WWWJDIC: 編集 (へんしゅう) henshuu– Kanji of the Week


[Uni] 7de8 [部首] 120 [教育] 5 [画数] 15  [音] ヘン  [訓] あ.む -あ.み  [英]  compilation; knit; plait; braid; twist; editing; completed poem; part of a book
[Uni] 96c6 [部首] 172 [教育] 3 [画数] 12  [音] シュウ  [訓] あつ.まる あつ.める つど.う  [名] あつまり ず  [英]  gather; meet; congregate; swarm; flock

Not sure how this formatting will work out, but I wanted to share this entry from the World Wide Web Japanese Dictionary.  This is a website I use most days– based out of Monash University in Australia.  These two entries jumped out at me because of the lovely poetics of the syntax of their combination.  Together 編 and 集 spell the Japanese word for ‘edit.’  But 編 can also mean the word for ‘braid’ or ‘knit’ and 集 can also mean ‘gathering.’  So, in a certain sense (not sure if it’s the “literal” sense exactly… but on the basis of these root ideas) an edit is a gathering of braids.

I wonder how much the average Japanese speaker is aware of these poetic resonances in their written language.  How much bearing does this way of writing have on the signification of words in the language in general.  For instance, would a Japanese speaker (other than me) look at the word ‘edit’ and think ‘a gathering of braids’ or something similar.  I suppose I want this beautiful small thing to be more significant than my personal mnemonic device.

You can reload this page and scroll down quickly to see these brushstroke order animations if you want.  http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/cgi-bin/wwwjdic.cgi?1C