June 10, 2009

Let's Yoji: The road ahead

前途 (zento) is a word that expresses one's prospects, or the path in life that lays ahead. It shows up in a few interesting yoji, so let's take a look at some breakdowns. I'll separate them into first the statements of a tough road, and then the statements of a more optimistic future.

前途遼遠
前 zen: front
途 to: road
遼 ryou: distant
遠 en: distant
遼遠: remote, far off
gloss: one's goal is far off; the dream has a long way to go
part of speech: keiyoudoushi (na-adj)
--
前途多難
多 ta: many/multi
難 nan:hardship
多難: many hardships
gloss: grim prospects; the road ahead will be tough
PoS: keiyoudoushi

I'm sure people follow these two yoji up with, "...でも頑張りましょう" (but hey, let's do our best!).

Here's some positive ones. They are all about the same, so I combined the gloss. Also note all the shared kanji and definitions within these words (多 appeared above).
前途多望
望 bou: ambition, hope, aspirations, etc.
多望: promising
PoS: keiyoudoushi
--
前途有望
有 yuu: exist, possess
有望: promising
PoS:keiyoudoushi
--
前途有為
為 i: advantage, benifit (and many more)
有為: promising
PoS: keiyoudoushi OR no-adj
--
前途洋々
洋 you: ocean
々: ditto mark
洋々: vast (doubling up words is a kind of plural in Japanese)
--
gloss of them all: to have a bright future


If we want to look outside of the 前途, we can also make a bonus yoji that shares kanji with the above, 有為多望, which is a synonym for our optimistic words.

One last one that is very close to these but lacks a 途 is:

前程万里
程 tei: extent, degree
万 ban: myriad, everything
里 ri: the Japanese mile
万里: a great distance
gloss: bright future, limitless possibilities.