mjj (flemmings) wrote,

My Japanese class was cancelled for lack of enrollment. Well, fine; this is an incentive to continue and extend my self-study past its current 'use it or lose it' stage. To which end I pulled from the shelf the book I bought twenty years ago, A Japanese Reader, the one that defeated me twenty years ago. Flipped through the beginning chapters, which drill you in hiragana and katakana, and the elementary level entries, but my eye was caught by the vocabulary notes for the last one of those.

I know standards have declined since 1962, but somehow 'marines' wouldn't have struck me as a piece of elementary vocabulary. Especially when it's a non-intuitive 陸戦隊 (land warfare troops) otherwise known as the Army in my book. Investigation proves it to be the short form of 海軍陸戦隊-- sea-army (ie navy) land war troops-- which is a) descriptive and b) has that feel of 'a word invented to translate some foreign word' ie the Marines. Maybe the Marines were more in people's minds in 1962 or maybe, as I suspect, Roy Andrew Miller served in the Occupation, not that one can prove it from his wiki entry.

(The last entry in the intermediate section throws you without preliminary into 啓蒙主義の影響-- the influence of the Enlightenment. No wonder I fled from Miller in despair.)
Tags: japanese

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