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さくら: さくらです。
Peter: Peter here.
さくら: 四字熟語
Peter: Lesson 17.
さくら: The Outrageous Truth behind Popular Japanese Expressions.
Peter: What a title!
さくら: ね。
Peter: Well in a way, it’s true because in each one of these lessons, we take a look at a idiomatic phrase. These phrases are made up of four kanji characters. So by taking a look at the individual characters and the four characters together, we can see where these meanings come from.
さくら: はい

Lesson focus

Peter: Sakura san, what is our first phrase?
さくら: 言語道断
Peter: Outrageous.
さくら: ごんごどうだん 言語道断
Peter: Let’s take a look at the four characters that comprise this word. Sakura san, first character.
さくら: 言
Peter: Say.
さくら: 語
Peter: Word.
さくら: 道
Peter: Road, way.
さくら: 断
Peter: Severance. Say word roadway severance.
さくら: It’s hard ね hard to understand ね
Peter: Let’s take a look at the two two kanji character compounds that comprise the four character kanji compounds if that made sense. Sakura san, what’s the first two character kanji compound?
さくら: 言語
Peter: And it means
さくら: To say something.
Peter: What’s the second two character kanji compound?
さくら: 道断
Peter: And it means
さくら: To have a way cut off.
Peter: So we put it all together
さくら: 言語道断
Peter: And it means something is too terrible to be put into words. 良いですね Now Sakura san,
さくら: はい
Peter: Where does this expression come from?
さくら: It comes from Buddhism again.
Peter: And
さくら: It comes from the Buddhism word meaning that the Buddhism truth is too profound to explain in words. You can’t put it in words.
Peter: So again we have another phrase that’s tied to Buddhism.
さくら: Umm yes.
Peter: Now how about usage? When can we use this expression?
さくら: When someone did something terrible, you can say something は言語道断だ
Peter: Something is too terrible to put into words.
さくら: そうOr something なんて言語道断だ
Peter: And the なんてin there makes it extra.
さくら: Yes.
Peter: Really emphasizes the fact that something is outrageous.
さくら: そうですね。
Peter: Okay. It can also be used to modify a noun by using the particle
さくら: の
Peter: Or
さくら: な
Peter: As in
さくら: 言語道断の
Peter: Something, something. An outrageous something.
さくら: Or 言語道断な
Peter: Again an outrageous something.
さくら: そうですね。
Peter: In this case, the noun is – well it’s usually indicating an outrageous action. For example,
さくら: 行為
Peter: An act.
さくら: Or 犯罪
Peter: A crime. Let’s take a look at a couple of sample sentences.
さくら: カンニングは言語道断だ
Peter: Cheating on the exam is outrageous.
さくら: そうですね。
Peter: No comment there. Next we have
さくら: 就職の面接に遅刻するなんて言語道断だ
Peter: Being late for a job interview is outrageous.
さくら: Umm…
Peter: 賛成ですね
さくら: そうですね。
Peter: And finally we have
さくら: 飲酒運転は言語道断の犯罪だ
Peter: Drinking and driving is an outrageous crime.
さくら: だってFine is so expensive now in Japan right.
Peter: As we mentioned in our previous lesson several times, they actually fine everybody in the car.
さくら: そうなのOh oh! そうか
Peter: らしいです Okay on to our second expression.
さくら: はい 試行錯誤
Peter: Trial and error.
さくら: しこうさくご 試行錯誤
Peter: Let’s take a look at the first character
さくら: 試
Peter: Try.
さくら: 行
Peter: Going
さくら: 錯
Peter: Confused.
さくら: 誤
Peter: Error. Now I think we get a clearer picture of what all this means when we take a look at the two two kanji character compounds that make up this expression.
さくら: はい
Peter: First we have
さくら: 試行
Peter: To try. This is followed by
さくら: 錯誤
Peter: To make mistakes. So literally to try make mistakes. To try and make mistakes. Not to try and – you get the idea. Try and make mistakes.
さくら: そうですね。
Peter: And put it together and it means, to approach success after learning from a lot of failures or to find the solution by trial and error. 良いですね
さくら: japanesepodみたいですね
Peter: Yeah. ピーターのほうですね。さくらはもっともっと完璧です
さくら: いやいや、とんでもございません
Peter: So Sakura was perfect from the start.
さくら: oh,no.
Peter: Okay how about the usage?
さくら: はいIt can be used as a suru compound verb.
Peter: As in
さくら: 試行錯誤する
Peter: Meaning to learn by mistake and if someone makes it by trial and error, you can say
さくら: Someone は試行錯誤しながら something をした
Peter: So while doing trial and error, they did something.
さくら: そうですね。
Peter: Let’s have a couple of sample sentences.
さくら: 彼女は試行錯誤しながら新しいメニューを作った
Peter: She developed a menu by trial and error.
さくら: 私は試行錯誤の結果自分に合ったダイエット法を見つけた
Peter: I finally found a dieting method workable for me by trial and error.
さくら: 子育ては試行錯誤の連続だ
Peter: Raising kids is a continuing process of trial and error.
さくら: True. その通りです
Peter: どうでしょうね Usually the first child comes out so much better.
さくら: そうなんですか
Peter: らしいです
さくら: そうなの
Peter: I think parents try so hard on the first child and the second one little less.
さくら: Relax でいいんじゃない so relax だからmentally stable じゃないの
Peter: Now you probably noticed in the sample sentences, you can often see expressions like
さくら: 試行錯誤によって
Peter: By trial and error or
さくら: 試行錯誤の結果
Peter: By trial and error and you noticed in the sample sentences that the trial and error part usually came first.
さくら: そうですね。
Peter: By trial and error something, something. So Sakura san, the question is
さくら: はい
Peter: When was the last time you used one of these expressions?
さくら: うーんとね I used it one or two years ago. Not doing much trial and error now. Not making so much effort yes. When did you use it last?
Peter: 初耳です
さくら: ほんとに
Peter: First time I’ve heard it.
さくら: ほんと I often hear it in like speeches 例えばなんかさ president とかが試行錯誤によって我々は発展してきました we developed through trial and error.
Peter: So really it’s a very powerful expression but kind of used in very formal situations. Okay that is going to do for today. Don’t forget to stop by and try to use these phrases.
さくら: はい
Peter: The teacher will help you, correct you, show you the proper usage and we had some really, really great efforts.
さくら: そうですね。A message board もね
Peter: Hmm you know, to the people who’ve been doing this all along and have done an incredible job are Claire….
さくら: はいはいはい
Peter: And Eric.
さくら: はいはいはい
Peter: 素晴らしいですね
さくら: すごいですよね


Peter: So now is your chance. Stop by, try to use this in a sentence and we will let you know if it’s right or we will provide you with the correction.
さくら: はい、お待ちしております


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