How do people learn names like 東雲?

Hi all,
I’ve been watching 日常, and one recurring sign is for the “Shinonome Laboratory”. It starts with 東雲, which Android’s Japanese keyboard will suggest for しののめ. However, I’m curious as to how people learn to read it in the first place; I’m guessing this is a recurring issue with names, but I figured that those are comprised of the various individual-kanji readings. According to Jisho.org though, the word itself is an archaism and the readings match neither the kun nor onyomi. It’s a station name in multiple cities, though… so how do people end up learning these? Do they just walk around knowing the rough meaning of the name of the place, and have to ask people (or check online) what it’s called?

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It’s a jukujikun.

Kunyomi readings are when a word of Japanese origin is applied to a single kanji. Jukujikun readings are when a word of Japanese origin is applied to a group of kanji. If you’ve studied Japanese at all, you already know some of these.

今日 - きょう
大人 - おとな

Those don’t “match the kun or onyomi readings” for those individual characters.

And there are many more.

As for how Japanese people learn them… the same way you learn any word, I suppose.

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Yes, I’ve definitely seen 今日&大人, but those are common words. Supposedly 東雲 isn’t. Or is it actually common enough for people to be familiar with, and the situation I’m describing never comes up?

I guess if your concern is with it being both archaic and also a station name… Station names always also have furigana to show the reading, no matter how basic or difficult their readings are, so that they can be used by people of all ages and reading levels. So you don’t have to know the kanji of 東雲駅 to be able to find it and use it. You probably don’t even have to know Japanese, since it’ll almost certainly also have romaji.

As for just difficult to read jukujikun… sure… there are lots of those, and they might get “misread” by their onyomi or some other reading, and then people are corrected if they say it wrong or something. And they go “what? that’s how you say/write that?!” and then they know it.

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Ah, this makes sense, thanks! Yes, I now remember that the stations in Tokyo all had romaji, and at least a few had furigana. I guess many viewers of 日常 would be familiar with 東雲 as a station name, so they can safely assume people are familiar with it as a name for a character in anime.

I’m sure they have geography lessons or history lessons, where some of those will come up, too.

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As for just difficult to read jukujikun… sure… there are lots of those, and they might get “misread” by their onyomi or some other reading, and then people are corrected if they say it wrong or something. And they go “what? that’s how you say/write that?!” and then they know it.

So comparable to people mispronouncing names like Worcester and Arkansas?

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At least you can (and will) mispronounce unfamiliar words in English. I used to think in Japanese, it’s either you know the kanji combination or you’re hopeless and can’t even attempt a reading… But I guess if you’re familiar with the individual kanji you can string together onyomi and people will pick up on it like people would pick up on “arr-Kansas” or “war-cess-ter”?

It might not be on every place where the kanji is written, but there will be at least some place where it’s written in kana. In the area where I live, the signs on the platform tend to alternate between only kanji and only hiragana, but that basically serves the purpose of furigana.

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So, ひがしくも in this case, even though it sounds nothing like しののめ.

Yeah, that’s a plausible guess at reading it for the first time, though they might instinctively place rendaku on the く to guess ひがしぐも. If you guess that reading as you’re trying to go somewhere, it’s quite easy to tell what it was you thought you were talking about and people will still be able to help you, though they might chuckle in their head if your mispronunciation is particularly humorous.

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So, what’s the etymology really? Or some Kanji changed in the past?

Actually,

It comes from literally the words しの, which was initially the word for a type of cloth that was used to block early morning light, and then the word しののめ became a word for just dawn itself, and you can see how the “eastern clouds” also has a general connection to dawn.

What were you trying to say by “Actually”? That とううん is also a valid reading, presumably just because enough people said the onyomi that it became acceptable?

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ひがしぐも and ひがしくも aren’t mentioned.

As well as failed the IME (Google Japanese Input Method on macOS).

Right… those were what he was guessing people would guess upon seeing the kanji and not knowing the right reading. That post was really a continuation of his previous post and I managed to fit a reply in between them, if that makes it easier to see what he was trying to say.

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