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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12
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1answer
5k views

Getting your haircut in Japan

I have been living in Japan now for the last 3 months and my hair is starting to look like it needs a cut. But I have never been to a Japanese barbers before so as you can imagine I am a little ...
3
votes
1answer
169 views

Is メリー mainly used in the set phrase メリークリスマス?

Is the gairaigo メリー mainly used in the set phrase メリークリスマス (Merry Christmas!) or can it be used without the クリスマス to mean "merry", such as 私はメリーです to say "I am feeling merry"? There's also メリーゴーランド ...
8
votes
1answer
308 views

How difficult is it for Japanese to distinguish between 五日【いつか】 and 何時か【いつか】 in spoken contexts?

There are times when both 五日 (5th day of the month) and 何時か (someday) could be used I think. Does this become a minor problem for Japanese when speaking (no kanji to guide), or do they speak in some ...
4
votes
2answers
549 views

How to use とりあえず in sentences

I am struggling to understand the word "とりあえず". It seems to mean 'as it stands'. Here is an example sentence as I understand it: とりあえず計画がありません 'as it stands we have no plans' Is this correct? ...
4
votes
2answers
160 views

入社 equivalent for a research internship

When writing in some formal Japanese CV (学歴/職歴), it is common to be asked to put each job/university/etc. on a single dated line, with a second line to indicate when one ...
2
votes
1answer
138 views

What is 野菜ソムリエ?

I have trouble understanding the concept of 野菜ソムリエ. I have searched Wikipedia and others but I can't understand if it is the name of a media job, or the name of a restaurant job. I feel it might be ...
3
votes
2answers
149 views

Defining 控える and 控えている

控える as far as I can tell behaves more predictably than 控えている in that it generally seems to mean "to refrain" and "to make notes" (as in 電話番号を控える.) However, 控えている seems to mean many more things ...
12
votes
1answer
665 views

Names for strokes

What do we call the different types of strokes of kanji/kana in Japanese? For example, in Chinese the left-downward stroke is called 撇[piě] and the right-downward stroke is called 捺[nà]. And if I ...
5
votes
1answer
497 views

Difference between 自分 and 自分自身 and how to reflect their difference in English

Consider: 自分について書きたいことがあります。 = There are times that I want to write about myself (lit: things concerning me) 自分自身について書きたいことがあります。 What is their difference? I think the second sentence ...
6
votes
2answers
299 views

Art: What is オブジェ and what is not?

Here is how Wiktionary defines オブジェ in the context of art: 表現の対象となるもの、前衛美術では,幻想的効果のために取り入れられる物体。 My very hesitant attempt at a translation: It depends on the represented target, but in ...
3
votes
1answer
107 views

What are the differences between 技術 and 技能?

What are the differences between 技術 and 技能?
9
votes
1answer
495 views

Comparing 気にする vs. 気になる

Consider this example sentence from SPACEALC: あなたがどうしているか気になっていた。  "I was concerned about how you were." What is the difference when 気にする is used instead? I.e., あなたがどうしているか気にしていた。 ~なる ...
5
votes
1answer
194 views

Usage of the word 心配

Sorry if this is really simple and I'm overlooking the obvious, but I'm not sure how the following sentence should be translated as I've noticed on previous occasions that the word 「心配{しんぱい}」 might be ...
7
votes
2answers
358 views

Earnest and serious: when should each be used?

I've noticed there's a lot of overlap between the following words meaning "earnest" or "serious" when talking about a person: まじ 真面目{まじめ} 真剣{しんけん} 本気{ほんき} 正気{しょうき}: (This word really means "sane" I ...
17
votes
1answer
767 views

What is the difference between いえ and うち?

I am trying to understand the difference between using いえ and うち. I originally drew the conclusion that うち is used for your own house and いえ for others' houses, but my Japanese teacher said that this ...
2
votes
1answer
135 views

u and Senryu placement

I am in the process of publishing a book on verse, more particularly, "American Haiku and Senryu -- 1008 Pauses Along the Path" and I need to ascertain whether or not the title is appropriate, i.e. is ...
4
votes
2answers
560 views

How and when to use 「そうですね」?

I only know the 2 meanings of it as follow: Use when thinking - no meaning Use to agree with others - the meaning is like "yes, I think so" What else and what situation can it be used? If someone ...
6
votes
1answer
345 views

Meaning of -化 in context

I don't understand what the -化 suffix in the following sentence means for a word like カリスマ, or why fearing it can lead to early retirement. Can anyone shine some light? ...
11
votes
2answers
516 views

“Should” in Japanese

The word "should" in English has these uses when not used as a question: To express the expectation of the speaker (Probabilistic reasoning). The train should arrive in 10 minutes. To express a ...
-2
votes
1answer
905 views

What does “jukai” mean? [closed]

Does anyone know what "jukai" means? Does it exist in the Japanese language? Some said it means 'birth or emergence'. Some said it is not "jukai" but maybe "jetai" 'fertilization, conception ...
7
votes
1answer
210 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
162 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
514 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
190 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
296 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
916 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
476 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
252 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
1k 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
165 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
219 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
204 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
261 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
232 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
103 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
633 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
263 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
167 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
383 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
180 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
383 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
561 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
255 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 ...