Friday, April 11, 2008

御 - Honorific Prefix; Get Down from Your High Horse

Readings & Meanings:



honorific prefix

Common Usage:


御味噌汁 (おみそしる)






For breakfast, I eat rice and miso soup.

Thank you for your hard work.


It's 彳 or Gyouninben again. As before, this implies a movement.

卸 is on the right. 卸 has traveled a long way from its original meaning. 卸 used to be a pictograph of a kneeling figure (the 卩) pounding something with a hammer, and when 止 was added, it showed someone whipping a horse that kicked. Then 卸 was borrowed to express relieving a horse of its burdens, and that was extended to mean "unload."

御 works with the "tame a horse" meaning, meaning "control." And now 御 is the honorary prefix, sometimes written just with ご. It's because it at one point referred to the possessions of the emperor.

Bonus: Being Polite in Japanese

For any beginners who have crawled their way to my site:

"Gochisou sama deshita" and "gokurou sama deshita" are two very polite and very good phrases to know. Say ごちそうさまでした at a restaurant or at a home after your meal. Say ごくろうさまでした to express appreciation for someone else's work.

Bonus: みそ

My language-exchange partner's middle school teacher taught two ways of saying 御味噌汁. One is the one I used, pronounced おみそしる. Another was strange:

御御御漬 (おみおつけ)

Maybe miso soup is so revered, it requires three 御s.

Please take this information with a grain of salt.


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