人:じん vs にん:Japanese Resource


#1

A way to discern between じん and にん when reading a compound kanji. It’s not a 100% accurate of course, but it’s the only method/way I found that makes sense. It’s also from a Japanese source!

I know this is the umpteenth time this has been posted here, but for lack of a better place, I’ve created a new entry. If you think this should go somewhere else, please let me know! Also, I couldn’t find the original resource so any hint would be much appreciated. If it’s already been posted please let me know as well!

これには100%のルールはありませんね。
でも、基本的には―――

(1)まず、「殺人」「求人」のように、
「人を○○する」という意味になるものは、必ず、「ジン」。
(2)a 「日本人」「社会人」「現代人」「主人」「美人」のように、
「人」の前の言葉が動詞にできないものは一般に「ジン」。
b 「老人」「成人」「達人」「巨人」のように、
「人」の前の言葉が動詞にできても、
それが職業・身分を表したり、
一度その状態になると、他の状態や元の状態に
なりにくい・なれないものの場合は一般に「ジン」。
この意味で、15さんのスペイン語のserとestar、ぴったりですね。
(3)a 「保証人」「管理人」「受取人」「病人」「死人」「犯人」のように、
「人」の前の言葉が動詞にできるものは一般に「ニン」。
b 「他人」「当人」「浪人」「芸人」「3人、4人・・・」のように、
「人」の前の言葉が動詞にできなくても
その状態から他の状態に変えやすいもの、
恒久的な状態を表さないものの場合は「ニン」。

従って、それぞれaとbの条件を併せ持っている場合は、
かなりの確率で(1)(2)のルールが適用できます。
「外国人」・・・「外国」が動詞にできず、身分的な要素をあらわしているから「ジン」。
「案内人」・・・「案内」が動詞にでき、恒久的な状態を表していないから「ニン」。

ただし、これには「愛人」「役人」など、結構例外もあります。
とりあえず、aのルールは必要かと思います。
「大人」「素人」のような慣用読みについては、この限りではありません。


Remembering the Reading of 人
#2

Nice find! I never really thought about it.
At some point, the reading will just come naturally anyway, because it has been drilled in your brain by practice. (Like in any other language).


#3

Could anyone translate this to English for the benefit of beginners? I’ve been struggling with じん vs にん vs ひと, and I found learning a similar distinction with 月 (between tsuki “moon”, gatsu “month of…” and getsu “month-related”) was super helpful for me.


#4

@skreak さん、

This are the points I could translate so far:

This doesn’t happen 100% of the time, but the fundamentals are:

  1. First of all, a word with the meaning of a person doing an action (murderer: someone who kills, job hunter: someone who looks for a job) most of the time requires じん
    「殺人」「求人」
  2. A. When the word before 人 cannot be used as a verb, generally we use じん.
    「日本人」「社会人」「現代人」「主人」「美人」
  3. A. When the word before 人 can be used as a verb, generally we use にん.
    「保証人」「管理人」「受取人」「病人」「死人」「犯人」

Maybe someone with better skills can make a better translation. I’m still trying to translate points “b” for 2 and 3.


#5

I tried to build on a it a little bit. Not sure it is 100% correct…I think they references to (a) (b) and (1) (2)s changed half through the explanation…so I adjusted what I was sure about:

(1) First, as for prefixes that that are suru verbs and take a person as a direct object, such as “殺人” and “求人,” these will always take “jin.”

(2)(a) Prefixes of 人 that cannot be made verbs, such as “日本人,” “社会人,” “現代人,” “主人,” and “美人” will generally take “jin.”

(2)(b) Even for prefixes of 人 can be made into a verb, if they are an occupation, express a social status position, or a condition that once in that state it is hard to change to another state or original state, it will generally be “jin.” Examples of this are “老人,” “成人,” “達人,” and “巨人.”

(3)(a) Prefixes of 人 that can be made verbs, such as “保証人,” “管理人,” “受取人,” “病人,” “死人,” and “犯人” will generally take “nin.”

(3)(b) Even for prefixes of 人 cannot be made verbs, if they are easy to change to a different state it will generally be “nin.” Examples of this are“他人,” “当人,” “浪人,” “芸人,” “3人、4人・・・.”

Therefore, if you have the conditions of a and b respectively, the rules of (1) (2) can be applied with considerable probability.

“外国人” … “外国” can not be made a verb and it represents a status element, so it takes “jin".

“案内人” · · · “案内” can be made a verb and it does not represent a permanent state, so it takes “nin".

However, there are quite a few exceptions such as “愛人” “役人”.
For now, I think the only solid rule is (1).
For customary readings such as “大人” “素人”, there are no bounds.