I’m trying to figure out when (and when not) the kanji 然 applies (or doesn’t) to the various words and phrases that contain the common word (or is it words?) そう.
Long story short, I found two distinct entries for the word(s) そう:
(You can use this search link to compare the two versions ‘side by side’: https://jisho.org/search/そう)
Unfortunately, I’m still too inexperienced to really understand the difference between these two words. Are they really two separate words? Or are they just two dictionary entries (from the JMdict source) for what is essentially the same word?
In my heart of hearts, I’d really like to know:
- if the origin (etymology) of the word そう is the same as the origin of the kanji word 然う, but it just ‘lost its kanji along the way’;
- or, if そう is actually a different word, originally associated with a different kanji altogether, and people just stopped using that other kanji along the way;
- or, if そう is a distinct Japanese word that has never had any kanji associated with it at all, and 然う just happens to have the same reading, a confusingly similar meaning, but is actually a completely separate word;
- or maybe some completely different etymology I haven’t thought of.
But, even if I can’t get an answer for the etymology, I’d still very much like to know:
- how to use them correctly,
- and how to tell them apart (if they are indeed different words).