Many 生 Readings in One Sentence

I’d like to make a sentence with as many different readings of 生 as possible :smile: Just for fun, and it can serve as an example to show non-Japanese speaking friends (and maybe Japanese speakers) one challenge of the language. It should be grammatically correct, and the words/expressions should be used in a correct way, even if the sentence as a whole doesn’t make much sense.

After some help and corrections we have:


So 9 different readings. 10 if you count しょう and じょう as two separate ones.

Translation: The teacher was born in the Yayoi period, and/so they cultivated the lawn with all their might, and vividly ate raw eggs and soba every birthday.


  • Anything utterly wrong? As in: “You wouldn’t use this word that way”?
  • Any readings I should add? Maybe the teacher’s name could be something with 生.
  • Should we add 千生せんなり? Not sure how common that is…I want to avoid cases of “Well yeah but nobody uses that word”.

And in case you’re wondering: Yes, I do have too much time on my hands :sweat_smile:


芝生を生やす made me laugh, but I guess I’ve just never encountered anything other than ヒゲを生やす


I honestly would ask a native but I don’t think you can use 生い立ち like that. It refers to someone’s upbringing itself and not like the period when they were young. I’m also not sure about the 誕生日ごとに part. It sounds weird to me.

If you want to add なり 生業 is an actually used word


Just for the sake of those who might not know all the words (let alone their readings! :sweat_smile: ), could you also include in your main post your best proposed translation of what the sentence is supposed to mean (even if it’s a bit silly or nonsense, as you mentioned)? I would be very interested, speaking for myself. :smiley:

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I’m guessing you don’t mean readings that are explicitly listed against 生 in the dictionary, but rather just ways in that 生 is sometimes read? In which case, there’s sooo many different readings in place names. Just from the list of train stations in Japan:

相生 = あいおい
蒲生 = がもう
穴生 = あのう
粟生 = あお
藤生 = ふじゅう
福生 = ふっさ
萩生 = はぎゅう
羽生 = はにゅう
日生 = ひなせ
石生 = いそう
桐生 = きりゅう
生見 = ぬくみ
丹生川 = にゅうがわ
晩生内 = おそきない
柳生 = やぎゅう

As with the etymology behind the reading of 弥生, most of these, I would say, probably come from the classical verb う being slurred into the back of the first kanji - for example:
蒲生う = がまおう → 蒲生 = がもう
藤生う = ふじおう → 藤生 = ふじゅう
石生う = いしおう → 石生 = いそう
and so forth, so I guess whether those actually count as distinct ways that 生 has been read is arguable. Probably more of a bunch of jukujikun.


LOL love it. I think this is a genre of word play for native speakers so maybe someone can even give you more examples.

My experience so far: people not studying Japanese go glassy eyed after being faced with more than even a few characters and if shown even one sentence much less a page in a book they’re so confused by all the other characters they’ll be like yeah of course it’s complicated I just see squiggles, and the point about readings is totally lost in that overwhelm. so to be honest the only time I ever got this across was to focus attention on just one word, write it on a blank page:
日曜日 and write
Nichi yo- bi pointing out the 2 different pronunciations for 日, and that there are several others for that character in different words, and this is the case for thousands of characters.
Then if they ask any follow up questions and got interested, pull out the big guns and show them your sentence. Then they are primed with what you’re getting across and they might enjoy it!

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今日は日曜日だよ :slightly_smiling_face:


Even better!

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There are a few here:

Some I have come across:






Also, you accidentally added some extra text on the back of that URL.


Thanks. I fixed it.

Thanks everyone! I showed it to a Japanese friend, and got two corrections :slightly_smiling_face:

  • 生い立ち isn’t used like that (as @Vanilla already pointed out), so I’ve removed it. We kind of have the おい reading in 弥生やよい already.
  • 生地 on its own has several meanings like cloth/fabric, so I’ve changed it to パン生地 to be more clear.

Other than that, it seems okay. I told her about a week ago that it’s 100% fine to correct all my mistakes, so I don’t think she’s just being polite. I might run it by another friend later.

By the way, I like the 今日は日曜日 example, because it’s such a common thing to say and not artificial :+1:

Good idea! Added.


you could just make it 生蕎麦 while you’re at it so its something that japanese people actually regularly eat.

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