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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4
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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.
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. ...
7
votes
1answer
268 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
695 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
412 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
322 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, ...
11
votes
3answers
442 views
0
votes
1answer
272 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): ...
4
votes
1answer
155 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??
5
votes
2answers
199 views

Difference between 割合 vs 率

割合 and 率 both mean ratio, rate, and percentage. What is the difference?
2
votes
1answer
95 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
155 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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
271 views

What is a シドギャ? ギャ doesn't mean girl, does it?

At first I thought ギャ meant girl, but after doing some googling, that doesn't appear to be what it is. What is シドギャ? シドギャ is related to the band シド, the most popular Visual Kei rock band in Japan for ...
9
votes
1answer
287 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
173 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
253 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" ...
8
votes
2answers
145 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
125 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
233 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
509 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
158 views

Are there names like ワンコイン for the other coins?

So ワンコイン refers to a 500円 coin, but is there other names for the other coins? Also in conversation does ワンコイン refer to any specific currency or only to 500 yen (as in the sense of being a default).
5
votes
2answers
202 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
589 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?
4
votes
1answer
127 views

just by the phrase 試験を受ける, can we imply anything on the 試験?

since 受ける is the same verb associated with "sustaining damage", "incurring losses", "suffering injury", all 3 seemingly have negative nuances, I'm wondering when we use it (受ける) with 試験, does 受ける ...
7
votes
1answer
257 views

What is the exact definition of 泥棒?

In English: a burglar is usually associated with someone who breaks into a house (victim is usually unaware during the burglary) a robber is usually associated with that person who uses weapons and ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

What does 男前 mean when used to describe a woman?

I just encountered the phrase 「男前な女」in the book I am reading. When I looked up 男前, it was defined as "good looks in a man," much like "handsome" in English. What does it mean when used to describe a ...
8
votes
3answers
4k 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
189 views

Anti-causal/Non-causal relationship

How do I form a sentence of these patterns "X does not arise from Y", "X not due to Y", "X not because of Y", "There are other reasons for X". Since obviously I cannot simply slap ない onto から or ので to ...
10
votes
4answers
510 views

Greeting for meeting a friend by chance

How can I greet a person in a manner similar to "Nice to find you in here!" (— meaning meeting a friend by chance somewhere)?
3
votes
1answer
332 views

Is there a specific term that refers to female sword fighting?

The "Lonely Planet Tokyo" iPhone app describes female sword fighting as a bygone form of male entertainment: Surprisingly, striptease almost failed to catch on due to the popularity of a rival ...
6
votes
2answers
727 views

Does なかなか (with negative verb) mean “by no means” or “considerably”?

WWWJDIC defines なかなか (with negative verb) as by no means But shouldn't it have been considerably ? By no means means 100% not considerably means like 85% not So does なかなか (with negative verb) ...
10
votes
1answer
611 views

加える/増やす and 加わる/増える or even 増加する/殖/足, various kanji for “adding things”

I'm a bit confused regarding the choice between the 加 and 増 kanji for any meaning related to "adding one thing to another". I assume that, as usual, the suru-verb combination 増加する is somewhat more ...
9
votes
1answer
402 views

Small towels to wipe sweat off

I was in Japan recently and am trying to remember the name for a small towel the Japanese may use to wipe the sweat off their faces in the summer. I was hoping to buy one for myself in the U.S. Do ...
5
votes
1answer
144 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
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
288 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
208 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?
5
votes
1answer
399 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】 ...
15
votes
3answers
416 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?
10
votes
2answers
257 views

Which verbs have 辞書形 (dictionary forms) that look like ~ます conjugations?

I recently confused 励ます (hagemasu) for the ~ます form of 禿げる (hageru). Although this actually lead to a rather amusing conversation, I'm wondering if there are other examples of this to watch out for?
7
votes
3answers
580 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 ...
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
162 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 / ...
11
votes
3answers
764 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
254 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
424 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
176 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 ...
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?
6
votes
2answers
149 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 ...