Any question that does not deal specifically with grammar or pronunciation. Includes questions about prefixes, suffixes, compound words, loanwords, dialectal differences, pragmatic usage, etc. In other words, phenomena that occurs at the level of the word.

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7
votes
1answer
208 views

What does 意外と mean?

I heard the expression [意]{い}[外]{がい}といい in a video. I know that 意外に expresses something you didn't expect: 意外においしいよ。 It's delicous! (and I didn't expect that) Why did I hear 意外と instead of ...
7
votes
2answers
197 views

How does 話{はなし}が噛{か}み合{あ}わない work?

I saw this phrase discussed on esaura.cc 話が噛み合わない 'There's a gap in their conversation.' 'They can't meet on common ground.' 'They have been at odds with each other.' 'They have not been ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Heaven in Japanese

I have found that there are a number of words in Japanese that correspond to "heaven" in English. By heaven I mean the concept of a paradisiacal afterlife. The two most frequent in my limited and ...
4
votes
1answer
160 views

Does 被【かぶ】る have any relation to “cover”?

Topic. I've heard/seen somewhere that 被【かぶ】る was "gairaigo-fied" (?) from the English word "cover" (similar to ダブる or デモる), and then presumably given ateji from 被【おお】う since the meanings overlap so ...
10
votes
1answer
507 views

How to use ~に同意する to agree or disagree with a person?

A couple of times I've tried to say "I agree with..." or "he agrees with..." but I don't know whether I'm using 同意{どうい}する correctly. In what ways should に同意{どうい}している be used? Also, which particles ...
8
votes
1answer
186 views

The difference between 皮膚【ひふ】 and 皮【かわ】

What's the difference? I got told that 皮膚【ひふ】 only works for mammals (and humans), and 皮【かわ】 for other animals too.
6
votes
1answer
286 views

Board / Card game expressions

I wanted to talk about a board game recently, and realized that I am missing all related vocabulary. Before you shout foul and throw dictionaries at me, these expressions are very difficult to look ...
6
votes
1answer
829 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
473 views

Is there a difference between 赤{あか} and 赤色{あかいろ}?

While studying Japanese I've met some problems with distinguishing some vocabulary. For example we have: 赤{あか} = Red (color) 赤{あか}い = Red (adjective) But what about 赤色{あかいろ}? Is there ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

寝る vs. 眠る, what's the real difference?

What's the real, definite difference between 寝【ね】る and 眠【ねむ】る? I know they both mean "sleep", but also that each carries some additional (sometimes, figurative) meanings. Where do the meanings ...
5
votes
1answer
245 views

Usage of まるで with 見ているようだった.

その翼はとても滑らかに動くため、まるでコンピュータ・グラフィックスを見ているようだった。 Its wings were moving so smoothly that it almost looked like CGI. or would a more accurate translation be: Its wings were moving so smoothly ...
6
votes
1answer
995 views

How is the “のです” working here?

目立つ事を恐れ、一緒でなければいけないという日本人が確実に減ってきているのです。 The strong feelings that Japanese have of being afraid of standing out and everybody having to do things together are starting to become less ...
2
votes
1answer
164 views

“一目ぼれから長持ちする関係は望めません。” この表現のニュアンスを説明して頂けませんか?

一目ぼれから長持ちする関係は望めません。 Falling in love at first sight won't bring you a lasting relationship. I found this sentence and translation without any other context, and have a few questions about ...
5
votes
1answer
218 views

Is 「喧嘩」 a verbal fight or a physical fight?

Taking 2 sentences from WWWJDIC as examples: 見てごらん。2人の男の子がけんかしている。 議論は最後に喧嘩になった。 I was wondering is it true that the 「喧嘩」 in the sentences above may be interpreted both ways (i.e. it may ...
2
votes
1answer
202 views

ほんの時々私の中で顔を出し、しばらくすると消えてしまうもの。Are there any other options to replace the で here?

ほんの時々私の中で顔を出し、しばらくすると消えてしまうもの。 My attempt at translation: "Every once in a while my inner feelings show themselves, only to disappear again." The above was taken from the following dialogue: ...
3
votes
1answer
112 views

のちほどスタッフは彼女の元を去りました。 Could someone explain how 元を去りました。works here?

のちほどスタッフは彼女の元を去りました。 This was written on screen at the end of a video skit about a girl at a 女子会 at a restaurant. 元を去りました means the staff left her alone? If anyone could translate this sentence, I ...
7
votes
1answer
258 views

Words with metathesis

What common Japanese words underwent metathesis (transposition of sounds)? Examples. 新{あたら}しい < あらたしい 秋葉原 {あきはばら} < あきばはら
7
votes
1answer
207 views

動作 as opposed to 作用

The linguistics text I’m reading has a sentence with this fragment: 「動詞の表す動作・作用が[…]」。 Consulting dictionaries just made me more confused; what’s the contrast between the two in this context? “Action” ...
8
votes
2answers
227 views

「悪気があっての答え」 vs 「悪気がある答え」

Hi all I was wondering what is the difference between these two sentences: 「決して悪気があっての回答ではないです。」 「決して悪気がある回答ではないです。」 I can't really make out the gist of the meaning of 「あっての」. WWWJDIC's ...
4
votes
1answer
95 views

The difference between 「人文科学」 and 「社会科学」

I want to know the different between these two words. The meaning is the same which is social science. So, what is the difference? Edit: Sorry for confusing question. I mean the different usage.
4
votes
1answer
102 views

Different between 可決 and 許可?

I want to know the different between 可決 and 許可. I search into dictionary and the meaning is quite the same whose meaning are approval or permission. So, what different? and how to use it ...
8
votes
1answer
113 views

Does 「鳴く」 give any nuances about the sound being made?

When we say "birds singing", there is a positive connotation. When we say "birds crowing", there is a negative connotation. "The birds are making some sound" seems to be objective, and thus neutral. ...
3
votes
2answers
599 views

What is the とも in this sentence? 日本人は英語を学ばずとも暮らせる環境に居ます。

日本人は英語を学ばずとも暮らせる環境に居ます。 Japanese people are in an environment where they can live without having to learn english. Is the とも in this sentence one word or is it two words: と and も ? I guess it is one ...
7
votes
1answer
258 views

How different is 冷やかす from 冷やす? And 散らかす from 散らす?

I've long known 冷やす as the transitive counterpart of 冷える. But thanks to one question here, I've realized that there is another version with an extra syllable in it: 冷やかす. Although 冷やかす seems to have ...
1
vote
1answer
166 views

幼いときに老けて、老いて子供に戻る。Can anyone explain the nuances of this sentence?

幼いときに老けて、老いて子供に戻る。 I can make a few guesses as to the specific meaning but I'm not sure which one is right.. does anyone know what would be the most correct translation of this sentence?
5
votes
2answers
368 views

How to translate “from scratch”

I am having discussions with my Japanese friend about developing a new computer application. I want to suggest to him to not write the code from scratch but to use other libraries as our base. How can ...
3
votes
1answer
178 views

それは彼の身に応えだした。 Can anyone explain this?

それは彼の身に応えだした。 [ex #4531] It is beginning to tell on him. can anyone explain this sentence? is it useful or archaic? is it related to this? 骨身にこたえる
1
vote
1answer
367 views

“訳分からない” various uses of 訳

Here are a few examples of 訳 that I am having trouble with: 僕は決して農業が嫌いな訳じゃない。 Boku wa kesshite nōgyō ga kiraina wake janai. By no means do I dislike farming. (Lit: The reason is not that I dislike ...
12
votes
3answers
557 views

Fun with synonyms - “eternity”

What are the differences among the following two-kanji words that seem to mean "eternity": 永遠 {えいえん} 永久 {とわ} 永世 {えいせい} 永代 {えいたい} 永劫 {えいごう} 永永 {えいえい} 久遠 {きゅうえん} 悠久 {ゆうきゅう} 恒久 {こうきゅう} 恒常 {こうじょう} 長久 ...
14
votes
1answer
254 views

Is 花見 only for “cherry blossom” viewing?

Textbooks usually teach that 花見 / お花見 means "cherry blossom viewing". Tatoeba has a couple of examples supporting that: ヒラヒラと桜の花が舞っている。もうお花見の季節も終わりだな It looks like cherry blossom-viewing ...
6
votes
2answers
294 views

小悪魔【こあくま】: “Little devil”… or real devil?

Hearing the word 小悪魔 used here and there, I had always foolishly assumed that the addition of that '小' in front, made it a much more harmless, playful, version of the real thing. And consequently, ...
8
votes
2answers
406 views

Non-distinguished animal pairs in Japanese

This is something I first noticed when I was at an aquarium in Japan (as evidenced in my examples) and continued to see ever since. There are certain pairs of animals, that while extremely similar, ...
11
votes
3answers
414 views

What's the difference between 成人 and 大人?

What's the difference between 成人 and 大人 ?
8
votes
2answers
237 views

what's the difference between 余地 and よゆう?

I have been informed that よゆう is to do with temporal or physical room, while 余地 has to do with emotional room, but I might have misunderstood the explanation.
4
votes
1answer
152 views

虚; 空; 洞 【うろ】and differences

虚; 空; 洞 【うろ】: hollow; cavity; hole pronunciation is only one but why are there three kanji words??what are they differences??
2
votes
1answer
93 views

Can 首 be used to refer to students who have just graduated and not yet found a job?

The example sentences in WWWJDIC all use the word "首" in the "fire" sense (e.g. 彼を首にしてやる) hence I was wondering is the term only used to refer to "firing" someone? Or is it also used to refer to ...
2
votes
2answers
150 views

How do we use the word 短~ in a sentence?

JLPT 2 has this word 短~ (たん) EDICT lists it as fault; defect; weak point; or minor (music), however there isn't any examples at all on the usage of the word. Does anyone have some example usages ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Are all kanji compounds considered words?

A friend once commented to me that Japanese has a larger vocabulary than English. I said I didn't think it did, because it wasn't really accurate to call all kanji compounds "words". My friend said I ...
5
votes
2answers
197 views

Difference between 割合 vs 率

割合 and 率 both mean ratio, rate, and percentage. What is the difference?
1
vote
1answer
136 views

What is the difference between ホワイトシャツ・ワイシャツ and 背広? [closed]

How do we decide whether to call a shirt a ワイシャツ or 背広 ? What's the difference in nuance between the two terms? Side question: EDICT claims that a ホワイトシャツ is a white business shirt but even if it's a ...
7
votes
3answers
444 views

うるさい written as 五月蝿い

This is a follow-up question to Does うるさい have a "negative" connotation. I've seen うるさい written as 五月蝿い. 現代では、is this form used often / at all? What does this have to do with flies (蝿【はえ】) in May? ...
8
votes
3answers
356 views

Does うるさい have a “negative” connotation?

Is it true that when someone uses the word うるさい, it means that there is a feeling of "discontent" ? Like for example, we will take this sentence: "It will be noisy in the factory" "It will be ...
0
votes
1answer
249 views

Do all the meanings of 掛ける and 掛かる tally?

WWWJDIC does not tally their meanings of 掛ける and 掛かる so i find it hard for a beginner like me to properly learn these 2 words.. Do all these meanings of 掛ける and 掛かる tally: (is this list correct): ...
9
votes
2answers
421 views

How do we decide if 中 is ちゅう or じゅう?

How do we decide if 中 is ちゅう or じゅう ? For example, in this sentence 10人中3人はビデオを持っている which pronunciation should we use? What about this: そのピアニストの演奏中、彼らは一心に耳を傾けた。
6
votes
2answers
255 views

What is the pun in 猥シャツ?

Could someone explain why 猥シャツ is defined as "obscene shirt (pun)"? I don't understand how this is a pun. 猥シャツ 【わいシャツ】 (n) (See Yシャツ) obscene shirt (pun) Source: ...
6
votes
2answers
673 views

Using 伯母 / 叔母 to refer to one's aunt

Is it true that when we see 伯母 it usually (90%) means "parent's elder sister" and sometimes (10%) can be used to refer to the parent's younger sister? On the contrary, when we see 叔母 does it always ...
5
votes
1answer
287 views

Are JLPT vocab taught in the same order as it is taught in japanese schools?

I'm wondering if it is true that words in JLPT5 are taught first in japanese schools, then JLPT4, then JLPT3, 2, 1. Or is that in japanese schools they have another order altogether such that it may ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

何歳 , いくつ ,年齢 , ご年

何歳ですか? いくつですか? 年齢は? お年は? I think all are question sentences of "How old are you?" which are they differ?what are most poilte form??
9
votes
1answer
250 views

Difference between 向け and 向き

My boss just corrected one of my documents from 企業向きな開発 to 企業向けの開発. Apart from the の/な problem that I always get wrong, is there a problem with 向き ? I got it from my textbook that says 子供向きです Could ...
6
votes
1answer
165 views

Regarding は数あれど (or possibly just あれど )

The following sentence is from a newspaper article メレンゲ菓子は数あれど、これほど繊細なものは珍しい。 あれど = あるけど makes sense to me in the context, and this seems to be supported by my searches so far - is it simply a ...