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I saw this translated in the first episode of FLCL as "It's wrong.", but checking the translation, I get "Different." Could someone clear this up?

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it can also mean "no". Like "you did that,right?" -"No, (i didn't)" – yadokari May 25 '12 at 1:32
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I believe the underlying mechanism is "The situation that I think you are thinking of is different from the situation I believe I am currently experiencing" – Flaw May 25 '12 at 1:52

By saying ちがいます the speaker intends to convey:

"The situation/case/concept that I think you are thinking of is different from the situation/case/concept I believe I am currently experiencing".

This underlying meaning can be translated to a variety of English expressions not limited to "no" or "you're/(s)he's/it's/that's wrong".

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Some years ago I was dating a Japanese woman, and after an awkward episode in the relationship, she told me that things were ちがう。I was a puzzled and wondered "What is different? And from what?" I didn't understand that she meant something was wrong. – Paul Richter May 25 '12 at 7:50
    
Also, building on Flaw's logic, 違う is also sometimes used to mean "strange", as in 何か違う, which can be (note, not necessarily) translated as "something weird is going on", or "something ain't right". – Questioner May 26 '12 at 8:57
    
@PaulRichter: Your example is a good explanation of how "wrong" and "different" can overlap. She might have meant things were "different from before", or "different from her expectations", or that here feelings were different now... all of which can also be interpreted as simply being "wrong" in some sense. – Questioner May 26 '12 at 9:00

It means both, depending on context. Remember that translation between two languages is rarely one to one.

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In the context of the scene, I'm still not sure what "It's wrong" is referring to, but thank you for clearing up my confusion about the translation, Tsuyoshi Ito! – Ryan May 25 '12 at 0:27
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@Ryan Tsuyoshi and dotnetNOOb hit the nail on the head, but to add something more, it can also be translated into "No!" in some contexts. – silvermaple May 25 '12 at 1:33

Based on the anime that I've seen, when a character uses ちがいます in essence what they are saying (in a nutshell) is: No, what you said is different from what I said/thought/felt, therefore it is wrong/not correct.

Normally, this is just expressed/translated as: You're wrong, He's wrong, She's wrong, or It's wrong. Depending on the context.

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The meaning does not change based on if it's in an anime or not. – oldergod May 25 '12 at 1:48
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Adjusted my answer based on silvermaple's comment. – dotnetN00b May 25 '12 at 3:10
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A popular expression in recent years (and thus apt to appear in anime) is 「ちがくない?」 Ignoring the fact that it's ungrammatical, nonetheless it means "That's not right, is it?". It expresses "wrong, not right" rather than "different". – Paul Richter May 25 '12 at 7:45
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@Matt How is chigau -> chigakunai grammatical? What grammatical rule is being used to make that conjugation? – dotnetN00b May 25 '12 at 22:01
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@dotnetN00b There's no standard Japanese path from "chigau" to "chigakunai", but that's not what those speakers are doing. The evidence suggests that they have an -i adjective "chigai" in their lexicon. Note that people also say "chigee yo!" (like "takee yo!" for "takai yo!"), "chigakatta", etc. One reason for this reanalysis might be the fact that, in this usage, the (original) verb "chigau" is more stative than dynamic -- it describes how something is rather than what something does, so in some ways it's more adjective-y. – Matt May 27 '12 at 13:23

This is interesting. 違う was originally written as 違ふ. And, in 10th century, the meaning was slightly different. The original meaning was

互いに交差したり行き違ったりする (Two things intersect with each other. Two people try to go to each other's place and fail to meet.) http://kobun.weblio.jp/content/%E3%81%A1%E3%81%8C%E3%81%B5

There were several derived meanings such as "fail to meet. avoid to meet. go to a wrong direction. make something different. change something. disobey. being different."


According to this dictionary, デジタル大辞泉 https://kotobank.jp/word/%E9%81%95%E3%81%86-559103 ,

the first meaning is still used in compound verbs such as

行き違う (Two people try to go to each other's place and fail to meet.)

すれ違う (pass each other.)

But, they are now the fifth meaning on 大辞林.

Other meanings are follows.

1 . a "being different"

  • 習慣が違う。 (The customs are different.)

1 . b "There is a gap. being better comparing to others."

  • 格が違う。 (being in a better class.)

2 . "What someone expected or thought is different from the current situation."

  • 話が違う。 (The things you told me were different from the current situation.)
  • 約束と違う。 (The promise is not kept.)

3 . "being wrong."

  • 計算が違う。 (The calculation is wrong.)

4 . "Not in the right position."

  • 筋が違う。 (getting a crick. (The muscle is not in the right position.))
  • 気が違う。 (being mad. (The mind is not in the right position.))

It seems that their basic idea is "fail to meet."


Back to the original question, it means no. And,「いいえ、違います。」 is one of the most appropriate way (in elementary school) to answer no.

I think 違う (違います ちゃう ちげー) are used more than いいえ to say no.

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私 の 観点 は あなた の と は 違います。
watashi no kanten wa anata no to wa chigaimasu.
My point of view and (also) yours are not the same.

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