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Re: [Lingo] 上手・上手い

Josh Glover writes:
 > 2009/3/18 steve smith <>:
 > > I recently received an email from a friend that used the word 上
 > > 手い・う まい.   It's the first time I'd seen it but was familiar
 > > already with 上 手・じょうず.   These two look pretty similar in
 > > meaning with the exception that one is an i adjective and the
 > > other is a na adjective.
 > Not quite. 上手い usually means "excellent", whereas 上手 is almost
 > always used to mean "skillful" or "good at". For example, some 焼き
 > そば can be上手い

Actually, yakisoba is 旨い.  Also occasionally 美い, 美味い or 甘い.

上手い and 上手な are synonymous AFAICT.  上手い is also spelled 巧い,
it seems.

うまい itself is actually used in two other senses.  "Convenient" or
"comfortable", etc (no exact English synonym, but usage like 面舌皛逅跂勉闕❹\xA6
まくいけた should make it clear), and "foolish" or "funny" (馬鹿な,

This happens in English, too (try to give a rational connection
between playing the piano and playing house, for example).

 > > Does anyone know if there is a reason for having the two words
 > > other than 'it just happened that way?'  I'm sure there are are
 > > other words like that and I'm just curious.

As Josh said, this is probably the difference between Yamato Japanese
(和語 may be the linguist's term, but Yamato Japanese is what van
Wolferen calls it), and Chinese-derived words.

There are many, many such synonyms or close synonyms (eg, the common
verb form is Yamato-derived and the common noun is Han-derived, or
vice versa).

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