Saturday, October 22, 2016

Nihon and Nihongo - Meaning in Japanese

Have you ever heard the words nihon 日本 and nihongo 日本語 and wondered exactly what they meant? Obviously, they are words from Japan, they are in Japanese and they have something in common. Rest assured, their meanings are nothing too difficult.

First off, the word nihon 日本 written with the kanji for day or sun 日 and the kanji for book, truth, counting long cylindrical objects, and a zillion other things 本, has the very simple meaning of... "Japan." Yep, that's right. The word nihon means Japan.

Japanese word nihon written in kanji, romaji and its translation to English.

(not to be confused with nihon 二本 which means "two long cylindrical objects.")

But what about the go 語? What is nihongo in Japanese? What's the difference between nihon and nihongo? With nihon being "Japan," what could nihongo possibly mean in the Japanese language? In Japanese, what could it be?? In Japanese??? Japanese????? Japanaeeeeeeeseeeeee!!!!

Alright, alright, you get it. The word nihongo means "Japanese language" in the Japanese language. The go 語, by the way, is a suffix meaning "language" and it can be found at the end of many words for languages in Japanese.

Other Japanese Things

The Japanese word nihongo written in kanji, romaji and its translation in EnglishBy the way I want to put emphasis on the fact that nihongo means Japanese language. There. Bolded for emphasis. This is because I don't want you thinking that nihongo means literally "Japanese."

Sure, when someone says "I'm learning Japanese" they say "Japanese" and not "Japanese language," but you know they actually mean the Japanese language.

In Japanese, nihon means "Japan", nihongo "the Japanese language". Other Japanese stuff use other words, see:
  • nihonjin 日本人
    Japanese person. (see jin 人 suffix)
  • nihon anime 日本アニメ
    Japanese anime. (as opposed to other kinds of anime)
  • nihon no jinkou 日本の人口
    Japanese population. (literary "the population of Japan")
  • nihon no rekishi 日本の歴史
    Japanese history. (literary "the history of Japan")

One last interesting note is the word nippon 日本, which is exactly the same as nihon 日本 except it sort of is.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave your komento コメント in this posuto ポスト of this burogu ブログ with your questions about Japanese, doubts or whatever!

All comments are moderated and won't show up until approved. Spam, links to illegal websites, and inappropriate content won't be published.