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Lesson Transcript

なおみ: なおみです。
Peter: Peter here.
なおみ: 四字熟語
Peter: Lesson 24. How Learning Japanese Can Help You Achieve Unprecedented Success. Interesting!
なおみ: ね
Peter: Well, this is actually related to today’s four kanji character compound. In this lesson, what we do is we take some idiomatic phrases and we break them down by kanji character. One, to introduce you to kanji, two, so you can see how these phrases came to be and the thinking behind them.

Lesson focus

Peter: Naomi Sensei, what do we have first?
なおみ: 前人未踏
Peter: Unexploited or unachieved by anyone, unprecedented. Break it down.
なおみ: ぜんじんみとう 前人未踏
Peter: The first character is
なおみ: 前
Peter: Before
なおみ: 人
Peter: Person.
なおみ: 未
Peter: Not yet.
なおみ: 踏
Peter: Arrival. Before person not yet arrival.
なおみ: That’s quite straightforward.
Peter: Yeah this one is I think very straightforward. Let’s just take a look at the two two kanji character compounds. First one.
なおみ: 前人
Peter: Literally means people in the previous and indicates predecessors. Second two kanji character compound.
なおみ: 未踏
Peter: Unreached yet. Put them together.
なおみ: 前人未踏
Peter: It means unreached or unexploited by any predecessors and it can also be written a different way with the final character being a bit different. So check out the PDF to kind of see the difference because this comes in two flavors.
なおみ: そうですねI’ve seen them both.
Peter: Okay. On to the usage. Now this phrase can be used as a pronominal word. Now when we say the pronominal word, basically we just mean it can be used before a noun and in between this phrase and a noun, you usually find
なおみ: の
Peter: So can we have an example?
なおみ: 前人未踏の記録
Peter: An unprecedented record. Now it’s often followed by nouns such as
なおみ: 記録
Peter: Record or
なおみ: 地
Peter: Place and it’s generally used in a positive context.
なおみ: そうですね
Peter: Such as once when someone achieves something unprecedented.
なおみ: Yeah like Olympic games.
Peter: Okay let’s have a sample sentence. Naomi Sensei, first one.
なおみ: 彼は前人未踏の大記録を達成した
Peter: He achieved an unprecedented perfect record.
なおみ: 冒険家は前人未踏の地を目指す
Peter: Adventurers head to places where no one has gone before. And finally,
なおみ: 彼女は前人未踏の3年連続優勝を達成した
Peter: She achieved an unprecedented three successive victories. Naomi Sensei, is this one used in the Star trek expression to boldly go where no man has been before?
なおみ: なにそれ What are you talking about?
Peter: Star trek
なおみ: スタートレック、あーよくわかんない
Peter: Right. I am going to check that out. Check the comments because I don’t know. It seems like this Yojijukugo would be used in that.
なおみ: Really.
Peter: To boldly go where no man has been before.
なおみ: あー、前人未踏の地につきますみたいな
Peter: Yeah.
なおみ: Umm it could be.
Peter: I don’t feel you are passionate about Star Trek. Anyway, we will check it out and leave the answer to that in the comments. Okay on we go. Next expression is
なおみ: 有名無実
Peter: To exist only in name.
なおみ: ゆうめいむじつ 有名無実
Peter: First character.
なおみ: 有
Peter: Exist.
なおみ: 名
Peter: Name.
なおみ: 無
Peter: Nothing.
なおみ: 実
Peter: Reality. Exist name nothing reality. It’s pretty straightforward. Let’s take a look at the two two kanji character compounds that make up this four kanji character compound. Naomi Sensei, first one.
なおみ: 有名
Peter: To have a name and of course famous.
なおみ: そうですね
Peter: Then we have, second one.
なおみ: 無実
Peter: Not to have substance. So we put it all together.
なおみ: 有名無実
Peter: It means something has only a name but has no substance or something doesn’t have the same value as this name. Let’s take a look at the usage. It’s often used as
なおみ: 有名無実な
Peter: A na adjective and also something could precede it and then we have the は
なおみ: 有名無実だ or です
Peter: Structure.
なおみ: はい
Peter: Okay. Now this also comes in two other flavors. So we have the expression
なおみ: 有名無実になる
Peter: になるTo become and also
なおみ: 有名無実化する
Peter: Again to become.
なおみ: The second expression is used in newspaper.
Peter: So something comes to have nothing in substance. Doesn’t seem like a good usage. Let’s kind of take a look at some sample sentences. I think they will help us understand a bit better. Naomi Sensei,
なおみ: 男性の育児休暇制度なんて有名無実だ
Peter: Maternity leave for men exists only in name.
なおみ: It’s pretty bad.
Peter: What else do we have?
なおみ: 高速道路の最高時速は100キロだが、これは有名無実な規則だ
Peter: The maximum speed on highways is regulated at a 100 kilometers per hour but only in name.
なおみ: 有名無実ですかね People get arrested still right?
Peter: But everybody goes over it.
なおみ: Not me.
Peter: Okay give us one more.
なおみ: ルールは違反した場合の罰則がなければ、有名無実になる
Peter: Rules will come to exist only in name if there are no penalties for their violation. 良い文章ですね
なおみ: I thought you are going to like it.
Peter: It’s interesting now. These – it seems like from the examples we looked at, the usage is very versatile. The first one is kind of like a bit sarcastic like yeah that’s only a name. The second one is because it’s – it’s not upheld and kind of the third one could forecast something that could be – what is the frequency of use around this one?
なおみ: I don’t think people use this phrase in a conversation a lot but we use this in a document or newspaper or news.
Peter: So if there is a trend that some things not being held up to its name, you will see this.
なおみ: はい


Peter: Okay. Naomi Sensei 有難うございます. Now, before we go, how about the first one? Do you use that one quite a bit?
なおみ: Yeah right. When you are watching a game or match, you will hear 前人未踏の記録a lot.
Peter: Depending yeah on the game.
なおみ: Depending on the game but….
Peter: Like umm Michael Phelps.
なおみ: そうそう・・・・・マイケルフェルプスの記録は前人未踏ですよね
Peter: Okay. That is going to do for today. Now don’t forget to check the comments. Naomi Sensei is going to look into the Star trek. That’s going to do for today.