I just learned the kanji for lumber/timber (and I feel also “wood”) 材. It lists both 材木 and 木材 as examples… I was pleased to guess the readings correctly right off the bat… But the meanings are a bit strange… One of them means lumber, timber, and wood. The other only means lumber and wood. If they are both referring to wood/lumber the building material, should they not both include all the same synonyms?
Of course I understand I can add that synonym myself easily (once I unlock it, anyway)… What I am asking is if there’s a reason for this difference. Perhaps to the Japanese there’s a difference, or a nuance that I don’t see/get in English.
Anyone know the answer care to explain? Anyone have any theories? Perhaps someone with a language other than English as native might have some insight from their own language/home country?
Personally, I’m just a bit baffled by this!