【×羨ましい】->what does the" x" mean

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kenny4528

Senior Member
Mandarin, Taiwan
Hi, I went to a online dictionary looking for the word "羨ましい", and I saw the "x" mark before its 漢字,
I have no idea what it means?

うらやましい【×羨ましい】
 
  • M Mira

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    There's no true standard among different dictionaries, although I'm sure that the '×' on the kanji here means that the kanji is not within Jōyō Kanji list, but in different dictionaries, it might mean that the version with kanji is rarely used, or even that it's an ateji.
     

    spu001

    Senior Member
    English, Japanese
    Hi, kenny4528, that's a symbol called 'batsu,' the opposite of it is "◯ (maru)".
    The usage of the symbol is to show something is 'incorrect' or 'bad,' also, to say 'negative' --when you turn down a request.
    As M Mira wrote above, that kanji is not on the jōyō kanji list, to put it another way, kanji that are left in the cold SHOULD BE avoided -- the list was issued by the ministry in charge of education, culture, sports, blah blah blah (Japanese: Monbu Kagaku Shō.)

    Why "incorrect"? I heard this from a friend of mine (a Japanese-language teacher) in the past:
    Just after WWII, under the control of the US, the predecessor of the list called the tōyō kanji list was issued -- the aim was to limit the number of kanji characters.
    It decreed that one HAD TO use only the kanji on the list; this means there were criteria of what kanji is 'correct' and 'incorrect' for use on documents, broadcast and yada yada yada, but, 30-odd years after, that was replaced by the lenient one.
    Or,
    Since, on some dictionaries, 'maru' is used, too, to show "must-learn kanji" at the beginner or intermediate level, the opposite is used as the non-jōyō kanji symbol -- I suppose.

    That helps us to understand which option is more common when we're spoilt for choice of kanji and hiragana -- you'd be better off picking out 'うらやましい,' however, you can also use the kanji version all the same.

    Last but not least, X(batsu) can be replaced with another symbol -- few examples: △,〈word〉,▼, [, etc.

    ETA: The kanji '羨' hadn't been on the list until the 2010 revision.

    Hope this helps.
    Spu
     
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    kenny4528

    Senior Member
    Mandarin, Taiwan
    Thank you Mira and especially spu, for you detailed explanation. I remember looking up one word that I saw in a popular Japan TV show, in which it's written in Kanji. However, it's also marked X(batsu). So, if I understand you correctly, it's safe to use the word, for example, 羨ましい in the letter for Japanese friends without being frowned upon, right?
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    As others said, 羨 is in fact out side the table. It would be helpful if you nailed down what online dictionary you are referring to, but there is at least one that uses x for marking non-Jōyō kanjis. See the legend of 大辞泉.

    The Jōyō Kanji table is a binding standard for texts issued by the government. Mass media have kanji standards based on the table too.

    that kanji is not on the jōyō kanji list, to put it another way, kanji that are left in the cold SHOULD BE avoided
    For an average Japanese, however, avoiding non-listed kanjis is impossible. A lot of non-Jōyō characters are mixed into everyday texts; novels, magazines, personal communications, technical materials. Basically, people outside the government, the press or education do not care if the character they are going to write is in a table. True, 羨ましい is less used than うらやましい but I find "SHOULD BE avoided" too didactic to describe a mere tendency.


    羨ましい in the letter for Japanese friends without being frowned upon, right?
    Writing 羨ましい is not a social faux pas. Your friend may find your letter uptight if you use too many difficult kanjis but one or two do does not raise the alert. What is perceived as a difficult kanji is related to the table but we do not directly draw upon it.
     
    Last edited:

    spu001

    Senior Member
    English, Japanese
    You're welcome, kenny,
    On informal occasions, as in your example: to write a letter to your friend, you don't have to worry about it -- if you want to go with the flow you can use non-jōyō ones, since they appear all over the place.
    But when you publish formal ones or write business documents, you might want to eschew non-jōyō ones -- You can, however, use non-jōyō kanji on such occasions, all the same.
    Point is, the list is like, if you like, a reference book, not rule book.

    @Flaminius
    It seems that you and I, by and large, have the same opinion. But, didactic? a little bit too 'big word' for it -- if you refer to 'should be(with emphasis on) did you notice "should be" was contrasted with "had to(with emphasis on, too)" below that?
    Anyway, "should be" in that sentence means what it says on the tin, in other words, "you'd be better off picking out [...], however, you can also use [...]."
    I suspect that was a tad long post:)

    Hope that helps,
    Spu
     
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