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Long Island Asian Studies Center - Classes: Aiki Budo/Chi Gong/Tai Chi, Author of: Searching For O'Sensei


Bronson
03-30-2005, 10:21 PM
Incidentally the most failed test is shikyu...

From the AikiWeb Columns Vocabulary page:

Rokyu (6th kyu) rokukyu
Gokyu (5th kyu) gokyu
Yonkyu (4th kyu) yonkyu
Sankyu (3rd kyu) sankyu
Nikyu (2nd kyu) nikyu
Ikkyu (1st kyu) ikkyu

Emphasis is mine. If you dig around a little in the columns section you can find something Jun wrote that "explains" the whole when-to-use-yon-instead-of-
shi thing. It's still confusing sometimes :D

Speaking of that Jun...I notice in the list of ranks that you've got 7th dan as shichidan. I've always heard it as nanadan. Is one more correct than the other?

Bronson

Hardware
03-30-2005, 11:16 PM
I just asked the receptionist here at work about use of shi and yon.

She couldn't articulate a clearly defined rule that applies, but the examples she gave seem to indicate that yon is used when you identify four nouns or for time.

Shi is used less than yon and shi is the older, Chinese word whereas yon is uniquely Japanese. The only example I can think of is shiho nage - so direction uses shi.

Hope that cleared everything up... :hypno:

siwilson
03-31-2005, 04:30 AM
I was told (by my first Aikido Sensei|) that to use "Yon" on its own is bad luck, so it is substituted with "Shi", but is genrally used in longer words - eg. "Yonkajo"/"Yonkyo". But then "Shiho Nage" kind of deffies that rule?

My Judo teacher never explained it, or did he? Hey, I was 12! :D

There are loads of Japanese Aikidoka here, please educate us! ;)

akiy
03-31-2005, 10:22 AM
Speaking of that Jun...I notice in the list of ranks that you've got 7th dan as shichidan. I've always heard it as nanadan. Is one more correct than the other?
I've heard both used in that case. I wonder if Peter Goldsbury or Chris Li has more information on the term "shichidan" versus "nanadan."

I just asked the receptionist here at work about use of shi and yon.

She couldn't articulate a clearly defined rule that applies, but the examples she gave seem to indicate that yon is used when you identify four nouns or for time.

Shi is used less than yon and shi is the older, Chinese word whereas yon is uniquely Japanese. The only example I can think of is shiho nage - so direction uses shi.
I believe Howard's thoughts are correct, in general, that "yon" and "nana" are usually used as an cardinal descriptor (four cows, four people, four o'clock) and "shi" and "shichi" are usually used for counting. There are exceptions such as "shiho" which use "shi" since it's part of a compound noun.

I was told (by my first Aikido Sensei|) that to use "Yon" on its own is bad luck, so it is substituted with "Shi", but is genrally used in longer words - eg. "Yonkajo"/"Yonkyo". But then "Shiho Nage" kind of deffies that rule?
I can't say I've ever heard of "yon" being bad luck. "Shi" is also a homonym for "death" (shi), so I've heard some Japanese people do not like using that term and sometimes even the number (like the number 13 in Western cultures). I can't say I've ever heard of a distinction when to use "shi" or "yon" according to how long a word is, either. So, to me at least, neither the "yon is bad luck" nor "use yon in longer words" jives with my knowledge of the Japanese language.

Once again, I wonder if Peter or Chris have any thoughts on this...

-- Jun

jitensha
03-31-2005, 11:27 AM
Hmm....while we're on the topic of counting....

Is there a general rule for using hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu, etc. instead of ichi, ni, san, etc.? Is it plain vs polite?

akiy
03-31-2005, 11:32 AM
Is there a general rule for using hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu, etc. instead of ichi, ni, san, etc.? Is it plain vs polite?
"Hitotsu" etc are cardinal numbers. "Ichi" etc are nominal.

-- Jun

jitensha
03-31-2005, 12:17 PM
"Hitotsu" etc are cardinal numbers. "Ichi" etc are nominal.

Thanks, I see. I thought it was more complicated than that.
But for cardinals greater than 10 one would switch to
the chinese variant, correct? I don't mean to go off topic but
why doesn't the "hitotsu series" go above 10?
That seems odd...

akiy
03-31-2005, 12:26 PM
Thanks, I see. I thought it was more complicated than that.
Well, "hitotsu" etc usually only refers to "generic" objects. Other terms for other categories (eg "ichimai, nimai, sanmai" for flat objects, "ippon, nihon, sanbon" for skinny, cylindrical objects).

But for cardinals greater than 10 one would switch to
the chinese variant, correct?
Not too sure whatyou mean by "Chinese variant." Do you have any examples?

-- Jun

jitensha
03-31-2005, 12:56 PM
Not too sure whatyou mean by "Chinese variant." Do you have any examples?

Sorry about that. Well, I'm most likely way off here but i thought "ichi,...,juu" was imported from the Chinese. And the "hitotsu,...,too"
was native Japanese (whatever that means). So when one
wants to use a generic cardinal for 11 they would say "juu-ichi", a combination from the Chinese set. So I was wondering why the native Japanese set doesn't included expressions for cardinals greater than 11. (Just trying to piece things together from my very fractured
and incomplete knowledge of Japanese)

Drew Herron
04-02-2005, 03:23 PM
That's true, the "ichi,...,juu" set is the On pronunciation of the numbers, and is derived from Chinese. The "hitotsu,...,too" set is the Kun pronunciation and is originally Japanese.
I'm learning Chinese, but I don't really know any Japanese and I was surprised that shi also means death in Japanese. In Chinese the word for death is "si" same as the number 4, making it an unlucky number. It's easy to find homophones in a tonal language.
-Drew

Peter Goldsbury
04-02-2005, 05:55 PM
I looked at the compounds listed under SHI in the revised Nelson dictionary. (They are listed on pp. 238-240.) It is very hard to find any rule that determines when to use SHI or when to use yon. I suspect that the determining factor is usage, probably influenced by concepts of euphony (i.e., what 'sounds' right to a native speaker).

Thus, I have never come across shi-kyu or shi-dan, but equally, have never come across yon-hou (4 directions), yon-gatsu (April), or yon-ki (4 seasons, especially the work by Vivaldi, which is very popular here). There are 149 homophones of SHI listed in the Nelson dictionary, by the way (and by "homophone" here, I mean different Chinese characters for the same sound 'shi').

The situation with SHICHI is somewhat different. There is only one homophone (SHICHI = hostage, also read as SHITSU = substance). However, there is no rule beyond that determines whether it is SHICHI or nana.

Best regards,

Peter Goldsbury
04-02-2005, 06:34 PM
However, there is no rule beyond that determines whether it is SHICHI or nana.

Best regards,

Apologies. I should have written:

There is no rule beyond usage that determines whether it is SHICHI or nana.

saltlakeaiki
04-04-2005, 12:42 AM
There is only one homophone (SHICHI = hostage, also read as SHITSU=substance)Not to be pedantic :), but I believe you meant that there's only this one homophone, which has the alternate reading SHITSU, and means substance, character, value, essential nature. The word for hostage is "hitojichi", which contains this one as its second element. Glad I straightened that out :D

Dave

Peter Goldsbury
04-04-2005, 03:34 AM
Not to be pedantic :), but I believe you meant that there's only this one homophone, which has the alternate reading SHITSU, and means substance, character, value, essential nature. The word for hostage is "hitojichi", which contains this one as its second element. Glad I straightened that out :D

Dave

The starter of this thread wondered whether shichidan or nanadan was correct. So perhaps it is not quite appropriate to have a deep discussion about the meaning of SHICHI.

However, I meant what I wrote. If you look in the revised Nelson index you will see that there are 150 homphones of SHI, but only two of SHICHI. The Nelson entry for SHICHI gives SHITSU as the first reading, but many of the compounds relate to pawning objects and are read as SHICHI-. 'Hostage' is given by Nelson as the first meaning of the character and the Kojien also has this meaning (No. 2), but the first meaning given relates to pawning objects.

Charlie
04-04-2005, 03:51 AM
...I can't say I've ever heard of "yon" being bad luck. "Shi" is also a homonym for "death" (shi), so I've heard some Japanese people do not like using that term and sometimes even the number (like the number 13 in Western cultures)...


If you come across some of the older rotary phones in Japan some will not even display the #4 (shi).

If you purchase place settings (plates. cups, etc...), the minimum # in a set is 5. I don't recall ever seeing a set of 4.

Regards,

akiy
04-04-2005, 10:50 AM
If you come across some of the older rotary phones in Japan some will not even display the #4 (shi).

If you purchase place settings (plates. cups, etc...), the minimum # in a set is 5. I don't recall ever seeing a set of 4.
Funny (perhaps), then, that most Aikikai dojo I know of do turns of four techniques each as nage/tori...

-- Jun

Rupert Atkinson
04-05-2005, 08:19 AM
So, what with the Japanese avoidance of 'shi' meaning 4, maybe the intentional use of 'shi' meaning 4 in shiho-nage makes it equivallent to 'death throw' in the Japanese mind :)

Just ruminating madness ...

PS In Yorkshire-go, we used to mispronounce shiho-nage as sheer-agony, in much the same way seiza was mispronounced as seizure.

Eddie deGuzman
04-07-2005, 10:19 PM
:blush: No formal Japanese study per se, yet I will respond regardless.

Trying to learn Japanese on my own when first coming to Japan was an enormous challenge. Still is. Counting is particularly difficult because the number itself is only part of the term. I asked a teacher at a Junior High School to look up "one" in a huge dictionary they had. There were at least 50 different words/counters representing "one". I am only refering to "1", not other words with the same sound and different meanings.

Jun Akiyama mentioned a few of the counters describing shapes of objects. Ippon, ichimai, ippai, ippiki, icchou, ikkou, ichidai, ikken, etc. Being difficult for westerners to understand, it actually gives more information about what one is talking about, lending a feel for what is being counted.

Yon/shi being believed as unlucky is true. There are other numbers as well. Shinu is the word for die, yet shi(4) and shi(die/death) are, of course, different kanji. There are unlucky ages as well. Apparently, when I turn 42 this May, I will suffer a very unlucky year. I do not look forward to it since this past year has not been exceptionally good. :yuck:

As for dishes and cups, I see sets of 4 quite often while shopping. Oddly enough, I bought four crystal glasses on sale at SATY, a department store here in Japan. And at 1000 yen(around $10) a great bargain! :D

Just my futatsu yen ! ;)

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-08-2005, 05:45 AM
I've heard that even numbers in general are not preferred, because they are easily divided. I heard this as part of a discussion of the Book of Five Rings. For instance, I hear that when giving gifts, it's best to avoid giving things in even increments.

spin13
04-17-2005, 06:53 PM
What I have gleaned from the above is that the Japanese readings, 'Hitotsu, futatsu, etc', are used as cardinal numbers counting generic objects. You then switch to the 'juu-ichi' and so on for values of 11 or greater.

Is it common practice to start counting with 'ichi, ni, etc', even for the same generic objects described above, if you know you are going to count higher than 10? Or is this just my wishful thinking for simplifying the counting situation?

Exactly how common are the 'hitotsu, futatsu, etc' pronunciations. With the item specific counting scheme, it seems they are a rarity. Also, is there any particular name, in Japanese, to differentiate these pronunciation sets, or does it fit the 'on-yomi' & 'kun-yomi' description?

-Eric

Ibaraki Bryan
04-20-2005, 01:53 AM
I always find it odd at my local sushi place that I order a plate of sushi with "ichi-mai" and order a beer with "hitotsu"... never understood why -- just how everybody else does it...

Gaijin see, gaijin do... :)

Peter Goldsbury
04-20-2005, 04:30 AM
I always find it odd at my local sushi place that I order a plate of sushi with "ichi-mai" and order a beer with "hitotsu"... never understood why -- just how everybody else does it...

Gaijin see, gaijin do... :)

That is because a plate of sushi is flat, whereas a beer could be ippon if it is in a bottle. The big Spahn & Hadamitzky dictionary (pp. 1638-1639) lists over 100 such counters.

Peter Goldsbury
04-20-2005, 07:26 AM
After my last post, I went to eat Okonomiyaki at my local shop (Jun knows about this) and discussed the question of counting with the Mama-san and a local taxi driver, who happened to be there.

They agreed that beer could be counted in two ways. 'Ippon', 'nihon' would be one or two bottle of beer, whereas 'ippai', 'nihai' would be one or two glasses or jokki (the tankards for nama biiru).

They also thought that many younger Japanese did not know many counters and had to make to with hitotsu futatsu etc.

On the other hand, if you were to call your local sushi shop and ask then to deliver, they would ask how many people: the counter would be 'nin-mae' : ichinin-mae, ninnin-mae etc.

Counting in Japanese requires close study.

David Humm
04-21-2005, 06:43 AM
Just ruminating madness ...

PS In Yorkshire-go, we used to mispronounce shiho-nage as sheer-agony, in much the same way seiza was mispronounced as seizure. Having lived in Wakefield West Yorkshire, I found that very amusing mate.. Nice !

Dave

nathansnow
02-10-2006, 09:28 AM
I can't say I've ever heard of "yon" being bad luck. "Shi" is also a homonym for "death" (shi), so I've heard some Japanese people do not like using that term and sometimes even the number (like the number 13 in Western cultures).

Just to add on to this... when I went to Japan, several of the hotels that I stayed in did not have a 4th floor because of the number "shi" (death). It was just like hotels here not having a 13th floor I was told.

Nate