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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Daily Double: 喧喧囂囂 and 侃侃諤諤

けんけんごうごう and かんかんがくがく
kenken gougou and kankan gakugaku

Winding down the week of two-kanji yo-ji, we've got some high-level rare yo-ji with very similar meanings. We could have made this a triple by including 喧喧諤諤 (けんけんがくがく;kenkengakugaku*), but let me explain why we didn't after the definitions.

喧々囂々

Definition:
多くの人が喧しくいいはやす様子。
Translation:
1. Pandemonius uproar

侃侃諤諤
Definition:
大勢の人ががやがや騒がしい様子。
Translations:
1. Heated arguing
2. Outspoken about one's beliefs (pushing the boundaries of politeness)

While I was planning out the line-up for this week's theme, I asked some of my friends for contributions, and one of them suggested 喧々諤々, but when I looked it up online, I came across a Japanese forum thread where someone was asking why 喧々諤々 doesn't show up in a 国語辞典. I looked it up in my 四字熟語辞典, and I couldn't find it either. One of the commenters in that thread pointed out that the reason it doesn't show up is because it's not a real 四字熟語. While both my Japanese word processing software and Rikai-chan recognize it (defining it as "tumultuous; everyone voicing their opinions at once), the fact of the matter is that it's an oral tradition, a verbal mangling of today's two. Take the first part of one, the last part of the other, and you've made yourself a brand new idiomatic expression.

If you're writing, I recommend using either 喧々囂々or 侃々諤, whichever suits your purposes. But since they're old and rare, if you want to say something in conversation, people today are much more familiar with the amalgamation: 喧々諤々.

You can follow any of these with the verbs する, or 言う to fit it into a sentence, or you can also use になる。

例文s:

その政治家の天下りについてのコメント後、議会が喧々囂々になってしまいました。
After that politician's remarks on the Amakudari system, the Diet erupted into pandemonium.

姑と話す時は政治や宗教のことを侃々諤々するわけないよ。
There's absolutely no cause for heatedly arguing politics or religion when you're talking to your mother-in law.

救助を待つかゾンビたちと戦って逃げるか、どうするかということを皆に相談したら、全員が喧々諤々言ってしまった。アポカリプスってつらいな。
When I asked whether or not we should stay and wait to be rescued, or try to fight our way through the zombie hordes, everyone began shouting their opinion simultaneously. Man, the apocalypse is rough.


* post-post edit, thanks to Sash's watchful eye.

4 comments:

Alex said...

Damn, today's Yojis are tough ones. I'll try remembering them. But if you say they are rare, if I say one of them to a Japanese person, will he understand?
Anyway, excellent job. Really loving it! :)

AzzidisRidden said...

We mentioned it in the body of the post, but using 喧々囂々 or 侃々諤々 in your writing will wow people.

If you want to say something that will be understood without having to show people the kanji, which are ridiculous, your best bet would be using 喧々諤々. Even if it's not a real yo-ji, most people don't know that and consider it one.

SashTheRed said...

Also one more thing:
you wrote the 喧々諤々 as "kankangakugaku" while in the previous 喧々囂々, you wrote it as "kenkengougou", so the pronunciation changes in the 喧 from "ken" to "kan" making it sound in the new yoji exactly like 侃々諤々? Or was that a typo and it's supposed to be "kenkengakugaku"?
Thanks!

AzzidisRidden said...

Right you are, Sash. That was a typo and the pronunciation should be "kenkengakugaku." Props to you for the catch. Will change it in the body of the post now.