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Old 10-29-2012, 07:55 PM   #51
Talon87
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Talon's Words of the Day (October 29, 2012)

Given the interest in storms this week, let's go for some stormy vocabulary tonight!

Beginner: 嵐 "storm"
reading: あらし
radical components: 山 mountain and 風 wind

Non-Beginner: 竜巻 "twister", "tornado"
reading: たつまき
components: 竜 たつ "dragon" + 巻 まき "scroll", "roll up, wind up, coil"

And a bonus Beginner word this time! [/breaking his own rules]

Beginner: 台風 "typhoon"
reading: たいふう
components: 台 タイ "stand, pedestal" + 風 フウ "wind"
other notes: "typhoon" is one example of Japanese words that made their way into English!
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Old 10-29-2012, 09:13 PM   #52
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Quote:
奥さん "wife", "your wife", "Ma'am"
人妻 "married woman", "another's wife"
Missing a couple readings, Talon.

Also, is 花嫁 read "かふ"?
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Old 10-29-2012, 09:21 PM   #53
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I'll edit them in. Apologies. Posting from phone right now so I'll do the edit later. But I'll go ahead and provide the readings here too.

奥さん おくさん
人妻 ひとづま
花嫁 はなよめ
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Old 10-30-2012, 11:07 AM   #54
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Talon's Words of the Day (October 30, 2012)

Beginner: 地下鉄 "subway"
reading: ちかてつ
components: 地 チ "earth" + 下 カ "under, below" + 鉄 テツ "iron"
other notes: we learned this one back in my first year of studies so don't think I'm foisting random useless knowledge on you! ^^; What you can take away from this word are the useful components embedded within. 地 you will see in many words like 地図 ちず "map" or 地球 ちきゅう "(the planet) Earth". 鉄 you will see in anything to do with iron, e.g. 鉄砲 てっぽう "gun", and it often comes up in any name where in English we'd say "Railway." And besides: knowing how to say "subway" in Japanese is in and of itself useful if you ever do decide to visit Tokyo! Which is probably why it was taught to us in our first year.

Non-Beginner: words which have to do with saying that somebody is good at something. Copying and pasting a lot of these from WWWJDIC so the subtleties are preserved.
  • 上手 じょうず adj.な skill; skillful; dexterity
  • 得意 とくい adj.な (1) triumph; prosperity; (2) pride; (3) one's strong point; one's forte; one's specialty
  • うまい adj.い (1) skillful; clever; expert; wise; successful; (2) (esp. 美味い,甘い) delicious; appetizing; appetising; (3) (esp. 旨い) fortunate; splendid; promising
  • 偉い えらい adj.い great; excellent; admirable; remarkable; distinguished; important; celebrated; famous; eminent
Now for some notes for each word:
  • 上手 is the standard word we were taught in school. However, we were told that it is arrogant to use this word when describing your own talents. You usually should use it when telling others they're good at something.
  • 得意 is the word we were taught in school to use when wanting to say that you yourself are good at something.
  • うまい I wrote in hiragana for a reason. Note with うまい the various kanji which can be used for it to carry various meanings:
    • 美味い (variant on 美味しい おいしい "tasty") and 甘い (alternate reading for the same word, same spelling which reads あまい and means "sweet") for the "delicious" reading
    • 上手い (variant on 上手 じょうず) and 巧い for the "skillful; clever" reading
    • 旨い for the "fortunate; splendid; promising" reading
    So if you ever see 上手 being treated as an い adjective instead of as a な adjective, you know the reading is うま(い) and not じょうず. And if you ever see 美味しい except it's missing the し, it's read うまい. (lol @ 甘い though. Context alone will have to guide you there!)
  • 偉い is a word you'll often hear others using to commend others. It has other syntactical uses but I don't want to overwhelm you with too much info. I guess the one other thing I'll note here though is try not to confuse 偉い with 違い ちがい.
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:48 PM   #55
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I've had this entry typed up since yesterday afternoon! ^^; Not going to allow myself to not post it two days in a row! 行け~~~~~~~~~~~!

Beginner: 無理 n., なadj. "unreasonable; impossible"
reading: むり
components: 無 ム "without; non-, un-" + 理 リ "logic, reason"
other notes: If you're a beginner student you've probably heard this word loads and loads in conversations. People use it all the time when they're asked to do something and, whether without even trying or whether after trying and failing, they exclaim that it's impossible. Definitely worth picking up if you don't already have it in your arsenal!

Non-Beginner: 油断 n. "negligence; unpreparedness"
reading: ゆだん
components: 油 ユ "oil" + 断 ダン "decision; judgment"
other notes: I heard this today in a random conversation and figured it'd be a great one to share. Not sure if that's true ^^; but for me the word has some nostalgic value. I first learned it six years ago when I was watching the anime The Prince of Tennis. The motto of the team captain was 油断せずに行こう! yudan sezu ni yukou or (loosely) "Stay sharp and let's do this!" (lit. "Without making careless mistakes, let's go!") He said it so many times over the course of more than 170 episodes that it was impossible for me to not pick it up just by watching.

And I'll break my rules again in part because it's been a few days, in part because I'm kind of wondering if the intermediate will appreciate a niche word like 油断 ^^; , and in part because this word jumped out at me too and I want to share it before I forget to. <-- I forgot the word yesterday afternoon and so I saved this to a Notepad file until I could remember it. But I never did! T_T AND I FORGOT TO POST! T_T So I'm posting now. I'll have to make it up to you guys tomorrow.
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:24 PM   #56
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Has it really been a week!? Some post-appropriate words typed from bed via phone:

Beginner: まさか "Could it be ...?" / "No way!" / "Don't tell me he ...", and so on.
Other notes: doesn't literally translate this way but the beginner needn't fuss over such details. (The advanced student is invited to study 真逆, lit. "true reversal", and consider subtleties of application in Japanese sentences.)

Non-Beginner: あり得ない! "No way!" / "But that's impossible!", and so on.
reading: ありえない
other notes: literally "that can't be" / "that can't exist" with the root verb being ある, the modifier being 得る (which as a suffix connotes possibility), and the conjugation of said modifier being in the negative present tense. But the precise conjugation あり得ない has taken on a life of its own in modern Japanese as a figure of speech.
First learned this one back in college when watching Hana Yori Dango. The main character was quite fond of it.

Non-Beginner: いかにも "Indeed" / "Certainly" / "That's so true"
kanji: 如何にも (but often written in pure kana)
Other notes: indicates agreement with something the addressee has said
I almost always hear this one in period dramas (i.e. historical programs).

Okay, my finger hurts. Sorry I'm a week late. Could've sworn it'd only been three days ...
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:37 PM   #57
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Right after you posted about むり, I heard it in Tiger & Bunny like 5 times in a row.
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:45 PM   #58
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So I'm doing something a little different. My Japanese teacher is letting us do whatever we want for our Japanese Semester Project and since my original idea failed sorta I'm doing an alternative to present alongside/instead of what I've done.

And it's in the form of a STREAM!

That's right, for ONE NIGHT ONLY* I will be streaming JAPANESE GREEN VERSION in JAPANESE with JAPANESE COMMENTARY.

IN JAPAN except wait no not really dammit.

So you should come check it out!

livestream.com/kecleon

Show starts around 7:15 EST! Even if you don't understand Japanese come check it out and chat while I ramble in a language I'm not particularly good at!

*actually probably like a few times over the next week
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:41 PM   #59
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Talon's Words of the Day (November 14, 2012)

Tonight's words come to you from a randomly-chosen page of a light novel I was skimming yesterday and today.

Beginner: 背中 n. "back (of body)"
reading: せなか
components: 背 せ "back; spine; height" + 中 なか "middle; center"
other notes: the beginner needn't worry about how to write 背 but is invited to learn it anyway as that's how you become a big kid!

Non-Beginner: 面倒 n.,なadj. "trouble; difficulty; care; attention"
reading: めんどう
components: 面 メン "mask; face; surface" + 倒 ドウ "defeat; overthrow; fall, collapse"
other notes: This one you'll hear in the common expression 面倒くさい / 面倒臭い (めんどうくさい) which means "bothersome," "trouble," or sometimes translated as "pain in the ass." If you're a Naruto fan, I can tell you that there's a certain character you know who uses this expression all the time so listen for it.
____As for the components, this is another word I've chosen because the intermediate student will really benefit by knowing both of these characters. 面 you've likely already seen in 仮面 かめん "mask" or 画面 がめん "screen" (like a TV screen or a computer screen). I remember learning it in school with 面白い おもしろい "interesting; amusing" and 面接 めんせつ "interview". But 倒 is another character the intermediate already probably knows the verb for (or if he doesn't, well, he's invited to learn it now! ^_^) and that's 倒す たおす "to defeat; to overcome". You'll hear this a lot in any show or film which has characters sparring. Paired along with that is the intransitive 倒れる たおれる which means "to be defeated," amongst many, many other things. Why these two characters show up paired together in 面倒, I don't know. But it definitely seems like there's a story there and to me that's fascinating. This is why I love kanji so much: so many characters or words seem to tell a story of their own.
____Finally, please do note the positive definition of めんどう as "care." You will often hear the word used in the form 面倒を見る "to take care [of someone]." If you hear someone say 面倒を見るな!, I'm willing to bet that they're probably asking a family member or a friend not to fuss over them. Note that. 面倒 can contextually mean "a pain in the ass; a bother" ... but it can also carry the positive meaning of "to take care of someone."
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:07 PM   #60
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Talon's Words of the Day (November 15, 2012)

Today's words are a bit on the easy side, though the kanji for the beginner's word is ironically more difficult than that for the non-beginner's.

Beginner: 太陽 n. "sun"
reading: たいよう
components: 太 タイ "great (as in large); thick; fat" + 陽 ヨウ "sunshine; yang principle; positive; male; heaven"
other notes: the beginner probably already knows 日 ひ "sun" but when the Japanese talk about the Sun it's usually been my experience that they use 太陽 instead. YMMV. Regardless, you will hear both used a lot so this is definitely a good vocab word to get under you belt. The first character is taught in the 2nd grade in Japan, the third in the 3rd grade. (Obviously so that the kids know how to write 太陽. ^^; ) It's okay if you settle for just knowing the vocab word for now.

Non-Beginner: 歯 "tooth"
reading: は
radical components: 止 "stop" + 米 "rice" + 口 "mouth"
other notes: I remember blowing my sensei's mind with this one. That or (ten times more likely) she was just being really cute and "d'awwwwwww, that's so smart of you~!" parental. hahaha Anyway, today's word is shared with the intermediate because it's one of my favorite characters. I love the look of it. I enjoy writing it. And I feel it tells an easily understood story. The intermediate student knows all three of the radical components' meanings and so can appreciate how "tooth" is essentially written to mean "that which stops the rice in the mouth." You may be wondering why they didn't go with "that which chews the rice in the mouth" but ...

Non-Beginner Bonus Word: 噛む v.t. "to bite; to chew"
reading: かむ
radical components: 歯 "tooth" + 口 "mouth"
other notes: IT'S RECURSIVE! The character for "chew" already has "tooth" in it, so it's not like "tooth" could in turn have "chew" in it or else you'd create some epic kind of Möbius character. So that's why "tooth" makes use of the "stop" character (as a radical) for meaning, and then that allows "chew"'s kanji to make perfect sense: "mouth + teeth = chew". Though I guess it begs the question why they felt the need to repeat mouth again when they could've put, I dunno, 肉 or 果 or something to the side of 歯 instead? ^^; Don't ask me, ask the ancient Chinese scholars.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:47 PM   #61
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Talon's Words of the Day (November 16, 2012)

For today's beginner word, I decided that it would be mean to teach you "sun" without teaching you ...

Beginner: 月 n. "moon; month"
readings: onyomi: ガツ, ゲツ kunyomi: つき
other notes: Fun to draw. Simple to draw. Ridiculously important. I wrote so much here but it proved overwhelming in my opinion for the first semester student for whom I intend today's word. ^^; So I'll end this note by clarifying that つき is how you say "moon" or "the Moon" while がつ/げつ is how you say "month." For example, 一ヶ月 いっかげつ is "one month's duration" and 一月 いちがつ is how you say "January." Note that it's げつ when duration month, がつ when calendar month.

As for today's non-beginner word ...

Non-Beginner: 出現 n. "appearance" (as in arrival, "he has appeared")
reading: しゅつげん
components: 出 シュツ "to put out; to come out; to exit" and many more spins on that + 現 ゲン "present; existing; actual; real"
other notes: while this word is on the easy side for the intermediate student when it comes to knowing the individual kanji components -- you should know both by your third year of studies -- the challenge here is in retaining this word. It's not exactly something you hear spoken very often. Tuck this one away for now, but try and listen for it in any sort of live-action, non-drama Japanese television that deals with people or animals showing up. This can be the morning or nightly news, this can be video game playthrus with commentary, this can be anything where you might expect to hear a colloquial 「出た!」 or 「出ました!」. Part of the reason I present it is because it's a good word for reminding the intermediate student of 出's onyomi.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:01 PM   #62
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I've noticed that no one else is posting any Word of the Day words. If this is because of the current rules (which are very much in beta), let me know. I want this thread to work for the community so if it's not working then I want to know.

I also thought I'd open the floor to suggestions for the words I share. This goes for speakers at all levels of proficiency. Would you prefer to see more esoteric or technical terms in the non-beginner section? Would you prefer a less random organization to the beginner section? My current working assumption has been "the student who is serious about learning the language will have likely already set about learning the first grade level of kanji and more on his/her own." But at the same time I've included quite a few characters from that list because I can't help but wonder if there are complete beginners approaching this thread and wanting to pick up the very basics. There may even be both audiences in which case I could always split things into three tiers with a "Beginner" (which would now complete beginner, like, almost entirely Grade 1), "Intermediate" (meaning what was otherwise covered by Beginner plus the lower half of what was covered by Intermediate) and "Advanced" (which would cover strictly advanced vocabulary). Regardless, if you're using this thread for the Beginner category, I want to hear from you. Do you want things to be:
- more structured/organized? or as random as they currently are? (Example of order: handling one color at a time until all of the basic colors have been covered. Example of randomness: going from red to coffee to moon to grass.)
- more basic or more advanced?

Finally, I'd like to remind folks that this thread is to be used for any pertinent discussion about learning Japanese! ^_^ That includes grammar, idioms, discussion of subtleties of definitions, and so on. It's not suddenly just become a vocab thread. ^^; But I'm not going to teach grammar lessons daily because those I definitely feel that the motivated student will seek to teach himself/herself on his/her own. I've snuck in a few grammar words as it is because I appreciate just how important grammar is, but for the most part if you want to discuss grammar, you'll probably have to engage me in that discussion first with a question.


As for today's words ...

Beginner: びびる v5r,vi (1) to feel nervous; to feel self-conscious; to feel surprise; (2) (col) to get cold feet; to get the jitters; to feel frightened
other notes: copied and pasted this one straight off of WWWJDIC for you. It's not every day that a verb completely lacks a kanji equivalent but that's likely because びびる is a neologism born from おびえる (see below) or some other word. I've included it because you'll hear it a lot in any story where someone might ask somebody else 「びびってる?」 or "Chicken? " In fact, I should point that out to you: pay attention to the second definition above, labeled "colloquial usage" by WWWJDIC. That's why I'm sharing this word with you. Because that interpretation is what you're mostly going to hear.

Non-Beginner: 怯える vi. "to become frightened; to be scared (of)"
reading: おびえる
other kanji spellings: 脅える, 悸える
other notes: Yeah, for whatever reason this is one that was never taught to us when I studied Japanese in college. I picked this one up through exposure over the years. College courses tend to focus on 怖がる (こわがる "to be afraid of; to dread"), 怖い/恐い (こわい, as an adjective "scary", as an expression "I'm afraid") or 恐ろしい (おそろしい "terrifying, frightening"). And certainly 怖い is, of all the words in tonight's post, the one which most commonly comes up in writing, not gonna lie. But it's not as though 怯えてる is something you don't hear often enough to warrant teaching it to the intermediate-level students. *shrug* I mean, just compare: 怯える turns up 3.01 million Google hits to 怖がる's 2.97 million. That's close enough that I'm not going to try and say anything about which one "wins," merely that the two verbs are roughly equally common.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:02 PM   #63
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So I'm doing something a little different. My Japanese teacher is letting us do whatever we want for our Japanese Semester Project and since my original idea failed sorta I'm doing an alternative to present alongside/instead of what I've done.

And it's in the form of a STREAM!

That's right, for ONE NIGHT ONLY* I will be streaming JAPANESE GREEN VERSION in JAPANESE with JAPANESE COMMENTARY.

IN JAPAN except wait no not really dammit.

So you should come check it out!

livestream.com/kecleon

Show starts around 7:15 EST! Even if you don't understand Japanese come check it out and chat while I ramble in a language I'm not particularly good at!

*actually probably like a few times over the next week
Konbanwa, motherfuckers.

I'm at home now so I can ACTUALLY STREAM STUFF. So! In about an hour, I'm gonna get this underway. I think I can get in about 2 hours tonight, which should be enough for me to get to Cerulean.

Come and join my Magical Japanese Green Adventure!
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Old 11-18-2012, 11:35 PM   #64
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Talon's Words of the Day (November 18, 2012)

Today's words brought to you by Jeri's stream.

Beginner: 直す v. "to heal; to fix, to repair"
reading: なおす

Non-Beginner: 毒消し n. "antidote"
reading: どくけし
components: 毒 どく "poison" 消し けし "eraser"
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:05 PM   #65
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So. Yesterday at 2:15AM I was walking home after a hard night of copying down the Grade 1 kanji Talon linked to (ありがと, btw), and...

I wish I had taken a picture, but I saw a store named 'Prince's' something or another. It was some kind of restaurant. Anyway, I IMMEDIATELY recognized the characters on it. A moment of thinking later, I realized it was 王 and 子. King child. That... that has got to be one of the most fulfilling moments of my life so far. :'D

Yeah okay this has nothing to do with anything I'm just unexpectedly happy about it <3<3<3
I... Igottagodosomething
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:35 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Today's words brought to you by Jeri's stream.

Beginner: 直す v. "to heal; to fix, to repair"
reading: なおす

Non-Beginner: 毒消し n. "antidote"
reading: どくけし
components: 毒 どく "poison" 消し けし "eraser"
I've been playing Japanese Black lately and kept seeing these kanji and was like " Hmm what are they they must be important since I see them all the time."

Makes so much sense now.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:42 PM   #67
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Talon's Words of the Day (November 19, 2012)

Thanks for the posts, guys. This is pretty much what I would like the word-of-the-day thing to accomplish.

As for today's words, I guess we'll go with some from Jeri's playthrough of Pokémon Green tonight because why not?

Beginner: 捕まえる v.t. "to catch, to capture; to arrest"
reading: つかまえる
other notes: 「捕まえた!」 "Caught ya!" is probably where the beginner will have heard this loads. This is a word you should learn to read on sight if you plan to play a lot of Pokémon as you will see it tons. It's also a good word for "the advanced beginner" in general. Okay, fine, you could say it's not really a beginner's word at all.

Beginner Bonus: 当たり oh boy, you have no idea what you've unleashed ...
  1. hit, strike
  2. success
  3. guess; prediction
  4. affability; friendliness
  5. sensation; touch
  6. bruise (on fruit)
  7. situation in which a stone or chain of stones may be captured on the next move (in the game of go)
  8. (also written as 魚信) (See 魚信) bite (of a fish on a hook); strike
  9. per; each
I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, Japanese is a language of subtleties and inferred meanings. Luckily for you, Dear Beginner, you needn't bother with most of these subtle definitions tonight. Just the first one. 当たる as a verb means "to hit" or "to strike." Hence why "hitting the jackpot" in Japanese is "atari". (See definition #2 above. Okay, I promised you didn't need to learn more than #1 tonight. ;p) So anyway, why am I teaching you this word tonight and what does it have to do with Pokémon? Well, let me ask you something: what is the most common Pokémon attack you see in Story Mode? It's Tackle, right? (Say yes. ) Well, the Japanese name for Tackle in the games is 体当たり たい あたり or "body strike" / "a hit done with the body." So you should learn this word because you'll see it all the time with tackle. And this is definitely a beginner's word! So pick it up for sure if you don't know it yet!

Non-Beginner: 船酔い n. "seasickness"
reading: ふなよい
components: 船 ふな from ふね "boat" + 酔い よい "drunkeness, intoxication"
other notes: do not confuse 酔い for 酷い ひどい "terrible"! You may recognize 酔 from 酔っ払い.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:56 PM   #68
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so this thread makes me really want to commit to learning japanese.

so many interests, so little time ;-;

anyway, for those beginners that are too lazy to make flashcards like me: http://www.realkana.com is a good resources for starting to memorize pronunciation of hira/kata.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:31 PM   #69
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Jeri didn't stream tonight but borrowing again from words from last night's stream ...

Beginner: 草 "grass"
reading: くさ
radical components: 艸 the grass radical + 早 "early, soon, quick"
other notes: first off, see below for your next word of the day, beginners, because I can't just leave this one be. ^^; Second, I can't really tell you why "grass" is itself not simply the historical 艸 but it's not. ^^; I mean, it can be (as 艸 does mean grass or plants) but no one ever, ever, ever writes 艸. You will 99.99% of the time see 草 instead. And that armchair percentage may not even be high enough!

Beginner Bonus: 早い vs. 速い
reading: はやい for both
  • 早い can convey quickness, particularly in certain expressions, but it is primarily associated with its other meanings of earliness or soonness, and this is becaaaause ...
  • 速い is the way you normally write はやい when wanting to say that someone or something is fast. It only carries this meaning (so none of the earliness stuff).
The reason I am bringing this up now is because, in "grass" (above), it seems probable to me that the etymology behind the character's radicals is very likely "grass-plant which grows back quickly" (a.k.a. that which we know as grass), which is a legal use of 早; but, I don't want you to take that and then mistakenly think that 早 is the character you should normally use when trying to discuss the speed version of はやい.

Beginner Bonus Bonus: 早速 adv. "at once; immediately; without delay; promptly"
reading: さっそく
other notes: so of course they would combine these two characters together to make one word! This word is actually an intermediate-level word but I am going to label it as a beginner's bonus bonus because 1) that sounds cooler , 2) it ties in to what we were just discussing above, and 3) I don't want to forget to share this word and I may as well share it with you now while you're learning the other two so that they can all reinforce one another in your memory. It'll also help you to memorize the onyomi for both 早 and 速! (Well, 早's also got ソウ but still.) As for contextual use, this expression is what you hear in Japanese where in English you might hear "Chop chop!" or in French "Vite vite!"

Non-Beginner: 港 "port, harbor"
reading: みなと
other notes: while I'm teaching it to you for its reading as みなと given that this is what genuinely came up last night in the stream, I admit that the early intermediate student is likely to be far more interested in knowing the onyomi for this character, which is コウ, so that he can make heads or tails of the incredibly useful-to-know 空港 (くうこう). (And yes: they call theirs the "skyport" which sounds sooooo much cooler. )
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:03 PM   #70
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Talon's Words of the Day (November 22, 2012)

Beginner: 要る v. "to need"
reading: いる
radical components: 西 にし "west" + 女 おんな "woman"
other notes: う verb. Contrast with 居る いる "to be, to exist (people and animals only)", which is a る verb. Note that the Japanese use their word in fewer of the grammatical situations for which we use ours (e.g. "I need to leave" doesn't take this verb). Listing out common situations became intimidatingly long so I'll encourage the student to just note cases where he/she hears the verb, particularly the plain negative 要らない.

Non-Beginner: 必要 "necessary"
reading: ひつよう
components: 必 ヒツ "invariably, certainly" + 要 ヨウ "need"

Non-Beginner Bonus: 紙飛行機 "paper airplane"
reading: かみひこうき
components: 紙 かみ "paper" + 飛行機 ひこうき "airplane"
subcomponents: 飛 ヒ "jump, fly" + 行 コウ "go" + 機 キ "mechanism, machine"
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:55 PM   #71
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Talon's Words of the Day (November 23, 2012)

I kinda cheated last time with "paper airplane" so I'll make it up to the thread by dipping back into that word for tonight's treats.

Beginner: 飛ぶ "to jump; to fly"
reading: とぶ
radical components: 飛 is its own radical!
other notes: yes, it means both "jump, leap, spring" and "fly, soar".

Non-Beginner: 行う "to perform, to do, to conduct oneself, to carry out"
reading: おこなう
other spellings: 行なう
other notes: "to go"'s kanji ... used as "to do" ... yeah, this produced a lot of "HHHHHWHAT!?" from me when I first looked it up. It still throws me for a loop when I see it, even after all these years. Just strikes me as such a weird Frankenstein word kanji spelling-wise, not speaking-wise.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:21 PM   #72
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Talon's Words of the Day (November 25, 2012)

Some more Pokémon-themed words ... sort of. You'll see.

Beginner: 走る v. "to run"
reading: はしる
other notes: notice how foot/leg, 足 あし, is sort of in there. As is earth/ground 土 つち? ^^; Notice how 起きる おきる "to wake up" contains 走 as a radical? Hooray for interconnected beginner-level stuff!

Non-Beginner: 技 vs. わざと vs. わざわざ
  • 技, 伎 n. "technique; art"
    reading: わざ
    other notes: you hear this all the time in combat stories or games. For example, Pokémon. TMs (technical machines) are called わざマシン in the original games, or "technique machines" as they teach techniques/moves, or 技, which Pokémon can use in battle.
  • わざと adv. "deliberately, on purpose"
    kanji: 態と (note that it's normally written in pure kana)
    other notes: this is a completely different kind of わざ but you will hear it often so I figured it was important to draw your attention to the fact that they're homophones and when you see the form わざ と it means "deliberately," not "technique/art と".
  • わざわざ adv. "expressly; specially; doing something especially rather than incidentally"
    kanji: 態々, 態態 (note that it's normally written in pure kana)
    other notes: used as in the expression "You didn't have to come all the way out here to deliver that!" Same kanji and root meaning as in the second word (the vague idea of "purpose" behind an action rather than pure incident) but distinctly different when translated into English, the former being used in sentences likes "You did that on purpose, didn't you!?", the latter in ones like "You needn't go out of your way to do that."
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:55 PM   #73
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Talon's Words of the Day (November 26, 2012)

Beginner: 島 "island"
reading: 音読み: トウ 訓読み: しま
radical components: 鳥 "bird" but with 山 "mountain" on the bottom instead of the bottom horizontal radical 灬 representation of 火 "fire"
other notes: takes the kunyomi しま as a stand-alone word but you'll hear its onyomi form when it shows up in many compound nouns, for example 無人島 (むじんとう) "desert island" (lit. "peopleless island")

Non-Beginner: 一段 "all the more; more" amongst other meanings
reading: いちだん
components: 一 いち "one" + 段 だん "grade, rank, level" amongst other meanings
other notes: not trying to conflate meanings tonight as both 一段 and its component 段 can mean many things in many contexts. What I want to teach tonight is specifically the meaning "all the more" / "more" which typically takes the form 一段と (note the と). Some sample sentences:
  • ロビンちゃんがまた一段と綺麗になってる! "Robin-chan's gotten even prettier!"
  • 一段と彼を好きになった。 "I became even more smitten with him."
I guess a partial explanation of some of 一段 / 段's other meanings will help. One of the meanings of 一段 is "a step in a flight of stairs; a rung on a ladder", with 段 alone signifying a flight of stairs or a row of something. From these you can appreciate another meaning of the word, a metaphorical twist on the literal meaning of steps, which is that of "rank" or "level." So when someone says 一段と, they're basically saying that [stuff] has gotten even more [whatever] by one additional level. Does that make sense? That's where this comes from, and hence why I keep phrasing it as "all the more" even if, in translating sample sentences to English, you don't see that exact phrase. If we take that first sample sentence again, ロビンちゃんがまた一段と綺麗になってる!, and we attempt a literal translation, it would be something along the lines of "Robin-chan has once again gotten prettier by one level."

I guess I also owe you one of 一段's other meanings since you're oh so totally going to encounter it soon if you haven't already in your studies, and that's its grammatical / dictionary meaning. You may have heard of ichidan verbs or 一段動詞 before. This is what Japanese linguists call what we JSL students are taught to recognize as る verbs, verbs which end in る and which you drop to obtain the ます stem. Their う verb counterparts are referred to by native Japanese scholars as godan verbs or 五段動詞.

I ended up explaining a whole bunch of 一段's different meanings anyway. >_< Well, for tonight, just worry about 一段と, okay? ^^; Try and look for some sentences which use it. You'll be surprised just how often it pops up. (And if you should see 普段 ... well, we'll save that one for another day. )
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:24 PM   #74
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Talon's Words of the Day (November 29, 2012)

Beginner: 硬い / 固い / 堅い adj. "hard, solid; stiff, wooden; strong, firm"
reading: かたい
other notes: the beginner needn't worry about the kanji, just the vocab word. Also, if you were to pick one and only meaning from that list, it would be "hard."

Beginner Bonus: 柔らかい adj. "soft"
reading: やわらかい
other notes: as with かたい, the beginner should just focus on learning the word for now

No non-beginner word today as I wanted to keep this post simple. I guess I'll say that the intermediate student is encouraged to learn how to read all the kanji presented here, the advanced student how to write them all and to know when to use the various forms of かたい. (I also left one uncommon form off the list that the advanced student's encouraged to check out.)
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:38 PM   #75
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Out of curiosity, do the radicals in a kanji affect it's pronunciation at all?

And, speaking of pronunciation, is the Kun or On pronunciation preferred?
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