Hot answers tagged

37

A few years ago I began to create a list. It is incomplete, but you can build from here. 湖 → 水海【みずうみ】 京 → 宮処【みやこ】 暁【あかとき】 → 明時 曙 → 明け仄 喉 → 飲門【のみと】 銅 → 赤金【あかがね】 胡床 → 足座【あぐら】 羹 → 熱物【あつもの】 鐙 → 足踏み【あぶみ】 雷【いかずち】 → 厳【いか】つ霊【ち】 泉 → 出【い】づ水【み】 営む → 暇無【いとな】む 猪【いのしし】 → 猪【い】の獣【しし】, 猪【い】の肉【しし】 妹 → 妹【いも】人【うと】 (common hito shift) 甍 → 苛処【いらか】 驢 → 兎馬【うさぎうま】 鬣【うながみ】 → 項【うな】髪【...


35

It's because English "free" has two major meanings which are totally different, and no native Japanese word covers both of the two meanings of "free". Free as in "free WiFi", no charge = 無料 Free as in "free speech", liberty = 自由 If you type only "free" to, for example, Google Translate, it can't guess the intended meaning, so it ends up with フリー, which is ...


34

It says 「檢閲濟{けんえつずみ}」"ken'etsuzumi", which means "inspected". The kanji are of the old style. The presently-used kanji are 「検閲済」.


29

It isn't 100 percent clear, but the following is the “well-established” theory: Hiragana (平仮名) As noted in your other question, hiragana was originally called 女手{おんなで}. In the late Nara, early Heian periods, 万葉仮名{まんようがな} written in 草書体 (sosho style) was used for “unofficial” texts such as Japanese poems (和歌{わか}), etc. From this 万葉仮名, women in the imperial ...


28

Why is it pronounced "yen"? I was actually wondering this a month or so ago, but found the answer on the Wikipedia article for yen/en. The spelling and pronunciation "yen" is standard in English. This is because mainly English speakers who visited Japan at the end of the Edo period to the early Meiji period spelled words this way. ... In the 16th century,...


24

I think the word [時間]{じかん} was created in the Meiji era, but the word [時]{とき} is older. So it's definitely wrong that "the Japanese didn't have any interest in clocks (until 1871)". I searched in an old-Japanese dictionary and found the usage of 「とき」 in 竹取物語: [宵]{よひ}うち[過]{す}ぎて、[子]{ね}のときばかりに Here, the word [子]{ね}のとき refers to a certain time which is ...


23

Any word read in on'yomi in Japanese and using the Sinic hanja reading in Korean is probably ultimately attributable to Middle Chinese, unless evidence can be found of an independent coinage somewhere on the Japanese archipelago or the Korean peninsula. Terms like the ones below are likely borrowings from Middle or later Korean, rather than Chinese. We can ...


20

Say what? Putting aside the fact that this sounds like a whitewashed description of sexual assault, at what point in history was this "practice" so common that it was given a name? I don't know when it started, but the word originally comes from [呼ばう]{よばう} and is more commonly written as [夜這い]{よばい}. It is an old Japanese custom that was common up until the ...


19

Addendum The word 時{とき} is probably the oldest native Japanese word for "time". This term appears in the 万葉集{まんようしゅう} written in Old Japanese and compiled from poems composed from the 300s through the 700s, completed some time after 759 CE. These are some of the oldest surviving examples of written Japanese, suggesting that this term is quite ancient ...


18

Your suspicion is leading you down the right path. ドア is in fact a loanword from English. According to Jisho.org, ドア is used in reference to a Western-style door. This is a door that opens on hinges. Before the introduction of Western-style doors, you are also correct to assume that the Japanese had doors as well. These doors would slide on a track. In ...


16

I think this question is relevant: What do you mean, "In Japanese there are no words for "I’m suffering""? Also a little googling leads to a quote where this is clearly being used metaphorically by the speaker (presuming this is even an accurate quote/translation and not made up): Captain Sasaki of the Yokahama Guards: "There is no ...


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 ...


14

I doubt that any kanji characters commonly used in Japanese were made after 1946. Some kanji characters used in Japanese are actually made in Japan. They are called 和製漢字 (わせいかんじ) or 国字 (こくじ). However, although I do not know when they were made, I guess that most of them were made before 1946. JIS X 0208 regulates basic characters commonly used in ...


14

Undoubtedly the book Krazer suggested would make for the most thorough answer, but the Japanese wikipedia article on the 国語審議会 (the Japanese Language Council) has got some interesting details. From 1949 to 1961 the chairman was 土岐善麿, a supporter of the switch to romaji. Some of his work was published in romaji. (At least one example, Nakiwarai, is online if ...


14

In the olden days Japanese scholarly works were written in 漢文, which is basically Classical Chinese. Together with a set of annotation rules (e.g. "read the next two characters backwards", "insert a particle here", etc.) it was possible to translate/transcribe the resulting Chinese text into Japanese. Nowadays, it would still be possible to render Japanese ...


14

Yes, it's common to write in that way. Writing いづみ instead of いずみ and 買ひ instead of 買い are a part of the Historical Kana Orthography (歴史的仮名遣). Writing katakana instead of hiragana is considered more formal in old days. See 歴史的仮名遣 and 片仮名 歴史的仮名遣とは ... 明治から第二次世界大戦終結直後までの公文書や学校教育において用いられたものであり、平安時代初期までの発音を反映した表記であると仮想されたものを基点としている。 The Historical Kana ...


14

No, because「星」was not the original character for the word meaning star. 「星」was originally written「晶」: These are oracle bone script samples, and by that stage stars were already characterised as being more numerous and smaller than the sun and moon, hence the appearance.「晶」now means sparkling/crystal/radiant, and this is a semantic extension from the ...


13

It's a repetition mark or くの字点 (for its similarity to the character く, as you noted). い ろ 〳 〵 の 注 文 It's only used in vertical text, and repeats over two or more characters, which for your examples results in ひいひいと and いろいろの注文. There is also a single-kana repetition mark ゝ (which is the kana equivalent of the kanji repetition mark 々), ...


13

金 in 金曜日 refers to Venus (金星). In fact, "Fri" in "Friday" also refers to Venus, also known as Frige's star. Both are almost certainly derived from the Roman names for the days of the week.


12

Before answering the question, I would like to clarify one thing: for most purposes, [物]{もの} and [者]{もの} are not two separate words, but a single word もの which has two kanji notations depending on its meaning. This is clearer when we consider compound words such as にせもの. When someone uses the word にせもの, it is not always clear even to the speaker whether it ...


12

This looks like modern "浮かべる" but it is actually classical "浮かぶ" (四段, "to float") plus what is traditionally taught as the "り" auxiliary verb (助動詞). Etymologically, of course, it is really just "ari" attached to the ren'yokei 連用形/infinitive: /ukabi/ + /ari/ = /ukab(y)eri/, /ukab(y)eru/ adnominally (as in this case). Frellesvig calls this the "morphological ...


11

Better title? I guess "Kun'yomi spanning multiple morphemes (which each have kanji of their own)" might be more precise, but better... not sure. Lots of verbs too. 顧みる/省みる vs 返り見る 試みる vs 心見る 陥る/陥れる vs 落ち入る/落とし入れる 弄ぶ vs 持て遊ぶ 承る vs 受け賜わる There are cases where the etymology is unclear, or at least not obvious, too. I'm sure 翻す and 覆す are something+...


11

Yes, it was one form. From here: 奈良時代には、「オ」は [o] 、「ヲ」は [wo] と発音されており明確な区別があった。借字(万葉仮名)では、オには意・憶・於・應(応)・隱(隠)・乙などの字が用いられる一方、「ヲ」には乎・呼・袁・遠・鳥・鳴・怨・越・少・小・尾・麻・男・緒・雄などが用いられていた Translation In the Nara period, オ was pronounced as "o" and ヲ was pronounced as "wo", and were clearly distinguished. [借字]{しゃくじ}(Manyogana) used 意・憶・於・應(応)・隱(隠)・乙, etc. for オ and 乎・呼・袁・遠・...


11

My understanding is that ます is an inflectable function word (助動詞), so I'm wondering why the negative form ends with ん. Is that a contraction of ぬ perhaps? Yes, the final -n is from negative -nu. This should make sense as -nu attaches to the irrealis, which is ma-se since mas- is サ変. (Also why is the 未然形 ませ rather than something more regular, like まさ?) ...


11

They do appear to be shortenings, but perhaps not of any particular wording. 大辞林 says they're short for sentences like the following: こんにちは is short for sentences such as 今日は御機嫌いかがですか こんばんは is short for sentences such as 今晩はよい晩です In each case, 大辞林 marks the sentence in quotes with など, implying it doesn't necessarily come from those sentences specifically, ...


11

One of the definitions of なる (成る) is to be completed (完成する), or to succeed (成功する), and thus carries the implication of "good". Consequently, ならない then means not completed; not successful; "it won't become (good)". As in English, if you say "That won't do", it has the same question: won't do what? But it has been ingrained in your mind to know that "that ...


11

It's just a coincidence and an example of a false cognate. The etymology is covered here in Japanese. Basically, the term "名" has been around for a pretty long time with the same meaning as 名前. It's thought that the 前 part is an honorific that was added some time later. Early uses of the full word 名前 can be seen in use in relatively modern times. The ...


11

"Come true" isn't the literal translation of 叶{かな}う. The word かなう means "to fit; match; accord", in this sense in accord with 叶's meaning in Classical Chinese. So we are practically saying 願いが叶う "my wish matches it" as if a fixed phrase corresponds to "my wish comes true". かなう once had tons of kanji transcriptions (see below), but most of them were culled ...


11

Imagine you are an ancient Chinese scribe. You want to write the word "to help, to assist", which was something like dzryo (modern Chinese zhù, Japanese jo). However, there's no character for it. You could create a new one—perhaps a picture of a stick figure helping another; but that's kinda abstract and hard to depict as a drawing. Readers might interpret ...


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