October 17th, 2008

德 vs 徳

I was browsing wikipedia and found something peculiar. The Taiwanese city of Bade is apparently spelled 八德 in Chinese, but 八徳 in Japanese. At first I assumed that 德 was simply not present in Japanese, but Rikaichan, the Japanese dictionary plugin for Firefox, recognized 德 and gave its on reading as "toku" and kun reading as "oshie". Wiktionary says that 德 is an older version of 徳, which is fairly obvious, but doesn't explain the difference in spelling. And other kanji dictionaries I've tried don't list 德 at all.
So, where does the difference in spelling come from? Is it simply because 德 is so rarely used in Japan?
SATY

German help needed

Dear (native) German speakers, I am translating the information for a clothes label and need your help for the below phrases:

Size range – (der) Groessenbereich (?)
Sample size – (die) Probengroesse (?)
Fabric composition – (die) Stoffzusammensetzung (???)

sample card - in German?
sample size - in German?

Thanks in advance.
ducky
  • hiiyaa

On the Japanese usage of "okasan"

I'm struggling with the usage of the word okasan in Japanese. Is it common or even OK in Japanese to call other people than your biological mother okasan in a "mother of this house/family" sense? Or is okasan only reserved to people who consider themselves being related (biologically or through marriage, etc.)? I do speak Turkish and Swedish and I'd say the former usage doesn't really work in neither language. But I've seen that usage in at least one other language: Hindi (which I don't speak but am familiar with).

I watch a lot of (fan-)subbed Japanese TV shows, mainly dramas and varieties, and I've noticed translators rarely translate okasan to English, and use it as it is instead. I take that as "okasan =/= mom or mother". Am I completely off?

At the moment, I'm watching a drama called Utahime. The story revolves around Taro, a soldier during the WWII. He has lost his memories and is taken in by a family when he's around 20-22 years old.

He calls the dad of the family "Shachou" as he's learning a profession from him and probably views him as his boss first and foremost.

He calls the mother "Okasan" "Okusan" and I don't get the feeling he's viewing her as his real mother in the English (or Swedish or Turkish) meaning of the word. This is where I'm unsure; does the Japanese word okasan allow for a broader usage of the word? As I've said above, I've noticed Hindi speakers using their 'equivalent' word ma-ji in this broader sense to include among others; ladies of a certain age as a sign of respect, mothers of friends, etc. Much like "aunty". Is it possible Taro is doing the same? His usage of okasan is never translated into English in the drama, while other children are translated saying "Mom" when they call their mothers (even Taro's 'Okasan's other children call her "Mom").

I'm so very confused at the moment and haven't gotten a truly satisfying answer to this anywhere. I'd be so thankful if you'd help me!

Edit: I'm so sorry for the confusion, if any. Taro calls the mother "Okusan". I'd love to read your thoughts about how that'd be translated in a face-to-face conversation where he says, for example:

"Okusan is going to be a grandmother soon."

Edit the second: I'm thankful for all of your helpful insights! It's very appreciated :D.
CAKE

German translation help

Hi all!

I've bought a rare silent film on eBay which I am planning to share online, since it's public domain and I like it quite a lot. It has German intertitles, though, so I am working on subtitling it in English. I'm getting along fairly well, but there's one phrase in the film I can't figure out. I'd love it if any of you could help!

The situation: a business-owning woman finds out that the man she's in a relationship with, whom she has also made co-owner of her company, is trying very hard to seduce her cousin. At this point she retreats to her rooms, obviously very upset, and after a while her dramatic swooning changes to anger and she exclaims "Das mir!"

I'm really not sure what to make of that - I was thinking maybe something along the lines of "How could he do that to me!" but I am very unsure. Any help would be great!

Thanks very much in advance :)
a little magic

(no subject)

I figured this was the place to ask, forgive me if it's not?

I was wondering if anyone could recommend me some French books/authors - I'm looking for contemporary fiction, fantasy, science-fiction, horror etc. I'm trying to read more in French, but I don't know where to start.
I've been reading mostly fairly literary stuff, because the things my French teacher recommends or lends me are either translations of English children's/young adult books (which I can't usually be bothered to read when I've generally read the English one already) or stuff that is/was on the A-level syllabus and/or stuff that he thinks is important French literature (Guy de Maupassant, Albert Camus, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Christiane Rochefort...). While I do like that sort of thing, I want to read things that feel more like reading for pleasure and less like schoolwork.

Any ideas?

(I need something fun to look forward to, Les Miserables is killing me)

"Huh?" in Latin?

Hey everybody.

I'm doing a painting for my boyfriend where Spongebob is saying "Know Thyself" in Latin (NOSCE TE IPSUM)...I want Patrick to reply with "Huh?"

How do you say "Huh?" in Latin?

(I know the original is/was in Greek, but my boyfriend likes the saying in Latin, which is why I'm doing Latin...)
lippi madonna

Self-teaching Japanese

Sorry if this question has been tackled before --  I want to teach myself Japanese. What is the best way to go about this? Should I start by learning all the alphabets? Is there one I should learn first? Any recommendations for good websites/books/software for self-learners?

Thank you!
wonderful.

(no subject)

Dear linguaphiles,

I'm writing a research paper on Proto-Indo-European for my comp class, and my school library has nothing on the subject. Could anyone maybe recommend some good books/sites that I could use?
I would appreciate it very much :]