Similar words

K73SK December 28, 2008, 8:41 pm
I'm noticing that there are similar words together in Japanese. Kind of like chopsticks and bridge.. they're both "hashi"...

Is there a list of words we could form to see all the similar words and how to know the differences? :]
Similar words
Sayaka-Matsuura January 20, 2009, 8:13 pm
Konnichiwa!

I apologize for this late reply to your post.

There ARE many similar words in Japanese. As you mentioned, chopsticks and bridge both are written HASHI. The difference lies in the pronunciation/intonation and also, when that's too subtle to tell the difference, one can usually tell from the context.

All of the vowels and most of the consonants of Japanese may be pronounced either short or long. In normal speech, long sounds are held for about twice the length of time as short sounds. The difference between long and short sounds is very significant, and Japanese have no trouble at all remembering which words have short sounds and which words have long sounds. Here are some words distinguished only by the length of the sound:

:idea: *Shujin* and *Shuujin*
*Shujin* means "husband" while *Shuujin* means "prisoner"

:idea: *Koto* and *Kooto*
*Koto* means "thing" and *Kooto*means "coat"

Pitch differences in Japanese are a lot more subtle than the differences between a short vowel and a long vowel as we just covered...Read More
Konnichiwa!

I apologize for this late reply to your post.

There ARE many similar words in Japanese. As you mentioned, chopsticks and bridge both are written HASHI. The difference lies in the pronunciation/intonation and also, when that's too subtle to tell the difference, one can usually tell from the context.

All of the vowels and most of the consonants of Japanese may be pronounced either short or long. In normal speech, long sounds are held for about twice the length of time as short sounds. The difference between long and short sounds is very significant, and Japanese have no trouble at all remembering which words have short sounds and which words have long sounds. Here are some words distinguished only by the length of the sound:

:idea: *Shujin* and *Shuujin*
*Shujin* means "husband" while *Shuujin* means "prisoner"

:idea: *Koto* and *Kooto*
*Koto* means "thing" and *Kooto*means "coat"

Pitch differences in Japanese are a lot more subtle than the differences between a short vowel and a long vowel as we just covered. Sometimes a slight pitch difference can change the meaning of the word.

*HAshi*– said with a high-to-low pitch means "chopsticks"
*HaSHI* – said with a low-to high pitch means "bridge"

Here are some more: (the syllable in capital letters carries a stronger intonation)

Ima and iMA “now” and “living room”
KAki and kaKI “oyster” and “persimmon”
NIhon and niHON “two sticks of” and “Japan”
iKA and Ika “squid” and “lower than”
Ikura and ikuRA? “salmon roe” and “how much?”
Similar words
K73SK January 26, 2009, 3:29 am
Thanks for the reply. Late or not late, the reply still helps me a lot to realize the differences in words in Japanese. Thanks for the help! I hope to find more words that sound the same and find the differences between them! :]
Similar words
Sayaka-Matsuura February 4, 2009, 7:19 pm
Your Welcome! Kore karamo nihongo no benkyo ganbatte kudasai!
May you do well in your Japanese studies!
Similar words
rphinks April 20, 2009, 6:00 am
muzukashii means both difficult and clever or so dictates my favorite anime.
Similar words
K73SK May 2, 2009, 7:29 am
I realized hana means flower and nose too. Which takes which pronounciation?
Similar words
Sayaka-Matsuura May 4, 2009, 3:31 am
Konnichiwa!

Yes, HANA is used for both "flower" and nose"

Unfortunately, "flower" and "nose" does not have a distinctive pitch difference. However, you can easily tell which one it is by the context, usually.
Similar words

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