中文

❝ In Japanese, can Particle Koto(こと) always be written in Kanji and interpreted as 'Matter' ? ❞

Once upon a time, an enthusiastic student of mine talked to his Japanese friend and was told that Particle Koto could be always interpreted as 'Matter'. Of course, I suspected neither my student nor his Japanese friend. However, as a matter of fact, in Japanese, can Particle Koto be always interpreted as 'Matter'? Really? Even we are foreigners, we can of course quote the research results from the scholars of Japanese: In Japanese, whether Particle Koto can be always interpreted as 'Matter' or not.
Whenever Koto is activated its nominalizing functionality, it can neither be written in Kanji(事)nor be interpreted as 'Matter'.
Dr-Kindaichi-Kyousuke
Dr. Kyōsuke Kindaichi (金田一 京助, 1882 ~ 1971) was a famous Japanese linguist from Morioka, Iwate Prefecture. He was a recipient of the Order of Cultural Merit in 1954. He also had authored a Japanese dictionary called Shinsen Kokugo Jiten in which he pointed out that:

Whenever Koto is activated its nominalizing functionality, it can neither be written in Kanji(事)nor be interpreted as 'Matter'.

Examples are:
(A)
たまに遅刻ちこくをすることもある。
Eng: Once in a while, I am late.
If you translate the Koto into matter, then: "Once in a while, I am a late matter."
You have changed the original meaning!

(B)
いたことがある。
Eng: I have heard that.
If you translate the Koto into matter, then: "I have heard that matter."
What are you talking about!?

(C)こたえることはない。
Eng: No need to answer.
If you translate the Koto into matter, then: "No answer matter."
You have changed the original meaning! This is an inappropriate translation.

(D)毎朝まいあさ体操たいそうをすることにしている。
Eng: Every morning, I am used to doing exercises.
If you translate the Koto into matter, then: "Every morning, I am used to doing exercises' matter."
What?!

(E)すぐかえってくるということだ。
Eng: It is said that one will be back in a minute.
If you translate the Koto into matter, then: "One will be back in a minute's matter."
What?!

(F)上達じょうたつ早道はやみちはよく練習れんしゅうすることだ。
Eng: The shortcut to excellence is drilling thoroughly.
If you translate the Koto into matter, then: "The shortcut to excellence is drilling matter thoroughly."
What?!

(G)無駄話むだばなしをしないこと
Eng: No idle talk.
If you translate the Koto into matter, then: "No idle talk matters."
You have changed the original meaning! This is an inappropriate translation.
Last Update: Jan 04, 2014