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日本: にほん versus にっぽん

Toritoribe

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Except proper names (e.g. 日本銀行 にっぽんぎんこう, 日本製紙 にっぽんせいし, 日本大学 にほんだいがく, 日本生命 にほんせいめい), you can use either one you like, including the name of the country 日本.
 

healer

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Do they actually register the reading of the proper names with the government so that other people know how they want to be read?
 

healer

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How would one know how to read the names if they all come with kanji’s only?
 

Toritoribe

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By checking their web site, wikipedia, etc. They might have their hiragana or romaji company names. Even if you call 日本銀行 にほんぎんこう, most people wouldn't care about it, though.
 

healer

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Is 今日 ever read as いまび in general Japanese language? I understand the latter is the kun-reading of the former. The former can be read as いまび for the name of an organisation such as imabi.net, isn’t it?

Can an organisation arbitrarily have their names being kanji read in any way they like, not following any existing rules like what the dictionary says?

I understand all Japanese names are in kanji. I have heard Japanese parents can have the kanji of their children’s names read in anyway they like, i.e. not following the dictionary. Is there any truth?

The 名乗り reading is only for naming people, isn’t it? I read somewhere there is separate dictionary for naming, isn’t there?
 

bentenmusume

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healer said:
Is 今日 ever read as いまび in general Japanese language?
No.

The former can be read as いまび for the name of an organisation such as imabi.net, isn’t it?
This is a reading made up by the people behind the site (I believe they say as much on the page). There's no rules governing the readings of made-up words (造語), just like we can make up proper nouns in English.

Can an organisation arbitrarily have their names being kanji read in any way they like, not following any existing rules like what the dictionary says?
I would suspect that there are some regulations in place to prevent companies from using names/readings that are so arbitrary as to be misleading or confusing. I'm not enough of an expert in Japanese business law to say any more than this.

I understand all Japanese names are in kanji.
Usually, but not "all". It is possible to have names that are all hiragana (えみ)or even combinations of hiragana and kanji(とも子). Katakana is even possible, though rare (you see it in some older names).

I have heard Japanese parents can have the kanji of their children’s names read in anyway they like, i.e. not following the dictionary. Is there any truth?
This is a phenomenon often referred to as キラキラネーム and yes, it exists. There are some restrictions, though. There was a famous court case a while back where a couple was shot down for trying to name their kid 悪魔.
 

healer

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There was a famous court case a while back where a couple was shot down for trying to name their kid 悪魔.
Was the case or the defendant got shot down?
I heard a case very long ago that a couple gave their child a name in kanji with good intention without fully understand what the kanji can actually mean when one goes with another. The resultant combination of the two characters in fact somewhat disparaging. The then government also disallowed the registration of the name.

By the way, do you know anything about 名乗り? Is that something to do with naming people. The Japanese dictionary imiwa? I used has a separate entry of nanori for every kanj.
 

bentenmusume

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The parents were shot down, yes. I somewhat doubt that they had completely innocently "good intentions". Even if so, the kid would almost certainly face serious bullying, so I would tend to agree with the judge and be skeptical of the parents.

名乗り are just name readings. Any given kanji will have various readings that can be used in words, and often have even additional readings that are used primarily or exclusively in names.

貴重(きちょう)の「き」 being read as たか in names, for example. There are general guidelines surrounding naming, but in general there's a lot of freedom and flexibility in forming names in Japanese.
 

Majestic

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They weren't executed. Their name registration application was rejected by the city hall.
On'yomi are often used in name readings.
 

bentenmusume

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I hope the execution comment was a joke. If not, I shudder to think of what sort of impression you have of Japan as a nation if you think it's a place where people would be sentenced to death for trying to give their child an unusual name.

As for 音読み names, yes, there are plenty of them. 佐藤賢治(さとう けんじ)would be an example of an extremely common last name/first name combination read entirely in 音読み.
 

healer

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On'yomi are often used in name readings.
The surnames of people such as 田中 木村 石川 and so on are kun’yomi reading. I’m not too sure about the given names. I don’t know any.
The name of places such as 東京 京都 関西関東 and even 図書館 are on’yomi readings.

I’m not sure if the rest follow the same pattern.
 

bentenmusume

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Why is it a "bummer"? Why does everything need to fall in a perfectly fixed pattern?

Languages are fluid and free. The only reason Japanese seems imposing and confusing to you is because you're not used to it.

English is full of any number of ridiculous exceptions and irregularities and confusing patterns.

Imagine someone trying to figure out English pronunciation based on spelling, and seeing the words "bough", "trough", "enough".

Any learner would think the English language has to seriously reform their spelling system to be more phonetic.

But in actuality, it really doesn't matter. Native speakers deal with any number of ambiguities and exceptions in their language EVERY DAY. It's up to you whether you want to accept and learn those, or just take every little thing that doesn't fit into a perfect black-and-white rule and say, "Oh, this is so confusing. Japanese is such a foreign and strange language."

Your own native language(s) would be incredibly strange and confusing to someone who is learning them as a second language learner. There is nothing special and unique about Japanese that makes it weirder or stranger than anything else.

I'm sorry to get on my soapbox, but it really, really frustrates me when people try to act like Japanese is such a weird language when the fact is it's just different from other languages, just like your own native language(s) are different from Japanese.
 
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joadbres

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I heard a case very long ago that a couple gave their child a name in kanji with good intention without fully understand what the kanji can actually mean when one goes with another. The resultant combination of the two characters in fact somewhat disparaging. The then government also disallowed the registration of the name.

This might be the story you were thinking of...



This story originated with a twitter post, based on second-hand information, or worse, and comes with no concrete details, such as where it happened, so could be apocryphal.
 

healer

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Why is it a "bummer"?
This statement of mine was totally referring to my inability, definitely not an insult to Japanese language. Certainly on the other hand it was not really a matter of my inability it just so happens that the wishful pattern doesn't exist. When learning something one tends to find something that stands out to help with understanding and memorizing. Having experienced quite a few human languages I jolly well know what languages are like. I'm interested in languages so I had studied a few European languages in addition to the English language. I had done some research in different flavours of English languages (American, British and Australian) and I have heard British people comment on Australian English and American English being uncouth. But that doesn't matter we can't afford to worry about what other people say. I believe the same could happen with the Japanese language in Kantou and Kansei too. Out of the three English languages I studied I found American English is the most phonetic and Australian language is the next in that they tend to say words the way they spell in comparison with the British counterpart. Of course nothing wrong with that for one would know as long as enough people say it certain way it will become part of the language. Certainly there are lots of exceptions in the English language but mainly are the conjugations of verbs. Of course there are also many idioms and slangs one needs to be well-versed in if one wants to be able to call on some colourful side of expressions. However one can avoid them if one is not up to it because they are not part of the grammar. When I said the grammar of Japanese language is somewhat complicated I was not insulting in any way I was just saying an objective observation. I respect everyone's culture and language. I never pass any negative comments on any language, let alone Japanese language. Certainly describing something complicated is definitely not a negative thing. Something one desn't have a flair for might say it is complicated. By the way every language is unique and special to me. Please don't put words in my mouth because I never said the Japanese language is a weird language. Having said all this I have no intention to quit learning the Japanese language anyway. Why would one want to learn a language that one looks down on?

This might be the story you were thinking of...
Yes, that is exactly what I was referring to. Thanks for reminding me. That was many years ago.
Again mentioning that story I had no intention to insult Japanese people or their language and their culture.

By the way I know for a fact that similar situations did happen in the Chinese society especially among those less educated. The authority might not be kind enough to point out their possible mistakes though.
 
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bentenmusume

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healer said:
Please don't put words in my mouth because I never said the Japanese language is a weird language.

Sorry, it wasn't my intention to put words in your mouth. It just comes off at times like you get frustrated when aspects of the Japanese language or certain distinctions do not break down according to concrete and distinct rules. My reaction was simply that Japanese names being able to incorporate both on- and kun-readings didn't strike me as something worth getting bummed about.

As for the idea of Japanese being some vague, mystical language in ways that English isn't: this is something that one often hears from learners (and occasionally, unfortunately, is propagated by native Japanese speakers with a certain mindset), so my comment was mostly intended as a general rebuttal of that, rather than a rebuke of you, personally, or your own ideas of language learning.

Either way, if I read something into your words that wasn't there, I apologize.

(edited to add the following)

healer said:
Again mentioning that story I had no intention to insult Japanese people or their language and their culture.

I'm not sure if this is directed at me, but I hope nothing I said came off as implying that you were insulting Japanese people simply by bringing up that incident. I was merely surprised when you interpreted my use of the figure of speech "shot down" as meaning that the parents in question were executed (unless, again, this was a joke and I misread your tone).
 
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