Sunday Soundcheck 34


Today I’m throwing in extra words. Perhaps it is guilt from my laziness during vacation; possibly making up for the lack of usable words for the last two sounds; maybe because today’s words aren’t perfect. Whatever my reasons here they come.

Adding an accent to the te sound generates de, which is represented in hiragana as で and katakana as デ. Don’t forget that the sound here is not like the name ‘Dee’, but like the word ‘day’.

Deshi (でし・弟子) means pupil. We often use the word seito (生徒) to refer to students, but I occasionally hear deshi in conversation. It refers specifically to a student who is receiving a particular teacher’s instruction. When I hear this word, I think people are trying to be polite and suggest there is something special about my methods.

Dekiagari (できあがり・出来上がり) is a fun word, but can’t be used all the time. Watching morning educational TV, it can be heard everytime they finish showing kids how to build something. (e.g., making a boat from a milk carton, straw, and rubber band.) Basically, it means, “I have completed it.”; however, it must be used with something that is constructed or cooked. It can’t be used for a mundane task like cleaning and cutting open a used milk carton for recycling. It can be used when pulling a tray of cookies from the oven. Perhaps we can translate it as, “Ta dah!”

Now a few katakana words. Demo (デモ) is a shortened form of demonsutoreshon, which is a demonstration or protest. It doesn’t get used for a strike, which is shortened to suto (スト); although, it might be applied to a riot.

Dema (デマ) is a word I discovered today, so I can’t say if it is commonly used; regardless, it caught my attention. (My guess is that this word doesn’t get used because one rarely calls another a lier.) Uwasa (うわさ・噂) is the word for rumor or gossip: dema is more specific and refers to false rumors. It is a shortening of the word ‘demagoguery’, an odd connection, but amusing nonetheless.

Last word: dessan (デッサン) is a rough drawing or sketch and comes from the French word dessin. There are Japanese words for sketching as well: senga(線画) is line drawing; shitae (下絵) is sketch, literally ‘the under picture’; sobyou (素描) is also sketch, literally ‘rough drawing’; shasei (写生) and suketchi (スケッチ) – from ‘sketch’ – are also used to mean sketch.


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