Take the 2-minute tour ×
Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I was looking through a dictionary and came across 生活. My original question was

Is this the difference between 生気/生活?

生気 would be like an idea of life. more abstract

生活 would be concrete. So like something/one's life.

My new question is can you help me to understand the different ways "life" is said in Japanese? I actually forgot about 人生 and 命 when I wrote the question. I didn't know about ライフ/生命/一生 (and others?). I think 人生 would usually be when talking about a person's life right?

share|improve this question
    
There are many more words that translate to life: 命{いのち}, 人生, ライフ, 生命, 一生, … If you're just trying to say "life", you have to be more precise and maybe give us a couple of example sentences. If you're really only interested in the difference between 生気 and 生活, then example sentences would still be very helpful. –  Earthliŋ Jun 4 at 19:57
    
Yes, what Earthliŋ said. Context is key. –  Eiríkr Útlendi Jun 4 at 20:22
4  
Truth is 生活 and 生気 mean very different things from each other regardless of the context. –  非回答者 Jun 4 at 22:33
    
Sorry, I do not have sentences. I was looking through a dictionary, but it is very basic. Does not give example sentences so I can understand better. I have updated my question! –  User4516 Jun 4 at 23:33
    
Even this list of words for life is still incomplete. I'd suggest finding a way to narrow it down if possible.. –  ssb Jun 4 at 23:37

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

生活【せいかつ】 is English life, livelihood, or living; day-to-day activities of people.

命【いのち】 is life; it's something we lose when we die. Synonyms: 生【せい】、生命【せいめい】

生気【せいき】 is more like liveliness, spirit, or energy. Synonyms: 元気【げんき】、活力【かつりょく】

一生【いっしょう】 is a whole life of someone. Synonym: 生涯【しょうがい】

人生【じんせい】 is human's (whole) life; use this only for humans, of course.

ライフ is rarely used unless you're a video gamer. When used, it's the same as 生活 or 命.

Examples:

  • 生活が苦しい difficult to live on (due to financial problems)
  • 生活保護 public assistance
  • 快適な生活 comfortable life
  • 交通事故で命を失う lose one's life in a traffic accident
  • 残り少ない命 little time left to live
  • 命が惜しければ... if you value your life...
  • 生気のない顔 colorless face
  • 声から生気が消える speak in an inanimate voice
  • 生気が戻る become energetic again
  • 一生で一度だけ/人生で一度だけ once in a lifetime
  • 一生の仕事 one's lifework
  • ライフが少ない health is low (in games)
share|improve this answer
    
You sir are a braver soul than most for answering such an open-ended question. –  virmaior Jun 5 at 0:39
    
Oh, yes, that reminded me of 魂【たましい】, which means soul or spirit, something that doesn't vanish when we die. It's often used metaphorically as is the case with English. (侍魂【さむらいだましい】 = samurai spirit) –  naruto Jun 5 at 2:29
    
And of course, the counter for 'lives' in a video game sense is [機]{き}. –  Sjiveru Jun 5 at 3:38
    
Thank you!! (need characters) –  User4516 Jun 5 at 20:01

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.