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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Japanese Language: Idioms


The dog days of summer are upon us, and a few idioms are just what we need to keep us going.

序の口(じょのくち、jo no kuchi)= This is an expression from the world of sumo. It means "just the beginning." The origin of this expression is the sumo rankings that come out prior to each tournament. The rankings go from "jo no kuchi" all the way up to "yokozuna," which is the grand champion. Thus, "jo no kuchi" is the lowest rank in the top level of sumo--just the start.

You can use it when you are beginning a project or in more casual circumstances.

机上の空論(きじょうのくうろん、kijo no kuron)= something that sounds good in theory--but ain't gonna work or is not practical. "Kijo" is on the desk, "kuron" means an empty discussion.

一長一短(いっちょういったん、iccho ittan)= having both good and bad points.

Here is one for August: 優柔不断(ゆうじゅうふだん、yuju fudan)= indecisive. Nothing like putting something off until the weather cools a bit.

Our last expression this week is a perennial favorite.

以心伝心(いしんでんしん、ishin denshin)= tacit communication. It means something understood, without having to say anything. Japanese often use and love this expression.

Last week's Japanese lesson

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