Sunday, September 16, 2012

Shunshoku Umegoyomi Vol. 1: Yonehachi & Tanjirou, Reunited (part 5)

Now back to Yonehachi:
Fig. 1: よね「ナニ
"Huh? It was this morning, when I left my house and came with the intention of going to the Myoken [temple] (fig. 1)."
The main difficulty I had here was deciphering 「妙見」, as it was a proper noun. I still don't know which kanji the 「け」 in the furigana for 「妙見」 originates from ― I actually figured this compound out directly from the kanji. 「見」 was a little challenging, but I remembered fig. 4 from this post, which has the same kanji in the same calligraphed form.

Also of assistance was the use of the verb 「参る」, which here retains its premodern definition of "to go to the place of a god or a person of high status", which suggested to me that Yonehachi had initially intended to visit a religious place or a wealthy/noble person's house.

Fig. 2: 実にふしぎ
Another new pattern that pops up regularly after this is the (now) irregular reading of the kanji「宅」 as 「うち」, although it makes sense from the meaning.

"It really is a mysterious thing, isn't it? (fig. 2) That you would be in a place like this is truly something that I wouldn't have thought even in my dreams, you know (fig. 3,4)," [Yonehachi said].
Fig. 3: お前様が
Fig. 2 was straightforward. The first difficulty in fig. 3 was deciphering the kanji for 「おまはん」, although I already knew the meaning from a previous post. Given its association with the modern 「お前」, it was obvious that the first kanji was 「前」. The second kanji I determined from this dictionary entry for 「おまはん」. In the Osaka dialect (大阪弁),  it means 「お前様」, and the kanji 「様」 matches the second calligraphed kanji for 「おまはん」. This fits the traditional use of 「お前」 as a term of respect.

The next problem was deciphering the kanji for 「こんな」. The first kanji is one we saw before in 「ここ」 ― 「此」. The second one would have been quite difficult, but it's the same as the second kanji as in 「おまはん」 ― 「様」. This use makes sense when you consider the additional use of 「様」 in modern Japanese as 「よう」, meaning "way to" or "method of". The word can thus be expanded to the modern Japanese phrase 「このよう」, commonly written as 「このような」, which has the same meaning.

Fig. 4: ほんに夢にも
Also difficult to determine was the second kanji in 「御在宅」, largely due to the 3rd stroke (the vertical one in the bottom left) being missing. The first was obvious because an 「お」 or 「ご」 at the beginning of a word is usually 「御」(and it definitely is for 「おいで」 in modern Japanese). The last kanji was clear from having just encountered it in fig. 1. I then just used NihongoResources' wild card search to determine that it was 「在宅」, through visual comparison and word meaning. Although the furigana use is irregular, the meaning of 「在宅」 ("being in"/"being at home") matches the contextual meaning of 「おいで」, its reading in in fig. 3. Note that the latter is a polite expression, once again showing the difference in status between Yonehachi and Tanjirou (whether that be personal or societal).

There was some guesswork when it came to fig. 4, because of the use of colloquial speech. I assumed that 「ほんに」 had the same meaning as 「本当に」, and that 「知らなん」 meant 「知らないん」, mainly from the context. Edit: as Matt says in the comments, 「知らなんだ」 can be broken down into 「知ら」+「なんだ」, where the former is the imperfective form (未然形) of 「知る」 ("to know"), while 「なんだ」 is an auxiliary verb attached to verbs in the imperfective form to both negate them and make them past tense.

Edit 2: as another commenter has mentioned, this pattern is still standard in the Kansai dialect. Since Umegoyomi is set in Tokyo, this would suggest that the Kansai dialect better preserves premodern pronunciation than modern standard Japanese does.

Without context, one might have assumed that the last character was the kanji 「子」, which it very well could have been, were it not for the grammar of the surrounding words indicating it was 「ね」, which can in fact be represented in kuzushiji by 「子」. But the first thing that tipped me off was the lack of furigana, which seems to be ever-present in Umegoyomi.


  1. 知らなんだ! That got me the first time I saw it too! It's basically equivalent to 知らなかった. Try looking up なんだ as a 助動詞, that's usually where the dictionaries keep it.

  2. And it's today the standard Kansai way to say "shiranakatta":