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.

Dainichi was kind enough to tell me that よくいうよ means "to shamelessly say something you should be ashamed to say."

On spacealc, this explanation and translation is provided:

よく言うよ。 What are you saying?

〔相手の発言の矛盾を皮肉っぽく批判する言い方。「何を言っているんだ?」が直訳で、「そんなことを言うなんて信じられない」というニュアンスを含んでいる。〕

What meaning does this particular よく provide, and which kanji, if any, does this particular よく derive from? (I am interested in the literal meaning of this よく from which the figurative meaning derives i.e., does it mean "talk well," "talk brazenly," etc)

share|improve this question
1  
So よく in this case does not mean often or good/well. How interesting. –  dotnetN00b May 29 '12 at 15:14
    
see also japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/5651/… –  cypher May 29 '12 at 23:32
add comment

2 Answers

goo, よく【善く/良く/▽好く/▽能く/▽克く】

4 困難なことをしたり、考えられないような喜ばしい結果を得たりして感じ入るさま。本当にまあ。よくぞ。「―来てくれました」「月給だけで―やっていけるね」

4 Being impressed by someone doing something difficult or achieving a miraculous result. (alternates). (examples)

5 相手の非常識な言動などを非難するさま。4を反語的にいう語。よくもまあ。「―のこのこと来られたものだ」

5 Reproaching a person's absurd words/deeds (and the like). Language expressing 4 ironically. (alternate). (example)

Those are your kanji, at the top; 5 is your meaning; and 4 is what it derives from (according to goo). (I don't know that 5 is "figurative" per se; I think it's just sarcastic.)

share|improve this answer
    
thanks cypher i can't tell the subject in that sentence, maybe it could be written better w no subject but leaving the impressed meaning :/ –  yadokari May 30 '12 at 2:07
    
oh on second thought i guess it doesn't make much sense if it is not "you being impressed by someone else..." doing something. thanks to both of you <3 –  yadokari May 30 '12 at 2:08
    
I am posting my translations just so I remember them on this page: 4 Being impressed by someone doing something arduous and getting unimaginably delightful/gratifying results. 5 Rebuking someone for doing something ridiculous or senseless. A word using the meaning of 4 ironically. –  yadokari May 30 '12 at 2:10
    
@yadokari no worries :P Adding my 2 cents: "4. Being impressed by something which takes difficulty or being impressed by the achievement of an unthinkably [delightful/joyous/happy] outcome 5. Criticizing the other person's behavior which lacks common sense etc." –  cypher May 30 '12 at 2:57
    
@yadokari (or should that be an "and" rather than an "or"? I'm not sure ><) –  cypher May 30 '12 at 6:19
add comment

I remember this as the kind of thing a bar hostess would laughingly say to a patron who just made a joke. With the right intonation and context these "I'm impressed/appalled" phrases can be jovial and light-hearted (and obviously dangerous for us to use).

share|improve this answer
add comment

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.