Sunday Soundcheck 61


Time to start a new column. This is a special column because it only has three characters, but we’ll write about five characters. You can wrestle with that until next week when the answer becomes clear. Until then let’s start the Y column off with ya, written in hiragana as や and katakana as ヤ. Normally, I strive for words that are both practical and not likely to appear in normal textbooks; however, there aren’t always perfect matches, but we should have some fun.

Yayakoshii (ややこしい) is an adjective for ‘winding’, ‘complicated’, ‘confusing’ explanations or procedures. When you have little skill with a language and you want to explain the details of something well, your speech will probably earn this response. I heard it early on in my time here. However, now I use it to describe a lot of paperwork and procedures we have to follow.

Yadogari (ヤドガリ・宿借り) is technically a Japanese word, but it is sometimes written in katakana, as is the case with many animals and plants. The name when written in kanji means ‘renting lodging’ – a perfect name for a hermit crab.

Yaaru (ヤール) is a term for the English unit of measurement ‘yard’. It came into Japanese through Dutch merchants and hence the pronunciation came from a Dutch accent. Naturally, this doesn’t come up in daily conversation, being an English unit of measurement. ‘Inch’ on the other hand gets used everyday because American TV consumption has unfortunately forced inches as the world standard.


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