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  5. "日よう日"



June 16, 2017



Oh kanji, why do u do these things to us? We only wish to love you, why must you hate us?


Try researching kanji origins for a living! I love Kanji but sometimes I just want to stab it to death!


It's pretty lucky that i'm a native Chinese speaker, so kanji isn't really a problem for me. (althogh sometimes i natually prononce kanji in Chinese lol) Actually most kanji (the Japanese pronounciation) sounds extremely similar to hanzi (the Chinese pronounciation). Watching anime is also pretty helpful lol.


"Zhongguo! I mean, chugoku..."


I do that all the time...


I have the same problem with pronouncing them in the wrong language or even using one Chinese reading and a Japanese one together in one word when switching between Chinese and Japanese texts frequently X_x.


I can't agree with you more! I myself am also a native Chinese speaker. Before studying Japanese, I just could't help to pronounce the kanji into Chinese pronunciation /lol


Why must you make jaleous us


Kanji is pictogram, it's good. Imagine a picture of a sun. Each language called that same picture something else. Because Japanese is formed by multiple languages, hence the multiple pronounciations.


Kanji are actually ideograms. They represent ideas rather than images.

The (incredibly simplified) history's kind of fascinating and funny though. "Since we don't have our own writing system let's just shoehorn the Chinese one into our lives to facilitate trade! All right, now let's use both our pronunciation and theirs for some of the words! The Chinese pronunciation changed? Eh, we'll just add it to the list... New word from our end? New pronunciation for the list!"


ACTUALLY, kanji include pictograms, ideograms, phono-semantic constructions, and possibly more that I can't remember. 日 is a sun pictogram. 五 is an ideogram representing the number five. 語 is a phono-semantic character, combining the meaning of the language radical (left half) with the pronunciation of the character for five (五/ご/go). Here's an amazing piece of writing that really helps you understand how Chinese characters have evolved. http://www.zompist.com/yingzi/yingzi.htm


Whoaaa thanks for this. As someone already interested in English etymology, i feel like Japanese etymology would blow my mind.


Don't worry, my friend. You gotta embrace them like you are trying to make a girl like you. If you treat it with respect and if you have lots of patience, then you'll get the hang of it eventually.

Trust me. I'm not saying this because I want to make you feel better. I am saying this because it'd actually helped me understand why it is difficult at some time, but at the end of the day, you'll succeed in remember the kanjis. Thanks for your time! :-) がんばって!


As Chinese who learned all the common kanjis in elementary school, I am as confused (if not more confused) by all the different sounds.

One character has one sound in China! And in Korea!


I find this translation to English so perfect and convenient. 日 = sun, so its the same as Sunday


Finally, Saturday is Saturn's day. The planet of Saturn is called 土星 mud/earth star.


Thank you for the etymological insights. Very informative and interesting!


The other days are cool too; the classic 5 elements (in Asia that is) of fire, water, wood, metal, and earth.


Besides Sunday, Monday came from Moonday, got some spelling change as time passes. Tue in Tuesday came from Tyr, son of Odin, spelled "Tiw" in ancient English. Tyr is god of war, equivalent to Mars. The planet of Mars is called 火星(fire star) in Chinese. So that is 火曜日.


Which makes it convenient that Tuesday in Spanish is Martes, as in Mars. I think its also like that in other roman languages


Tuesday is indeed mardi in French


Wednes means Woden's or Odin's. Odin is in charge of leading the soul of the dead to the other world, the same job of Mercury. The planet of Mercury is called 水星 (water star).


Sorry, but Mercury ( Hermes ) was known as the messenger of the gods, often associated with swiftness, trading, merchants, and luck. The one you're talking about was usually referred to as "the boatman", for he would cross the lake with the dead man to Hades in exchange for a silver coin ( and that's why they would bury the dead with a coin ).


Check Mercury and Hermes on Wikipedia and you will find me correct. The ferryman you mentioned is Charon. A god could be in charge of several different tasks. Naming the seven days began in Rome, used Roman gods which were highly connected with Greek mythology. But English used Germanic mythology because Anglo-Saxon originated from Germanic. They used the gods' duties to make the connection. Woden, the highest god in Germanic mythodology is also in charge of leading the dead soul. Woden changed into Odin in Northern Europe as languages evolved. If you play seriously you may argue that Odin should match with Zeus. But on the other hand, Zeus is the god of thunder which is Thor in Norse mythology. No it just does not work in your way.


By the way, Saturday is the day of Saturnus, the god of agriculture. Thor is also in charge of the agriculture. The ancient people might think that thunder has a connection with weather which affect the agriculture. They used Thor to match with Jupiter's thunder, so they just copied Saturnus in this case.


Friday is Frigga's day. Frigga, wife of Odin and mother of Thor, is the guard of marrige, a similar role of Venus. In Latin Friday is dies Veneris. The planet of Venus is called 金星 gold/metal star in Chinese.


Thursday is Thor's day. Thor is the god of thunder as you may have got it from Marvel's movie. In latin Thursday was called dies Jovis, Jupiter's day. Jupiter, the Roman version of Zeus, is the thunder maker. The planet of Jupiter is called 木星, the wood star.


Thanks! I love mythology, didn't expect it with my Japanese owo ~


Actually early Japanese translators combined eastern elements with these days. These days in English meas a certain god's day. These gods are related to planets and Chinese use the five elements to name the five planets that can be seen with naked eyes. We all know kanji are Chinese characters which are ideographic, so Japanese took in the Chinese names of the planets and later used it to set a connection between the English day names and translated Japanese names.


日曜日=sunday 月曜日=monday 火曜日=Tuesday 水曜日=Wednesday 木曜日=Thursday 金曜日=Friday 土曜日=Saturday Hope this helped someone out there


You can think of these words in Western languages if you are familiar with the etymology of them. They are similar.


Wuold be better if you had all the weekdays to choose from


It would indeed be the best way to learn


So the nichi kanji is the same for day and sun? And also it has a lot of different pronunciations for each meaning?


Yes to both questions. Many kanji have at least 2 pronunciations:

  • 音読み(おんよみ): a Sino-Japanese one, which is the approximate sound of how it was pronounced in Chinese when Japan borrowed the character. This pronunciation is used mainly when combining kanji with each other to make longer words.

  • 訓読み(くんよみ): a Japanese one, which is the sound it had in spoken Japanese when they selected the character to represent it. This pronunciation is used mainly when the kanji is used by itself, or as the stem of a verb/adjective.

Some kanji may have several onyomi and no kunyomi, or the other way around. In the case of 日, it has two of each:

  • its onyomi is ニチ or ジツ
  • its kunyomi is ひ or か


The fact that it's also pronounced differently in 今日、一昨日、明日 and 明後日 is driving me up the wall =S


That's why it's better to learn kanji by meaning than pronunciation. 今日 = "now" + "day" = today = きょう. Remember the pronunciation of the word "today," but remember that the kanji itself means "day" or "sun."


Heh, I agree in general, but I'm Chinese, so I'm in the interesting position of having significantly fewer problems understanding text if it involves a lot of kanji... and then not having a clue what's being said when I hear the exact same thing spoken aloud.

Consequently lot of my self study has involved just making flashcards containing various common pronunciations of the same damn word and trying to memorise them XD


The usual readings of them are rather exceptional, though, since they didn't use the same kanji in the past. They also have a reading which corresponds to the normal readings of each kanji of them, but those terms are only used in specific contexts.


Aren't ひ and か both readings for 火(fire) too?


Yes they are. For 火, ひ is the kunyomi and カ is the onyomi.


and where does "bi" pronunciation of second kanji in sunday fit in this


Short story: that's the "day" part. 日 is normally pronounced ひ, but voiceless consonants (like 'h' and 'f' sounds) often turn into voiced ones ('b' or 'p') when they're preceded by other kanji.

Long story: this change is usually made for euphonic reasons, and sometimes due to historical changes in how words are written. The precise rules for when/why this occurs are pretty complicated (thanks to the latter), but as a guideline: always after 'n', often after 'chi'/'tsu', and sometimes after long vowels. 

A good example is "x minutes". A minute is normally 分 (ふん). Yet 一分 "one minute" is not いちふん, but いっぷん. "Two minutes" is simply にふん, but "three minutes" needs to change again to さんぶん. (similarly; 5, 7, and 9 use ふん, but 4, 6, 8, and 10 use ぷん)


漢字 are beautiful. Embodiments of elegant art styles. They'll become a close friend in youe study of Japanese, trust me. 頑張れ~!


Whats the first kanji? I do not recognize it.


漢字 = かんじ = Kanji


I have the same question as Freyr... does.


This was one of the best comment sections ive seen. Thanks to all commenters. Especially those who added the full list of weekdays.


いちようび or にちようび? I'm hearing the two at the same time xD


The pronunciations, since Sunday isn't the only unusual one:

Sunday: にちようび Monday: げつようび Tuesday: かようび Wednesday: すいようび Thursday: もくようび Friday: きんようび Saturday: どようび

  • 1098

I wish actually helpful comments like this could just be pinned to the top.




This is so weird! It seems like it would mean 'a day like a day', but that just goes to show how important kanji is. I would highly prefer if they typed in all kanji or all kana, because it looks weird when they mix it up. It should be either「にちようび」or「日曜日」.


I think tho that Japanese is generally written in a mixture. Nouns might be mostly in kanji but particles and such will be in hiragana and Japanese uses quite a lot of loanwords. So getting used to reading a mixture is useful


Yeah, I understand that, but this is not a particle. That is usually written in kanji or all hiragana, because it is a full noun, whereas there is a different word that is written in hiragana. Mostly, Japanese people mix up sentences with kanji and kana, but words are usually written in one or the other (except for verbs, adjectives, and stuff like that, because they change).


Is this kanji pronounced "Hi" or "bi" ? I can't really tell


The first 日 is にち, the second one is び. Actually this Kanji is pronounced as ひ but there is a consonant mutation in many words to び or ぴ.

  • 1098

I thought Kanji had a certain pronunciation depending on onyomi or kunyomi.

Shouldn't the character be pronounced the same both times?


(most) kanji indeed have multiple pronunciations, and there's a simple/logic reason to why 日 is pronounced two different ways here: the first usage is "sun"... the second one "day".

  • 1098

Well I'll be... man, learning languages is tough. There's always some unforeseen and unfamiliar idiosyncrasy to wrap your mind around.

Thank you!

  • 1098

So you mean there's not just the two different readings between onyomi and kunyomi but multiple onyomi readings as well?


Unfortunately, yes. Because Japan borrowed the characters from China and living languages are always evolving, the pronunciation of some of those kanji changed at different points in history. Rather than go along with this change, the Japanese simply added the new on'yomi as an extra option. Normally they're limited to one or two, but some can have three or four. It's fairly common for kanji to have multiple kun'yomi as well.

For example: 日 has two on'yomi: ニチ and ジツ, plus two kun'yomi: ひ and か.


It better looks with kanji


that's my fun day my i-dont-have-to-run-day


Just another manic monday.


What is the Romanji for the word?


NagisaShio1, The romanji is "nichi yoobi/youbi". If you go up towards the beginning of this discussion, "Jim373739" gave the hiragana for all 7 days. That might help you figure out the romanji. I used romanji in some Japanese classes a long time ago and at the time thought it was easier, since I had not learned the hiragana thoroughly. But now that I started over on dl with the hiragana, it took patience at first, but now I find it much easier to learn with and feel it prepared me to start learning a little kanji as it is presented in these lessons. I DO wish the advanced students who seem to use a lot of kanji would also add the hiragana in parentheses for those of us who do not know a lot of kanji yet. It would be SOOO helpful! Some of you do, and I greatly appreciate it.

  • 1098

I appreciate when they do that as well. Wish Duo would also be this considerate....


why dont you use furigana dou for good sake!


Is there a reason for why the plural, Sundays, would be an incorrect translation? My understanding is that the amount of something is determined by context and that few words, if any, actually have plural forms in Japanese.

  • 1098

I would assume an error on DL and report. It's not that uncommon.


JoeW., Sunday or Sundays would be the same in Japanese.


Why not to show all the kanji in the word? You'll never see 日よう日 in a real Japanese text.


The audio in the program says "kyohi" this is confusing nonsense. the audio in comment is "nichioubi" , which is correct. There is no such word as "kyohi"


I'm having a bit of trouble with the pronounciation behind the kanji? The same one is pronounced differently both times, but when I click on the kanji itself to listen to the pronounciation it is pronounced a third way?!?


I would like to report that when a word or character is presented its not possible to choice any of the 3 options.


日= sun, but also day. So it's very easy to remember as Sunday uwu




What is the pronunciation of the week days?


wtf? How 日 is bi,but before it's ni? Explain this.

  • 1098

Look for Alcedo-Atthis posts. It is explained.

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