which instruments use 弾く and which use 引く?



I was wondering how do we identify what instruments may be used with the verb 引く, or 弾く, or both?

If both 引く and 弾く can be used is there any difference in nuance between one vs the other?


Posted 2011-07-16T17:10:06.000

Reputation: 11 470



引く and 弾く, while pronounced the same, mean different things:

  • 引く means to pull, draw or otherwise move or lead in a literal or mostly literal sense (e.g. 手を引く, to lead someone by the hand; 引っ込める, to withdraw or retract)

  • 弾く means to play, for a wide variety of instruments, ranging from the piano to the violin, i.e. string instruments and keyboards (potentially caused by the piano and harpsichord in particular secretly being string instruments at heart).

Some instruments, however, use entirely different words, like 打つ for drums, especially the 太鼓.

Edit: Confusingly, 打つ is also used for an entirely different sense of the word play; namely that to play a single move in 碁.

Williham Totland

Posted 2011-07-16T17:10:06.000

Reputation: 953

@WillihamTotland Why the focus on the single move? To play go, in the general sense, is 碁を打つ if I'm not mistaken. – dainichi – 2012-01-27T10:20:30.157

1@dainichi: No particular reason; really, it can be used for both, still in two different meanings of the word "play". But the topic is convoluted enough already, I feel. – Williham Totland – 2012-01-27T11:36:26.250

2弾く is used for string instruments and keyboard instruments. As you said, other musical instruments use other verbs. – Tsuyoshi Ito – 2011-07-16T21:54:23.147

Why is the usage of 打つ in 碁 confusing? It is a simple case of 'hitting' the board. – None – 2011-07-17T03:11:08.937

@sawa: I guess that what Williham is saying is that English speakers may be confused because two different meanings of the verb “play” (as in “play the drums” and “play go”) are both translated to 打つ in Japanese in these examples just by coincidence. – Tsuyoshi Ito – 2011-07-17T03:31:24.247

@Tsuyoshi_Ito Is it coincidence? They both mean 'hit'. 打つ as 'play' is for percussions. – None – 2011-07-17T03:35:59.587

@sawa: Ok, it may have some reason and therefore it may not be pure coincidence, but the point is that English speakers may consider that “to play” is always 打つ because of these two examples. That is my interpretation of why Williham wrote “confusingly.” I do not know if it is really confusing or not. – Tsuyoshi Ito – 2011-07-17T11:40:08.647

@Ito In the same way, a Japanese may confuse "to play" as 遊ぶ. A translator should understand the literal meaning, then know the idiomatic usage in both language, to be able to make correct translation. – syockit – 2011-07-17T11:51:05.213