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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10
votes
1answer
198 views

Fun with synonyms - “flattery"

What are the difference in the following words meaning flattery / to flatter: お世{せ}辞{じ} 追{つい}従{しょう} おべっか 胡{ご}麻{ま}をする 阿{おもね}る 諂{へつら}う 煽{おだ}て(る) 美{び}辞{じ}麗{れい}句{く} Which ones are honest, sincere ...
5
votes
1answer
303 views

which instruments use 弾く and which use 引く?

I was wondering how do we identify what instruments may be used with the verb 引く, or 弾く, or both? If both 引く and 弾く can be used is there any difference in nuance between one vs the other?
8
votes
1answer
193 views

The difference between 書店 and 本屋

What is the difference between: 書店 and 本屋 Are there any specific places where you can use one over the other? Or is it simply like the English Bookstore/Bookshop, and are perfectly interchangeable? ...
5
votes
1answer
140 views

The difference between 書物、図書 and 本

What are the differences between these three words. They all seem to translate to "books". 書物、図書 and 本
5
votes
1answer
270 views

What is the meaning of ちょうど一本 in this context?

If I've understood correctly, ちょうど followed by a counting word usually means something like "just x" or "exactly x" depending on the context, but I can't figure out what it means in this opening ...
4
votes
3answers
286 views

Is 門 read as かど or もん?

Is it more common to read 門 as かど or もん? e.g. how would we pronounce the 門 in 彼らは門が開くのを待っていた。
6
votes
1answer
199 views

regarding the kanjis 嗚呼; 於乎; 於戯; 嗟乎; 嗟夫; 吁; 嗟; 噫; 鳴呼

This question has 2 parts. Why is it that ああ has so many different kanji 嗚呼; 於乎; 於戯; 嗟乎; 嗟夫; 吁; 嗟; 噫; 鳴呼 (source) and is the average japanese (16 yr old and above) able to recognize them all?
12
votes
2answers
925 views

Which is the “official” kanji for さい, 歳 or 才?

Well if I'm not wrong, usually when a word has multiple kanjis one of them is selected as the "main" or more commonly used one. But is it true that 才 and 歳 are both the "main" kanji for さい?
15
votes
7answers
1k views

the different usages of つもり?

Hi all I understand that つもり means "intention" like say 夏休みにはゆっくり休むつもりです。 = I intend to rest during the summer vacation. But what does 分かっているつもりだ。 means? Well if I translate directly, it seems to be ...
6
votes
2answers
250 views

What may be the difference between the usage of チャンス and 機会 ?

What may be the difference between the usage of チャンス and 機会 ? For example: 1) これは機会だぜ! 2) これはチャンスだぜ!
8
votes
3answers
3k views

How do you ask for “the bill” at a restaurant?

This is probably a bit of a silly question, but what do you say in Japanese when you're asking for the bill in a restaurant? Or is it unusual to say anything at all? When I was in Japan I could never ...
6
votes
2answers
149 views

what is the difference in the nuances / usage of 気に病む and 心配する ?

I was wondering what is the difference in the nuances / usage of 気に病む and 心配する ? (E.g. If I want to tell my friend not to worry about a test (albeit an important test), is it more appropriate to use ...
4
votes
3answers
158 views

ambiguity with すっと

WWWJDIC says すっと means "quickly / all of a sudden" yet it can also mean "quietly / gently / softly" So basically I was wondering how do we tell if すっと means "quickly / all of a sudden" or "quietly / ...
2
votes
2answers
368 views

What's the difference between the に祈る【いのる】 and を祈る【いのる】 forms?

What's the difference between the に祈る and を祈る forms? Like what's the difference between (1.) and (2.): うまく行くのに祈ってくださいね。 うまく行くのを祈ってくださいね。 EDIT: What's the difference between the ように祈る and のを祈る ...
11
votes
3answers
667 views

What is the *proper* differentiation between 来る and 行く?

In many beginning Japanese classes, 来る【くる】 and 行く【いく】 are presented as "to come" and "to go," respectively. Dictionaries generally also define them this way. However, every once in a while in more ...
5
votes
1answer
388 views

Phoenix: 不死鳥【ふしちょう】, 鳳凰【ほうおう】, 鳳/鵬【おおとり】, フェニックス… How many lives does this bird have!?

All of the following words and kanji (and a few more obscure ones) seem to be used in Japanese, to describe a bird that is translated by "Phoenix" in English: 不死鳥【ふしちょう】 鳳凰【ほうおう】 鳳【おおとり】/鵬【おおとり】 ...
14
votes
3answers
385 views

What is the difference between 蔵, 倉, and 庫?

The word 【くら】 can be written with any of the kanji 蔵, 倉, or 庫. However, WWWJDIC lists them all under one entry, defined as: (n) warehouse; cellar; magazine; granary; godown; depository; treasury; ...
9
votes
3answers
242 views

is it true to say that 亡くなる is a polite form of しぬ?

is it true to say that 亡くなる is a polite form of しぬ? Like what is the difference in nuance between these two sentences: 1) ディックは10歳のとき亡くなった。 2) ディックは10歳のとき死んだ。
17
votes
1answer
397 views

is there a difference between さみしい and さびしい?

Both mean "lonely" and appear to be valid readings for 寂しい. Is there a difference in nuance? Is this difference due to dialect?
1
vote
2answers
173 views

are the usage of うるさい to mean “fussy” and the usage of 草 to mean “substandard” archaic? [closed]

I was thinking what things could be described with 草 (3) not genuine; substandard;) Can we describe someone who is a ゴミ as 草? Like say: アイツはどうおもう? くさだ! Or is the "substandard" meaning of 草 already ...
11
votes
2answers
382 views

what is the difference in the usage of [成]{な}るべく and できるだけ?

Hi guys what is the difference in the usage of 成るべく and できるだけ? Don't they both mean as [x] as possible? E.g.: 1) できるだけ多くの本を読みなさい vs なるべく多くの本を読みなさい 2) できるだけ早くお願いします vs なるべく早くお願いします
9
votes
1answer
434 views

天気 vs. 天候, what's the real difference?

What's the real difference between 天気 and 天候? In at least one of my dictionaries, 天候 just redirects to 天気. I've always thought (read: "felt") that 天候 is the general "concept" of weather, or even ...
10
votes
5answers
609 views

Are there any common Japanese words which were borrowed from Ainu or other indigenous languages?

I know plenty of Japanese words that came from English and a few from other European languages (obviously tons from Chinese), but what about words from Japan's indigenous languages such as Ainu? Also ...
14
votes
3answers
343 views

How are 化け物, 妖怪, 幽霊, etc. related to each other?

In the past few years, reading light novels and the like, I have come across many different terms for ghosts, spirits, monsters, etc. in Japanese, and I'm wondering how they relate to each other. What ...
9
votes
1answer
346 views

what's the difference between 返事 and 答え?

both have the similar English of "answer," but when do you use one over the other?
9
votes
2answers
1k views

way to use さっぱり (sappari) and すっかり (sukkari)

Maybe it's just me, but I keep mixing up As in すっかり忘れてた I've completely forgot and さっぱりわからない I haven't the faintest idea / I really don't know are there other expressions to use ...
6
votes
2answers
148 views

What's the difference in the nuances that 呪縛【じゅばく】 and 呪い【のろい】 convey?

Is 呪縛 usually used to refer to a good spell or a bad one (like a curse)? I mean the dictionary writes the english meaning as: spell/curse but I was wondering what sort of nuance would be attached to ...
7
votes
3answers
578 views

低い鼻 vs 短い鼻 and 高い鼻 vs 長い鼻 ?

After reading this thread: When would you use 低い vs 短い, I'd just thought of something. I once heard that a long nose (witch / Pinocchio) is called 高い鼻 and not 長い鼻 whereas the opposite (short nose) is ...
7
votes
3answers
914 views

Can I help you?

In English, the word "help" can be used for any of these cases to ask somebody for help or to give a help to someone: In a store, when a clerk (store worker) says: Can I help you, sir? With ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

How can I say “some X ” in Japanese?

I was thinking, and I can't express the word "some" in Japanese. Examples: There were some fruits on the table. (I would say "テーブルの上に果物があった) Maybe 少しあった - but then I would translate as "there ...
7
votes
2answers
214 views

Origin/etymology of こころ~ words

There are three unique words that begin with こころ~: 快い (こころよい)、 試みる (こころみる)、 志 (こころざし) What is the origin of these words in relation to "heart/spirit/mind", if any??? Or is this just something ...
4
votes
1answer
164 views

~まくる as a suffix, what does it mean and how is it used?

I found this phrase 「家族に突っ込まれまくった」 and I believe it means "[my] family really stuck it [to me]" but I'm not familiar with the suffix まくる. Any examples and clarifications would be appreciated.
6
votes
3answers
141 views

“Statistically speaking … ”

I am looking for a way to express the equivalent of "statistically speaking, ..." (followed by a quote from a paper, or something like that), or pretty much any other grammatical construction that ...
15
votes
3answers
385 views

What is the difference in meaning between “husband and wife” 夫婦【ふうふ】 and 夫妻【ふさい】?

I see that those two compounds mean husband and wife, as a married couple. But is there a difference in usage or context?
9
votes
2answers
367 views

When is 酒【さけ】used to mean 日本酒【にほんしゅ】?

The fermented rice alcohol called "sake" in English is usually referred to as 日本酒【にほんしゅ】 in Japanese, while 酒【さけ】 merely means "alcohol" in general. Yet, all dictionaries list both "alcohol" and ...
12
votes
2answers
380 views

Nuances between the different kanji spellings of あける:明ける vs. 開ける vs. 空ける

開ける, 明ける and 空ける are all read as あける. From their kanji, it is obvious that 開ける has to do more with opening (a door etc), 明ける with dawning and 空ける with emptying... However, JMDict gives the exact ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Is “あらら” (arara) a word or just a “vocal noise”?

A friend just wrote this as a comment on a photo of mine on Facebook. Is it an actual word or is it what I call a "vocal noise"? By "vocal noise" I mean those things which convey some meaning but ...
13
votes
4answers
739 views

Am I coming or going? 戻ってくる vs 戻っていく

A little while ago I was in a shop, and about 5 minutes after I left, they phoned me to tell me I had left my USB stick there. I said I would head back and pick it up. I used 戻{もど}って行{い}く to mean ...
3
votes
1answer
325 views

超 vs めっちゃ + explanation [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Significance of the kanji 「茶」 in the set phrase 「滅茶滅茶 / 目茶目茶」 {めちゃめちゃ} So, in Kansai they use めっちゃ, and in Kanto 超. But what about the other parts of Japan? And from ...
14
votes
7answers
4k views

Are there any Japanese words as versatile as “fuck” in English?

I was wondering about this one recently. "Fuck" in English is famous for being applicable in a wide, wide range of circumstances (none of them formal). What word in Japanese covers a wide spectrum of ...
7
votes
2answers
371 views

What's the difference between “巻寿司” (makizushi), “海苔巻き” (norimaki), and “巻物” (makimono)?

It seems there are three words for the same Japanese food item, a kind of "sushi in a long roll": "巻寿司" (makizushi) "海苔巻き" (norimaki) "巻物" (makimono) Are they all identical / synonyms? Do they ...
6
votes
4answers
470 views

Is there a word for the type of onigiri that comes in the triangular wrap that keeps the nori fresh?

The term "onigiri" covers all kinds of rice balls, with or without filling, and with or without nori seaweed around it. Is there a specific term that only covers the one class of onigiri available in ...
3
votes
1answer
134 views

Can 差す be an intransitive verb?

WWWJDIC lists 差す as an intransitive verb, but in all of the example sentences I've seen it looks more like a transitive verb. So my question is, is 差す a transitive or intransitive verb?
26
votes
3answers
1k views

How indistinguishable is blue from green really?

青 ao seems to be used very much interchangeably for both blue and green. Why is that so, and how does 緑 midori play into this?
14
votes
5answers
2k views

Is すごい slang or just informal?

Regarding すごい: What is the right way to spell it? Is it vulgar, or is it slang like the English "cool"?, or informal or colloquial? Is it archaic? If it is slang, does it have a non-slang meaning? ...
2
votes
1answer
301 views

Is “ガール” (gāru) now considered a Japanese word? What about “ガールズ” (gāruzu)?

In my wanderings around Japan giving my kana knowledge some practice I've noticed both the words "ガール" (gāru) and "ガールズ" (gāruzu) in use at least in signage. Obviously they are borrowed from English ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Words/characters for fast food meal sizes: 並, 大, 特

When dining at Yoshinoya I never know how to ask for the size meal I want. Their sizes are 並, 大, and 特. I only know that "大" means big, but it also has two readings so I have no idea whether to ask ...
18
votes
3answers
512 views

Use of 自分【じぶん】as a personal pronoun in direct speech

Yay, yet another first-person-pronoun question! I know that 自分 is commonly used as a personal pronoun in indirect speech, e.g.: マイクは、自分はなんと不注意なのだろうと言った。→ Mike said that he was very careless. ...
11
votes
3answers
312 views

When is it appropriate to refer to yourself by これ?

I have occasionally heard and read instances, where a person has referred to themselves as これ. My Japanese dictionary also lists "Me, I." as a definition of これ. Now, this obviously isn't used as ...
4
votes
2answers
293 views

is “超” (chō) seldom used in written works?

Is it true that the prefix 超 to mean “very” is seldom used in written works (like novels.. but of course i do not count the words between the 「 and 」), and is usually only used when talking?