So, I thought I’d start something to keep differences answers and queries in one place. Such as where two kanji or vocabularies or even particles offer the same meanbing but where the meanings are in fact subtly different.
((Note: I have snuffled around a bit (about an hour), but I only seem to stumble across threads with precise queries or references to things like transitive vs intransitive etc. So, if my thread is in fact duplicate - please redirect this thread.))
This one I believe I know the answer to, so I will use it as an example:
森 vs 林 vs 木
Clearly the last one is simply “tree(s)” but, when we have 森 and 林 things get a bit stranger - both can be “forest(s)” but only 林 means “woods”. The distinction here is purely visual and the composition of what a person is looking at - a context word.
In English, we say things like: wilderness, forest, woods, copse, glade, thicket, orchard, glen, and so on and so forth. In Japanese, these subtle differences also occur, and most people unconsciously use them. As new learners, it’s hard to learn without having someone point them out visually using a self-aware level of instruction (such as parent to child). I grew up in a dense rain-forest, in a mountainous, oceanside region. So forests are my jam - but put me in a desert, and I have only a limited vocabulary to describe what I see, with only a 40% accuracy (my friends in desert regions often giggle at my attempt to describe a desert). I digress.
So, my first one (I have stumbled on a few, but forgot at the moment):
曲 vs 音楽
The first being kanji by itself, while the second is vocabulary.
Both mean “music” but the former means also “bend”.
Is 曲 the precursor to the verb “to bend” or is it the noun “a bend”. And how does it relate to music? What component of the meaning (or subtlety) does it apply to music specifically?
I know that some of these might be pretty obvious to some, but less so to others. Hopefully the better studied can provide their learned insight! Especially if there are any suggestions or notes on when both (or multiples) might be appropriate and interchangeable, or when one can be used while another absolutely cannot (Such as “I cooked coffee this morning.”)