One nugget at a time

A pollo, the god of wisdom?

知恵は小出しにせよ
(Chie wa kodashi ni se yo;
“Portion out your wisdom”)

Definition:

Reveal your abilities a little at a time, as needed, rather than all at once. Always keep something in reserve in case of emergency.

Breakdown:

We begin with the noun 知恵 (chie), “wisdom,” “intelligence,” “insight,” marked as the topic of discussion by the particle は (wa). The comment on this topic begins with a noun phrase comprising the nominal prefix 小 (ko), “small,” and the verb 出す (dasu), “to emit,” itself in prenominal form and acting like a noun meaning “doling out a little at a time.” This is marked by the particle に (ni) as being the object of a verb. And finally, we have the verb す (su), the progenitor of modern する (suru), “to do,” in imperative form as せよ (seyo).

Notes:

This saying may be compacted down to the noun phrase 知恵小出し (chie no kodashi).

Example sentence:

「駆け出しの作家はよく、短期間で色んな話の筋や、キャラクター、シーンなどを思いついて次々と繰り出して、その全てを一つの小説に詰め込んでしまうけど、そのせいで話が支離滅裂になって、読者が困惑して、場合によっては読むのをやめてしまうこともある。この仕事でも知恵は小出しにすることを心得ておいた方がいいよ」

(“Kakedashi no sakka wa yoku, tankikan de ironna hanashi no suji ya, kyarakutaa, shiin nado wo omoitsuite tsugitsugi to kuridashite, sono subete wo hitotsu no shousetsu ni tsumekonde shimau kedo, sono sei de hanashi ga shiri metsuretsu ni natte, dokusha ga konwaku shite, baai ni yotte wa yomu no wo yamete shimau koto mo aru. Kono shigoto de mo chie wa kodashi ni suru koto wo kokoroete oita hou ga ii yo.”)

[“Novice writers often come up with all sorts of ideas for plotlines, characters, and scenes in a short period of time, and try to cram them all into a single story. As a result, the story turns into an incoherent jumble, and the reader can get confused. Sometimes they quit reading the story altogether. This is another job where it’s better to keep something in reserve.”]

About Confanity

I love the written word more than anything else I've had the chance to work with. I'm back in the States from Japan for grad school, but still studying Japanese with the hope of becoming a translator -- or writer, or even teacher -- as long as it's something language-related.
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