The meaning of words or phrases within certain contexts, especially when it does not seem to match the standard definition.

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1answer
1k views

Would 私は怖い mean “I'm scared” or “I'm scary”?

Or does it mean both? If so, is there any way to explicitly distinguish between "I'm scared" and "I'm scary"? If it only means one and not the other, how would you say the other?
7
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2answers
327 views

What is the meaning of 〜たりして?

I've just come across "〜していたりして" at the end of a sentence in a post on Facebook, so it's probably very casual. Does anyone know the correct meaning and typical usage?
7
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2answers
433 views

What does “さ” means in 探偵さ?

I watch an animation called Detective Conan, which is about a detective. I read translations, but try to listen in Japanese. Sometimes, when he is asked "who are you?", the main character answers by ...
7
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2answers
565 views

What is だって when it's at the beginning of a sentence?

I have read several definitions of だって but none of them seem to make sense when I see it at the beginning of a sentence and I read the context. I saw one example Japanese sentence and in the English ...
7
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2answers
606 views

Does なかなか (with negative verb) mean “by no means” or “considerably”?

WWWJDIC defines なかなか (with negative verb) as by no means But shouldn't it have been considerably ? By no means means 100% not considerably means like 85% not So does なかなか (with negative verb) ...
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2answers
237 views

How broad is the meaning of 薬?

I saw on a board the other day someone referring to insecticide as "薬", which doesn't really fit with the English conception of "medicine". I looked up "薬" in Kenkyuusha, and sure enough, "chemical" ...
7
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1answer
169 views

Meaning of る in 問われたる

From the beginning of the novel "The Grove", what does the る mean in 検非違使に問われた る 木樵りの物語 問われた is the passive of 問う, but where does the る come from? Is it the short form of いる?
7
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1answer
121 views

I can't find a translation for 言やいー

I would very much appreciate it if someone could tell me what 言やいー refers to. All I know is that 言 has something to do with speaking or words, but that alone doesn't help. Is it slang? The entire ...
7
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1answer
248 views

What does 台 mean when proceeded by a number (of yen)

I came across this phrase in a news article about a budget reduction: ....6千億円台になる.... I was wondering what this use of 台 means. I did a Google search of 円台 and the amount of yen doesn't seem to ...
7
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1answer
141 views

What may be the difference between the usage of 自尊心 ,誇りand 自慢?

I read a paragraph and the paragraph contains the word 自尊心. I want to know meaning of 自尊心. Dictionary says 自尊心 = pride. Is it same with 誇り? or 自慢? What may be the difference between the usage of ...
7
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2answers
424 views

Meaning of …立てちゃいなよ

I am organizing an event and posted a flyer on a famous SNS. Someone commented on it saying: イベント立てちゃいなよ From the context I guess it is advising me to create an event (SNS feature), am I mistaken? ...
7
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1answer
223 views

ところ vs どころ: Interchangeable or different meanings altogether?

I have two questions. A) Why do they use どころ instead of ところ in this sentence? Is it possible to use ところ without changing the meaning? ...
7
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1answer
166 views

What are the differences between すぐ、もうすぐ、すぐに?

As far as I am aware, すぐに means "immediately", but in which contexts can you use もうすぐ and すぐ? 
6
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3answers
563 views

What does ちがいます。 mean?

I saw this translated in the first episode of FLCL as "It's wrong.", but checking the translation, I get "Different." Can someone clear this up? Thanks.
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3answers
295 views

より not used for comparing?

The title of a piano arrangement of a Touhou song (Hakurei Reimu's Theme) is: 「東方永夜抄 - Imperishable Night.」 より 博麗霊夢のテーム (Question) What does より do in the title? If it were to mean "from the ...
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3answers
746 views

Is it true that the word “Omar” means “baby toilet” in Japanese?

I know it sounds funny, but my name is Omar, and one of my friends said that my name means "toilet for babies" in Japanese. I wanted to check if this is correct, because Google Translate did not help ...
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4answers
223 views

Problem understanding a sentence

The sentence トムは私より身長が高いです。 means "Tom is taller than I me." but I'm trying to find the meaning of each word in order to understand the japanese sentence better. Here is what I have so far: トムは(Tom ...
6
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1answer
413 views

Why does きいろ mean yellow rather than green?

I know that most of "why" questions don't make much sense as far as linguistics are concerned but I'll ask anyway. I know that き means a tree. いろ means color. It doesn't take a genius to guess that ...
6
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3answers
231 views

What is a 丁寧 food?

When eating ramen, a Japanese person commented on how the ramen of this shop are 丁寧. What does 丁寧 means in the context of food? 丁寧 means polite in social contexts, but I am not sure it the same ...
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3answers
625 views

一応: Usage and meaning

I've never really fully grasped the meaning of [一]{いち}[応]{おう} since it seems to have no good English equivalent. What is the meaning, usage, and nuances of 一応?
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2answers
406 views

What does 側 at the end of a verb mean?

I haven't seen this very often at all, so this has got me stumped. Here's an example with it showing up frequently: http://www.orenoh.com/knowledge/mensetu-shikaku.html The title, for example: ...
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2answers
1k views

Is “田舎” a derogatory term?

I've heard about 田舎, or more likely the English word "inaka" derived from the Japanese word, being used in a pejorative way by assistant English teachers: Inaka (田舎 inaka) is a Japanese term ...
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2answers
649 views

What does 「など」 mean in this context?

I have been translating articles from NHK News Easy for practice, and I've noticed they sometimes use 「など」in a way I'm not familiar with. For example, in an article about a train that's about to be ...
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3answers
264 views

What does で mean when asked as a question?

I've come across several instances in manga where the simple question of "で?" is used. What could it mean? I'm guessing it means something like "Is that so?," but I'm not sure.
6
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1answer
417 views

What does かの日 mean?

In my Japanese Bible, I've seen several passages that use the phrase かの日. Here are a couple. ...
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1answer
689 views

What is the meaning of あるある?

I saw it used on Twitter several times, but googling around I couldn't figure it out. Here are some examples. "@mao_sid: 24あるある。シーズン2ぐらいから、あのちょいちょい入ってくるデジタル時計いらないなぁって思いだす。" "@mao_sid: ...
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1answer
170 views

Cohortative ましょう with and without the auxiliary construction ~てみる

In "何かしてみましょう。" meaning "Let's try/do something.", what is the literal translation of "してみましょう"? I've got "して" means "doing" and "みましょう" means "let's watch or let's?". How is "してみましょう" different ...
6
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3answers
175 views

Does the use of は or omitting は affect the listener's reply?

This is a question taken from a JLPT excercise workbook. Person A: 新聞をよく読みますか。 Person B: そうですね。毎日は[Fill in this blank]。 I am given 4 choices, of which only 2 are conjugated correctly. ...
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2answers
217 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?
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1answer
296 views

Is there a different meaning for ごちそうさま!

I have posted a "status" on Facebook: Dear santa, I would like for you to bring him for christmas My boyfriend commented: Your Wish is my command! And my Japanese manager (from our office) ...
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2answers
163 views

Help translating よなも in a song

This is from a Trigun soundtrack, song called Sound Life (lyrics), 3rd line: 3つ目の夜に ワルツの子は世界面にウエーブを 打つ The 世界面 is translated as "world face", however pronunciation is given as よなも. I can't find ...
6
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2answers
198 views

Reading 男 or 女 as ひと

Why is it that in Japanese sentence one sees 男 or 女 with furigana that says ひと? Furigana is supposed to help clarify the meaning of a kanji character, but using ひと doesn't seem to help clarify ...
6
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2answers
162 views

Can んだった and んじゃなかった be used like the past version of んだ and んじゃない?

I know that んだった and んじゃなかった can be used to say "Should have done" and "Shouldn't have done". I am wondering, however, if they can be used as a past version of んだ Take for example this conversation: ...
6
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1answer
200 views

Other uses of “imperative prohibition” form eg わかるな ・すわんな

I saw a film where in two separate scenes the characters seemed to use the "imperative-prohibition" to invite the opposite action: 1.In one scene a father after explaining something to his son ...
6
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2answers
275 views

What is the meaning of お気の毒に and how is it used?

Although the there are several definitions in the dictionary: my condolences that's too bad my sympathies What does お気の毒に literally mean? I'm guessing that it might have something to do with ...
6
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2answers
359 views

に and で revisited

Consider the statement A: ホテル(に/で)泊まる. For both cases would translate to "I stay at a hotel" in English. However they are answers to different questions. Consider the questions 1.どこに泊まる and ...
6
votes
1answer
215 views

What is the difference between 物事 and 事?

・時々ばかな事を話す ・時々ばかな物事を話す I know the correct sentence is the former one, but both 事 and 物事 seem like "thing(s)". Why is the latter incorrect? What is the difference? Thanks in advance.
6
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1answer
195 views

What does ドン引き mean?

While i was talking with my japanese friends, that word just came up they could't explain that. Can you tell me what does ドン引き mean?
6
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1answer
230 views

What does「新聞っぽい曜日」mean? Newspaperish? Commonplace? Routine?

This is a practice problem from a textbook on natural language processing: やってみよう:ブラウンコーパスのニュースとロマンスの 2 つのジャンルのデータを利用して、どの曜日がもっとも新聞っぽく、どの曜日がもっともロマンチックかを調べてみよう。 "Which day of the week is ...
6
votes
1answer
280 views

A word like マシ without the negative connotation

When asking, "which is better," in Japanese, I could write どっちがマシ? However マシ has a negative connotation, implying that even though something is better it's still undesirable. What's a word like マシ ...
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2answers
189 views

Do 気が[付]{つ}く and 気[付]{づ}く have the same meaning?

If they both mean the same, is が optional?
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1answer
158 views

Which つける do I use?

So I looked up つける and saw it can be written as: 付ける 着ける 附ける And they all seem to have the exact same definition: to attach, to join, to add, to append, etc. So are these "spellings" ...
6
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1answer
350 views

Differences in meaning of using へ, に, or で in marking locations.

in "明日、姉とデパート_買い物に行きます。" why is へ favoured over で in my workbook? If i ask myself the question "明日は、何をする" Can i answer it with "買い物に行く" and make ”デパート” an incidental location? That was how i justified ...
6
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1answer
132 views

ってんだ with imperative

To describe the context...Girl A and a boy arrange to go to an amusement park to find some clues about...something. Or that's what she says to him, but the girl is actually tricking the boy into going ...
6
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1answer
119 views

What is the difference between 家屋, 家 and 住居

I've found yet another word that's translated as 'home' which now makes it 3. Could you please tell me if these words have the same exact meaning or is there any difference between their usage?
5
votes
4answers
215 views

Using すみません instead of ありがとう

Can すみません always be used in place of ありがとう? What's the difference? When using すみません to express thanks, what others words are used with it? Can you show some examples?
5
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4answers
202 views

Why is coffee with shochu or awamori called コーヒー割{わ}り “split / divided coffee”?

About five nights ago I went out with a local friend to a traditional Okinawan club in Naha. We were of course drinking 泡盛{あわもり} (awamori) with water and ice. But the girl working there had a drink ...
5
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3answers
232 views

Why use 数年 in あれから10数年?

My question is on 「あれから10数年」. My understanding is that this translates to roughly, "It's been 10 years since then." The dictionary says「数年」 means "several years" or "a number of years". How does ...
5
votes
3answers
322 views

What does the pattern “Past Verb + まま + N” mean?

The following sentence was in an N4 review test: 私の本棚には 買ったまま 読んでいない まんが が たくさん あります。 The meaning, as I grasp it, is "There are a lot of books that I bought in my bookshelf that are left ...
5
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2answers
318 views

What does 母を恋はずや mean?

What is the meaning of 母を恋はずや in the film title? Edit: the meaning of "恋う" according to the dictionary is "romantic love" as in "koi suru". E.g. ...