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29 June 2008

Kanji Lessons

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Welcome to summer! With the longest days upon us, it seems fitting to take a look at the character for "long":

(CHŌ, naga(i): long)

This kanji can also mean "chief, head, leader," but today, for the most part, I'm only interested in its length. I love how elongates the following things in the most charming of ways:

  (ana: hole)  
  shortarrow.jpg     長穴
  (naga-ana: slot)  
  (en or maru: circle)  
  shortarrow.jpg     長円
  (chōen: ellipse, oval)  
  (kutsu: shoes)  
  shortarrow.jpg     長靴
  (nagagutsu: boots)  
  (isu: chair)  
  shortarrow.jpg     長椅子
  (nagaisu: couch)  

The compound 椅子 (isu: chair) breaks down as chair + noun suffix relating to objects such as furniture. Wow, that breakdown was long even without there to elongate it!

Here's my favorite transformation:

  (imo: potato)            
  shortarrow.jpg     長芋          
  (nagaimo: yam)         

Yes, that's true! A yam is longer than a potato! I'd never thought about it before.
(more̷ ;) Blog 6/27/08 6:23 AM Eve Kushner Kanji Curiosity Comments

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