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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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”.
4
votes
1answer
357 views

What's that accordion style book you can get at shrines called?

When one goes to shrines, one can get an accordion style book where one can pay a couple hundred yen to have a shrine's seal written inside. What is that book called?
3
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2answers
144 views

How do you say “after all”, in the sense of reaffirming or justifying a previous statement?

For example: "You should wear a jacket. After all, it's snowing out there." "Of course I bought you a present! It's our anniversary after all." I tried an online dictionary but they gave me a lot ...
1
vote
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 ...
4
votes
4answers
646 views

How do I write “Hard Work and Smart Work”?

I want to write an essay with the title “Difference between Hard Work and Smart Work”. By “hard work”, I mean continuing the work with old ideas without thinking up new ideas, and working all the ...
1
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2answers
144 views

Is the negative form of 住む related to すみません (i.e. “I'm sorry”/“Excuse me”), and how is it used in actual conversation?

Just learned the verb “to live” 住む. When conjugated to masu negative it is pronounced as すみません. How is this related to the expression すみません which means “I'm sorry”/“Please excuse me”? Or is it just a ...
2
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2answers
102 views

しな at the end of a sentence

In the manga Yotsubato, the main character Yotsuba's father says 「ジャンボが二人分働くしな」. I understand the sentence as a whole, I think, but I don't understand the しな at the end. Here's the full dialogue: ...
6
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1answer
178 views

What does 揺らぎやすい女性 mean?

I was translating a passage the other day for a health spa and came across the following passage: 揺らぎやすい女性のための限定メニューができました。 1ヶ月の周期の中で、私たちの体は大きく変化します。 生理は、体をととのえる絶好のチャンス。 ...
0
votes
0answers
100 views

About the literal translation of a phrase [duplicate]

The phrase it's this: "士郎の理想、英雄となった姿があなたではないのですか。" I understand it literally as "The ideal of Shirou, the figure that became a hero, are you not you?" It's right?
1
vote
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", ...
5
votes
1answer
130 views

Specialized banking/credit card vocabulary

I recently found myself in a situation where I had to attempt customer service over the phone in Japanese and I got tripped up on some terminology that I've never encountered before. Most of it had to ...
1
vote
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
130 views

technical term for “形容動詞{けいようどうし} + にする”?

A subset of Japanese nouns is the サ変名詞{へんめいし} nouns such as: 勉強{べんきょう}する 運転{うんてん}する 残業{ざんぎょう}する A subset of 形容動詞 words can be appended with "にする" such as: 静{しず}かにする 大切{たいせつ}にする ...
4
votes
1answer
114 views

[奨学金]{しょうがくきん} and Repayment

背景 現在特任講師として大学機関で働いていますが、かつて院生のころから、日本人の「奨学金」の使い方が気になっていました。私は文部科学省の奨学金も頂きましたが、その奨学金は普通の英語の"scholarship"のように、返済しなくてもよいものでした。 ...
4
votes
1answer
115 views

What is 林家パー子ばり?

What is 林家パー子ばり? A colleague used it in a complex context, but I have found many another occurrences, including this one in the very simple context of a self-presentation: ...
6
votes
1answer
277 views

_っ_り form adverbs

I keep seeing these onomatopoeic adverbs popping up with the form: _っ_り. Some examples include ぐっすり、ぴったり、すっきり、etc…. Is there a name for these adverbs, and why are they in this specific form?
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2answers
438 views

Fun with synonyms - “to grab/catch/capture”

Here's a question for you experts. I've actually asked this to my Japanese friends, but I want to see how you guys answer too. Explain the differences in the following verbs and which one(s) appear ...
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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.
1
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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 ...
2
votes
3answers
228 views

It seems “hard deadline” can be translated to 厳しい締切. Would “soft deadline” then be translated as 厳しくない締切?

I have searched long and hard for a dictionary translation of "soft deadline" to no avail. Google Ngram shows that it has peaked in popularity in the last three decades, so it's relatively new. I ...
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2answers
1k views

Polite Way to Ask “How old are you?” : 何歳 , いくつ ,年齢 , ご年

I think the sentences: 何歳ですか? いくつですか? 年齢は? お年は? are all sentences that ask "How old are you?" How are they different? What form is most polite?
4
votes
1answer
129 views

What is the difference between 文{ぶん} and 文章{ぶんしょう}?

I think that 文 means "sentence" or "text"; 文章 means the same and also can mean "writing" or "letter". Is that the only difference?
3
votes
1answer
118 views

what's a ポッカリ (pokkari)?

context: I read this sentence in a childrens book (オー·スッパ). Judging from the pictures, animals are eating a lemon and go crazy because of the sour taste. The whole sentence is:  ポッカリ ういていたんです。
3
votes
1answer
112 views

Explanation of 歌にのせて

From JapanesePod101, with their translation: ミュージカルは、歌【うた】にのせて物語【ものがたり】を展開【てんかい】する。 A musical can tell a story with songs. I understand that のせる means (amongst other things) "to take on board". Does ...
1
vote
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.
2
votes
0answers
91 views

meaning of シュワーっと

I'm currently reading a children's book about numbers with sentences of the form: numberは j1 j2 where j1 and j2 are japanese words and j1 starts sounding similar to number. I am stuck with 4は ...
5
votes
1answer
171 views

How is “gomen” used?

I don't even know if this is the correct place to post this. The only source that I'm in touch with the Japanese language is through anime. So my question, which I understand that could be kinda ...
6
votes
2answers
149 views

華麗にスルーする Ignore someone . . . how exactly?

I was watching an anime series called Steins;Gate today. In episode 9 (around six minutes in), one of the characters proposes physically travelling through time: 凶真「ずばり、物理的タイムトラベルだ!」 The other ...
4
votes
1answer
136 views

What does まわりであーだこーだ mean in this sentence?

I don't really understand the "まわりであーだこーだ" part in the following sentence I read in a manga: こそこそ人のこと調べたり、まわりであーだこーだ、女は面倒くさい Does まわりで means 人のまわりで? My guess for "あーだこーだ" is that it means ...
6
votes
1answer
173 views

What's the difference between 値段 and 価格

They're both "price", but I don't see the difference. Even the Kanji appear to suggest similar meanings. Thanks for any advice!
6
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1answer
153 views

Difference between ヒーター and ストーブ

I have a question about the words ヒーター and ストーブ. I understand that they are both used to heat rooms. However, I am not sure exactly the difference between the two. A Yahoo answer in Japanese says ...
5
votes
1answer
179 views

Difference between 下る、下りる、下がる?

I cannot, for the love of my life, understand the difference between 下る{くだる} 下りる{おりる} 下がる{さがる} Don't they all mean the same, basically? Is there a difference, and if yes, how could I proceed to ...
3
votes
1answer
216 views

Other words for and familiarity of 桜でんぶ?

I have some questions about 桜でんぶ/おぼろ. As I understand, 桜でんぶ is the name for the pink, fluffy stuff in sushi made from fish. My questions are: 1) Are there any other common words for 桜でんぶ? I read ...
6
votes
3answers
262 views

How to negate “べき”? (ie. “should not”)

「食{た}べる」 can be negated as 「食べない」. 「美{うつく}しい」 can be negated as 「美しくない」. etc. etc. Can you negate 「べき」as in: 「明日は受験なので、勉強するべきです。」(Since you are taking a test tomorrow, you should study.) ...
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votes
2answers
141 views

What's difference between 昼(hiru) and 正午(shōgo)?

Both 昼{ひる} and 正午{しょうご} mean noon, so are they interchangeable?
1
vote
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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votes
1answer
80 views

'Get on' a road

In English, when giving directions, there are two possible constructions you can use when telling someone which road to use for a given segment of the trip: 'take', which refers to the entire ...
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votes
5answers
634 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
545 views

Why should one be careful of soft and sweet words in this neighbourhood?

A little while ago, in a neighbourhood in Tokyo, I came across this sign: I'm not sure of the readings of the place names, but the sign is put there by the local police, 戸塚[警察署]{けいさつしょ}, in ...
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vote
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
144 views

Difference between 給湯器 and 湯沸器?

Today I had a discussion with some coworkers about items in apartments. One coworker called the water heater above the sink [給湯器]{きゅうとうき}, and the other coworkers thought that that item was called ...
6
votes
3answers
152 views

What is the difference between 実験室, 研究室 and 実習室?

I am reading Toki wo Kakeru Shojo and those three words are refered in the text quite as synonyms. Also my dictionary translates them all as 'laboratory'. It seems that they are used at different ...
5
votes
4answers
594 views

“Opposite” of `和製英語`

Is there an "opposite" of 和製英語 (meaning Japanese words/phrases invented by English speakers)? Maybe like {英・米・欧?}製日本語? Because I always see/hear Japanese words in English and they drive me nuts! ...
0
votes
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
300 views

Strange Japanese Character

here is the link for the picture (in case it doesn't show up): http://online.mangaraw.net/get/img/174/837.jpg In the last panel at the bottom of the page, she says "しょ__ -" I'm not quite sure as to ...
3
votes
1answer
154 views

Problems understanding なの in this sentence

I remember once I have seen 「なの」 was not placed at the end of a sentence (meaning it was not a question) ever since then I wondered what it meant but didn't have any clear examples. Today I saw this ...
0
votes
1answer
127 views

Understanding かなでたり

I was reading a page (http://kids.goo.ne.jp/shirabemono/detail.html?id=153), but I couldn't understand this phrase: 音楽は、音をきいたりかなでたりして楽しむものだね。 I understand the "tari form" (or whatever it is ...
5
votes
1answer
163 views

Difference between Japanese words for illusion with 幻

I was reading about the kanji 幻, which I take to mean illusion or vision(not 見 vision), and looked at words with it. I saw the words: [幻滅]{げんめつ}-disilusion 幻想{げんそう}-illusion 幻覚{げんかく}-hallucination ...
4
votes
1answer
218 views

What does まかなう mean here?

A few minutes ago Anthony was talking about 思い and 想い on chat, and he asked a question about them. I looked up the verb 思う in 明鏡国語辞典 since I thought it was relevant. It has this bit: ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

で at the end of a word

What impact does the 「で」 add if placed like this: 秋の風は静かで vs. 秋の風は静か or 心配しないで vs. 心配しない