College is: 大学 (not 大学校)why?

Does anyone know why college is 大学 not 大学校?

Always been curious because it doesn’t seem to follow the pattern of:
学校 【がっこう】 – school
小学校 【しょうがっこう】 – elementary school
中学校 【ちゅうがっこう】 – middle school
高校 【こうこう】 – high school

why in english is it elementary school, middle school, high school, but not college school?

more seriously, the word is formed according to the chinese aesthetic of kango words using exactly 2 characters when further disambiguation is not required (likewise why we learn 不正 17 levels earlier than its antonym 正義). 小 and 中, by contrast, behave more like prefixes than an integral part of the base word.


Thanks for the kango explanation.
I guess the reason it seemed like an anomaly to me was because 小、中、高、and 大 all seemed like a progression of size description prefixes, but with different combinations of kanji representing the idea of “school” afterwards, high school with the 校 but no 学、and college with the 学 but no 校 .

That being said, I guess I shouldn’t expect everything to be logical and orderly

yeah i mean 小 中 and 大 are all kind of in the same family of sometimes-prefix sometimes-part-of-the-word, and natural language being natural language they’re not always used consistently with respect to each other. by the way 小学 and 中学 also exist as abbreviations, and 高校 is an abbreviation of 高等学校.

Yeah, why do you have 高校 as its own thing (but not 小学 or 中学) when the full thing is 高等学校.

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