Sunday Soundcheck 16


Time for the third column of the phonetic chart. The first character is sa, written in katakana as サ and hiragana as さ.

Southpaw was one of my grandfather’s favorite names for me. It came from the fact that baseball fields were aligned with the pitchers facing west and left-handers threw with their paw on the south side. I haven’t heard the term in the US much lately, but here I am often referred to as sausupoo (サウスポー) when I use my left hand. The Japanese term is actually hidari-kiki (左利き), but both terms get used a lot.

OK, that last one was mostly for me so I’ll throw another katakana term in this week. Sain (サイン) is the term for autograph or signature. Anytime a courier or postal worker wants to deliver a package, we are asked for our sign. As a result, sometimes felt tip pens are called sainpen (サインペン); although recently they are getting called maineemu (マイネーム) that’s katakana sound for “my name”.

I’m going to put a general use suffix out for this week’s hiragana word. Sai- (さいー) is a prefix meaning ‘extreme’ and can be written in kanji as 最. It is used a lot in terms like saikou (最高・highest, supreme, best), saisho (最初・the first), saikin (最近・recently), saiaku (最悪・the worst), and saigo (最後・the last). It can be added to a lot of terms to express the extreme degree of something.

There is another prefix sai-, written in kanji as 再, which means ‘re-‘. Saikou (再考) is reconsider, saisei (再生) is reclamation, saiseiriyou (再生利用) is recycling, saidoku (再読) is reread, and saikon (再婚) is remarry. Both of these prefixes get used a lot in everyday situations.

Next week on to shi. (Also sorry for the late post this week.)


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