Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

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Japanese Diary 10
I enjoy maps, and this link has many interesting ones. (Did you know that the most common surname in France is Martin, for example?) The map of Pangea with current international borders is cool, too - and appears to show that the Mediterranean is, just as the Romans claimed, the centre of the world. Names are not always so literal, however. I think my favourite is this map of Europe, with the literal Chinese meanings of the country names:

literal-map-of-europe-by-chinese-name


Ireland wins the surreality contest with "Love your orchid", but you'll notice that some of the others make a lot of sense - for Western values of "sense" - e.g. "Ice Island". This is very much my experience with learning kanji. Some are obvious, others... not so much.

The kanji have been the least of my problems recently. I've been having far more difficulty grokking basic verbs: iru, aru, suru, kuru, iku, ikiru, aruku, akeru, ageru, etc., which have begun to swim before my dull gaze when I stare at them too long. I think I've managed to clear that absurdly low barrier now, but it reminds me how out of practice I am at plain old memorization.

One map is worth a thousand words- or maybe that should be a thousand pages.

I had to ask my colleague if that was really true about Ireland, and, although she had to look it up, apparently it is. So. . . that's pretty hilarious. I suppose those of us from Braveland and Beautifulland get off fairly easily.

It's a little hard to read, but I also like Monaco as "Pub accept brother". A comment on the micro-state's licensing laws?

Pay special attention to those first five verbs -- you will learn to love them and all they can do for you (and not just as auxiliaries). (Also pay attention to naru -- you will love it just as much.)

BTW, when grammar books say there are only two irregular verbs, they are lying. Suru and kuru are indeed the only consistently irregular ones, but there's a handful others that have one or two irregular forms that get fobbed off as "special cases" rather than admitting they are, yanno, irregular.

Thanks for the tip. I've already come across something of suru's flexibility in converting adjectives to verbs, and I look forward to learning more!

A better description would be nouns to verbs -- some na-adjectives are also suru-verbs, but most actual nouns can be verbed with suru (though as in English, some verbing can sound really odd).

(BTW, I still get tripped up by the few-dozen-odd verbs ending -iru/-eru that are actually godan/-u verbs rather than ichidan/-ru verbs. And that's even aside from the deliberately deceptive homonyms like kiru, which as "to wear" is ichidan (kimasu) and as "to cut" is godan (kirimasu).)

---L.

Edited at 2013-08-15 04:57 pm (UTC)

I think "Love your orchid" for Ireland is a translation of the sounds? "Love" covers the "I" part, "your" the "er", and "orchid" the "lan" (the d is dropped). And they chose the characters that were the prettiest for each of the sounds. Yes, surreal!

Thank you for that explanation! I did wonder briefly whether it might be an allusion to the story of St Patrick and the shamrock, but I wasn't convinced...

Many of the names have to do with the sounds, now that I'm looking more closely and remembering what little I know. "Braveland" for England - "brave" sounds like "En." "Lawland" for France - "law" sounds like "France" said in French. And "Moralland" for Germany - "moral" sounds like "Deutsch."

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