Rho Gets Culture-Shocked By Her Own Language...Again

Let's stumble back a decade, to that one August afternoon at the mall. School is starting in a week and you're hanging out with the girls one last time; then, suddenly, someone busts out with, "That is so BAD!" After some confused and careful interrogation, you find out: "BAD" means "GOOD"! (In retrospect, I'm glad it never caught on.)

Back to present tense, the same thing is happening all over again. They say that knowing Chinese means you already know plenty of Japanese due to Kanji (Hanzi). It's a goddamn lie; you have to pick one or the other.

Why? Because although the Japanese like to use the Chinese characters, they don't like the way the Chinese used them. Let that sink in for a moment. So, what do I mean? Simply this: they use the same characters and attach a different meaning to it.

Sadly, at some point, this was intentional since Chinese was introduced to Japan during the fourth century, when Japan did not have its own writing system. Literacy at the time was a measurement of understanding in Chinese; it was not until much later that they adopted Hanzi as part of their own writing system. So, this raises the question of why the meanings of characters changed during the assimilation if the characters already had established meanings for centuries.

So then, my word of the day is this:
In Japanese, it is "teki", which is "-like", as in with "resembling" but not exactly, used mostly with nouns. At this point, anyone who knows Chinese must be undoubtedly confused. That's okay, because in Chinese, it is used for possessions. So, adding it between "actress" and "feeling" yields the result of "an actress-like feeling" and "an actress' feeling", depending on which pair of glasses you're wearing. This isn't Sparta, my friends, this is just madness.

So, why bring this up now?
They've been doing this for awhile now, such as how 大丈夫 means "a real man" in Hanzi and "things are fine" in Kanji. Well, according to the Japan Times, has turned into the "like" of North America, a "hedge" to dampen the impact of words.
"So, like, all the teenagers today, like, totally, like, use 'like', like, all the time!"

Their example:
If a Japanese teenager can't quite bring himself to call his girlfriend just that, a "girlfriend," he can hedge with 彼女的な存在 (kanojo-teki na sonzai, a girlfriend-like person). And if his beloved insists on an assessment of her inedible home-baked cookies, he might offer a vague 味的にはちょっと . . . (Aji-teki ni wa chotto. . . Taste-wise, they're a bit . . . ) leaving the rest to her imagination.

Now, I'm not a Japanese girl or anything, so I can't assume the desired reaction to the above statements, but I can tell you my reaction:

~*+ Rho