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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3
votes
2answers
98 views

In technical usage, is there any difference between 間投詞 and 感動詞?

デジタル大辞泉 gives the following definition of 間投詞: 《interjection》「感動詞」に同じ。 It also gives the following definition of 感動詞 (emphasis added): ...
6
votes
1answer
141 views

Interrogative for only two choices?

This is a quick one. I read in the dictionary that どれ is only supposed to be used when there are three or more choices. What word should I use if I have only two choices?
4
votes
1answer
174 views

Why are 来る and する irregular?

I know that there are more irregular verbs than just this, but their changes are mostly euphonic and not really of any interest to me. What I would like to know is why 来る and する have developed the way ...
4
votes
1answer
119 views

What's the difference between 降{ふ}る and 落{お}ちる?

Things I've seen go with 降{ふ}る are rain, snow and leaves, e.g. 雪が降る。 I'm thinking 降る is used for small and light things. So, perhaps 'feathers' could be used like so 羽が降る, but apples would be ...
2
votes
2answers
275 views

Please help me understand [予習]{よ・しゅう}

tl;dr The word 予習 is strange to me. Is its usage related to cultural difference? Does the user's knowledge of the material have something to do with it? I've always had trouble understanding ...
8
votes
3answers
835 views

How to begin a reply to a question?

During Q&A in English, "well" and "uhm" are two ways to begin a reply. If you known the answer, you begin the reply with "Well... ". This creates a pause such that the speaker can arrange his ...
5
votes
1answer
204 views

I am struggling with the sometimes conflicting uses of 先

Rikaisama's definition of 先 includes meanings like previous; prior; former; some time ago. However it also includes meanings such as front; ahead; the future; destination. I am struggling to make ...
5
votes
2answers
114 views

センスで嗅覚も研ぎ澄ます - “sense of sense of smell?” Why use センス?

In the Zelda video game guidebook I am translating there is a part of the game where you transform into a wolf and have to rely on your senses. The title of this section of the guidebook is ...
2
votes
1answer
143 views

Is there a term for words that share the same kana spelling?

I would like to know if there is a word (in either Japanese or English) that describes pairs of words that are spelled the same in kana. For example, 橋 and 箸 would be "homo-kana" words, because they ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

てらんない- can't bear to do ~ [closed]

When we use ていられない, it means that we don't bother or care to do something. アさん)ああ、危なくて見てらんない! イさん) もう黙っていらんない。注意しよう。 A) Oh no, I can't bear to see him doing dangerous things. B) me too, I ...
3
votes
1answer
91 views

Meaning of “とも思う”

I'm not sure about "とも" in this sentence. そんなことを聞いては失礼かとも思ったが、どうしても聞かずにはいられなかった。 Can anyone explain the usage of とも
4
votes
1answer
146 views

What does 字以外に mean?

I don't usually ask questions like this, but I'm having a hard time figuring this out: 字以外に日本の好きなのありますか? The "ji igai ni" is throwing me off, is it asking whether you like other things about ...
2
votes
1answer
109 views

is 指関節{しかんせつ} a “normal” japanese word or a rare technical one?

I was doing my vocab training and added a few body parts. Then I noticed that the word I had found in the English Wiktionary for "knuckle" seems to be untypable with my Windows Japanese IME. This ...
2
votes
1answer
92 views

Can 複合動詞{ふくごうどうし} ever not have [送]{おく}り[仮名]{がな} placed between the 2 kanji?

Can 複合動詞{ふくごうどうし} ever not have [送]{おく}り[仮名]{がな} place between the 2 kanji in the compound verb?
4
votes
2answers
452 views

What is the difference between んじゃない and んだ?

I came across the following sentence: 「…あの犯行予告、俺がやったんじゃないんだけどな。」 I also have English subtitles which translate this phrase as: "I wasn't the one who issued that threat, but no matter." What's the ...
1
vote
0answers
90 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: ...
1
vote
0answers
46 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
107 views

How do I translate the names of types of school, without reference to the US school system?

Whenever I see Japanese school years translated to English, either in vocab lists or in manga/anime translations, it's always with reference to the US school system (i.e. n'th grade). As I'm not ...
7
votes
1answer
309 views

Difference between the words for “feeling”

I have seen and been taught many words meaning "feeling", but what is the difference between the words, and where are they used? I have done a bit of research myself and have come up with these ...
5
votes
3answers
595 views

How do you write “share” (as in “tell others”) in Japanese?

My company is developing an iPhone game that will be for sale in the US and Japan. There is a share button that allows people to text message, email, Facebook, and twitter their friends about the ...
6
votes
1answer
122 views

What is でれでれ (spoony)?

Could someone explain what this word means? It seems to describe a man who will do anything a woman he likes wants him to do but it is not that obvious from the E&J defintions and picture below, ...
5
votes
1answer
70 views

さまよう vs ぶらつく vs うろつく for the sense of “to wander”?

I thought I might add a word to my Japanese vocabulary that means as close to "to wander" as possible in English. In the English Wiktionary three Japanese words are mentioned but only one has an ...
5
votes
2answers
217 views

ふるさと (home town, birthplace) uses which kanji - 古里 or 故郷?

I've noticed that there are 2 ways (at least, maybe more) of writing ふるさと (home town, birthplace): 古里 故郷 Am I correct? Are they interchangeable? Is one used more often than another?
8
votes
3answers
507 views

Can 対 be used in Japanese where “Versus” would be used in English?

Let's say you were comparing/contrasting two concepts e.g. in a title of an essay/article. Concept A vs. Concept B - Which is Better? The above is just an example. Can 対 be used? Also, how ...
3
votes
1answer
222 views

What does this person mean by “doryo” in this context?

Two Japanese-fluent characters in an English novel I'm reading are talking about a specific heart problem one character concealed from medical exams. That character is requesting the second character ...
6
votes
1answer
314 views

Is there a Japanese word for “area with a collection of izakaya stalls or booths”?

I know that the traditional Japanese style pubs that serve food as well as drinks are called "居酒屋". But once a few years ago in Yamagata city, and last night here in Kagoshima city, I ended up in a ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

How do you say “funny”?

The English word "funny" means "something that makes one laugh". What is/are the closest Japanese word/words that match the meaning and the nuance of the word "funny"? Two possible matches are ...
3
votes
3answers
255 views

Whats the difference between ぜひ and もちろん

Both mean of course, right? I always traditionally used もちろん but I increasingly seem to see ぜひ. When do you use each?
6
votes
2answers
171 views

What is the origin of ポイ as in “タバコのポイ”?

I was trying to see how much of the writing on the signs in the park I could make sense of today and found something of interest. A sign stating what not to do in the park covered not littering and ...
5
votes
2answers
417 views

Some words I'm not understanding

So this is from the manga Kochikame: Basically the guy on the ground was asking the cop directions while the cop was listening to a horse race on the radio and found out his horse lost. Anyway, in ...
5
votes
1answer
146 views

What are the most common words made with numbers,aka 語呂合わせ (4649)

This is partly inspired by the recent question on words with both types of kana. I am referring to words such as: 39=さんきゅう=Thank you 4649-> よろしく、46 in internet slang 5963-> ご苦労さん I know ...
4
votes
1answer
163 views

Repetitive words (e.g. どんどん, ぺらぺら, いらいら…)

This is one area that sometimes dings me on tests. While I can generally figure out what is meant from context, I only know a handful offhand. The question here is twofold: Is there a specific ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

Are there words which consist of katakana and hiragana letters together?

Obviously many Japanese words consist of kanji characters plus hiragana since the latter are used for okurigana: 食べる 水割り 鷹の爪 Recently I'v started to discover a few words that use kanji characters ...
7
votes
4answers
772 views

Have you tried XYZ before?

I English I can ask somebody if they've experienced or sampled a food or drink, or even an activity with this verb: Here try this and tell me if you like it. I tried koregusu once but I didn't like ...
3
votes
1answer
120 views

What kinds of things can be an 愛機?

大辞泉 gives the following definition for 愛機【あい.き】: 日ごろ好んで使い、大事にしている写真機などの機器。また、愛用の飛行機。 Meanwhile, the 大辞林 第三版 gives the following definition: 使い慣れて,大切にしている写真機などの機器。また,愛用の飛行機。 Also, 明鏡国語辞典 ...
2
votes
1answer
92 views

Grammatically correct but good writing?

The following sentence comes from 中上級の日本語 magazine for february: 新聞記事は、記者がコツコツと取材をしてデータを集め、それをもとに出来事を調べたり、関係者の話を聞いたりして書かれています。 It is grammatically correct but I find the change from active to ...
3
votes
1answer
753 views

What is the most common word in Japanese?

What is the most common word in Japanese?
3
votes
2answers
237 views

How is the word まさか used?

Plain and simple. The Jisho definition "by no means; never!; well, I never!; you don't say!" doesn't seem to coincide with any of the sample sentences I find either on Jisho or Tatoeba. Can someone ...
3
votes
1answer
276 views

In the japanese The legend of Zelda (e.g. Ocarina of Time), why is navi spelled ナビィ and not just ナビ?

I started playing the Japanese version of Ocarina of time and noticed that navi is spelled as ナビィ instead of just ナビ. I know that you can combine e.g. フ and イ for フィ, but the one in ナビィ seems ...
4
votes
1answer
194 views

“Line of code” in Japanese

I've been doing a bit of work with rendering 縦書き【たてがき】 in HTML, and was having a running internal monologue in Japanese about how things were progressing when I hit on a missing word: "line" as in ...
4
votes
1answer
175 views

What time of day does [後]{のち} cover in 天気予報?

Often the weather forecasts will say something like 晴れ [後]{のち} 所により曇り → Sunny/Clear; later Partly Cloudy In English, most weather reports use more precise with time ranges, like (early/mid/late) ...
1
vote
3answers
132 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
144 views

Can 交番 (koban) be used for old British-style/Dr Who police boxes?

When Dr Who is translated into Japanese, do they translate police box as こうばん? I've seen こうばん in Japan, and they aren't anything like old British police boxes, so if that's how it's translated, is ...
7
votes
1answer
365 views

Can どっち mean which one of many?

Given my understanding, it seems like "どちら" has the exclusive meaning of "which one (of two)" and "どれ" means "which one (of many)". Does どっち include both of these meanings? Also, do all of these ...
4
votes
1answer
140 views

Are 清酒{せいしゅ} and 日本酒{にほんしゅ} two words for the same thing?

As well as the several other kinds of Japanese alcoholic drinks I seem to have found two words which both mean the drink known in the west as "saké". Now I know 酒{さけ} can be used for many kinds of ...
5
votes
1answer
377 views

How is となりのトトロ supposed to be perceived in Japanese?

How is the title of the well-known cartoon となりのトトロ supposed to be perceived in Japanese? What is the device behind the トトロ? Is it alliteration, word-play or something else?
4
votes
2answers
102 views

Meaning of 「臨徴す」?

I'm currently reading the novel 「学生街の殺人」by 東野圭吾, and on page 230 the following sentence is spoken: 「商店街の会費を臨徴して作ったんだろう?まさしく背水の陣だな」 The character is referring to all shop owners of the district ...
4
votes
1answer
203 views

Are the expressions 桜咲くand 桜散る only used for exams?

Those expressions mean respectively to pass and to fail an exam. I have the feeling that those expressions convey something that is not in the neutral verbs to pass and to fail. That is to say that ...
2
votes
1answer
116 views

Using を/に+伴う and meaning of 後接させる (+ 現場指示 and 文脈指示)

Here is the sentence (from the 日本語文法ハンドブック : 疑問詞が 「が」 「を」 以外の格助詞を伴う時はその格助詞の後にそのまま 「も」 を後接させます。 My guess : When the interrogatives are accompanied by a case-marking particle other than "が" ...
5
votes
1answer
148 views

What's the difference between 舟 and 船?

They both mean "ship/boat". Are they completely interchangeable? Do they signify boats of different sizes or uses (people, cargo, etc.)? Is only 船 used in compounds to describe metaphorical "boats" ...