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I am unable to locate objects and their orientation with respect to myself when 向こう and 向かい are used.

Consider:

  • 向こう側

  • 向かい側

  • 向こうの店

  • 向かいの店

Where is 向こう側 and 向かい側 with respect to me? Are they the same place?

My current hypothesis is that 向こう and 向かい both may occupy the same place, except that 向かい necessarily orientates the object to face the subject (either the first person, or from some place's perspective which the first person adopts) by either the having a "front side" or by assuming that the object has a "front side".

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+1 I tried to answer, but couldn't. I realized that I'm also wondering about this. –  Chris Harris Jul 27 '12 at 7:15
    
@Chris After answering, I saw your deleted answer, and realized it is very close to mine. –  user458 Jul 27 '12 at 11:38
    
@sawa: That is helpful for me to know, yet I think your answer states it more elegantly. –  Chris Harris Jul 27 '12 at 12:38

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted
  • 向こう requires a reference line (which may be overtly expressed or not expressed). It means A and B are on opposite sides with respect to C.

店は川の向こうにある。
A = current location, B = store, C = river

  • 向かい requires a "forward" direction. It means that along a line starting from A and facing the forward direction, there is B.

佐藤さんの向かいが山田さんだ。

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Originally, I had thought that this was very similar to the English "across" and "across from". However, I am not certain yet. –  Chris Harris Jul 27 '12 at 12:26

I'm learning also, so I'll share what I learned. Axioplase has the idea, but I just want to make a relationship between 向こう and 向かい. I think it is a perspective issue.

Example:

家はレストランの向かいにある

「レストランの向かい」 takes the direction the restaurant is facing and goes across from it to the house. They are probably facing each other /「合っている」.

Rough translation: The restaurant is facing the direction of my house, and it's across from it.

Another:

家はレストランの向こう側にある

「向こう側」 is the opposite side. Who's opposite side? The restaurant's. So, the house is on the opposite side of the restaurant.

Rough translation: My house is on the opposite side of the restaurant.

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My answer is based solely on feelings: 向こう is objective, and 向かい is subjective. The former is "the other side", maybe far, the latter is "the side in front (of us?)", surely visible.

You may be interested in the following drawing: http://image.lang-8.com/w0_h0/d_m_42082_49fc56d56a3e113a8d0778db5943590c.jpg and this Chie links: http://detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q1348865128 http://detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q1413091004

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why the negative score? –  Axioplase Jul 30 '12 at 8:16

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