Questions about those phrases with fixed words used as a single unit, which typically have a meaning beyond what is obvious from its constituent parts.

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6
votes
1answer
1k views

Taking Class, Course, Lecture - Which verb is fit?

I would like to know how we say taking class or course or lecture in japanese. I have heard about 「クラスを受ける」 and 「クラスを取る」. Are there significant difference? And Is there any other verb we can use ...
5
votes
1answer
234 views

How did the ざ in 様{ざま}みろ get the dakuten?

I am under impression that the first syllable in a word gets a dakuten when it is transformed into voiced form under the effect of rendaku. But in the idiomatic expression 様みろ {ざまみろ}, the kanji 様 ...
2
votes
1answer
684 views

Difference of 「なんとかなる」 vs. 「だいじょうぶ」

are 「なんとかなる」 and 「だいじょうぶ」the same? 大丈夫か? なんとかなるか? 大丈夫よ。 何とかなるよ。 大丈夫さ。 なんとかなるさ。 だいじょうぶだった。 なんとかなった。 大丈夫じゃない/だいじょうぶじゃなかった。 なんとかならない/なんとかならなかった。 ... thanks sorry if ...
7
votes
1answer
322 views

“Never say never”

Since there is apparently no literal translation for "never", how would you translate this idiom ? What periphrasis would you use to express the same meaning ?
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Ways to end a phone conversation

Despite its being one of the most basic element of daily-life Japanese, I often find myself looking for a proper way to end certain phone conversations. Of course, I know the standard: [それでは]失礼します, ...
8
votes
2answers
287 views

Saying 「おかわり」 when requesting second helping: what is being exchanged?

I am aware that the phrase 「おかわり」 that is used when asking for second helping (of meals especially) is an idiomatic expression, so its usage is understood as it is. But, I'm curious about the origin ...
6
votes
2answers
267 views

What's the meaning of すます in 耳をすませば?

What's the meaning of すます in 耳をすませば? How would you translate this?
12
votes
4answers
388 views

“Unsolvable problem”

What is the correct construction of "unsolvable problem"? Is it "解{と}けられない問題{もんだい}"?(Question 1) Plain(intransitive): 解{と}ける "To be solved". Potential form(of intransitive): 解けられる "can be ...
19
votes
5answers
1k views

How would one convey “get over it” in Japanese?

As a foreigner in Japan, one has to get used to the fact that some Japanese will compliment you on things that are too mundane to really deserve mention. Like the fact that you can use chopsticks, eat ...
24
votes
2answers
3k views

Where does “もしもし” (moshimoshi) for answering the telephone come from?

Does the term "もしもし" (moshimoshi) predate the telephone? Does it have any use besides answering the phone? Where does it come from, is it just a reduplication of "もし" (moshi) "if", and if so how does ...
12
votes
1answer
714 views

Why “社会の窓” (shakai no mado)?

A few years ago I was told by a Japanese friend "社会の窓" (shakai no mado). It was explained after some giggling that this is what is said to a man who has inadvertently left his fly open, and that it ...
9
votes
4answers
315 views

Etymology of 右に出る

What is the etymology of 右に出る, as in 「右に出る者はいない」? What on earth makes the right superior to the left? Relatedly, is 左に出る ever used to mean "inferior to"?
7
votes
3answers
4k views

“to make a telephone call”

In some older learning material I came across, they use 「電話をかける」 for "to make a telephone call". When/why did this come to be replaced by 「電話する」 in popular usage?
13
votes
2answers
376 views

What is the meaning and root of 意味くじピーマン?

Recently a friend of mine threw the term 意味くじピーマン (imi kuji pi-man) into a story she was telling, and it totally threw me off. At first I thought, because I wasn't sure how to parse the くじ part, it ...