Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

Ways to distinguish homonyms? 2019/2/9 09:02
I've noticed that Chinese-originated words and names sometimes have the same pronunciations and cannot be inferred from the context: for example, 孫権 & 孫堅 (ソンケン was ソンケン's son…), 和風 & 倭風 (ワ meaning Japanese with very distinct connotations), 漢 & 韓 (you mustn't confuse these カンs!) . These are different from cases where, for example, you can distinguish 注意 and 中尉 (チュウイ) easily from the context.
by Edward (guest)  

Re: Ways to distinguish homonyms? 2019/2/9 12:53
漢 & 韓 If used in speech/lectures where that is critical, then I am sure the speaker will emphasize what they mean, such as 漢 meaning Han, and 韓 as in the country name Korea, or something like that.

For professionals, when we need to make distinctions between place names such as 広州 (Guangzhou) and 杭州 (Hangzhou) – both Koushu in Japanese – let’s say we are doing simultaneous and relay interpreting between Chinese – Japanese – English, the Chinese interpreters who do from Chinese to Japanese will tell us which kanji it is (by referring to the radical of the kanji), so that we (Japanese to English) interpreters know what city they are referring to.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Ways to distinguish homonyms? 2019/2/9 17:54
The above poster has already explained…
I add some more explanation in my way.

It is sometimes possible that, in oral way, we cannot distinguish and understand correctly these homonyms without their context, and it is really troublesome. (When, in ancient times, we introduced Chinese characters, we didn’t (couldn’t) adopt the four tones which were (are) proper to the Chinese pronounciation, except the level(even) tone, consequently we have a lot of homonyms in on-yomi words, either single characters or composed characters).
However, in most cases, as long as we share the context and have the same level of vocabulary, we can distinguish and understand. When, in conversation, we are afraid that our partners might misunderstand the words we have used, we usually try to make our partners distinguish the words in some ways, by putting one character of these words in kun-yomi word (the opposite way is possible), or by using the other words in which one or all characters of the words are used, etc.

In one word, we usually paraphrase in various ways.
Examples are numerous, only easy examples of person’s names, and your examples:
Person’s names:
・安倍首相 Prime Minister Abe の「あべ」は「あん(安)ばい(倍)」です。「やす」に「ばい/にんべん(イ)のばい」、「いちばい( 一倍)、にばい(二倍)のばい」です。
Your examles:
・ちゅうい(注意) and ちゅうい(中尉) are normally difficult to be confused, because the context in which these words are used is very different. 注意 is also used as verb with する attached, but 中尉 is not.

So, the ability to distinguish depends on your level of vocabulary, your level of education, your level of knowledge, in short…
by ... (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Ways to distinguish homonyms? 2019/2/9 20:57
When we visited China, all our tour guides kept saying "杭の杭州 kui no koushuu" as though it was the full name of the city. Japanese homonyms are as easy to distinguish as words like week/weak and meet/meat or even neat/N.E.E.T. And if the world didn't have homonyms we wouldn't be enjoying puns.
by Uco rate this post as useful

reply to this thread