Check out these common compound words, which have the same radical on the left side of each kanji:
喧嘩：けんか： (fight). both kanji have mouths, so it's easy to picture two mouths insulting each other.
嫉妬：しっと： (jealousy): both kanji have the "woman" radical on the left. Don't blame me!!!!!
Anyway, these common words got me thinking – did ALL compound words with the same left-side radicals have meanings which had to do with the radicals?
Of course not.
But I didn't let that stop me. I was bored and had just moved to the suburbs. So I changed the question to, "What PERCENT of compound words with same left-side radicals have meanings which had to do with the radicals?" And to that end, spent my suddenly huge commute hours riffing through my electro-dictionary and copying down all the same-rad-having compounds. 1,200 in all!
So, you say, what's the answer? What percent of all samerad-having compounds have meanings which reflect the rads?
The ratio depends on if you count compounds which include hiragana, if you include words with one radical and one big kanji-which-is-the-same-as-the-radical (the wonderfully uselesss word 立ち籠める (to enshroud) is an example of both). Also it depends on if the word has more than one samerad, or if there's only one samerad but there's 4 instances of it in a 2-kanji word. And of course mainly it depends on which radical: some radicals (魚、虫、 鳥, 心 and 水 in particular) are much more likely to have-to-do-with the compound meaning than other radicals.
My solution: make a database and let YOU all grab your calculators and have a crack at it. Use this as a resource for your phd or whatever. You can use the database to filter out certain variables (like if you think that words like 立ち籠める shouldn't count).
Anyway, the process of making the DB was not an entire waste of time.
I found some absolute gems: (the "Y" and "N"s in the rightmost column answer the question "does the radical have to do with the meaning of the compound?")
|傀儡||かいらい||puppet||person, rice field||人||left||y|
|魑魅魍魎||ちみもうりょう||evil spirits of rivers and mountains||demon||鬼||left||y|
|明朝||みんちょう||tomorrow morning||sun, moon||日||left||y|
|訳語||やくご||translational equivalent||say, mouth||言||left||y|
|轆轤||ろくろ||potter's wheel||car, cliff, net||車||left||y|
|鷦鷯||みそさざい||winter wren||bird, animal legs||鳥||right||y|
|掃き掃除||はきそうじ||sweeping and cleaning||a sort of "t" thing||o||y|
|津々浦々||つつうらうら||all over the country||water||水||left||?|
|実家||じっか||one's parents' house||thick pie||top||?|
|濡れ鼠||ぬれねずみ||soaked to the skin||4 dots||o||?|
|真っ直ぐ||まっすぐ||straight-ahead, straightforward||eye, ten||目||o||n|
|韃靼||だったん||north china Tartar tribes||leather||革||left||n|
|鼯鼠||むささび||giant flying squirrel||crazy thing||top||n|
|表裏||おもてうら||two sides||kick in the nuts||bottom||n|
|栄光||えいこう||glory, prosperity||cutest baby birds||top||?|
|損害倍賞||そんがいばいしょう||compensation for damages||mouth||口||x||?|
|黙想||もくそう||meditation, silent contemplation||???||bottom||n|
|箪笥||たんす||chest of drawers||bamboo||竹||top||y|
|娑婆||しゃば||this corrupt world||water, woman||水||left||?|
|禍福||かふく||fortune and woe||necro||ネ||left||?|
Fuck! Were those some crazy words? Drop those on your japanese friends and watch them get baffled.
But of course, that's just the tip of the iceberg. The whole database is 1,200 kanji long.
at 1,200 rows, it's too big to put in wordpress, but you can download the whole thing here.
Here is the structure of what the columns in the DB mean.
C: English meaning
D: the meaning of the radical which they have in common (hereafter "samerad")
E: a picture of that radical
F: the location of the samerad (top, bottom, left ,etc.) "X" means "the samerad is not in the same position in both kanji"
G (the big one!): does the meaning of the radical connect to the meaning of the compound word?
I: does the compound include okurigana (okurigana are hiragana which are appended to kanji)? "O" means, "Yes, there are OOOOkurigana". blank spot means "this is a purely kanji compound word."
J: "X" means that one of the kanji is NOT a radical but in fact the "regular" form of the kanji . i.e. 樹木 doesn't have 2 tree radicals, it has one kanji with a tree radical and the other kanji which IS tree, so maybe it doesn't "count".
K: is the compound more than 2 kanji long?
L: is this compound word especially preposterous, and if so, why?
M: are there more instances of samerad than there are kanji in the compound word? (i.e.
N: "f" means, is this basically the same compound as another compound but with a different pronunciation / nuance?
Anyway, have fun with that.7 comments Tags: databases —