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

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8
votes
2answers
492 views

Making sense of transitive usage of 行く and 来る - 「を行く」 and 「を来る」

I think it's known that some intransitive verbs can take を particle and be used as transitive verbs such as for example 「私のことを分かってくれない」. While using 分かる transitively would require specific scenarios ...
13
votes
2answers
826 views

Meaning of ぬ added to 連用形 / masu-stem, as in 風立ちぬ

What does the ぬ at the end of 立ち specify? I can't find a verb that is just 立ちぬ, is this some kind of special form? Can this be done with other verbs as well? 風立ちぬ, for reference, is Miyazaki's new ...
10
votes
2answers
431 views

が and に interchangeability and difference in meaning

Consider these sentences: だれ{が・に}これが出来るか だれ{が・に}日本語が分からないか When both が and に are acceptable, what is their difference in meaning and practical usage?
15
votes
2answers
1k views

What connotation does なんだ add?

Specifically, in the expression 好きなんだ (I love you) why not just say 好きだ or 好きです?
10
votes
2answers
564 views

います and あります usage

I just learned about: います and あります. I know I should use います for people and moving things and あります for plants and inanimate things. I have two doubts: Which one should I use with "dead body". For ...
5
votes
2answers
341 views

What is the function of と when it's not quoting, or doing exhaustive listing?

Consider these two sentences:  (1) 母はついてくるようにアリスに合図した (Mother signaled to Alice to follow her)  (2) 父は手で私に部屋を出ていくようにと合図した。 (Father gestured to me to go out of the room) And another sentence ...
13
votes
2answers
452 views

Ups and downs: かみ・しも vs うえ・した

So, we have the kanji 上・下 which can be read as either かみ・しも or うえ・した, and as I understand it, those two are antonym pairs. But what are the differences between the two? The thesaurus isn't very ...
6
votes
1answer
301 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) ...
6
votes
2answers
365 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
482 views

Adjectives functioning both as イ- and ナ-adjective

This question has made me think about the class of adjectives, which can function both as イ- and as ナ-adjective, e.g. 大きい 大きな 小さい 小さな 真っ白い 真っ白な (etc.) 細かい 細かな 暖かい 暖かな 四角い 四角な (etc.) 柔らかい ...
3
votes
3answers
510 views

Is there a reliable translation of the kangxi radicals?

Inspired by the Wikipedia page on Kangxi radicals I decided to study the meaning and writing of radicals before I tackle the much more numerous kanji. But in working my way through the list, I started ...
10
votes
1answer
469 views

How do 自他 triplets of related verbs work?

I thought this had been asked before (possibly by me), but I couldn't find it. I'm wondering why for certain verbs/words, instead of just a 自他 pair, there is a triplet (or possibly more) where two of ...
16
votes
1answer
486 views

what is the difference between ごとに and おきに?

Both ごとに and おきに appear to mean "repeatedly at intervals". What is the difference between these two expressions?
6
votes
3answers
299 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
347 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
960 views

What's the difference between いいえ and English's “no”?

In "Japanese for Busy People I" page 2 (kana or romaji edition) it says that いいえ is 'virtually the same as "no"'. It sounds like there are some differences, but they want to omit mentioning them for ...
9
votes
1answer
313 views

Passive form - The exact difference between を and が

I've seen this question asked before, but i feel the answer didn't quite answer all my questions, so here goes. Now, I am rather sure that this: ケーキが食べられた Means: The cake was eaten. (by ...
8
votes
2answers
197 views

What is the difference between [友達]{とも・だち} and [友人]{ゆう・じん}?

From a quick google search, they both refer to friend. Are they completely identical or is there any difference between [友達]{とも・だち} and [友人]{ゆう・じん}?
7
votes
2answers
427 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? ...
6
votes
1answer
458 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. ...
5
votes
4answers
208 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
votes
2answers
811 views

How can 「うん」 be used to mean both “yes” and “no?”

I was told by my Japanese teacher that 「うん」 can be used as a casual way to say "yes" as well as "no." If this is true, how can you tell the difference, absent any additional information?
5
votes
3answers
357 views

Is it normal to use ただいま in situations other than ただいま戻【もど】りました?

By itself, I would say that 「ただいま」 means something like "just now". I've used it a few times in sentences like this, but it feels somewhat awkward, as I am always reminded of ただいま戻【もど】りました. So, for ...
5
votes
1answer
803 views

What does 氏 mean after a name, how is it different from さん or 様?

If you look in the dictionary for the definition of 氏 you'll find it defined as: family name; lineage; birth. However I have seen it used in such a way that it is doubtful that it means any of those ...
4
votes
2answers
127 views

想い vs. 思い - Do Both Mean Feeling?

Do both 思い and 想い mean "feeling", and if they do are they used interchangeably? If not, what is their difference in meaning?
3
votes
1answer
187 views

What is the difference between 「Adj-さと言ったらなかった」&「Adj-いと言ったらなかった」?

Could someone explain the difference between the following two expressions: 恐ろしさといったらなかった 恐ろしいといったらなかった I am struggling with the first which my text book tells me means とても恐ろしかった. Why is ...
10
votes
1answer
506 views

Did standalone noun “好き” mean a person in classical Japanese?

In classical Japanese, did standalone noun “好き” mean a person who likes something? I do not think that it does in modern Japanese, although it sometimes means a person when used as a suffix (e.g. ...
8
votes
1answer
495 views

Can I use 行っている間(に) in the sense of a habitual action?

Knowing that 行く is punctual, stative, and a motion verb, I also know that, 日本に行っている means "I/he/she have gone to Japan (and am still there)" rather than "I am currently going to Japan." I also feel ...
7
votes
2answers
906 views

How accurately can 使い be translated as “angel”?

On jisho.org, 使い is translated with words such as "errand", and the same holds true on translate.google.com. Neither site is offering "angel" as a suggestion. Yet in Matthew 1:20, the phrase:     ...
6
votes
3answers
646 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?
5
votes
1answer
172 views

Usage (correctness) of だと after verbs

I've noticed だと showing up after verbs for a while now in various forms of media, such as blogs, anime, regular TV shows & also when speaking to Japanese people. However, I was originally told ...
5
votes
3answers
238 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
1answer
344 views

Can もの be used to imply the value of something that is a こと?

I thought of this question and quickly realized that I already knew a possible example. Japanese band ZONE's most popular song is called 「secret base~君【きみ】がくれたもの~」. The lyrics can be read here or at ...
4
votes
1answer
115 views

Meaning of となら and とやら in these sentences

I've encountered those two words in a manga I'm currently reading. Here are the sentences : きさまとならまちがいなく勝てるぞ。 I don't know if となら is a specific particle or if it is と+なら(ば) (and in that case is ...
4
votes
1answer
262 views

Why does 赤 have a negative connotation?

赤 is generally understood as meaning 'red' (which can explain combinations like 赤子 (red face of a crying baby)). However, I have seen some words with 赤 that have a negative meaning, 赤 possibly ...
4
votes
1answer
281 views

方 - also read ほう when referring to a person?

The following sentence is from "A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar": 留守番電話は、一方ではかかる方にもかける方にも便利な面もあるが、他方ではお互いに直接話が出来ないから、不自然な面もある "The answering machine is, on the one hand, very ...
3
votes
1answer
111 views

Sentence structure and meaning

here is an extract from a manga that gives me troubles : (|| = column breaks in the manga) ただし||お前達の相手は||私一人でいい||一対一で闘い||私が勝ったら||次の者が||また 私と闘うのだ... First : can you confirm that there are 2 ...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

の意味は何 versus はどういう意味

What is the difference between の意味は何 and はどういう意味? When asking for the definition of a word, I've been told to use the latter, but I don't know why the former is incorrect.
3
votes
2answers
425 views

What does 何もいません mean?

I am trying to understand the dialogue 5:03 in this tutorial video. What I'm hearing is this: なにがいますか。 なにもいませんね。 あれ。ねこがいますよ。 え、どこに? あそこにいますよ。 The lesson is about how to say ...
3
votes
2answers
696 views

What does やい mean? [closed]

Someone ended their sentence with やいな. What dialect is this? What does やい mean? I assume that な means the same thing as in standard Japanese? Update: the original sentence was 「もう出来あがり?仕事はやいな~」.
2
votes
1answer
128 views

Translation of 竜すらも恐るるに足らない

The full text is... この魔剣があれば… メルヴィンの言うとおり 竜すらも恐るるに足らない… Is this a double negative? "Even dragons to be not afraid is not enough" = "Even dragons are [will be] afraid".
1
vote
3answers
430 views

What does '今よ' mean?

What does 'よ' do when placed after a single noun like '今'? 今よ Would it be considered a question, like "Now?" ?
1
vote
0answers
178 views

What are some words with kanji/readings/meanings that don't match? [closed]

Maybe a hard to understand question, but for example, I love the word 百日紅 (さるすべり) because it's the name of a red flower and uses some very poetic kanji (one hundred days of red) but opts instead for a ...
0
votes
2answers
213 views

What is the literal meaning of 'マスコミにバラして'?

The sentence is, 'マスコミにバラしてもいいんですよ?' What does this mean, literally? Also, is this figure of speech frequently used? If it is, could you please give me some instances when it is used in daily life? ...