How to use certain words, phrases, particles, endings, constructions, and their variants.

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11
votes
3answers
757 views

Why censor this one kanji?

I was watching an old Saturday Night Live sketch from the 1970s, called Night of the Moonies, making fun of the Unification Church by putting them in the context of the movie Night of the Living Dead. ...
4
votes
1answer
192 views

Difference between words for road

I know the following words that all mean a road of some kind: 道 町 街 路 道路 街路 街道 通り 通り道 What's the difference between all these words? I'd assume size would be one of them, but what is the order if ...
2
votes
2answers
731 views

How to playfully scold someone?

I haven't heard from a good friend for a while, I would like to reproach him playfully, but have no clue what the appropriate thing to say would be. Would 恥を知れ! be appropriate if said in a funny ...
5
votes
1answer
328 views

Is it true that only girls use うち to refer to themselves?

Is it true that only girls will use うち to refer to themselves? So when a guy say うち he is referring to his in-group / company / family, and not referring to himself, right?
4
votes
3answers
608 views

Usage of kanji for words usually written in kana

From a small discussion on chat, I currently can think of three categories where the word is usually written in: Hiragana but have kanji (成る, 有る, [炬燵]{こたつ}, etc) Katakana but have kanji ([頁]{ページ}, ...
3
votes
1answer
184 views

Kanji pairs that mean and are pronounced the same by themselves

I have found several pairs of kanji that are pronounced the same and mean the same when they are used individually: 目 and 眼 足 and 脚 木 and 樹 This especially bugs me because, in Chinese (my native ...
27
votes
8answers
2k views

Particles: に vs. で

I have progressed pretty far in Japanese, but when I construct Japanese sentences, I still get these two particles mixed up. For example, when talking about being inside something, I don't know when ...
4
votes
1answer
134 views

What is the background of the phrase 背中で教える, and where does the meaning “to teach with one's back” come from?

I came across this phrase today while doing a lookup on 背中. 背中で教える I checked several sources, and all listed the meaning, amongst others, "to teach with one's back". It seems related to ...
2
votes
1answer
159 views

Alternate meaning of 見えない when used as an expression?

I've always learned that 見えない means "unseen" or "invisible". However, lately I've been seeing quite a few Japanese people in online games that, upon failing to complete some (usually very difficult) ...
3
votes
2answers
484 views

How does the addition of のか to the end of a sentence affect the meaning?

I've always had trouble understanding か (question particle) in casual speech. I read that in casual situations, か can be used to give the sentence an exasperated or sarcastic tone. Like in: 負けっかよ! ...
3
votes
1answer
142 views

降参する vs 諦める​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

What's the difference between 降参する and 諦める? Both seems to have the meaning of "to give up", for example: ぜったい降参しない。(I will never give up.) ぜったい諦めない。(I will never give up.) What's the difference ...
3
votes
1answer
87 views

In which situations do you use 拾う and in which do you use 拾い上げる

I was looking through example sentences in wwwjdic ( http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/cgi-bin/wwwjdic.cgi?11 ) and noticed it uses these, however from looking at the examples, I don't know which one ...
3
votes
3answers
899 views

〜くてform from a verb

I ask here my question because I couldn't find anything on internet. My problem is about 〜くて form for a verb. I asked to a japanese friend what does mean "会いたくて" for example. She told me that there is ...
16
votes
1answer
498 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?
7
votes
1answer
166 views

What's the difference between まだ and いまだ(に)?

My intuition wants to believe that いまだに is more formal, but all the examples I've seen do not indicate that. Are they freely interchangeable? Can't say I've ever heard いまだに in spoken context (or ...
4
votes
2answers
663 views

興味が湧く vs 興味が沸く​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Which kanji should we use for the phrase 興味がわく (to mean that something has caught our interest)? Some quick googling shows that both 興味が湧く (~11m hits) and 興味が沸く (~9m hits) are widely used. Is one of ...
7
votes
2answers
176 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: ...
11
votes
1answer
409 views

Why is 間{かん} used to denote some amounts of time but not others?

I've been thinking about how to express a duration of time and how in the past I have added 間{かん} in situations where I found that I shouldn't have. Take the following sentences as examples. ○: ...
14
votes
4answers
606 views

What is the difference between 「食う」 and 「食べる」?

I've often seen 「食べる」 used, when should we use 「食う」 ? Are these two interchangeable ? Can you provide examples ?
4
votes
3answers
518 views

Usage of ~まんねん (関西弁)

Steven Seagal stars in two TV advertisements for the energy drink アリナミン, as seen here and here. In the first commercial he is shown using martial arts two dispatch his opponents, while in the second ...
2
votes
1answer
228 views

Limitations of に for emphasis?

I remember having learning that に can be used for a simple emphasis of the word before it, like so: 私はケーキを食べた - I ate cake 私にはケーキを食べた - I ate cake (the others may or may not have, but I did) ...
2
votes
0answers
157 views

Can't parse なるうるわけ [closed]

The full sentence is 数学的性質をもつ現象はすべてこの科学の対象となるうるわけであるから、それは数限りなくあり、また日々増えていて、これらをもらさず解説することは不可能に近い。 But I can't parse "なるうるわけ". Ignoring that part, I interpret the sentence as "All phenomena with ...
5
votes
1answer
313 views

自分の vs 自らの when used for humans

What's the difference between 自分の and 自らの? Both can be used to mean "oneself", but is there a difference in their nuances / usages? (e.g. what would be the difference between あの子は、自らの命と引換に… and ...
13
votes
1answer
350 views

Should I say 失礼{しつれい}します before hanging up the phone if the other person called me?

Phone etiquette is one of those things I still struggle with at times, often fumbling because I'm not sure what expression I'm supposed to use at a given time. 失礼します at the end of a phone call is one ...
0
votes
1answer
135 views

Translating ならば受け止めて行くまでさ word for word

I'm going for a word-for-word translation of (miss) understood (you can hear the song here, but I'm having trouble with the verse: 今さらきれい事だなんて 聞くつもりも言うつもりもない 痛みは増える一方だろう ...
7
votes
3answers
422 views

Usage of noun-modifying である

I'm pretty sure I understand the usage of「である」 here: ピアニストである私の姉は、いつも手に怪我をしないように気をつけています My sister, a pianist, is always careful not to injure her hands. (My translation) But I'm wondering if ...
8
votes
1answer
194 views

島人{とうじん} vs 島民{とうみん}

I was looking for a word to say islander, i.e. someone that lives/was born in an island. I've come across 島人 and 島民 and asked two native speakers about their user meaning. While they both agreed that ...
5
votes
1answer
168 views

勤め vs 役目​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

What is the difference between 勤め and 役目? Both seems to mean duty (something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation), but what is the difference in their nuance and ...
14
votes
4answers
469 views

What are the fundamental differences between the ~と一緒に and the ~とともに fragments?

I'm accustomed to saying together with using the ~ to issho ni fragment, but I've been noticing that some people I talk to phrase this using ~ totomo ni instead. i.e. 彼女と一緒に日本へ来た。 Kanojo to issho ni ...
4
votes
2answers
296 views

Usage of けど / でも

I've heard けど / でも has to be placed after the part that contradicts the other part. I never heard of it actually as I learned it by context and not by grammar rules. Is it true, or does it depend ...
7
votes
1answer
258 views

How to use いかがですか?

So I've read that いかがですか means "How about it?" and "How is it?". So if I wanted to say, "How's the coffee?" would it be コーヒーはどうですか? or  コーヒーはいかがですか? Also is there an "informal" way of saying いかがです?
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does 「やきもち」 mean to be jealous?

I've heard this word used quite a few times now, and I'm tired of pretending to understand it. Why does 「やきもち」 refer to being jealous? Is this a slang word? How do people use this word?
1
vote
1answer
123 views

言わない VS 言わなくない A negative verb conjugated as an adjective?

While reading a text in Japanese, I came up with the phrase "何も言わなくなったから" I don't understand what the ~くない stands for. As far as know is used as the negative for of an adjective... but 言う is a verb! ...
9
votes
4answers
322 views

How to translate: “Keep/leave something”. So, how to express intention to leave something unchanged

Consider questions like: Please leave the door open, thanks! Could you please keep the lift's doors open? Thankyou Please, leave it as it is. They all imply something common: not changing the ...
5
votes
1answer
192 views

What does うんたらかんたら mean?

I recently heard this phrase being told in a show, but I just couldn't make sense of what it means...And what really caught my attention was that the listener was really surprised to hear this phrase ...
2
votes
3answers
109 views

Omitting ようだ at the end of a sentence

父はデジタルカメラの講習を受けに行ったが、あまりの難しさにびっくりしたようだ。 So this sentence is saying, "my dad went to take a short course on digital cameras, but it was difficult to the point of surprising him." Could you say ...
8
votes
2answers
317 views

Do people use まい?

I see the ending まい all over the place in the JLPT books and in example phrases but I can't actually think of an example of somebody saying it or writing in an email (from SMS style messages to work ...
6
votes
2answers
410 views

How do you say “Please tell your wife to get well soon”?

How do you convey that you wish someone's wife (or husband, mother, brother, etc.) to get well soon? I understand that you say お大事に if the person you speaking to directly is the one who is not well. ...
10
votes
6answers
523 views

Greeting a person over the internet

So I was wondering, how do japanese people greet each other when they are, for example, writing on a blog or recording a video? My doubt comes from the fact that their greetings will be directed ...
3
votes
1answer
185 views

Why can 髪の毛 only refer to hair on your head?

I've never really understood why there is a difference between 髪の毛 and 毛 when talking about hair on one's body. What is it about 髪 that makes it only relevant in the context of having "hair on the ...
4
votes
1answer
126 views

「のれん代」(Goodwill) and 「のれん」 of 居酒屋

Is there any relation between 「のれん代」(Goodwill) and 「のれん」 of 居酒屋? And how about those kanji, are they using same kanji for both? If there are the same kanji, I would like to know their etymology, ...
6
votes
2answers
418 views

What's the difference between 上る、登る and 昇る?

According to jisho.org, they all have the same meanings, to climb, to rise, to ascend. Is that true? And do they have differences in usage?
3
votes
1answer
180 views

Making sense of the N1にN2 construction (「パンにバター」=「パンにバターをぬる」)

I understand from my previous question on the N1 に N2 construction that it is usually a phrase with omission of a verb (eg パンにバターをぬる makes パンにバター, which comes from パンにぬる and バターをぬる). If this is the ...
3
votes
2answers
247 views

Is ruby text essential?

I am trying to understand whether the ruby text in ancient scripture is essential to the meaning of a verse, or if the scripture can be understood without it. For instance, can this verse: be ...
7
votes
2answers
202 views

What does 不可とする mean?

On the subject of real-time OS's, I read this sentence: 割り込みを一時的に不可(マスク)とする。 Where 不可 apparently means "to mask". I can understand that "割り込み masks something", but I can't understand "不可とする" ...
7
votes
1answer
206 views

Is “かいしゅん” a valid reading for 買春?

I have seen the words 売春 and 買春 pronounced "ばいしゅん". From my understanding 売春 is taken from the perspective of the "seller" whereas 買春 is taken from the perspective of the "buyer". However, when I ...
6
votes
1answer
188 views

How do we roll a ball along a street from A to B?

This question is a follow up to この道をまっすぐ行ってください。Why “を” and not “で”? posted earlier. If: 道で転ぶ = fallover on the road ボールが道を転がる = a ball rolled along the street 〜を転がす = roll something ...
7
votes
1answer
351 views

Why is there a 分 in 自分?

I didn't find anywhere why is the minute's kanji there in 自分? Is it because a meaning of 分 is "part". Please clarify.
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Are the 4-byte UTF-8 Kanji rare enough that I can ignore them?

I'm writing a programming algorithm which converts code points of Kanji characters to their respective UTF-8 octets. My problem is, if I don't include 4-octet characters, and only deal with 3-octet ...