Apr 11, 2009

The words for Honey and Bee in Japanese

Continuing with our subject on insects (bugs) - I want to talk a little today on two Japanese words that are basically one and the same word - The words for Bee and the word for Honey are basically one word made up of two kanji that when put in reverse say the same thing - Let me show you what I mean -

Honey - Hachimitsu ( 蜂蜜 )
Bee - Mitsubachi ( 蜜蜂 )

Let us take the words apart - In Japanese the word for Honey is made up of the two parts HACHI + MITSU so that

Honey = HACHI + MITSU 蜂 + 蜜

and the word for Bee is made up of the same two parts with an H being replaced by a B
so that

Bee = MITSU + BACHI 蜜 + 蜂

CLICK HERE to go to some pages that I have made before explaining the grammar of why the H has hardened into its B form - Actually in this case it is the HA syllable which has transformed into its BA equivalent form

Remember that HA は

with the ten ten marks becomes BA ば, and the HA syllable in its next transformation with the degree symbol becomes ぱ, or PA.

There is an natural order it seems as IPA diagrams and charts will show us. These syllable transformations are not singulary a Japanese linguistical feature - This sort of syllable transformation appears in other languages also - Therefore remember this order of Japanese syllable transformation for the HA ( は )syllable -

は (HA)--> ば(BA), and ぱ(PA)

so in the case of the words for Honey and Bee, In Japanese Bee is the word Honey backwards and Honey is the word for Bee backwards. I thought I might share this because it makes Japanese a fun language to learn, it also shows that Japanese isn't too complicated and within reach of any person who seeks earnestly to become fluent in it.

Next time we will take a closer look at the kanji for ant and bee to see what kind of similiarities we may find to help us on our quest towards Better Japanese

Here are some more links for you on the double consonant linguistical feature as found in today's study.



Ganbatte ne!
Do Your Best!

Apr 5, 2009

The Word for Termite in Japanese

I just thought everyone would like to know a little thing I learned in Japanese but never made a correlation to it in English. This great discovery is that ants aren't too much different from termites. In fact, it is only the color that changes the insect.

In Japanese

ants = ari 蟻 or アリ - in katakana
termites = shiro ari  シロアリ - white ant

Shiroi is the Japanese word for white. Since shiroi, or 白い is in adjectivial form, before a noun we take away the i, or い , so that we have "shiroari", 白アリ or termite instead of shiroi ari. (In the case above, the word for termite is written in all Katakana, which implies that the Japanese think that termites aren't of Japanese origin. However, they still call them white ants because of the shiro part, they just don't use the kanji part for white, 白い.)

That is to say that termites are just ants that are white, or white ants. Doesn't that make sense? In English we totally get screwed up thinking that termites are an all together different species of insect, but really, they are just white ants that like to eat wood.