Japanese vs. English words for Cattle
24352 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
59 / F / Las Vegas, NV, USA
Posted 6/28/14 , edited 6/28/14
Now maybe I'm just over thinking things, and this is certainly trivial but.. I am teaching myself Japanese. I am also an animal lover. I was making myself some flashcards with the Japanese words for various animals and it occurred to me when I made the card for the word I have for "cow" (ushi) to wonder...

In English you would not actually call a cow a cow unless it was a cow - which is to say, a female of the species. If it were a male (which is generally blatantly obvious) you'd say "bull" and to call it a "cow" would be laughably incorrect. If it is a steer, or even a heifer (young female) you would call it by the correct term, not a "cow". If it were a group, you would call them cattle - or by the correct term such as cows, bulls, etc. if it was not a mixed group. You would call any young cattle "calves" regardless of sex. (Yes, I may have one too many friends who are actual, real, cowboys)

So I am wondering if Ushi means COW (as in a female) or something more like "cattle" (member of the bovine family of non-specific sex). And if it does, then what is the word for bull, heifer, steer, and - if there is one - for cattle.

Right offhand I cannot think of another species where this is an issue (horses are horses, bears are bears, dogs are dogs, chickens are chickens, etc.) but there may be some.

Come to think of it - say I wanted to say "gosh, that is a nice stallion" in Japanese? Is there a word for stallion, mare, gelding, as we have in English - or would I have to say "nice male horse" (for that matter, I don't know if there is a word for male - I'm a bit of a beginner).

Maybe if I go back and listen to all the episodes of Silver Spoon with a more educated ear now...

7232 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
Posted 6/29/14 , edited 6/29/14
in general, me- for female and o- for male. Ex. 雌牛means a heifer and 雄牛 means a bull.
11 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
26 / M
Posted 6/30/14 , edited 6/30/14
Sailor Candy Moderator
221234 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
Posted 7/2/14 , edited 7/2/14
Hopefully you got a correct answer ^,^ However, please next time use this thread:


In learning a new language Thanks!
You must be logged in to post.