From Round to Square (and back)

For The Emperor's Teacher, scroll down (↓) to "Topics." It's the management book that will rock the world (and break the vase, as you will see). Click or paste the following link for a recent profile of the project:

A new post appears every day at 12:05* (CDT). There's more, though. Take a look at the right-hand side of the page for over four years of material (2,000 posts and growing) from Seinfeld and country music to every single day of the Chinese lunar calendar...translated. Look here ↓ and explore a little. It will take you all the way down the page...from round to square (and back again).
*Occasionally I will leave a long post up for thirty-six hours, and post a shorter entry at noon the next day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Kanji Mastery—Radical 116 (Cave)

[a] Cave RF
Radical 116 in Sino-Japanese dictionaries is reserved for the hidden recesses of the world, if not always meaning. The functions of this character element are, for the most part, straightforward. It combines with other characters to create hiding places. It is the hideway for eels (穴子) and badgers (穴熊), as well as the initial character in words such as "drilled pearls" (穴明き) and anal fistula (穴痔). Sorry, but caves work that way in explanatory language. Affiliated words tend to deal with dark recesses of one kind or another.
[b] Cave canem RF
Things live in them, too.

In this season's Rose Bowl, to be played on January 2, 2012, the Wisconsin 穴熊 will play the Oregon 鴨子. Only one resides in a "cave."

Only one can win.

Radical 116
Chinese (Mandarin): xue2, jue2
Chinese (Cantonese):jyut6
Japanese (On reading): ケツ  KETSU
Japanese (Kun readings):あな  ana
Korean: 혈 hyŏl

[c] Badgered RF
Selections from The New Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary.
Ana kammuri "hole" crown. Nickname: Cave

KETSU, ana  Hole, aperture, slit; gap, stop (of a musical instrument); eyelet; cavity; socket; cave; den; hiding place; pit; fault, defect; deficit; grave; dark horse.

穴居 けっきょ          kekkyo              cave dwelling                   (cave + residence)

穴堀 あなほり          anahori             excavation, digging          (cave + ditch)
穴道 あなみち          anamichi           tunnel, gallery                  (cave + roadway)
穴蔵 あなぐら          anagura            cellar                                (cave + storehouse)
穴埋 あなう(め)        anau(me)         filling a hole (see below)      (cave + bury)
穴塞 あなふさ(ぎ)    anafusa(gi)       plugging a hole (see below) (cave + plug up)

As always, I have put some of the more standard (1+1=linked meaning) combinations in the first set of words. Combinations are by no means always as simple as (cave + roadway = tunnel), though. Below, I have put a series of combinations that take the interpretive story, as it were, to a new level.

穴縢 あなかが(り)   anakaga(ri)         buttonhole sewing    (cave + tie up)
穴探 あなさが(し)   anasaga(shi)      faultfinding                (cave + search)
穴埋 あなう(め)       anau(me)           covering a deficit      (cave + bury)
穴塞 あなふさ(ぎ)   anafusa(gi)         stopgap measure     (cave + plug up)

We follow these combinations with two cave dwellers:

穴居人 けきょじん   kekkyojin           caveman                   (cave + residence + man) 
穴熊  あなぐま       anaguma           badger                      (cave + bear)

Jean Auel has nothing on the Japanese language.

[d] Whole RF
Finally, we will conclude with some of the individual characters for which "cave" is a part. It always appears above the other character elements. Let me add a brief bit of context here, since several of my Japanese students—seeing things they don't recognize—have pointed out in some of my other posts "that's not a character." No, it is not in the joyō  kanji (常用漢字) list of about 2,000 characters for "frequent use." They are characters, though, and certainly ones that every Japanese reader would have known up until 1950 or so. Even today, they appear in newspapers, academic writing, and other places. I use them here in order to show the rich combinatory possibilities of the character elements, and that is the lesson you should take away from them.

 キュウ; きわ(める)    KYŪ, kiwa(meru)          investigate; extreme
 トツ, つつ(く)           TOTSU, tsutsu(ku)       protruding, thrusting, attack
穿 セン; はく, うがつ    SEN, ha(ku), uga(tsu)   put on (feet or legs); dig up
 キュウ; きゅうする   KYŪ,kyū(suru)              destitute, suffer, perplexed
 ザン, サン                ZAN, SAN                     flee, hide, renew   (cave over rat)
[e] Recess RF

No comments:

Post a Comment