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
2answers
298 views

Why are there two words 算数 and 数学 representing different fields?

Why are different words 算数 and 数学 used for mathematics at and after elementary school? I understand that the quality is different in that, in the former, the method of solving an equation is usually ...
4
votes
1answer
106 views

Why does 音物【いんもつ】 contain 音?

When looking up the definition of 音物 (a present or a bribe), I thought it was very odd that it contained the kanji 音. I can't think of what 音 (sound) could have to do with presents or bribes. Is ...
2
votes
2answers
241 views

Could someone explain the ironic(?) use of よくいうよ?

Dainichi was kind enough to tell me that よくいうよ means "to shamelessly say something you should be ashamed to say." On spacealc, this explanation and translation is provided: よく言うよ。 What are you ...
1
vote
1answer
208 views

Is 死ぬ the only verb ending in -ぬ? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Plain verbs that end with ぬ other than 死ぬ 死ぬ{しぬ} is the only verb that I know that is ending in -ぬ. So, are there any other verbs ending in -ぬ?
3
votes
3answers
361 views

善くも as opposed to よく

I found this line in the song,”三年目の浮気”: よくいうよ 惚れたお前の負けだよ How can you say that...you fell for me and lost At first I thought it was the よく meaning often, but someone told me it was an ...
6
votes
3answers
329 views

Why does 腰抜け mean coward?

Why does 腰抜け mean coward? I see 腰 (waist) + 抜 (missing/losing) = 腰抜け (coward), but I fail to see how they add up.
1
vote
1answer
173 views

Differences between 出るand 去る when expressing someone leaving

When expressing "to leave," as in "I left the store," or "I can leave the country," is there a difference in nuance or meaning between the verbs 出る and 去る? まあ、少なくとも、この国を出ることはできるな。 Well, at ...
1
vote
1answer
201 views

The etymology of the word バックシャン

What is the etymology of the word バックシャン? I understand it commonly refers to a woman beautiful only from behind. See this definition- 女性のうしろ姿が均整がとれて美しいこと。また、その女性。多く、前から見ると失望するような 場合にいう。 I ...
2
votes
1answer
84 views

What is the etymology of どんちゃん騒ぎ?

WWWJDIC defines it as this: どんちゃん騒ぎ【さわ】 (n) merrymaking; high jinks; spree 観光客は町中飲み歩いてどんちゃん騒ぎをした。 The tourists painted the whole town red What is the etymology of this word? Is it in common ...
3
votes
1answer
163 views

difference between やかましい and そうぞうしい

these two words came up when I was looking at a vocabulary list that I'm supposed to study. I'm having trouble with understanding the difference and the usage of the words. If possible would someone ...
2
votes
2answers
217 views

Different versions of より?

Here is one definition for より: より (adv,prt) (1) from; out of; since; at; (2) than; (3) other than; except; but; (4) more; I see that one of the definitions of this word is "more". Is より一層 a ...
10
votes
3answers
305 views

What do we call things that are neither kana nor kanji?

I was wondering Is there a Japanese name (or term) for written stuff that are neither kana nor kanji? By that, I mean stuff like: ゠ (ダブルハイフン, for indicating the dash in foreign words) ・ (ぽつ, for ...
12
votes
2answers
359 views

Rare/Obsolete verb forms

I have noticed that some verbs have this "rare" or old form that is no longer used much (if at all). Here are some examples. おそる: おそるべき者 → One who is feared ほむ: ほむべきお方【かた】 → Seen often in my ...
2
votes
1answer
115 views

What is a 両県 (as seen in newspapers)?

I've seen this a couple of times in newspapers. For example: ....は山口、広島両県の.... I can't find it in any dictionary. My gut feeling is that it indicates a sort of union between the two prefectures, ...
3
votes
2answers
247 views

“俺が一番” vs “俺が最高”

I was reading through " How do I say "I am the best" ? の,は or が and 私 or 俺? ", and I was wondering what's the difference between "俺が一番" and "俺が最高"? From what I know, both roughly equates to ...
4
votes
1answer
317 views

から ending a sentence

I've seen this in a few texts now and since it's appeared with some frequency I thought to post the question here. I tried searching online but came up with no real conclusions. ありませんから or plain form ...
5
votes
3answers
471 views

Is タオル used for the towels used at onsen?

onsenjapan.net claims that タオル is used for "towel", presumably the large one. When I asked a staff member at Odeo onsen "これ は 何 ですか?" while indicating the large towel I was holding, the staff member ...
6
votes
1answer
840 views

“Your sniffling is driving me crazy!”

There are people in Japan who seem to think nothing of sniffling their nose indefinitely as they sit in a coffee shop, in an office, on a train, or anywhere with other people around. Sometimes ...
4
votes
1answer
224 views

Can もはや also mean “or rather” or “actually”?

I heard this sentence pattern watching an anime (where A and B have similar meanings, but B is much stronger): ....[description A] いや、もはや [description B]と言っていい。 I looked up もはや expecting a ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

How can you figure out whether 鍵【かぎ】 means “lock” or “key”?

Recently, I forgot whether 鍵【かぎ】 meant lock or key, so I looked it up quickly on my phone's dictionary... And then I found out that it actually means both. What are the best ways to figure out if ...
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
197 views

What is the difference between 希望(きぼう)and 気持ち(きもち)?

I am new to learning the Japanese language. I am a bit confused about the difference between 希望{きぼう} and 気持{きも}ち. Can someone please explain the difference between them and show how to use them in a ...
2
votes
1answer
131 views

What would be a proper definition and adequate natural translation for the term 替え歌王?

My friend wrote this sentence about these videos: "これは日本の替え歌王だよ。" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mtjxrf2Vg7g&feature=player_embedded http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEeELyiLDKg I'm not ...
4
votes
1answer
142 views

Difference between 妬【ねた】ましい and 羨【うらや】ましい

Considering "How to define 羨ましい?", it does not seem that 羨【うらや】ましい conveys a strong intensity of jealousy. How does 妬【ねた】ましい compare to 羨【うらや】ましい then? Does 妬【ねた】ましい convey a stronger sense of ...
8
votes
2answers
402 views

“Grammatically-correct” particle-less phrases/sayings

I know that within an informal/familiar setting, people often leave out particles. Whether or not this is grammatically correct I'm not positive, but for the sake of this question, I'll say that it's ...
6
votes
1answer
353 views

What is the best word to use to mean “to take long-term a break (i.e. from school)”?

Just to add some context to this question: I graduated with a B.A. last June, and am currently taking a two-year break from education to work off some of the inordinate amount of debt I accumulated in ...
10
votes
2answers
408 views

“看護師” vs. “看護士”

Good afternoon all, I was wondering is it true that "看護師" is a gender-neutral way of referring to a "nurse", Whereas "看護婦" implies that it is a girl, And "看護士" implies that it is a guy? ...
7
votes
3answers
452 views

Evil twins and other tropes

I was trying to talk about films and (marvel) comics the other day, and stumbled upon "evil twin". Sure, I can translate it verbatim, but that usually works badly for such fixed expressions. And then ...
6
votes
1answer
360 views

Understanding “よりを戻す” and “止めておこう”

I don't think us getting together tonight is such a good idea. やっぱり今夜、よりを戻すのは止めておこう。 I would like to understand this sentence better, specifically the (idiomatic?) expression, "よりを戻す." I ...
6
votes
3answers
264 views

Does 前提に mean “to require”?

I recently came across the expression 前提に: feature1はfeature2と同じく各コンテンツに分類用の識別子を埋め込む機能ですが、統制を重視したユースケースを前提に設計されているため柔軟さに欠けます。 'feature1, just like feature2, is a way to embed classification into ...
3
votes
1answer
178 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
428 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? ...
5
votes
1answer
179 views

しゅうと/シュート - The great equalizer

I was watching the movie Mr. Baseball the other day. Several times during the movie they talk about しゅうと which they describe as "the great equalizer". (Could possibly be しゅうとう, but their dialog does ...
9
votes
2answers
188 views

“乗せる” vs “乗っける”

Good afternoon all, I was wondering when someone gives someone a ride (bicycle, car, etc), what's the difference in nuance between using the verb "乗せる" and the verb "乗っける"? For example, I was ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

What's the difference between いいえ and English's “no”?

In "Japanese for Busy People I" page 2 (kana or romaji edition) it says that いいえ is 'virtually the same as "no"'. It sounds like there are some differences, but they want to omit mentioning them for ...
6
votes
2answers
303 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
272 views

Meaning of 真逆, how it is different from 逆

[真]{ま}[逆]{ぎゃく} (not [真]{ま}[逆]{さか}, which is an interjection standardly used) is another 若者言葉, or an expression that is used mainly by young generation (with low education level) that makes me feel ...
4
votes
2answers
403 views

What is the difference between いろいろ and もろもろ

Both mean 'various, all sorts of', but is there some subtle difference or not?
4
votes
2answers
608 views

The different types of pain and injuries

I'm lacking a range of vocabulary that allows me to express different kinds of pain. And since I'm on this theme I might as well included injuries in this question. It seems that everything can be ...
4
votes
2answers
176 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
177 views

Buddhist facilities

I am working on Japanese texts describing Buddhist temples in South-East Asia and there is quite a number of words I can't really translate in English. Here is a list with my tentative translations (I ...
7
votes
1answer
212 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” ...
5
votes
2answers
711 views

“Dyke” and “Femme”

Warning! This question contains at least one, possibly, derogatory word. I appologise if readers are offended. A friend of mine asked me to translate a passage from a poem in British English into ...
3
votes
2answers
164 views

What is the first meaning of たたき台?

たたき台 means a springboard for discussion. According to my dictionary, this word's first meaning is "chopping block". On Google Images, it does not look like the plastic/wood board I use to cut ...
5
votes
2answers
342 views

Questions about ありたい

心がいつも美しくありたいです I want my heart to always be beautiful. 心がいつも美しくして欲しいです (Incorrect) 心がいつも美しくなりたいです I want my heart to always be beautiful.(?) My Japanese friend wrote the ...
8
votes
4answers
451 views

word search: voluntary pause between desire and action

Some years ago, I read that Japanese has a word (or idiomatic expression) that means roughly: The action of voluntary interposing a pause between the moment you desire something and the moment you ...
9
votes
2answers
325 views

Terms for Japanese/Western name order

Does anybody know of a standard term to describe Japanese and Western name orders (for example, when filling a form): John Somelastname ← "Western name order" Somelastname John ← "Japanese ...
5
votes
1answer
163 views

How can I express “and/or”?

When stating two things e.g. A and B , and not counting the possibility of "neither", there exists A, B and A and B. To express all of them at once, "and/or" is commonly used. What are the ways to ...
3
votes
1answer
147 views

What's the difference between 両方 and 双方?

What's the difference between 両方 and 双方? I am definitely more acquainted with 両方, so I guess it is used for a wider variety of things, but could anyone tell me the specifics of what they can or cannot ...
4
votes
3answers
276 views

What role does よかった play in this exchange?

It's from twitter. hetusa: 福岡県筑後、羽犬塚から行方不明になっていた叔母(73才)が発見された、と知らせがありました。 itoi_shigesato: よかった。 hetusa: ありがとうございました My feeling is that it says something like 'just so'. Also, it common to respond ...