User talk:Bendono/Archives/2009

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Etymology of 絵文字[edit]

Hi Bendono,

Pleasure to meet you! Thanks esp. for your many (many) contributions on Japanese historical linguistics and etymology – most of what passes for “etymology” of Japanese entries is just breaking down compounds, not tracing the historical development (as you are of course aware).

A question regarding the etymology you give for 絵文字, specifically:

wemozi > emozi > emoji

I understand that 絵 used to be pronounced /we/, and is now /e/, and likewise 字 used to be pronounced /zi/, and is now /ji/ (in various settings).

However, I would imagine that 絵文字 is a modern coinage, no?, and thus has never been pronounced other than /emoji/. It seems a creature of the internet age, and thus unlikely to have had a historical pronunciation…


—Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 22:39, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the comment. I've noticed a number of your contributions many times. As for the above, I mostly agree with your analysis. While there are no citations given, I too would assume that it is a fairly recent term. (It would be even better if someone could find some early citations.) However, a number of Japanese dictionaries, if not all, do in fact list the "historical spelling" as ゑもじ, regardless of whether it is actually so attested as a compound. And by including such information the entry, it seemed necessary to give a fuller explanation, even if not necessarily warranted. It is like balancing between too little info and too much. I can understand both sides of the argument, so feel free to remove or modify it as you like. Bendono 13:44, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Hi Bendono – apologies for the delayed reply.
Good point about Japanese dictionaries (I’m early in my studies yet, so I’m not yet reading Japanese-Japanese dictionaries, hence not familiar with this).
Perhaps best is to give historical readings for modern compounds, but flag them as such? I.e., give it in the etymology, but not as an earlier form of the word, but rather after the main etymology as “Historical reading”. (I’ve done so at 絵文字, where I’ve also added “possibly anachronistic”, as this one seems pretty likely modern.)
However, I’ve realized that there is a bit to usefully write about Japanese Etymology, so I’ve made a start at:
…addressing this “historical reading” point at:
I figure this may be a useful reference, particularly for novices, and hope I haven’t made too many errors – please feel free to make whatever changes you see fit.
—Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 02:56, 22 February 2009 (UTC)


Hello, the hiragana in this entry does not comply with what I learnt about it. Is not it ふるひと instead of the current きゅうじん? Bogorm 12:02, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

きゅうじん is the most typical reading. However, ふるひと is also possible, as well as ふるびと, both of which will usually be written as 古人. I'll add the other readings to the entry. Bendono 13:26, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. Bogorm 14:10, 19 February 2009 (UTC)


hello, Bendono :) I am happy to know that you are an Old Japanese specialist :)) I have thought the Old Japanese terms should be added someday... btw... I found you added Japanese reading むま for in Japanese section of the page. though, it's not familiar to me. cause it is an Old Japanese reading. (I found the reading in my 古語辞典(Old Japanese dictionary)) You know, Even Old Japanese learner needs 古語辞典 in stead of 国語辞典. I think 古語(Old Japanese) and 国語((Modern) Japanese) should be separeted into 2 sections such as Japanese and Old Japanese, like Greek and Ancient Greek, and English and Old English. What do you think of this? --Carl Daniels 04:47, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Hello Carl. I hope that you are enjoying learning classical Japanese. That said, 古語辞典 are for classical Japanese, which spans 8th century through 1867. Old Japanese, on the other hand, is the oldest stage of the language spanning 8th through the 12th century, especially with a focus on the 8th and the rest being considered Late Old Japanese. Then follows Middle Japanese (both Early and Late), then Modern Japanese. (I wrote a draft for Early Modern Japanese, but regrettably never got around to finishing it...)
Classical Japanese is a very popular subject, with Japanese students typically beginning in middle school and some continuing through at high school. Thus there have been a number of specialty dictionaries produced in this regard. However, a 古語辞典 is certainly not needed to look up unknown words. All popular major modern household dictionaries, such as 広辞苑, 大辞林, 大辞泉, and a number of others include all words regardless of their age. 広辞苑 in particular lists all definitions in the order that that they are attested, showing the semantic changes over time. These are all single volume dictionaries that most families will have at least one copy of. The second edition, a little dated now, of 大辞林 is available online. Here is the entry for むま. You will also find うま there, too, of course.
I must say that I am opposed to splitting the language into "separate languages". It is a single language with multiple linguistic periods. The core vocabulary has always remained the same. What has changed is the pronunciation and meanings. It is important to see the historical development of words. That is precisely why I participate here. Many of my contributions, though not all, regrettable, have dated quotations. It is my hope that over time more quotations will be added by others over time. Once that is done, then just looking at the dated time line would be enough to know when and how a word was used. This is the same model that the OED uses. I do think that it is quite unfortunate that English and Old English are split into two here for the same reason. Bendono 06:12, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Mr. Bendono,
Respectively, I summarized the differences between Modern and Classical Japanese, added the similarity to the relation between Old English and English.
and I am retrying to persuade you to agree with me. I'd like to hear your opinion again.
Ex. A - different conjugation
  • Term - Modern Japanese - Classical Japanese
  • 書く - カ行五段(5 rows) - カ行四段(4 rows)
  • 並ぶ - バ行五段(5 rows) - 下二段(lower 2 rows)
Ex. B - different terms
  • Term - Modern Japanese - Classical Japanese
  • 落つ - XXX - 上二段
  • 落ちる - 上一段 - XXX
  • 助く - XXX - 下二段
  • 助ける - 下一段 - XXX
    • Classical Japanese has its own different expression to the verbs of Modern Japanese.
Ex. C - different historical Kana use
  • Term - Modern Japanese - Classical Japanese
  • - -
  • 居る - いる - ゐる
    • Classical Japanese uses unique kana.
    • it's like á, é and a, e in Old English and English
Ex. D - different meaning
  • Term - Modern Japanese - Classical Japanese
  • 踊る - jump; dance; increase one's heart beat - jump; dance; increase one's heart beat; double the interest of loan
    • Classical Japanese words have its own unique meaning.
    • (it should be categoraized as (obsolete) or (archaic) with template at wiktionary.)
Modern Japanese doesn't accept A, B, C, D.
I think C and D are ok to put in Japanese section. though, the other ones should not be.
And you know... Modern Japanese terminology include 仮定形 instead of 已然形.(this would be subtle)..
I know all Japanese people start with simple 国語辞典 instead of those heavy dictionaries, 広辞苑, 大辞林, 大辞泉 and so on.
that 国語辞典 doesn't contain the word 馬(むま). and Japanese doesn't call "むま" for a horse this time.
I think it's the best way to use 国語辞典.
Yes, for wiktionary we need those classical Japanese terms.
though... we want to keep the standard of (Modern) Japanese language dictionary.
You know Japanese students learn Classical Japanese in class of 古文, not in class of 国語.
Even Japanese people handled them as different languages in their learning system.
And you know... Japanese students learn how to translate the text of 古文 into (Modern) Japanese.
To me it's another language. it's like the relation between Old English and English.
and I guess what you want is the word etymology.
you can expand the etymology section in the (Modern) Japanese language.
Could you agree with me, Mr. Bendono? --Carl Daniels 01:01, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
I see that you put some effort into the above, but I asure you that it is not needed. I have been researching historical Japanese linguistics for more than 15 years now. I used to teach a class on it, and I still do a few private lessons now. That said, there are a number of issues above which need addressing.
Regarding conjugation: modern 五段 derives directly from 四段. Every historical 四段 became a 五段 without exception. Besides convenience, there really is no need for the term 五段. The fifth grade is -o, such as 書こう. Historically, /au/ elide into [oː]. This is not just Japanese phonology, but a common phonological feature found in many languages. It is easy to understand if you try yourself a vowel triangle. Anyway, 書こう was originally 書かう with う attaching to the 未然形 of 書く, not to some hypothetical *書こ. Next, the 上二段 and 下二段 verbs all regularly changed into 上一段 and 下一段. If you want to understand why, then I recommend 『日本語活用大系の変遷』 by 坪井 (2007).
As for "different kana", again these are regular phonological changes. /e, ye/ merged into /e/, /e, we/ into /e/, /i, wi/ into /i/, and /h/ is just too much to explain. All languages have phonological changes.
As for meanings. Of course they change too. That is how all languages work. When you want to see how words have changed, one typically goes to a dictionary. I have no problem with you or anyone else classifying them as archaic or obsolete as seen fit.
As for common JJ dictionaries, 広辞苑, 大辞林, and 大辞泉 are extremely common. Nearly every family in Japan will have at least one in their household. Just about every company will have at least one copy, and usually several. Every bookstore sells them. These are extremely popular and common dictionaries. When the 6th edition of Kōjien came out last year, advance orders were taken months in advance. Bookstores had trouble stocking them initially.
国語辞典 means Japanese dictionary and most certainly includes terms from all eras. You do not need to believe me, though. I will quote a very clear definition for you: 「日本語を集めて一定の順序に並べ、その意味、用法、語源などを日本語で説明した書。用例を添えたり、関連する語を示したりするものもある。古語・現代語にわたり、専門語まで広く収めた大型のもの、現代語または古語どちらかを中心とした小型のものなどがあるが、時代別・作品別のものや特殊な語だけ集めたものを広く含めてもいう。国語辞書。(日本国語大辞典)」
古文 (classical Japanese) is taught in 国語 (Japanese) class. I used to teach it.
Good luck with your Japanese studies. Bendono 12:21, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
To concur with Bendono, the general way dictionaries (Wiktionary included) deal with language change is to make some divisions into separate languages for major changes (Old English, Middle English, Modern English), and within a (living) language, indicate old terms, meanings, or pronunciations as {{obsolete}}, {{archaic}}, or {{dated}} – indicating periods is also valuable (esp. with citations).
For splitting up languages, we mostly use ISO 639 codes (rare exceptions, like Vulgar Latin), of which the only ones for Japanese are (Modern) Japanese (ja) and Old Japanese (ojp). AFAICT, 古文 (classical Japanese) is more analogous to Early Modern English (Chaucer, Shakespeare) than to Old English, hence not a separate section.
—Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 18:41, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

おしゃれ, quotations[edit]

Good morning, Bendono. I just added one quotation from Dazai to this entry, so could you check the romaji (I am worrying about melting the romanisations or inserting redundant spaces). Do you think one should add a translation? This is a good example for quotations from literary works in foreign languages, where translation is not provided (and I support this approach, since not everyone should be entitled to translate classical literature in Wiktionary on one's own). Have you been adding quotations from Japanese authors? Now I am reading Ningen Shikkaku and I shall provide some simpler sentences from there as citations for entries which were already created (such as おしゃれ). If you permit, might I ask one additional question: this sentence おしゃれと言っても、もちろん足りない。 should mean something like He lacks stylishness, to say though, of course., but what does ニヤケ in the similar precedent sentence ニヤケと言っても足りない。mean? I could not find this word in several dictionaries. Regards. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 22:13, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Hello Bogorm.
I hope that you are enjoying Ningen Shikkaku. I read it years back. It is probably the most important work in modern Japanese. However, it is very depressing, and I assume that you know what happened to the author upon the works completion.
From you quotations, it would seem that you are still near the beginning. This is from a description of a man in some pictures. He is handsome and smiling, but he seems to lack life as if he is fake. You are parsing the sentence incorrectly. He does not "lack stylishness", but rather "saying that he is stylish is of course insufficient".
niyari is an adverb describing the way in which one smiles; there is no laughter, but it suggests some kind purpose or meaning. "grin" is often an acceptable translation. (A few lines earlier it describes the man in student clothes sitting on a bench with a smile.) Many people here are obsessed with scripts, but regardless of whether it is written in hiragana or katakana, it is the same word.
I do add many citations. But my focus is more on classical Japanese, in particular Old Japanese, although I do occasionally stray into Middle Japanese. WT:AJA indicates that translations should be added. However, I do not think that they are useful or even desirable. Nor do I agree with providing citations in all kana and then also in romanization. For example, when I look in the OED and it shows quotations from Old and Middle English, it is fairly incomprehensible to the modern speaker. But there are no pronunciation guides or translations. Those that can make use of such information should already be familiar with pronunciation and meaning. Others may ignore it. Regarding romanization, I would write といっても as to itte mo. Also, I would not force English rules onto casing; hence, I would not capitalize the first word of the romanized sentence.
One last bit. I would recommend adding a Reference section with full bibliographic information for the citations. Also, adding a page number number for the citation would be nice. There are often many editions of books and the page numbers may not correspond, but as long as you leave an ISBN others may later confirm if needed. Regards, Bendono 01:01, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for your explanations. The citation is from Aozora Bunko ([1]) and I was (and still am) reading the book chiefly in translation, when I came across the digital edition in the original language. I shall provide a link to this edition. When seeing katakana, I usually imagine a loanword from some Western language, but there may be stylistic reasons for that of course and I had not supposed it on the spot. I share your opinion about translations - if the reader is interested in one, he should be familiar at least with basic grammar rules and basic vocabulary. Somewhere I read that the Japanese copyright was 50 years (is this correct ? ) instead of the EU 70 and so I am delighted to have access to the digitalised version of this marvellous work. Now I am looking forward to the year 2020, when Mishima Yukio's works will also be available. Hopefully I shall have improved my Japanese till then. Regards. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 07:59, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
I do not know much about copyright law, so I will refrain from commenting. But as far as Wiktionary goes, citations should be fine as long as a valid reference is given as well.
A little off topic, but if you like Dazai, then let me recommend Hashire Merosu! to you. It's a great story about friendship and morality. It is quite well-known as most people in Japan read it in grade school. It is remarkably short and easy to read. You can find it at Aozora, too: [2]. Enjoy! Bendono 09:28, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

奇怪, -no, -wa and so on[edit]

Hello again, thank you for the recommendation. I added one quotation at 奇怪 and two other questions arose: 1) the quotation includes 奇怪な and I put it at 奇怪, because the adjective 奇怪な is derived from 奇怪 (and the entry is not yet created). Do you think 奇怪な (and similar -な derivations) deserves its own entry? Most of them are nouns without the -な suffix, right? If you favour a separate entry, I shall move the quotation as soon as it is created. 2) the suffixes -no, -wa... I know this may sound strange for some people with native analytical languages (I am also one of them, but I like the following explanation), but the Japanese grammar in Russian which I am reading now (by B. P. Lavrentyev) treats these as separate cases (of a rather synthetic language) - it distinguishes 10 cases which the Japanese noun has and those two endings are described as genitive and nominative endings. In the largest Russian-speaking encyclopædia the agglutinative cases are 12. Perhaps in the English-speaking countries the approach is different... In his grammar he uses hyphenation, e. g. ichiyō-no, shashin-wa, but I thought hyphenation would only perplex the reader and melted it. Do you prefer instead a separation and their treatment as particles? Ah, lest I forget, Lavrentyev treats the -な/-の/-的な adjectives as nominal (or semi-prædicative) adjectives and so I decided to insert the quotation there... The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 14:30, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

1) I have never been satisfied with the treatment of adjectival nouns here on Wikipedia. There is always a noun to go along with it. It is to this that -na is attaching to. Both should both be treated as the same lexeme. It is unnecessary redundancy, and synchronizing both of them is too much work. Also note that Japanese dictionaries do not include separate Xな entries. Contrary to our guidelines, I can not recommend creating them. Further, it makes it difficult to discuss historical forms Xなら・なり・なる, the last one (-naru) is still valid in modern Japanese.
2) -ga, -no, -ni etc. are indeed case particles. And they do attach to the preceding phrases. Using hyphens to indicate this far from uncommon in linguistic works. However, the question is how strongly do they attach? In his opus "A Reference Grammar of Japanese", Samuel Martin discusses this very subject on page 34. In it he indicates reasons (having to do with accent changes) why a hyphen may not be ideal. Also, it may not be very practical for us here at Wiktionary. Shall we create separate entries for 犬は (inu-wa), 犬が (inu-ga), 犬の (inu-no), 犬に (inu-ni) etc. just because the case is different? Of course not. In many European languages, word forms change radically depending on the case. However, that is not true in Japanese. While I can certainly appreciate hyphens, at the same time I do not think that they are any substantial benefits to using them here. Bendono 15:50, 1 May 2009 (UTC)


When you use {{term}} in an etymology section, please remember to link to the language section with "lang=ja" for Japanese words. --EncycloPetey 13:21, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Shall do. Thanks. Bendono 07:16, 27 June 2009 (UTC)


Exactly when you attacked Jonathan Harker? --LordOfTheBirds 05:39, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

I think that you have me mistaken for someone else. I do not know a Jonathan Harker nor do I know what you are referring to. My edit history is freely available if you would like to check for something. Regards, Bendono 05:42, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
By the way, please refrain from vandalizing my user page. Thanks. Bendono 05:43, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
Ever heard of this person? --LordOfTheBirds 05:45, 27 June 2009 (UTC)


こんにちは、このエントリをチェックしてください :) I am not so sure about my translation of "adverbial" (noun = adverbial phrase) into Japanese. I could only find adverb, which is not the same. Anatoli 03:02, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

副詞句 or 副詞節 should be fine. Other common expressions off the top of my head include 副詞類, 副詞的語句, and 副詞相当語句. Bendono 13:24, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Thank you, Bendono! Anatoli 23:56, 5 July 2009 (UTC)


There are a few CJKV entries at Category:Entries_with_level_or_structure_problems. They are on that clean-up list because they do not conform to WT:ELE. I sometime try to clean them up passed solely on a guess. When a language section of entry has items with two or more etymologies it is good to insert Etymology headings over the groups of PoSs which share etymology and insert a {{rfe|lang=}} or {{unk.|lang=}} template. There are still difficulties if there are separate pronunciations, but the same approach can work for pronunciation sections. A common pronunciation can appear above the etymologies. I hope you can take a look at the clean up list and improve some of the entries on it. If you know all this and the entries are fundamentally uncorrectable, please let me know so I don't mess them up trying to get them off the list. DCDuring TALK 04:55, 5 July 2009 (UTC)


--史凡 13:02, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

I am not particularly fluent in Internet slang so I am just guessing that that means "Thanks for the Japanese IPA". Not sure which entry you are referring to, but I try to add phonological details, often dealing with historical changes, and pronunciation where possibly unclear or otherwise pertinent. If there are any specific entries that you wish me to look at just let me know. Regards, Bendono 13:14, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

超常的;) skype: sven0921--史凡 14:45, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

ちゅう (chū), じゅ (ju), しゅう (shū), しゅ (shu)[edit]

IPA?--User:史凡 (歡迎光臨!請也用skype: sven0921為我RSI !) 17:17, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

  • ちゅう (chū) [tɕuː]
  • じゅ (ju) [dʑu]
  • しゅう (shū) [ɕuː]
  • しゅ (shu) [ɕu]
Regards, Bendono 01:12, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

so no/y/+kana not logical:ちゅ>voicd> じゅ[ipa萬歲!lol],tx!!:)--User:史凡 (歡迎光臨!請也用skype: sven0921為我RSI !) 03:51, 11 July 2009 (UTC)


Very interesting, and so quick, too. Thanks a lot!  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 19:26, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

English spelling of Japanese names[edit]

Hi こんにちは,

I am referring to the English spellings with macrons as alternatives since English normally don't use macrons, although it would be more accurate and having macrons is very helpful. If you insist on macrons, then the version without macrons would be alternative but I doubt very much that Tokyo is less common than Tōkyō in English, etc. Unfortunately, even in Japan, macrons are not always used in the English text. In any case, one of them should be the alternative, otherwise both entries should be maintained equally, which is cumbersome. Let's discuss this first or maybe take it up to Beer parlour. Anatoli 01:58, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

I have added a discussion in Beer parlour. BTW, thanks for your Japanese contributions and I hope we can work together. Anatoli 02:19, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Japanese entries with structure problems[edit]

I noted that you corrected a Japanese entry whose structure I had altered. My changes in CJKV languages are often dumb. I make them because I become frustrated by the persistence of some entries on clean up lists. There are several Japanese words whose structure does not conform to WT:ELE. See Category:Entries with level or structure problems. If you could try to fix these, you wouldn't be confronted with my clumsy efforts. If there is something about WT:ELE that conflicts with the practices needed for Japanese, as agreed on WT:AJA, let me know so I can become reconciled. Perhaps the bots could be adjusted to reflect practices in Japanese. Thanks for making the correction. Sorry to have forced it and my obsession with entry cleanup on you. DCDuring TALK 15:58, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Talkback: イクラ etymology[edit]

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