|[a] Candyland RF|
*Follow these brief steps: a) "copy" the character 甘 b) click on the stroke order link here, c) paste 甘 into the search box and click "get diagram."
|[b] Glazed RF|
|[c] Cosmic relief RF|
Although it may seem odd to leave the most common elements until later, I have a reason for proceeding in this manner. A gentle trip through the hidden paths and byways of lesser-known radicals will help attune us to the larger questions of the Sino-Japanese written language. Diving immediately into the water (Radical 85: 水) would risk drowning in a swirl of detail. This approach allows us to dip our feet (Radical 157: 足) into the sweet (today's radical 甘) streams (Radical 47: 川) amid fragrant (Radical 186: 香) fields (Radical 102: 田), and rest against the sturdy rocks (Radical 112: 石) of language (Radical 149: 言).
|[e] Verbal slicing RF|
As for my favorite board game (when I was very young), it has everything to do with this character. If you would like to order your Japanese copy of this slice from the Land of Sweetness (ハスブロ キャンディランド キャッスルゲーム), you may have it for ¥21,600.
Chinese (Cantonese): gam1
Japanese (Kun): あまい ama(i)
Korean: 달 감
Ama(nzuru), ama(njiru): to be content with, be resigned to.
Ama(yakasu): to be indulgent, pamper, coddle.
|[f] Sensual RF|
Uma(i): delicious, appetizing; skillful, clever, expert; wise; successful; fortunate; splendid; promising.
Ama-: Sugared, sweet; slightly salted.
That's a big load of sugary goodness, with a bit of (slight) salt and half-wit to go along with it. You can tell right here that this radical strays in both predictable and innovative ways from its candied roots (甘草). Let's begin, as usual, with the character combinations that we might expect from this little nugget of language.
甘苦 かんく kanku joys and sorrows (sweet+bitter)
甘美 かんび kanbi sweetness (sweet+beautiful)
甘茶 あまちゃ amacha hydrangea tea (sweet+tea)
甘酒 あまざけ amazake sweet saké (sweet+saké)
甘薯 かんしょ kansho sweet potato (sweet+tuber)
甘味 かんみ、あまみ kanmi, amami sweet, luscious (sweet+taste)
|[g] Sweet vermin RF|
甘口 あまくち amakuchi sweet flavor/tooth; flattery; stupidity (sweet+mouth)
O.k. Those are some of the basic combinations. Let's add a little bit of flavor to the mix by taking the concept of sweetness just a step further. Life and language are made up of just such leaps of interpretation. It is also the kind of thing that makes language learning as perplexing as it is mesmerizing.
甘子 あまったれっこ amattarekko spoiled child (sweet+child)
甘心 かんしん kanshin satisfaction (sweet+heart)
甘井 かんせい kansei excellent well (sweet+well)
甘雨 かんう kan'u refreshing rain (sweet+rain)
甘泉 かんせん kansen excellent water (sweet+spring)
甘草 かんぞう kanzou licorice (sweet+grass)
甘党 あまとう amatou sweet tooth (person) (sweet+party/segment)
甘塩 あまじお amajio slightly salted (sweet+salt)
甘辞 かんじ kanji flattery, cleverness (sweet+words)
甘夢 かんむ kanmu pleasant dreams (sweet+dream)
Now, let's examine a few combinations that either rival those above or take it to a new interpretive level. I assume that you will find the last one to be in that category. While it may not be a uniquely Japanese concept, it certainly has a long cultural history in the Japanese islands.
甘酸 かんさん kansan pains and pleasures (sweet+sour)
甘受 かんじゅする kanju (suru) submit to; put up with (sweet+receive)
甘言 かんげん kangen flattery, blarney (sweet+words)
...and that distinctively Japanese concept...
甘死 かんしする kanshi (suru) to die happily (sweet+death)
|[h] Meringued RF|
Exceedingly (甚大な: serious, enormous)
甜 テン TEN
Sweet (甜菜: sugar beet; 甜瓜: muskmelon)
甞 ショウ SYOU Variant of 嘗
|[i] Conceptually centered RF|