Both "municipal" and "private" are pronounced "shiritsu". How does this not cause a lot of confusion?

I just learned the word 私立 (shiritsu, private) and now also remembered that Wanikani taught me 市立 (shiritsu, municipal) some levels ago. I just find it kinda funny that they are pronounced the same way. Doesn’t this cause confusion about whether you are speaking of a public or private school, hospital etc?


わたくしりつ and いちりつ can be used to make it clear which you mean if you need to avoid confusion.


Which, incidentally, both mean the same thing in the UK :grin:


One of the great mysteries of our era.

Another of the great mysteries of our era.


I mean, this is the case for a heap of words. Japanese has loads of homonyms, isn’t that the reason why kanji is still used? Type out any pair of semi common on’yomi readings and you’ll likely get a heap of different words read the same way. Speech relies on context.

Edit: for example (typed totally at random into my dictionary):


And as I said, there are readings that really only exist because of the need to differentiate. So you can just use those. If someone doesn’t use them, it’s probably not important to make the distinction.


Aye, that’s the thing - these two words aren’t just homophones, they’re also perfectly interchangeable. Either word would fit the context when you say something like しりつ高等学校


I was going to say that pitch accent probably helps in spoken language… but the Pitch Accent info script tells me that both 私立 and 市立 have 頭高 (front-accented) pitch accent patterns. So… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Yeah, that’s what I was onto. I do know there are a lot of homophones in Japanese, but this one is particularly confusing because of the interchangeability :smiley:

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