What’s the difference

Hello everyone! Would be great of someone could explain in an easier way what’s the difference in use of f.e. this two words 科 and 科学. The meaning is the same but do people not use first variant when speaking?

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科 is generally not a word on its own, it’s a suffix. It can mean either:

  • the X department/field, like 数学科 the mathematics dept, or 社会科 social studies
  • the X family in the “scientific species name” sense, like ネコ科の動物 == “animals 「belonging to [of/in] the cat family”

科学 on the other hand is a simple noun meaning “science”.

PS: if you found 科 via wanikani, note that WK does not teach 科 as a vocabulary word, only as a kanji. The difference between kanji and words is important – most kanji are not words on their own.

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Fun fact! The Japanese linden tree is called しな in Japanese, though as a plant species name, it’ll usually be written entirely in katakana - シナ. And also you’re not likely to get its meaning confused with 科学. :slightly_smiling_face:

Also, I can count how many times I’ve come across a Japanese linden tree on the toes of one hand.

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So the science of Japanese linden trees would be 科科? And the science of the Japanese linden tree family would be 科科科 :thinking:

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