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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6
votes
1answer
969 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 ...
1
vote
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
198 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: ...
2
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
257 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
225 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.
3
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
594 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
255 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
361 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 ...
2
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
0
votes
1answer
361 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
556 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
253 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
292 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
406 views

What's the difference between 成人 and 大人?

What's the difference between 成人 and 大人 ?
8
votes
2answers
233 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
92 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
147 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 ...
12
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
196 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
437 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
353 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
246 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): ...
8
votes
2answers
411 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
252 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
662 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
282 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
244 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 ...
5
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
201 views

When and how to use 来る 【きたる】

Of course 来る is most often read as くる. However, it can also be read as きたる. Is きたる mostly an archaic reading? Does it carry a different, or any additional meanings?? When are "appropriate" ...
5
votes
1answer
185 views

Fun with synonyms - “freeze”

I'm a little confused on the difference between 凍る 【こおる】 and 凍える 【こごえる】. From what I've researched, it seems like 凍る focuses more on the physical process of something freezing, and the result being ...
7
votes
2answers
142 views

How to use 対応 correctly

I see 対応(たいおう) quite often, but I can't seem to grasp exactly what this word means or how to use it properly. Checking a dictionary I get about 5 different definitions, all quite different from one ...
4
votes
1answer
124 views

Fun with synonyms - “evaluation/investigation/etc.”

Explain the differences in the following vocabulary. They all essentially mean some form of investigation, inspection, etc. Please don't just write the definitions; I'm lost on how they differ, when ...
4
votes
1answer
227 views

食べやすい and 食べにくい

I'm wondering what does 食べやすい mean exactly? "easily-eaten" doesn't seem to make any sense at all.. Does 食べやすい mean that something is soft and easy to swallow, or does it mean that something tastes ...
4
votes
5answers
659 views

「安い」って英語からきた表現?

皆さんこんにちは、 日本語で質問を聞かせていただきますので、ご協力ください。 回答やコメントなどは、日本語か英語、どちらの言語でも喜んで読みます。 では。 此間友達と喋っていて好みの話をしていた時一人が「ホラー映画やB級映画が大好き」と言うやいなや「あなた安いな〜」ともう一人が反応しました。 ...
5
votes
1answer
458 views

寂しい can mean “pathetic”?

Is it true that 寂しい can be used to describe someone as "pathetic" ? (pathetic in the sense like someone is cheating in a game: pathetic. and like someone is robbing a grandma: pathetic. and like ...
13
votes
1answer
503 views

まち: what's the difference between 町 and 街?

My impression is that 町 tends to be used for smaller cities and 街 tends to be used for larger ones. Is this correct? If not, what is the difference?
7
votes
2answers
272 views

Is 見物{みもの} derogatory?

To say something is a 見物, does it have a derogatory nuance like we are making fun of that person / that thing? If so, is it derogatory to the extent that even if I intended it as a fun joke it seems ...
12
votes
3answers
968 views

What are slang terms for Japanese money?

This question about alternate terms for coins focused on the use of ワンコイン, but it got me thinking about slang terms for money in general. In all the years I've been in Japan, I don't think I've ...
5
votes
2answers
192 views

I've seen 達人and 名人used to indicate master or expert. What's the difference?

I'm not familiar with either word, but just looking at the characters, 達人 would seem to indicate 'accomplished' (ie an accomplished pianist). While 名人 seems more like 'renowned'. Is that a valid ...