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Use of Japanese の in Chinese signs


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yingguoguy

Wandering around the shops in Beijing, I've seen the Japanese character の cropping up on a lot of shop signs, advertisments etc. For example there was a cosmetic advert with 目の緑 and a tatoo parlour with 甬の気. Now at first I didn't pay this much notice assuming they were just in Japanese, but this weekend I was in a 和食 Japanese fast food restaurant and noticed they had a board on the wall describing they way they make their noodles (I think, my Chines e isn't good enought to read it all and I was in a hurry). The strange thing was that it was written entirely in simplified Chinese, but with lot's of の's all over the place. There were no other Japanese characters in it. Huh?

To explain, の (no) is an often-used Japanese grammar word, roughly meaning 'of', so the translation of my examples above would be 'the green of the eye's' and 'the courage of the spirit'.

I'm guessing that most Chinese can't read the Japanese alphabets, but this の has come into common usage as a way of making something look Japanese? And hence trendy and foreign? How would you pronounce it in Mandarin?

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HashiriKata
I'm guessing that most Chinese can't read the Japanese alphabets, but this の has come into common usage as a way of making something look Japanese? And hence trendy and foreign?
I bet that in places where の is inserted, the meaning is not affected with or without の. It's a clever way to make something trendy and foreign.

(This reminds me of the English, French, Italian used in Japan: just for decoration...:mrgreen: )

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if it is, it would be pronounced "de" 的 in Mandarin, "ge" 嘅 in Cantonese, and "e" 个 in Shanghainese and Taiwanese/Minnan.

I think we replace it with 之 in Cantonese.

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skylee
I think we replace it with 之 in Cantonese.

Indeed we do. 味の素 is 味之素 and 風の谷 is 風之谷, for example.

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Kun'yomi reading of 之 is "no" の. Ancient Japanese text will use 之.

I think we replace it with 之 in Cantonese.

In most southern Chinese dialects also (in Shanghainese, we only use 味之素 for MSG, not 味精) , but the use of 之 is mainly for single vocabulary terms, not used for general grammar. The Japanese の "no" for the most part is grammatically equivalent to 的(个, 嘅), like saying the English "of" is generally equivalent to the French "de".

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Thanks all, looking again at the flyier I picked up I see that the logo of the chain is a large の and all the restaraunts on it's map are marked with の's. Explains a lot.

For reference の is indeed quite like 的 but only between two nouns. Use な (na)between an adjective and a noun. な's don't seem to be quite so trendy though...

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For reference の is indeed quite like 的 but only between two verbs. Use な (na)between an adjective and a noun. な's don't seem to be quite so trendy though...

japanese kana (hiragana and katakana) comes from chinese words, の is from 乃 and な is from 奈...see the complete chart see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiragana

yea i think that its for decoration and advertisement as japanese gives people the impression of cleanliness and quality...

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  • 2 weeks later...
yea i think that its for decoration and advertisement as japanese gives people the impression of cleanliness and quality...
I have a cd of a Chinese punk band titled 躁动の心.

I guess it's used because it looks foreign, and also maybe as a sort of ultra-simplification, の is shorter to write than 的.

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Seeing as Chinese, Japanese and to some extent Korean all use Chinese characters/kanji/hanja etc. I wonder whether it's possible to write a sentence or phrase that the average inhabitant of all 3 nations would understand, or would it just be a list of nouns, with no grammar...

Maybe someone should try update classical Chinese...

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It's pretty much impossible to write a grammatically correct sentance in Japanese without using hiragana (the alphabet) as any verb in Japanese has to have it's tense/form indicated by them. i.e. 行きます (to go).

It's also striking how many of the simplest words use differing hanzi between the two languages:

e.g (English then Chinese then Japanese)

I 我 私

You 你 あなた

He 他 彼

She 她 彼女

(All four above are the most common of a wide range of pronouns used in Japanese)

Go 去 行く

Eat 吃 食べる

Speak 说 話す

Drink 喝 飲む

Like 喜欢 好き

Mother 妈妈 母

Friend 朋友 友達

Dog 狗 犬

Yesterday 昨天 昨日

Monday 星期一月曜日

Of course all these characters mean nearly the same thing in each language but the two languages prefer different ones.

But there are lots of Chinese sentances which would be understood by Japanese without to much ambiquity caused by the lack of grammar. For example

一月学生来日本 (The/A student came/will come to Japan in January).

Actually between avoiding simplified characters and differing vocab for simple words it took me an embarrasing amount of time to come up with that example.

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HashiriKata
It's also striking how many of the simplest words use differing hanzi between the two languages
Do you notice that most of the irregular verbs in English are the simplest or most commonly used verbs ?
Of course all these characters mean nearly the same thing in each language but the two languages prefer different ones.
If you go back to classical Chinese, you may find that it has more in common with Japanese with regards the characters in the above list. Once you've borrowed certain characters for your words, you tend to keep using them in that way rather than keep replacing them with new borrowings.
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Of course all these characters mean nearly the same thing in each language but the two languages prefer different ones.

Different Chinese dialects prefer different characters/words as well.

English vs Mandarin vs Cantonese

He 他 佢

She 她 佢

walk 走 行

Eat 吃 食

Speak说 话

Drink 喝 饮

Like 喜欢 钟意

Today 今天 今日

一月学生来日本 (The/A student came/will come to Japan in January).

That sentence doesn't sound right. A forced interpretation would give either "The January students come to Japan to...." or "In January students come to Japan to...." (it sounds incomplete also, thus the to..... part)

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