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10 votes
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Is there anything special about single vowel words?

Does this class of words have a name? I don't think so. Do words like "banana" and "indivisibility" have a special name in English? Are these words more poetic in a way? As ...
naruto's user avatar
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8 votes

Difference between ひらがな and 漢字 in this poetry

I wouldn’t have stopped to think why あした is written in hiragana. I might have if 今日 were written as きょう. I guess I’m simply more used to seeing あした than きょう. We would have to ask the author why he ...
aguijonazo's user avatar
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7 votes
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Do the Japanese read Classical Chinese poems in Japanese or in on-readings?

There is always trade-off, as you said. Thus naturally we have both approaches, depending on what policy and objective you have. Your #1 is called 訓読 ("interpretative reading") in Japanese, and ...
broccoli forest's user avatar
6 votes

What is the function of 「や」 in this sentence?

The や indicates 詠嘆・感動 (exclamation/admiration). It's categorized as a 間投助詞 (interjectory particle) in デジタル大辞泉: や 四 間助 3 詠嘆・感動の意を表す。 「いで、あな幼なや」〈源・若紫〉 「夏草やつはものどもが夢の跡/芭蕉」〈奥の細道〉 And 明鏡国語辞典 categorizes ...
chocolate's user avatar
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5 votes

What is the function of 「や」 in this sentence?

This や is a literary particle used to add emotion or exclamation. It's common in in haiku and waka. It works like O as in "O the ancient pond", or ... as in "The ancient pond...". ...
naruto's user avatar
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5 votes
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What is the difference in nuance between 思ったら and 思えたら?

You are correct that 思はば in classical Japanese is basically a plain conditional ("if I think"). However, in this context, it has a mood of counterfactual assumption ("if I were to think....
naruto's user avatar
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5 votes
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Is the layout of this text supposed to resemble a style of poem?

Yes, this 4-4-5 (or 4-4-7) rhythm has a nice ring (語呂がいい) to the ears of Japanese. Nicopedia even maintains a list of words which happen to have such 4-4-5 beats. Kitahara Hakushu's あめんぼの歌 is one of ...
naruto's user avatar
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5 votes
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事に感ず and Shigin vocabulary

Background The first thing to be aware of is that this poem was composed in Chinese by the poet 于 濆 (Yú Fén) in roughly 874. (Brief Chinese Wikipedia article about the poet here.) As such, the ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
5 votes
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Trouble understanding small bits of poetry in a Japanese novel

Those tanka are all overly "artistic", almost a showcase of unexpected words or combinations that make each poem hard to follow in meaning. (Each poem is divided in lines for easier ...
broccoli forest's user avatar
4 votes

The difference between もう and まふ

I would say this is a problem of both "the old grammar/words" and "the old orthography". A spelling reform (such as the German orthography reform of 1996) and archaic word usage are two different ...
naruto's user avatar
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3 votes
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Difference between ひらがな and 漢字 in this poetry

"Tomorrow" is seldom written as あした in daily usage. It may be that the writer would like emphasize the word "tomorrow" as the main subject of this poem, and write it in a "...
user2528260's user avatar
3 votes

Mora count for 思ふ in Classical Japanese?

The reason why such a pattern appears is, as currently understood, that Japanese was not a mora-timed language yet at the time 古今和歌集 was compiled. Until around the 16th century, meters were counted ...
broccoli forest's user avatar
3 votes
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Why is 「てふ」 pronounced 「ちょう」?

The best answer that I could find was this answer on Yahoo.jp 知恵袋, which goes: 「てふ」→(ハ行転呼)→「てう」 「てう」→(拗長音化)→「チョー(表記は「ちょう」)」 頭語以外の「はひふへほ」を原則「わいうえお」にする というのは「ハ行転呼」ですが、 これが起こった上で、さらに発音が変化して 「...
BJCUAI's user avatar
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3 votes
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Is a sentence containing two similar kanji any known figure of speech

I think these are basically coincidences, although they may not be total coincidences because related words tend to share the same radical anyway (愛 and 恋 both have 心, for example). Normally, Japanese ...
naruto's user avatar
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2 votes
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Trouble parsing lyrics under lack of particles

As far as parsing goes, my brain is intuitively seeing three "sentences" in this verse. 唐突に始まるお前の昔話(を)聞きながら、アルペジオ。 【{(冴えないノンフィクションの結末)を握っている→}お前の手】は、冷たいから嫌だ。 {(やさぐれ吐く息)に混じる声}が、歌い出す。 Note: Some verb ...
naruto's user avatar
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2 votes

The difference between もう and まふ

You are encountering here the difference between modern spelling and the spelling used prior to WWII. まふ is the old spelling for もう You can find other examples here. I cannot explain the meaning of ...
A.Ellett's user avatar
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2 votes

What is the best word choice for "cycle"?

So I'm assuming you're trying to express the beautiful redness of 紅葉. In general, 巡り itself is a nice word that is suitable for poetry, but it's strongly associated with "cycling" (i.e. "red, blue, ...
naruto's user avatar
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1 vote

Difference between ひらがな and 漢字 in this poetry

I think both of the reasons you listed are right. Probably the primary reason why he chose Hiragana instead of Kanji is that using Hiragana normally has an effect to convey softer, warmer, and more ...
QuestionDriven's user avatar
1 vote

Difference between ひらがな and 漢字 in this poetry

I think you're thinking too much, you should focus on other things to speed up your JP learning process, instead of wasting your time to pondering these stuffs. Imagine you're writing a letter for ...
4chan user's user avatar
1 vote

The different ways to say "forever"

Since this is a question about a tattoo, I'd recommend against anything other than Kanji, unless you guys have a specific preference towards Kana's. That said, let's examine the options: Kanji term 永遠 ...
dvx2718's user avatar
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1 vote
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Reading: 日々【ひび】 or 日々【にちにち】?

When 日々 means "day by day", "day-to-day" or "everyday" in modern Japanese, you can safely assume its reading is ひび. The にちにち reading is almost obsolete now, and you can ...
naruto's user avatar
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1 vote
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What is this odd Japanese Symbol with a Dakuten?

As Strechie-go mentioned, this is an iteration mark for Hiragana, in the same way that 々 is an iteration mark for Kanji. Here are some additional details: Kana uses different iteration marks; one for ...
blacktide's user avatar
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1 vote
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A couple linguistic questions about the Iroha poem

ぞ is an emphasis marker. 誰ぞ常ならむ is 誰が常であろう in modern Japanese. It is essentially a rhetorical question ("Who is eternal?"), but "Nobody is eternal" is a valid translation, too. The ...
naruto's user avatar
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1 vote

How to write and sing Shigin (Japanese way of chanting poem) properly?

It's usually written in classical Japanese or kanbun kundoku. But be aware that Yamato-kotoba is not the same as classical Japanese. Typical 詩吟 pieces have many Sino-Japanese words. Mixing 詩吟 and ...
naruto's user avatar
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1 vote

空睨んでも - how can I tell when sora is being used for something other than the sky

I think that 空 means "sky" here and that the sentence means: even if I look up the sky in the scent of the night
Makoto's user avatar
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1 vote

Translation struggles - Kuroshio Current being mentioned in a patriotic song

黒潮 is a familiar term to Japanese people (elementary school students learn it at school), and there was a warship called 黒潮 and a kisha club called 黒潮会. It obviously has an image of "(warm,) fast and ...
naruto's user avatar
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1 vote
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Translation struggles - Kuroshio Current being mentioned in a patriotic song

Probably due to Kuroshio's strong current, they improve transportation of heat and things. The lyricist wanted to encourage troops mentioning 黒潮. My interpretation is the following : 寄せる黒潮 何と見る The ...
kimi Tanaka's user avatar
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