Language Learners' Library

Yeah, when I last tried learning Japanese I memorised inside as the main meaning. I just wanted it to fit in with the other nouns on the list.

刀銭(とうせん)- bronze coin of ancient China, shaped like an opened straight razor

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That’s so cool! I suppose that, just like the clay miniatures in Europe, they were intended to represent the value of a real knife.

ie. they’re the intermediate point between barter and coinage

Speaking of which, 内マガリ would be inside turn. How 内 would be pronounced here?

Another question I ponder is what does 整形の手筋 mean? I looked around the internet but can’t understand the meaning.

必須(ひっす)- essential, required
基礎知識(きそちしき)- fundamental knowledge
正誤(せいご)- correct or incorrect
主導権を握る(しゅどうけんをにぎる)- to seize the initiative
力戦(りきせん)- hard fighting

Sentence of the day:

Imagine the way that took.

“We, the Emperor, declare knives to be our currency!”

“yea, no, smithing iron into knives always takes so much time, and they’re cutting my bum when I carry them in bunches…”

“We the Emperor, declare knive-shaped iron to be our currency!”


Korean soju : 소주
Japanese shochu : 焼酎

[Press X to doubt writing efficiency]

( and yeah yeah, homophones etc. :stuck_out_tongue: )

I know we did some of these before, but:

Vocabulary Challenge: The Mine & Smithy
  1. clay
  2. chalk
  3. flint
  4. salt
  5. peat
  6. coal
  7. jet
  8. marble
  9. opal
  10. quarry
  11. lantern
  12. miner
  13. mineshaft
  14. ladder
  15. copper
  16. bronze
  17. brass
  18. iron
  19. steel
  20. silver
  21. gold
  22. electrum
  23. furnace
  24. fire (n.)
  25. hammer
  26. tongs
  27. melt
  28. mine
  29. smith
  30. smithy
Japanese Culture
  1. temple
  2. meditation
  3. Buddhism
  4. calligraphy
  5. painting
  6. garden
  7. carp
  8. chimes
  9. soldier
  10. warlord
  11. caste
  12. ceramics
  13. glaze
  14. tea
  15. island
  16. sea
  17. river
  18. fish
  19. monster
  20. robe
  21. rice
  22. mountain
  23. emperor
  24. cat
  25. mat
  26. lute
  27. flute
  28. sandals
  29. suicide
  30. woodwork
  1. coin
  2. jar
  3. salt
  4. wine
  5. sauce
  6. grain
  7. olives
  8. oil
  9. figs
  10. spirits
  11. mead
  12. beer
  13. cider
  14. scrolls
  15. wax
  16. incense
  17. myrrh
  18. gunpowder
  19. gems
  20. limestone
  21. flour
  22. barley
  23. mirrors
  24. combs
  25. arrows
  26. antiquities
  27. bows
  28. slaves
  29. herbs
  1. plain
  2. plateau
  3. upland
  4. lowland
  5. floodplain
  6. swamp
  7. saltmarsh
  8. forest
  9. rainforest
  10. scrubland
  11. beach
  12. desert
  13. archipelago
  14. savannah
  15. taiga
  16. atoll
  17. salt flat
  18. mountainside
  19. delta
  20. snowy wasteland
  21. lava field
  22. crater
  23. steppe
  24. countryside
  25. marsh
  26. fen
  27. islet
  28. spit
  29. mudflat
  30. sea ice

Grammar challenge: Make at least three sentences from the words of each section (so 15 sentences in all.) You may supply your own verbs.

In this post, I bring you simple hyogaiji from Jisho. They’re all ten strokes or less.

I’ll hide the meanings so it’s like a pop quiz.

01. 莒 02. 茈 03. 苓 04. 芡 05. 苻 06. 栘 07. 鬯 08. 茷 09. 芾 10. 枡

11. 匣 12. 玟 13. 挭 14. 汕 15. 哈 16. 玼 17 玷 18. 玥 19. 津 20. 舩

21. 枋 22. 舮 23. 枦 24. 枩 25. 枸 26. 枏 27. 陦 28. 范 29. 峇 30. 洎

  1. hemp plant 3. mushroom 4. waterlily-like plant 5. kudzu-like plant
  1. fruit tree 7. spiced licquor 8. flutter 9. flower 10. measuring box
  1. box 12. streaks in jade 13. fishbone 14. net-fishing 15. school of fish
  1. flaw in a gem 17. flaw in a gem 18. pearl 19. harbour 20. boat
  1. raft 22. prow 23. wax tree 24. pine tree 25. quince tree

  2. cedar 27. island 28. bee 29. mountain cave 30. soup

By the way, I have to ruin one: whoever chose 蜂 as Joyo instead of 范 should have got a smack in the face.

津 is the only one I know, but that’s probably because it’s actually a joyo kanji (it’s the tsu in tsunami).

Also, in a way 范 is less obvious than 蜂 to me, since 蜂 contains 虫, which means insect (and other creepy-crawly).

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Vocabulary solution

The Mine & Smithy

I. creta II. creta III. silex IV. sal V. peta* VI. carbo VII. gagates VIII. marmor IX. opalus X. metallum

(*) British Vulgar Latin

XI. laterna XII. cuniculator XIII. faux XIV. scala XV. aes XVI. aes XVII. aes XVIII. ferrum XIX. adamas XX. argentum

XXI. aurum XXII. electrum XXIII. furnus XXIV. ardor XXV. forceps XXVI. malleus XXIV. defluo XXVIII. cuniculus XXIX. faber XXX. taberna ferraria

Japanese Culture

I. templum II. meditare* III. gymnosophismos** IV. ???*** V. pingendum*** VI. hortus VII. carpa VIII. ???**** IX. miles X. dux*

XI. classis XII. lateramen XIII. ???** XIV. thea XV. insula XVI. mare XVII. flumen XVIII. piscis XIX. monstrum XX. vestis

XXI. oryza XXII. mons XXIII. imperator XXIV. felis XXV. matta XXVI. lyra XXVII. tibia XXVII. caligae XXIX. suicidium XXX. materiatura

(1) This is a gerund.
(2) Blanket term for Indian aescetics. Also I used a Greek ending because I didn’t know the Latin one.
(3) Probably a Latinisation of Greek kalligraphia
(4) Another gerund.
(5) Could adapt campana (bell)
(6) Commander
(7) Something to do with vitreo (I glaze)?


I. nomisma II. cadus III. sal IV. uinum V. ius VI. grana VII. bacae VIII. oleum IX. fici X. alcohol distillatus

XI. hydromel* XII. ceruesia XIII. sicera XIV. pergameni** XV. cera XVI. incensum XVII. myrrha XVIII. pulvis pyrius XIX. gemmae

XX. calx XXI. farina XXII. hordeum XXIII. specula XXIV. pectines*** XXV. sagittae XXVI. ???**** XXVII. arcus XXVIII. servi XXIX. herbae

(1) Unusual combination of Greek hydro and Latin mel
(2) I think Sanonius criticised this, but I can’t find his response
(3) Apparently pecten also meant pubic hair
(4) Something to do with relicto (I abandon), root of English relic?


I improvised in all quoted items.

I. campus II. planitia III. “terra alta” IV “terra demissa” V. adluuies VI. palus VII. aestuarium VIII. silua IX. “silva pluvia” X. “campus rusci”

XI. littus XII. heremus XIII. ??? XIV. “campus herbidus” XV. “silva niuea”* XVI. “insula demissa” XVII. “campus salis” XVIII. “clivus montis” XIX. “insula fluminis”

XX. “heremus niueus” XXI “campus lavae” XXII. crater XXIII. campus XXIV. arua XXV. palus XXVI. palus XVII. “insula parva”** XXVIII. ??? XXIX. “campus caeni” XXX. “crustallum maris”

(1) Both taiga and tundra are loanwords from Asian languages.
(2) I don’t think a diminutive would sound right here.

I think I’ll start making kanji posts to keep the Japanese-learners interested.

Here is a list of kanji about birds.

Joyo: 鳥

1. bird

Jinmeiyo: 鴻 鳳 凰 燕 禽

1. goose 2. male phoenix 3. female phoenix 4. swallow 5. bird / captive

Hyogaiji: 鵈 䳑 鷽 寉 鸎 鸇 鵒 鵩 鵂 隻

1. kite (bird) 2. pheasant-like bird 3. dove 4. crane 5. mango-bird
6. hawk 7. mynah 8. buzzard 9. horned owl 10. counter for birds

Special mention: 喿 (chirping)

As a foreigner, I like seeing the characters that break the pattern, like 燕.

Japanese uses only some Chinese characters frequently. By posting a lot of not popular kanji, you talk more about Chinese language than of Japanese.

More interesting that pattern exists - many bird words have 鳥 radical鳥

Hmm, what’s gonna be a good challenge for today?


I’d like to try translating Ysengrimus (ie. Reynard the Fox), because 1) it’s a real Latin work and 2) the subject matter is playful.

But I’ve heard that the Latin is quite difficult. And also it’s Medieval Latin. What do you think?

I don’t know, I really don’t know that work. “medieval” and “playful” implies a low-register vocabulary with lots of double-entendre and secondary meanings and/or late latin vocabulary you don’t learn in school or from dictionaries.
I just found this page here with some works considered “easy” by the bloggist. The noctes atticae are probably something you’d like.

From Hyginus, there is some kind of mythological dictionary, also in rather easy latin.

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Oh, I can’t find Ysengrimus for free anywhere. And a review said “written in very sophisticated Latin with brilliant but misused rhetoric” so yeah, maybe no.

What do you think about De Agricultura and De Re Rustica as beginner material? These are books about farming (as you obviously know.)

De Agricultura, though, was written in 160BCE so it might be a bit dated?

I know that the tradition in England has always been to explicitly prepare students to read The Gallic Wars.

Those books you linked look interesting, btw.

  • 隻 is joyo again, I know it. It’s also used as a counter for ships. The usual counter for birds is 羽 (わ)
  • 鷹 is the kanji I know for hawk (たか, I learnt it from 三鷹, which is a city in Tokyo).
  • 鶴 is the kanji I know for crane (つる, I learnt it from 舞鶴, a city in Kyoto).
  • 鳶 is the kanji for kite (とんび), one of them stole my hamburger once…
  • 鵞鳥 is the kanji for goose
  • 鳩 is the kanji for dove

I didn’t go through the rest, but I’m not sure if you got the right kanji for them…

Note that in Japanese, animal species are usually written in katakana. Only the most well-known species have kanji that are familiar to most Japanese.

Which pattern is it breaking?


It doesn’t use the 鳥 kanji.

I think 燕 is a pictogram. Also, here’s something that will blow your mind:

燕 means “swallow (bird)”, means “swallow (as in the verb)”

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