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しかた

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しかた

Postby keatonatron » Fri 02.17.2006 10:08 am

I posed this question to Tony before on another forum, but he got frustrated with the crappiness of that forum and... ran away. So I'm asking it again hoping to get a full answer.

When learning the -方 form (i.e. やる=やり方、食べる=食べ方), students are (I guess) taught that する, being irregular, takes the special form しかた. However, whenever this word is written in kanji it becomes 仕方. 仕, although pronounced し and kinda has the same meaning, isn't the kanji for する... So my question is, what's the relation here? Is 仕方 a completely different word that just happens to look like the logical product of する so teachers save themselves a lot of explaining by saying it's the same word? Or is it actually related to する? Do Japanese speakers see する and 仕方 as being related (the "same word")?

And, as a side note to tony, what's the original kanji for する? :D Feel free to throw in any other interesting anecdotes that you might have.
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RE: しかた

Postby AJBryant » Fri 02.17.2006 12:56 pm

We have to go back to the beginning here and play with some classical Japanese. There's going to be a big diversion (which you may already know a bit of, but for the folks who don't, I'm putting it here).

Keep in mind that the *normal* structure of Japanese verbs is an unchanging root with the mutable conjugational elements being added in hiragana (e.g., 飲む、飲みます、飲みました、飲まない、飲め、etc. -- in all cases, the 飲 retains the unchanging pronunciation of /no/). There are a few irregular verbs where the root actually changes as well (e.g., 来る、来ます、来ました,来ない、来い,etc. -- where in the dictionary form the root is /ku/, in the next several examples it is /ki/, but in the last two is /ko/).

Now, keep in mind that Classical Japanese is far more inflected than modern Japanese was. Verbs appeared in one of six possible forms (depending on their function and place in the sentence).

There was the "mizenkei" ("incomplete" form) which was the base form of the verb (and its added kana) to which other suffix issues would append. The appended elements indicate tense (past, future, etc.), voice (passive, causative, conjectural), etc. In the verb "to die," the mizenkei was and is 死な, as in 死なず "is not dead."

There was the "ren'youkei" ("continuative" form) which was the base and its extra kana, to which was added emotive, desiderative, and other types of suffixes. The ren'youkei of "to die" was and is 死に, as in 死にけり "has died." This is also the form that is used to add to nouns to create a noun compound (e.g., 食べ物、遊び人、立ち読み).

The next form was the "shushikei" ("final" form). This was the sentence ending form, and is also it's "dictionary form." Suffixes can be added, but this is the "official" form is the root kanji and its final kana. Since there really is no more "final form" in Japanese, this is the plain form of the verb and in modern Japanese usually called the "jishokei" or "dictionary form." The example is 死ぬ.

The next form is the "rentaikei" ("appositive" form). This is the form of the verb root and kana that appears when it modifies a noun (e.g., "a man who dies"). In modern Japanese, the rentaikei is identical to the modern jisho/shushi kei, but it didn't use to be. The appositive form of "to die" was 死ぬる, so in Classical Japanese "a man who dies" would be 死ぬる男, while in modern Japanese it is 死ぬ男.

The "izenkei" is the verb root and kana to which are appended suffices that typically indicate "although" or "however" concepts. "To die" was 死ぬれ, as in 死ぬれども "although I [may] die."

The final form is "meireikei" ("imperative" form). This is the root and kana indicating an imperative or a direct order. Classical and Modern was both 死ね ("die!").

Now that we've dealt with the changing forms of the verbs, we come to the root of the problem, and the source of your question -- SURU.

Originally, there was no verb "suru" -- the verb was "su." The kanji was 為. Note that there is no okurigana.

There' can't be.

"Su" was particularly messy in that there was nothing to add to the root -- the root itself was what mutated.

The forms of "su" were: せ、し、す、する、すれ、せ(よ)。That's a LOT of forms to be represented by the same character. In practice, the shushikei "す" and the す-part of the rentaikei and izenkei were represented by the kanji (with the る and れ supplied as okurigana). In addition, the mizenkei and meireikei were represented by the kanji, giving 為 the readings of /su/ or /se/, and the appended okurigana would give the indication of which pronunciation was needed, much as with 来る/来ない.

To keep from making it totally confusing, for the ren'youkei, where it was read /shi/, it became common to represent it with a different kanji -- namely 仕. Since for the sake of simplicity it became the standard to use kana only for su/suru, the use of 為 as its official kanji is all but forgotten, and the use of 仕 only survives in noun compounds where the ren'youkei joins a noun or another verb, as in the examples 仕方, 仕事, and 仕出す.

There. More than you could ever want to know. :o:D

Tony
Last edited by AJBryant on Fri 02.17.2006 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: しかた

Postby hyperconjugated » Fri 02.17.2006 2:59 pm

AJBryant wrote:
There. More than you could ever want to know.
Tony


That was a great post!! Really in depth article.
More of these!
I'll just add one thing, if you may:

Image

btw, this is not sarcasm.
Last edited by hyperconjugated on Fri 02.17.2006 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: しかた

Postby AJBryant » Fri 02.17.2006 4:25 pm

That was a great post!! Really in depth article


Thanks. ;)

You can see why I didn't want to try to do this in a forum with a buggy interface. B)


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RE: しかた

Postby keatonatron » Fri 02.17.2006 10:46 pm

So it IS the same word! Awesome. That was extremely interesting. I'm glad I didn't decide to learn Japanese 1000 years ago.
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RE: しかた

Postby AJBryant » Sat 02.18.2006 1:21 am

LOL! You can still take Classical Japanese now. It's LOADS of fun, and makes watching jidai-geki a lot more comprehensible. ;)

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RE: しかた

Postby keatonatron » Sat 02.18.2006 10:35 am

I know I CAN take it, but I'm glad I don't HAVE to take it! :p

It sounds much more complicated than modern Japanese. I really would like to study some, but... Maybe I'll leave that for when I've become close to fluent. It hate to think about the looks I would get if I kept accidentally using classical Japanese in modern everyday conversations.
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RE: しかた

Postby AJBryant » Sat 02.18.2006 11:08 am

It hate to think about the looks I would get if I kept accidentally using classical Japanese in modern everyday conversations.


That's exactly why I used to "accidentally" slip some bungo in some times. ;)


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RE: しかた

Postby Sachi » Sat 02.18.2006 2:15 pm

Very interesting post, Tony :)

AJBryant wrote:

That's exactly why I used to "accidentally" slip some bungo in some times. ;)


Tony


Nice :p haha!
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RE: しかた

Postby keatonatron » Mon 02.27.2006 11:16 am

By the way, I explained this to one of my teachers because she didn't know the answer when I asked her (before asking Tony).

She was surprised. She had no idea the 仕 in 仕事 was the same as する. (which is kinda.. wierd, because when you think about it it's kinda obvious: suru koto -> shigoto. Just like tabemono, but instead of taberu it's suru and instead of mono [physical thing] it's koto [abstract concept]) Can you imagine living 30 some years speaking only Japanese and never making that connection?? I'd be like just now realizing that "bus stop" is where the bus stops.
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RE: しかた

Postby AJBryant » Mon 02.27.2006 1:13 pm

LOL!

This is one reason for my "native speaker != expert on the language" rants. ;)

I know lots of native English speakers who absolutely make me wince when they speak -- and heaven help foreigners who ask *them* the reason we say XYZ, or how to say ABC.

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RE: しかた

Postby keatonatron » Mon 02.27.2006 7:11 pm

Which is why it's wierd that so many people hire any native speaker of English to be an English teacher in Japan. A lot of people just suck at explaining it...

And I don't even want to try to count the times my friends have told me totally off-the-wall English they've learned from their teachers... I've had to correct them numerous times.
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RE: しかた

Postby AJBryant » Mon 02.27.2006 10:08 pm

A lot of people just suck at explaining it...


Let alone all those who can't even speak it properly to start with. Image

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