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Nature

Postby Cyborg Ninja » Sun 07.11.2010 3:02 am

I just looked up the word for "nature" in 電子辞書 and there's a huge listing that I can't narrow down even when I choose only popular terms. I'm looking for the most basic word referring to nature, as in the outdoors, not one's disposition. Is 自然 that word? And is "Creation" a good translation for 天地?

教えてお願いします。
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Re: Nature

Postby Michael_SD » Sun 07.11.2010 11:25 am

Cyborg Ninja wrote:I just looked up the word for "nature" in 電子辞書 and there's a huge listing that I can't narrow down even when I choose only popular terms. I'm looking for the most basic word referring to nature, as in the outdoors, not one's disposition. Is 自然 that word? And is "Creation" a good translation for 天地?

教えてお願いします。


I like Jim Breen's site a lot, but it has a very extensive listing and one sometimes has to investigate the many entries at times to zero in on the definition being sought. I don't know, however, if you had checked Breens.

In my case, I always go to my traditional, print dictionary.

For 'She likes drawing from nature', my Kodansha's gives 「彼女は自然を描くの野が好きだ。」, and so I'd be inclined to suggest 自然 for your meaning.
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Re: Nature

Postby AJBryant » Sun 07.11.2010 2:15 pm

Cyborg Ninja wrote:I just looked up the word for "nature" in 電子辞書 and there's a huge listing that I can't narrow down even when I choose only popular terms. I'm looking for the most basic word referring to nature, as in the outdoors, not one's disposition. Is 自然 that word? And is "Creation" a good translation for 天地?



I've found that the best way to deal with those questions is to REVERSE look up the words. You look up "paper" and the dictionary gives you 紙 新聞 論文 用紙 書類 ペーパー... so which is correct for what you're needing? You have to look up each of THOSE, and you find that 紙 is a sheet of stuff you write on, 新聞 is that thing that comes every morning with Dear Abby and Charlie Brown in it, and 論文 is AH HA! That's the one you need, you're writing a paper.

A story I often tell is one from my early days as a French student. I was writing a letter in French, and I wanted to say that I was held up due to a traffic jam -- and I knew "traffic" was "trafic", so I looked up "jam," and then wrote "confiture de trafic" -- which, literally, is "traffic jelly." It turns out "traffic jam" is "embouteillage." Hmph.

It is important, when looking up unknown words, to then look up the results the other way, to make sure things mean what we think they do.
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Re: Nature

Postby chikara » Sun 07.11.2010 10:06 pm

Cyborg Ninja wrote:I just looked up the word for "nature" in 電子辞書 and there's a huge listing that I can't narrow down even when I choose only popular terms. I'm looking for the most basic word referring to nature, as in the outdoors, not one's disposition. Is 自然 that word? .....

Take note of Tony-san's advice but a quick check I use is to read the Wikipedia page for the English word and if that seems to match the meaning you are after click on 日本語 in the language options and see what the corresponding Japanese page uses. In the case of "nature" it is 自然(しぜん). You do need to read at least some of the Japanese page to ensure that it is actually about the same topic though.

This method is not fool proof by any means but as a quick check it can at least narrow down the number of words you need to reverse lookup.

AJBryant wrote:.... I looked up "jam," and then wrote "confiture de trafic" ....

That would be an interesting recipe. :mrgreen:

Traffic jelly would also be interesting as "jelly" in non-US English is "jello" in US English.
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