Saturday, January 18, 2020

koi 来い, 恋, 鯉, 濃い

In Japanese, koi こい can mean different things depending on how it's spelled.

来い

The word koi 来い is the meireikei 命令形, "imperative form," of the irregular verb kuru 来る, "to come," which is opposite to iku 行く, "to go."
  • kocchi ni koi
    こっちに来い
    Come here.
  • acchi ni ike
    あっちに行け
    Go over there.

Since kuru 来る can be used as an auxiliary verb, so can koi 来い.
  • yakisoba-pan katte koi
    焼きそばパン買ってこい
    Go buy a yakisoba bread and then come back here.
  • benkyou shi-naoshite koi
    勉強し直してこい
    Go study [it] over again, then come back here.
    • Phrase probably used when someone hasn't studied something enough.
  • hashitte koi
    走ってこい
    Go run, then come back here.
    Come here running.
  • tonde koi
    飛んでこい
    Go jump, then come back here.
    Come here jumping.
  • orite koi
    降りてこい
    Come here falling.
    Come down here.
  • kakatte koi
    かかってこい
    Bring it on!
    • Phrase used when starting a fight with someone.

The word koi 恋 means "love" in the romantic sense. It differs from ai 愛, for example, which means love in a more general sense, including familial sense, or divine sense.

More practically, koi 恋 is the sort of love that gets your heart-shaped pupils in anime, while ai 愛 does not.
  • hatsu-koi
    初恋
    One's first love.
  • {koi suru} otome
    恋する乙女
    A maiden [who] {loves [someone]}.
  • koi ni ochiru
    恋に落ちる
    To fall in love.
  • koibito

    Lover. Partner.

The kanji is also read as ren 恋.
  • ren'ai
    恋愛
    Romance.
  • ren'ai mono
    恋愛もの
    Romance works. Romance stories. Romance manga, anime, movies, books, etc.
  • shitsuren
    失恋
    Failed love. When the person you love doesn't love you back, and you have to give up on it.

The word koi 鯉 refers to the carp. The koi carp, Cyprinus carpio, which is a fish. In manga and anime, the carp is frequently used in visual puns when a character falls in love.

Kuramochi Bull 倉持ブル. Example of a Japanese pun using homonyms: koi 恋, "love," and koi 鯉, "carp."
Anime: Uchi Tama?! Uchi no Tama Shirimasen ka? うちタマ?!~うちのタマ知りませんか?~ (Episode 2)

As well as in textual puns.

絶対恋だと思ったのに~ 恋・・・?猫だよ
Manga: School Rumble, スクールランブル (Volume 1, Chapter ♭01 Wonder Woman)
  • Context: Tsukamoto Tenma 塚本天満 sees her younger sister, Tsukamoto Yakumo 塚本八雲, packing a lunch box for someone. She guesses the food is for a boyfriend. It turns out she was just feeding a stray cat.
  • zettai koi dato omotta noni
    絶対だと思ったのに~
    Even though [I] absolutely thought [it] was love...
    But [I] was sure [it] was [it] was love...
  • koi...? neko dayo
    ・・・?猫だよ
    Carp...? [It] is a cat.

濃い

The word koi 濃い is an i-adjective which means a "strong" flavor or smell, or a "deep" color, or that something is "dense," or "thick" in consistency. It's antonym is usui 薄い, which means a "weak" flavor or smell, a "thin" consistency, and so on.
  • koi aji
    濃い味
    Strong taste.
  • koi nioi
    濃い匂い
    Strong smell.
  • koi iro
    濃い色
    Deep color.
  • koi ekitai
    濃い液体
    Thick liquid.
  • koi gasu
    濃いガス
    Dense gas.

Although they have multiple translations in English, the basic idea is usui 薄い is when something feels "watered down," be it flavor, smell, color, and so on, while koi 濃い is the opposite of watered down.

In other cases, you wouldn't use koi and usui. You would use:
  • tsuyoi
    強い
    Strong. Powerful.
  • yowai
    弱い
    Weak.
  • fukai
    深い
    Deep. Profound. (can be used toward colors.)
  • asai
    浅い
    Shallow.
    Pale. (color.)
  • atsui
    厚い
    Thick. (diameter.)
    • Not to be confused with:
    • atsui
      熱い
      Hot.
  • hosoi
    細い
    Thin. (diameter.).

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