I must be doing something right! But first: logographic hilarity: どんな姦計*?

Posted: November 25, 2009 in language:japanese, writing system
Tags: , , , , ,

I like Chinese characters.

Some of them are really really cute!

1. 木 林 森

This is the tree 木 (き)。When there are more of them, they become a moderately sized forest: 林 (はやし; often used in names, like 小林 こばやし)。When there are lots and lots of them, they’re a bigger forest: 森 (もり)。

2.車 轟く

This is a car 車 (くるま)、but also all sorts of wagons that were in use long before the cars were invented。Three wagons give you a verb that means “to roar, roll” 轟く (とどろく)、and another one that means ”to thunder”(1) 轟かす (とどろかす)。

3.耳 囁く

One ear is an ear 耳 (みみ). Three ears and a mouth mean “to whisper” 囁く (ささやく)。

4.馬 騳 驫

One horse is a horse 馬 (うま). Two horses mean “to run” 騳る (はしる)。Curiously enough, three horses mean “a lot of horses” 驫 (しょう)

5.歯 噛む

These are the teeth 歯 (は)。Your teeth + a mouth = ”to bite, chew” 噛む (かむ)。

There are of course MOAR examples, but these are, I believe, the ones you’re most likely to come across if you ever have anything to do with Japanese at all.

(Also, 囁くis actually a pretty common verb. I mean, not usually in speech, but you’ll come across it if you read books. It might not be written with the kanji, though. It depends on how the author wants to come across, and who the potential reader is, and that sort of stuff. It’s actually pretty fascinating.)


*姦計 vs 関係。

(1) As in “speak  loudly”.


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