearing away of the sun or moon. Apart ...


17

To start off, the kanji「象」is uncontroversially derived from a picture of an elephant, directly referring to the word「[象]{ぞう}」. 商甲前3・31.3合集10222西周金師湯父鼎集成2780秦簡為吏之道17睡虎地秦簡今楷  In Ancient China, people would frequently run into a problem: there weren't enough unique characters to express all the different spoken words! When running into this problem, people ...


16

まう has a core meaning of "turn around and around". This word is actually the root of the modern verb 回【まわ】る, and in the compound 見【み】舞【ま】う and its derivational noun form 見【み】舞【ま】い, it's the older "turn around" sense that's key -- not the "dance" sense. My copy of Shogakukan's 国語大辞典 lists this as the first definition for 見【み】舞【ま】う (emphasis mine): 警戒・監督・...


16

No, it's not. Wikipedia says: 日本語の「写真」という言葉は、中国語の「真を写したもの」からである Japanese "写真" comes from the Chinese meaning "Copy/reproduction(写) of the reality/truth(真)" Source is 『日本語源広辞典』(Nihongo Genji(?) Jiten). P.S. The shutter sound is usually written as カシャ or パシャ.


16

My guess is that ''furansugo'' is used in normal speech whereas ''futsugo'' is only used in very formal speech. You're on the right track. Nowadays the only European language called by its kanji name in speech is 英語. I'd say that it's rather inevitable because if you say イギリス語 it'd sound like "British English". So, virtually nobody use 仏語【ふつご】 instead of ...


16

You seem to be really over-analyzing this. It is only an 当{あ}て字{じ}. The plural suffix "tachi/dachi" already existed when Japanese was merely a spoken language without a writing system. We simply assigned the kanji 「達」 to the suffix later on. The kanji 「達」 does not have that meaning originally, but that is the whole point of 当て字. It is sound-based. ...


15

During the Edo period, villages traditionally had 10 communal activities: 冠 - 成人式 - coming of age ceremony 婚 - marriage 建築 - helping with building/repairing 病気 - helping when sick 水害 - helping during flooding/water damage 旅行 - travel 出産 - giving birth 年忌 - death anniversaries 葬式 - funeral service 火事 - fire fighting However, when ...


15

This is a linguistic phenomenon called "calque" or "loan translation". In Japanese, it is called 「翻訳借用{ほんやくしゃくよう}」. A calque is a word that has been borrowed from another language by the method of literally translating the foreign word "component-by-component". This is, therefore, a completely different method from homophonic translation (aka '...


14

The word meaning leisure was originally written as「閒」. 「閒」depicts moonlight「月」streaming through a door「門」, indicating the original meaning crack, space. This was extended to mean free time, leisure.「閒」is no longer used, so: Space is now written as「間」 Free time, leisure borrowed the identically pronounced character「閑」. 「閑」is a compound of a wooden ...


14

check out this excerpt from 大辞林第三版 on ませ ませ( 助動 ) 〔丁寧の助動詞「ます」の命令形〕 ① 「いらっしゃる」「おっしゃる」「くださる」「なさる」「申す」「召す」などの動詞の連用形に付いて,相手に対して,その動作をするようにという要求を,丁寧の気持ちを含めて言い表す。 「くれぐれも御自愛くださいませ」 「十分お気をつけなさいませ」 ② 挨拶(あいさつ)の語句に用いて,語調を丁寧にする。 「お帰りなさいませ」 〔② は,元来,「よくお帰りなさいました」のような言い方の省略した形「お帰りなさい」を,命令の言い方と混同して,それに「ます」の命令形「ませ」を付けて,丁寧な気持ちを添えようとしたところからできたもの〕 → まし(助動) ・ ます(助動) We ...


14

What is the etymology of the phrase 隴を得て蜀を望む? We can reorder the characters to get 得隴望蜀, which is a Chinese-language yojijukugo. This phrase may reference a few unrelated historical events. The earliest such event is about Emperor Guangwu of Han reunifying the Gansu region into Han territory then turning his sights on Sichuan (see Emperor Guangwu of Han's ...


13

The instrument originated in China as the [三弦]{sānxián}, and it came to Japan via Okinawa. The Okinawan instrument's soundbox is covered with a snakeskin. The older Japanese name for it was 蛇皮【じゃび】線【せん】, literally "snakeskin strings". This instrument was introduced to the Osaka area from Okinawa during the 永禄【えいろく】 era (1558-1570). Over time, the jabi ...


12

Firstly, the native word 金(かね) in お金 only means metal and not gold. You may have mixed it up with the Sino-Japanese 金(きん) that means gold (it also means metal as a morpheme, but not for a standalone word). The native word for gold is こがね "yellow-metal". Thus money is called お金 just because coins are made of metals. No mystery :) On the other hand, 銀行 is a ...


11

This kotobank.jp link says that『日本国語大辞典』refers to a kanji version of「そそっかしい」as「麁相かしい」, and gives a quote from the novel (section) 式亭三馬『浮世風呂・2・下』: 私が一体麁相かしい性で Here's a page from『浮世風呂』(taken from 人文学オーペンデータ共同利用センター) with that quote highlighted: This is my transcription: If you believe that this furigana says「[麁相]{そそっ}か」(refer to a hentaigana chart), ...


11

Well,「料理」in the sense of cuisine didn't come from Chinese.「料理」in Chinese originally meant management, while the classical Chinese word for dish (i.e. a type of food) is「肴饌」. In Modern Chinese we normally just say「菜」or「餐」;「日本菜」means Japanese cuisine, and「西餐」means Western cuisine.「料理」is not common in Chinese, and is usually used to refer to Japanese and ...


11

「[金]{きん}」can indeed be viewed as containing semantic「呂」, semantic「王」, and phonetic「[今]{きん}」. 「王」is a depiction of the blade of a battle axe, used as a symbol of power/authority > king > prince. 商金小臣𪺕卣集成5378西周金大盂鼎集成2837今楷  In「金」,「王」is being used for the meaning metal (battle-axe), emphasised here as an item of metallic manufacture. As ...


11

ひ弱 is usually straightforwardly negative and derogatory. The word sometimes has the implication of "sickly". か弱い often refers to a type of weakness that stirs someone's sympathetic feeling or protective instinct. か弱い is not necessarily negative, and you can even find articles that says か弱い女性はモテる, in which case the nuance is more or less close to that of ...


10

膣子 and 醜子 are not real person names. They may be possible as funny pen names or such, but for real person names, they are out of the question. I doubt a local government will accept registrations of such names. Looks like #names function of jisho.org is severely broken and vandalized. Many results seem to be poor-quality machine generated readings, but ...


10

The kanji spellings are directly borrowed from China, so it's Chinese that call them so. Cucurbits are originally tropical plants, thus they were all imported to East Asia at some points of history. 西瓜 suggests that it came from Western Regions, and 南瓜 from Southeast Asia. As they are tropical plants, 北瓜 shouldn't exist logically, but according to a Chinese ...


10

奇数 is an ancient Chinese word, and it is unlikely to be a calque (translation) of the English word odd number. A 2nd century dictionary 説文解字 already has an entry: 奇:異也。一曰不耦。 奇: 1. strange. 2. not paired. 奇 "odd" and 偶 (耦) "even" are historically mainly technical terms in Chinese cleromancy 易占, but it has a long history of use. But beware that this 奇 ...


9

I would say there is no difference, at least in everyday language. Maybe 速さ has a slightly more casual feel to it... at least I see more myself using 速さ than 速度 in a daily conversation. Now, 速度 is velocity and 速さ speed. That means that in the field of physics, they are indeed different, namely: velocity is a vector, including not only a value but a ...


9

They are derived from the onomatopoeia used to describe the motions the hand makes when playing. グー comes from ぐっと, the way you clench your fist チョキ comes from チョキン (or チョキチョキ), the sound scissors make when cutting パー comes from ぱっと, the way you spread your hand According to Japanese Wikipedia: ぐっと拳を握るからグー チョキンと切るからチョキ ぱっと手を広げるからパー


9

The Sino-Japanese word (kango) that directly corresponds to 禁煙 is 喫煙【きつえん】 (喫 = "take and enjoy"), which is a suru-verb that can be found in stiff situations including statistical or medical contexts. (We say 禁煙 but not 禁喫煙 for this reason.) On the other hand, (たばこを)吸う is a wago which is commonly used in casual day-to-day situations. English speakers happen ...


9

Is it by any chance the case that, historically, the い-adjective ending 〜かった is a contraction originating from 〜くあった, where あった is the past inflection of ある? That's exactly what you're seeing. For ~い adjectives, there were three base conjugation forms: ~し -- 終止形【しゅうしけい】: terminal / conclusive, for ending a sentence of clause. ~き -- 連体形【れんたいけい】: ...


9

there is perhaps some historical connection between the く sound and い sound, either phonologically or semantically. I think the answer from blutorange addresses this. Maybe these two classes of words [〜い adjectives and 〜く verbs] diverged from the same class of words somehow? I'll disagree with blutorange about this part, as his answer is (I believe) ...


8

A dictionary definition of 選手 is スポーツで選{えら}ばれて競技{きょうぎ}に出場{しゅつじょう}する人 A person chosen to appear in a sports competition So, 選 expresses 選ばれる, and 手 expresses the person in question. You noted that 手 means "hand," and by extension "ability," but it's also, by even further extension, the person who possesses that ability. You can see this in words ...


8

閑 is a compound ideogram composed of a gate latched shut with wood. And it meant something like door latch or fencing originally. Eventually, the meaning of spare time or leisure was borrowed from another kanji that has the same reading, 間. This was pretty common in the history of kanji, for kanji with the same reading to just pick up meanings from each ...


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