171 - Half-eaten apples and other horror stories...

Hey there fellow netizens!

So if there is any nation out there who is known to be a little OCD, it's gotta be Japan. I mean, they have all the symptoms: trains always on time, with official head-bowing apologies for a few minutes of delays, perfect, and I mean perfectfood arrangements, not to mention all the fruits and veggies at the supermarket carefully separated by size and shape... I mean, it's crazy.

In a place like this, you would imagine that anything left unfinished would stick out like a sore thumb. And it does!

So you would obviously require a means of expression to describe such abhorring situations.

Meet our friend かけ!

Now he may be little, but you will be surprised at how many meanings this tiny buddy of ours can hold.

First, let's get this unfinished business off our chest!

Verb (masu-stem) + かけ + の + something
Used to describe something that was left unfinished soon after 'it started':

Example time:

たべかけ の りんご。
A partially eaten apple.
Literally: 'Eat (masu-stem) + かけ + の + apple.'

Now I'm just saying this, but there's no way they would have come up with this logo in Japan...

Let's see, what else...

つくりかけ の りょうり。
A partially cooked food.
Literally: 'Make (masu-stem) + かけ + の + food'.

Note: This does not refer to uncooked food - like insufficiently cooked, but to the case where somebody started making it and left while in the middle of it.

But that's it with the grammarly stuff for today; next we are just going to see what other meanings this word holds... Well actually, we're going to talk about it's parent-word: 掛ける/かける. Now this is where the horror story begins..

掛ける holds an amazing amount of meanings, 23 to be exact!!
Today I will teach you the ones that are common and that I think you'll find useful.

*Note: You'll see that I've only included the kanji for some of these. This is because かける can be written with quite a few kanji... but it is often just written in hiragana.

1. To call

でんわ を かける。
To make a phone call.
Literally: 'Phone + を + make/call'

It is also used in the following expression with more or less the same meaning:

こえ を かける。
To start a conversation.
Literally: 'Voice + を + call'.

2. To hang something (mostly on a wall)

かべ に え を かける。
To hang a painting on a wall.
Literally: 'wall + に + picture + を + hang'.

3. To put on (glasses)

めがね を かける。
To put glasses on.
Literally: 'Glasses + を + put on.'

Note: You may or may not know that the word 'to put on' in Japanese changes depending on what it is that you put on; I will explain all the different kinds of 'wearing stuff' in our next lesson.

4. To sit down (or to rest your hips on something):

こし かける。
To sit down.
Literally: 'Hips + sit.'
Note: This phrase shows up in dictionaries as a single verb entry. So feel free to ignore the literal translation, if you'd like.

Note: This is mostly used in polite language, when you offer someone a seat:

どうぞ おかけ に なって ください。
Please have a seat.
Literally: 'By all means + sit + に + become + please'.
Which is basically: 'By all means please become seated'.

Note: You must have noticed the 'お' in front of 'かけ' which is just our well known politeness prefix, as also seen in 'お金/おかね/money' or 'お休み/おやすみ/rest'.

5. To risk (one's life), to put one's life at stake.

いのち を かける。
To risk one's life.
Literally: 'Life + を + put at stake'.
Note: The nuance here is "to put one's life on the line" when trying to do something. With a different kanji, 命を賭ける (いのちをかける) means "to bet one's life."

6. To lock something (with a key)

かぎ を かける。
To lock.
Literally: 'key + を + lock'.

7. To trouble (someone)

めいわく を かける。
To bother (someone).
Literally: 'Bother/burden + を + かける(error 404: literal translation not found)'

8. To turn on/activate (a device)

えんじん を かける。
To start an engine.
Literally: 'Engine + を + activate/turn on'

8.5 To play music (on a device):

おんがく を かける。
To play music.
Literally: 'Music + を + play'

9. To multiply:

に かける に は よん です。
2 times 2 is 4.
Literally: '2 + multiply + 2 + は + 4 + です.'

Phew! That was exhausting! And to think it's only one third of it all. But it's okay, if you remember the meanings above you'll be covered for a while. You'll get to learn the others in time. Have fun with your studies and see you guys next time!

This lesson was written by Adriana, a guest contributor.

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