Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

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Japanese Diary 16
Some kanji combinations do seem to have the faintest hint of sexism built in:

家内 (inside house cf. "her indoors") = wife
嫡 (woman antique) = legal wife
姫 (woman slave) = princess
婆 (waves woman - ref. to wrinkles?) = old woman
婦 (woman broom apron) = lady

Word of the day: 弱肉強食 (jakunikukyoushoku): "strong meat weak eat" = "survival of the fittest", apparently.

sheenaghpugh

2013-12-02 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Well, since "lady" came from hlaefdige, ie loaf-kneader, English isn't much better...

steepholm

2013-12-02 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

I didn't know that - thanks!

ethelmay

2013-12-02 06:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

A friend of mine was ranting most entertainingly once about her distaste for the term "distaff side," so I Googled it and found a case of "distaff side" being used of horses. The idea of mares spinning boggles the mind.

steepholm

2013-12-03 10:57 am (UTC) (Link)

That one's both sexist and handist!

nightspore

2013-12-03 03:25 am (UTC) (Link)

"strong meat weak eat" is great. And reminds me of Variety's second most famous headline: Sticks nix hick pix

Edited at 2013-12-03 03:26 am (UTC)

consonantia

2013-12-03 04:46 am (UTC) (Link)

強 is strong in Chinese, I think. And 弱 is weak.

Edited at 2013-12-03 04:46 am (UTC)

nightspore

2013-12-03 04:53 am (UTC) (Link)

Neat. And it inevitably reminds me of a Latin class fiasco, though it shouldn't: a student who hadn't prepared very well had to sight-read: "Vale, puella, iam Catullus obdurat" ("farewell, girl, now Catullus shows fortitude"), and was a little too literal: "Be strong girl, now Catullus is hard."

consonantia

2013-12-03 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Hahahaha! :D

steepholm

2013-12-03 11:05 am (UTC) (Link)

I spoke to my Japanese teacher about 弱肉強食 last night, and she told me a story about a student who was asked to fill in the blanks (--肉--食), and turned it into "I eat a Korean barbecue". Truly, the ability to screw up respects no national boundaries.

steepholm

2013-12-03 07:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes, I appear to have written the English the wrong way round. Should be: "Weak meat strong eat".

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