年 vs 歳月? 求婚 vs 縁談? 部分 vs 一翼?

Would like to know the differences between these words.

1 Like

Good question, maybe @Leebo knows? :slight_smile:

1 Like

I just tried reading the Japanese dictionary definitions and going by how I’ve seen the words used, so it’s very possible I’m wrong about something and I don’t mind being corrected if I am, but anyway, in case any of this can help…

just based on that, it sounds to me like一翼 is something more like a “part” as in a specific role or duty that has to be done(or a wing, for the other definition), while 部分 is a more general part of something, i.e. a specific part of something larger, as the defintion above says.

bild

bild

求婚 is as far as I know just a proposal, as in normally proposing to someone. Jisho also gives “marriage talks” as a meaning for 縁談 and the Japanese definition talks about a talk about marriage where various candidates are given, which makes it sound a bit less like just a normal proposal and more like something more formal, which also would match how fantasy stuff often seems to use it for marriage talks for nobles.

For the one I feel the most unsure about:

I guess 歳月 seems to be more generally about the passage of time more than always just a specific amount of years? That would at least match how the light novels I’ve read generally seem to use it to indicate that a long time has passed.

2 Likes

Yeah, it’s used as a temporal noun where as 年 would be just the noun for ‘year’/counter for years.

1 Like

Essentially, @Ditto20 has said everything, but I’d like to give a version of my own that focuses on the kanji used. There are bound to be plenty of overlaps though:
年 – a year. Often used as a counter.
歳月 – 歳 means ‘year’, often in the context of age. Months and years = time

求婚 – literally ‘to request marriage’ (I’m translating from Chinese, because the kanji mean the same thing there to)
縁談 – literally ‘affinity talks’. This sort of ‘proposal’ is almost the same as the sort of ‘proposal’ one might submit for a project at work: the possibility of marriage is discussed, very likely (in my opinion) between families. I think the difference in nuance here is that in this case, there is simply an offer on the table, and the details are being discussed with a view to marriage. In the other case, emphasis is placed on the request i.e. one person asking the other to marry him/her.

For the final pair, I’m just going to say that I suspect the confusion is due to one-word EN-JP translations. The kanji give no indication whatsoever that the two are even close to comparable. I imagine what happened is that both were translated as ‘part’.

部分 – both of the kanji are related to the ideas of ‘parts’ and ‘division’, so there should be no surprise that this means ‘part (of a whole)’
一翼 – literally ‘one wing’. One might say that a single ‘wing’ performs a specific role or function in order to keep a bird in the air, and thus plays a ‘part’. One of the other English translations given for this is ‘one’s right hand man’. This also makes sense: imagine a bird losing one of its wings, and how helpless it would become. Hence, a wing, like a right hand man, is a closely attached element of paramount importance that supports the main entity.

2 Likes