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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119 views

Dangerous driving: “queue de poisson” in Japanese?

How to call it when a vehicle that just passed you gets back in lane too early, forcing you to brake, or even causing an accident? See this Diagram. This can also happen when a vehicle overtakes and ...
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1answer
121 views

となし in 「往{ゆ}け八紘を宇{いえ}となし」

I'm currently listening to 「愛国行進曲」, which is apparently a Shōwa-era patriotic song. It is written in a rather confusing mix of modern and Classical Japanese, but I think I can understand most of it ...
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2answers
186 views

How should I understand 今よりもっと?

person: うん痩せたいです今よりもっと me: 私も... ;; person: だよなー person: I want to lose weight, now more than ever/especially now me: Me too... ;; person: Ya know-;) Ok so だよなー is not an ...
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2answers
124 views

What verb is in 覚­えてみたい?

I found this YouTube comment: きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅとっても可愛い〜(*ノ∀ノ)ダンスとか覚­えてみたいと思いまーすww I'm not sure how to parse 覚­えてみたい. The context seems to make it have nothing to do with 覚る, and in any case the え 送り仮名 ...
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2answers
193 views

Defining a particular 系

http://mainichi.jp/life/kimochi/archive/news/2012/20120205ddn013070029000c.html The article above, about how a girl wants to be loved, is entitled 愛され系  I am wondering which definition of 系 ...
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1answer
414 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 ...
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1answer
137 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 ...
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1answer
136 views

“訳す” is the best way to say “to translate”?

The difference between "翻訳" and "通訳" has been explained very well in several forums. Even so, for me that nuance is a distraction and I prefer to simplify with this strategy: When I hear "翻訳", ...
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1answer
121 views

What is difference between 値段 (nedan) and 代金 (daikin)?

値段 (nedan) and 代金 (daikin) both means "cost" but im not sure where is a difference.
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1answer
172 views

What does 死者は何も語らない mean?

As stated in the topic, what does 死者は何も語らない mean, maybe as an idiom? The phrase is from a sentence in a novel, the speaker being a woman talking to a girl. As a background, the girl is getting revenge ...
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1answer
180 views

What is “うち” in “ごろうち”?

I recently came across this sentence: たかしは7時ごろうちに帰りました。 I do understand that it probably means たかし came home at around 7, but from what I learnt to say "around 7" it's: 7時ごろ. So it has no ...
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1answer
149 views

What might be the meaning of the word or phrase 'こよかな'

I cannot really comprehend koyokana in the following short sentence: shoppu itte koyokana. What meaning does koyokana give to the "shoppu itte" part. How could I divide koyokana in mind: koyo ka na ...
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1answer
254 views

When grandmas tell their kids お天道様がみてるよ, how do the kids know who お天道様 is?

I checked Japanese Wikipedia and お天道様 is an early Edo period word for the sun, as used in some kind of early modern popular religion that is not really described well at all. Anyway, I've never seen a ...
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1answer
142 views

What is はこう from はこうやって?

What is the translation of はこう ? (from はこうやって) I know that it would mean something like : This is how (I do) ... Yet, I cannot find the word in any dictionary. I just find the meaning of "wave ...
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1answer
183 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 ...
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1answer
104 views

Usage and meaning of 召す【めす】 in different contexts

I am going through some Kanji and I was looking for the usage of 召す when I came across the following translation (from jisho.org): 1: (Honorific or respectful language) to call; to invite; to send ...
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2answers
209 views

How to say “to mutilate” in Japanese

I tried to look it up in a dictionary, on jisho.org and also by googling for it but I couldn't find out how to say "to mutilate" in Japanese. I really need this word since it's legal here to crop ...
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1answer
104 views

Difference between おく and 中

Since both (oku and naka) mean 'inside', I am confused as to in which contexts they will be used.
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1answer
120 views

Something that can be written with kanji but not with kana?

I was reading through some text today and found this (emphasis mine): While it is possible to use the phonetic Hiragana and Katakana scripts to represent almost any Japanese word, it is usually ...
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3answers
169 views

An appropriate word for “psyllium seed husk powder” that doesn't describe it as a laxative? (Plantago psyllium L)

I'm thinking about translating a recipe in Japanese and I'm kind of astonished that there isn't a wikipedia page for psyllium seed husk powder, but there's a brief one for psyllium. I'm not sure if ...
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1answer
101 views

Translating --「きめぜりふつかった」って?

Playing through a game, and I've encountered a verb / combination I've never seen before. The full dialogue is: もうお姫さまにきめぜりふつかったの? Am I looking at some stem of きめ・る? Or something else entirely? ...
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1answer
298 views

Is 回す ever used to mean “gang-rape”?

Sorry, I've been on reddit...and found the eighth definition here: 回す まわす 1: to turn; to rotate; to gyrate; 2: to circulate; to send around; 3: to surround; 4: to put something to a new ...
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1answer
195 views

Is there a word or phrase for “run around”?

I'd like to know if there is a phrase similar to the English phrase of "running around". To explain more clearly, it should mean to be able to go out freely and do whatever one like's without being ...
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1answer
155 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 ...
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1answer
85 views

How to say “he/she knows”? [closed]

For example, "He knows that he's a lazy guy.", or something like that. Something along the lines of they are aware of something + the thing they are aware of.
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1answer
54 views

通{とお}した and 通{つう}じた – usage in context

In 合格できる N3 (page 28), I found the following exercise: 海外{がいかい}旅行{りょこう}で、習{なら}った英語{えいご}が(   )ときは、とてもうれしかった。 1.通{とお}した    2.詰{つ}めた    3.抜{ぬ}けた    4.通{つう}じた I have to fill in with the correct ...
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1answer
76 views

What is the difference between 賢い{かしこい} and 利口{りこう}?

What is the difference between 賢い{かしこい} and 利口{りこう}? For exemple, sentence 1 and sentence 2 have the same meaning? 1.彼は若いが賢いよ。 2.彼は若いが利口だね。 Kotobank.jp explains 賢い{かしこい} through 利口{りこう} ...
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1answer
96 views

About 上旬、中旬、下旬 and 始め、半ば、終わり...?

I don't know if the number of days using for six cases above is how many? 3 days or 10 days or...? And moreover, 上旬、中旬、下旬 and 始め、半ば、終わり which is using for month, which is for week and which is for ...
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1answer
199 views

Does the word 津波 (tsunami) have negative connotations?

Or is it just a neutral term for tidal waves? (I'm considering naming a JavaScript library tsunami.js – would it be offensive?)
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1answer
211 views

How does 生まれ translate in this context?

こんにちは、皆さん。ちょっと質問があります。 今日、この歌を聞きました。 最初の歌詞はこれです: アイデンティティがない 生まれない らららら でも意味が分かりません。英訳するができない。 「(If you) have no identity, (you) haven't been born」と思いますが、確かめたいです。 日本語で説明していい。手伝てくれてありがとう!
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2answers
344 views

What separates the different ways to ask a question in Japanese (何, どう, どんな, etc.)?

It's been something I've been thinking about for a while, but could never answer in a more concrete way. This is most apparent when I compare the functions of 何 and どう. I know that 何, どう and どんな are ...
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1answer
110 views

Could someone please clarify if I'm translating these two sentences correctly? [closed]

I think I've translated this correctly, but I started to have doubts about a few words and decided to double-check. (person A) 結婚なんて。。。めんどくせーこと オレはやめとくか。。。 (person B) ああ。。。。。 On my first ...
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1answer
105 views

What does やさぐれ mean?

I believe it has something to do with bullying. Also, I think I heard it as a verb: やさぐれる I can't seem to find much information about it. Is it slang?
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1answer
191 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?
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0answers
59 views

Differences between words for “optimistic” and “pessimistic”

I've been confused for a long time about how certain Japanese words map onto the meaning of "optimistic" and "pessimistic" in English. Specifically, what is the difference between (Optimistic) ...
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0answers
84 views

What does なんて mean? [duplicate]

I'm having trouble understanding sentences containing 「なんて」 Here are some of them that I've encountered today: 漫画なんてつまらない and あまりにも刑事なんて職業に似合わない
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0answers
95 views

Meaning of 自慢の目利き [closed]

Could you please tell me how should I understand and translate 自慢の目利き in the following sentence. この季節は、町内の市場は休みがないため、下苧坪さん(he's a 魚の仲買人- fish dealer) は、毎朝漁港に出かけ、その自慢の目利きで、新鮮な海の幸を仕入れる。 Source: ...
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0answers
57 views

「やる」Uses and definition [duplicate]

Ok, I see the word やる used in a lot of different contexts, meaning anything from "to kill" to "have sex with" to "make a vehicle go faster" to "give to someone of lower status". I am constantly ...
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0answers
225 views

How To Learn Japanese Vocabulary? [closed]

So I'm in the beginning stages of "Remembering The Kanji Vol. 1 (Frame 74)" and it just occurred to me; How do I learn vocabulary? Do I learn it in compounds like " 好" ? Or learn the single kanji that ...
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0answers
281 views

Where to find a list of all syllables [closed]

How many syllables are there totally? Is there any complete list? Update: Yes, a list of all sounds would be great. This is what I had to start with http://www.bnb32.com/images/katakana.gif And ...
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0answers
705 views

Lingualift review? [closed]

I am Japanese by blood but grew up in the U.S. and never learned the language. The most I have ever learned, actually, are hiragana, katakana and a few kanji. Which was something I forced myself to ...
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1answer
168 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?
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2answers
267 views

What are these suggestions in hiragana typing?

What are these in hiragana typing when I want to type wa?
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1answer
177 views

Trying to lookup word or expression てんとてん

I can remember hearing this combination of sounds several times, and the way it's used makes me think that it's a part of a common phase or saying. Particularly I can point to two cases where it was ...
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1answer
222 views

What does 2-jigen or 3-jigen mean?

In conversations done among heavily otaku people, I often hear the words 2-jigen or 3-jigen used. I know its meaning: two-dimension and three dimension, except that it does not always seem to make ...
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2answers
192 views

Non-Japanese can know their “マナー”, but not their “礼儀{れいぎ}”?

Recently, I was talking about nouveau riche Chinese behaving badly abroad. I was referencing that some cut in line, speak loudly, etc. (going from rural China to Fifth Ave. can be disorienting; i am ...
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1answer
140 views

Both 当たり前 and 相変わらず seem to mean “usual” or “ordinary”. What's the difference between them?

What is the difference between [当たり前]【あたりまえ】 and [相変わらず]【あいかわらず】? They both seem to mean “the usual” or “ordinary”.
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1answer
95 views

What is the difference between 語{かた}る and 話{はな}す?

What is the difference between 語{かた}る and 話{はな}す? I know that I can say #1, but it's correct to say #2? If it's ok, sentence 1 and 2 have the same meaning? 1.私{わたし}は日本語{にほんご}を話{はな}す。 ...
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2answers
105 views

the use and the meaning of the verb 実感する in the given example

I would like to ask for help with translating the following sentence: 今日は、「練習していないことは嘘をつかない」という悲しいセリフを実感しました。練習も嘘をつかないんだけど、その逆も然り。 I understand parts of it for example 練習していないことは嘘をつかない 悲しい セリフ ...
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2answers
95 views

difference between 妥協{だきょう}and 歩{あゆ}み寄{よ}り (compromise)

I often confuse 妥協{だきょう}(compromise; giving in) and 歩み寄り{あゆみより}(compromise, concession). Can someone explain the differences, when to use one over the other? It seems that there are a lot of other ...