Monday, September 3 2007

Head-hunter vocabulary

The word for the day is 頭皮. Why? Because that’s the stumper that Kakitorikun threw at me today. [yes, this means that I’m still working though the 3rd grade vocabulary drills; work, WoW, and other study methods have slowed down, but not eliminated, my progress…]

The hint was: 「あたまをおおうあたまのかわ」, which at least confirmed that it was a literal combination of the two characters meaning “head” and “skin”, unlike the same lesson’s 皮肉. I’m not sure how you get “sarcasm” out of skin+meat, but at least the word is in my dictionaries.

頭皮 is not. It’s not in my WordTank (not even in the J-J section), it’s not in my printed dictionaries (not even The Compact Nelson), nothing. Edict and its derivatives are the only things that list it. So, here we have a word that’s common enough to put into children’s training software, but too rare to be worth mentioning in an electronic dictionary intended for native speakers. I’m not surprised that my student J-E dictionaries don’t have it, but Nelson’s usually pretty good.

Oh, the other study method that’s taking up some of my time? I’m watching Sentou no Musume during my daily workout. Lots of rapid casual speech with no subtitles, but the story is straightforward, the comedy is largely visual, and the acting is, um, “accessible”.

[Update: while I was in Kinokuniya tonight, I looked up 頭皮 in several printed J-J dictionaries. It wasn’t in any of them, and while I did find it in a few E-J dictionaries, it wasn’t in the matching J-E section.]

[Update: Kanji Sonomama has it.]