In Chinese, one uses the phrase 其他 when refering to other things. In Japanese one uses a similiar phrase: 其の他 (Sono ta), where 其 is often written in Hiragana: その他. Since the meaning is identical, I want to ask whether these two phrases have an etymological connection. If yes, which language's phrase appeared first?

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    The most oldest record I can find now is from 国语. In chapter called 晋语四, 民生安乐,谁知其他?. It is considered this book is written in late 春秋 or early 战国 period. Maybe around 5th century B.C.
    – halfelf
    Oct 29, 2012 at 9:28
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    康熙字典:《小雅》人知其一,莫知其他。 Nov 3, 2012 at 9:29
  • Perhaps more important is that you know the Chinese word 词源 (origin of a word; etymology). By googling "其他的词源" you find the first result (cidian.xpcha.com/297628drose.html) contains halfelf's citation above.
    – user2251
    Nov 5, 2012 at 4:21

2 Answers 2


其の他 can also be read as "sono hoka" in Japanese, both consisting of native Japanese morphemes. In "sono ta", only the "ta" (他) is borrowed from Chinese. Early citations for both expressions is c. 14th century. Japanese borrowed much vocabulary from Chinese. It is entirely possible that the reading "sono ta" or "sono hoka" developed from the Chinese 其他. However, as halfelf has cited, the Chinese is much older, so Japanese likely did not have any effect on the Chinese expression.

  • Hi @Dono, thanks for your answer. It would be helpful if you could provide sources for any claims you make to support your answer.
    – going
    Oct 29, 2012 at 22:51
  • @xiaohouzi79 The standard reference for early Japanese citations is 日本国語大辞典 (Nihon Kokugo Daijiten), 2nd edition.
    – Dono
    Oct 30, 2012 at 0:16
  • @Dono You can't say "Japanese did not have any effect on the Chinese expression." 经济, 世界语 and so on are come from Japanese. Nov 3, 2012 at 11:12
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    @MikeManilone You misquoted me. I suggest that you re-read what I wrote: (for reasons given) "so Japanese LIKELY did not have any effect on THE Chinese expression." THE Chinese expression being referred to here is 其他.
    – Dono
    Nov 3, 2012 at 14:45

I think 其他 and 其の他 appeared first in Japanese. 其の他 often appeared in 手紙、仕樣書. It means ceremonial and honorific. But in chinese 其他 was used extensively everywhere.

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    I don't think so. And this reason is not sufficient enough. In history, Chinese has a great influence on Japanese. But the converse is much less.
    – halfelf
    Oct 29, 2012 at 9:15
  • Very unlikely given the citation evidence.
    – Dono
    Oct 29, 2012 at 12:23
  • @Lomography thanks for your answer. It would be helpful if you could provide a source or evidence to support your claim.
    – going
    Oct 29, 2012 at 22:50
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    It's more likely that 其の他 arose as a calque of 其他.
    – jogloran
    Nov 1, 2012 at 5:50

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