言葉. 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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16
votes
7answers
2k views

the different usages of つもり?

Hi all I understand that つもり means "intention" like say 夏休みにはゆっくり休むつもりです。 = I intend to rest during the summer vacation. But what does 分かっているつもりだ。 means? Well if I translate directly, it seems to be ...
9
votes
2answers
370 views

What is the difference between all the weather words: 気象{きしょう}, 天気{てんき} and 天候{てんこう}?

Dictionary (at least Jisho and WWWJDIC) defines them as: 気象{きしょう} = weather, climate 天気{てんき} = weather, the elements 天候{てんこう} = weather They all have quite similar definitions, so I don't quite ...
8
votes
2answers
984 views

What's the difference between 触る and 触れる?

These two seem to overlap almost completely. The only thing I can really tell is that 触れる seems that it can also be used in a metaphorical sense ("touch on" something; feel; perceive). I'm ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Can I help you?

In English, the word "help" can be used for any of these cases to ask somebody for help or to give a help to someone: In a store, when a clerk (store worker) says: Can I help you, sir? With ...
4
votes
1answer
365 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。 ...
14
votes
3answers
382 views

When is it appropriate to refer to yourself by これ?

I have occasionally heard and read instances, where a person has referred to themselves as これ. My Japanese dictionary also lists "Me, I." as a definition of これ. Now, this obviously isn't used as ...
12
votes
2answers
595 views

what is the difference in the usage of [成]{な}るべく and できるだけ?

Hi guys what is the difference in the usage of 成るべく and できるだけ? Don't they both mean as [x] as possible? E.g.: 1) できるだけ多くの本を読みなさい vs なるべく多くの本を読みなさい 2) できるだけ早くお願いします vs なるべく早くお願いします
11
votes
1answer
624 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
339 views

What is the difference between お手洗い and トイレ

Is one more polite than the other? Is there some situations where you'd use one or the other? Would different people prefer one?
9
votes
2answers
340 views

Expressing scientific notation and units in speech

I've got two related questions: 1) How do you say numbers in scientific notation in Japanese? For example, 3x108 is spoken in English as "three times ten to the eight". Do negative exponents works ...
9
votes
1answer
281 views

Difference between 創立、設立、樹立

Can anyone explain the difference between the words 創{そう}立{りつ}, 設{せつ}立{りつ} and 樹{じゅ}立{りつ}? They all basically mean "to set up / to found", and from what I've researched, it's all very 微{び}妙{みょう} to ...
7
votes
3answers
171 views

How to tell よく (often) apart from よく (good)?

Whenever I see 「よく」, I have to ask someone whether it means "often" or "good". For example, here is a sentence from my book: クラスへ行って、先生の講義をよく聞いて、ノートをよく取り、それをよく覚えれば、試験でいい点がもらえる。 I thought all ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

The different meanings of “life”? 生気/生活/ライフ/生命/一生/人生/命

I was looking through a dictionary and came across 生活. My original question was Is this the difference between 生気/生活? 生気 would be like an idea of life. more abstract 生活 would be ...
20
votes
2answers
737 views

Can the suffix -人 be used to express heritage?

In English, if I want to talk about my Irish heritage, I would say "I'm Irish". I have an American passport, and I've never set foot in Ireland, but I still consider myself Irish. Both sides of my ...
12
votes
3answers
637 views

Fun with synonyms - “eternity”

What are the differences among the following two-kanji words that seem to mean "eternity": 永遠 {えいえん} 永久 {とわ} 永世 {えいせい} 永代 {えいたい} 永劫 {えいごう} 永永 {えいえい} 久遠 {きゅうえん} 悠久 {ゆうきゅう} 恒久 {こうきゅう} 恒常 {こうじょう} 長久 ...
12
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Describing my exact height

How do I describe my height in centimetres? I think you can say "私は背が高いです" to say that you're tall, but how about your exact height? Would "私は背が190cmです" sound like broken Japanese? I came across ...
9
votes
1answer
992 views

What is the meaning/usage of いざ?

Will someone please explain what this word いざ means? I've found several definitions, but I'm very unclear on what it really means and its usage. I've heard it mostly in the following ways: ...
9
votes
2answers
330 views

「悪気があっての答え」 vs 「悪気がある答え」

Hi all I was wondering what is the difference between these two sentences: 「決して悪気があっての回答ではないです。」 「決して悪気がある回答ではないです。」 I can't really make out the gist of the meaning of 「あっての」. WWWJDIC's ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does 一体 mean “what the heck?”?

the definition for 一体【いったい】: Adverb : ...the heck (e.g. "what the heck?");  ...in the world (e.g. "why in the world?");  ...on earth (e.g. "who on earth?"); —Before an interrogative, forms ...
7
votes
2answers
824 views

What is the difference between 特殊 and 特別?

I've got two questions. Firstly, what is the difference between 特殊 tokushu and 特別 tokubetsu? Secondly, is it true that all these grammar forms are correct: 特別な tokubetsu na + [noun] 特殊な tokushu na ...
6
votes
1answer
417 views

パソコンが 得意だ/わかる/上手だ

So I was studying this book called 日本語生中継, and there was this question where you're supposed to choose the inappropriate word among others. And I got stuck at this sentence: 私は、パソコンが(得意だ.わかる.上手だ.) ...
6
votes
1answer
294 views

“Dive” = “fly into”?

The words 飛ぶ and 跳ぶ are both read as とぶ, the former meaning "to fly" and the latter meaning "to jump" (generally; don't know if they are interchangeable at all). The compound-verb suffix 〜込【こ】む means ...
6
votes
1answer
218 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
396 views

Differences between 死ぬ{しぬ}, 他界する{たかいする} and 亡くなる{なくなる}?

What are the differences between 死ぬ{しぬ}, 他界する{たかいする} and 亡くなる{なくなる}?
13
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
409 views

Are there differences in nuance and usage of [内]{ない}[緒]{しょ}, [秘]{ひ}[密]{みつ}, [隠]{かく}し[事]{ごと} and [秘]{ひ}め[事]{ごと}?

They all carry the meaning of "secret" in English, but are there differences in nuance and usage of each of them: [内]{ない}[緒]{しょ} [秘]{ひ}[密]{みつ} [隠]{かく}し[事]{ごと} [秘]{ひ}め[事]{ごと} ...
10
votes
2answers
382 views

What's the difference between 何【なん】 and 幾【いく】 when referring to amounts?

Is 幾 simply more literary/archaic than 何? Can 幾 only be applied to certain words whereas 何 is more versatile?
10
votes
3answers
346 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
193 views

Employed by one institution but work for another

I've worked my current job for a few years, and I can't believe I've never thought of this question. I have a unique employment situation. I am employed by a university, but the work I do is for the ...
9
votes
1answer
756 views

天気 vs. 天候, what's the real difference? [duplicate]

What's the real difference between 天気 and 天候? In at least one of my dictionaries, 天候 just redirects to 天気. I've always thought (read: "felt") that 天候 is the general "concept" of weather, or even ...
8
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
429 views

Does うるさい have a “negative” connotation?

Is it true that when someone uses the word うるさい, it means that there is a feeling of "discontent" ? Like for example, we will take this sentence: "It will be noisy in the factory" "It will be ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How accurately can 使い be translated as “angel”?

On jisho.org, 使い is translated with words such as "errand", and the same holds true on translate.google.com. Neither site is offering "angel" as a suggestion. Yet in Matthew 1:20, the phrase: ...
7
votes
1answer
912 views

What does かの日 mean?

In my Japanese Bible, I've seen several passages that use the phrase かの日. Here are a couple. ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Difference between 自分 and 自分自身 and how to reflect their difference in English

Consider: 自分について書きたいことがあります。 = There are times that I want to write about myself (lit: things concerning me) 自分自身について書きたいことがあります。 What is their difference? I think the second sentence ...
7
votes
1answer
344 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
752 views

Expressing neighborhood in Japanese

Something I have often stumbled on is the expression of "neighborhood" in Japanese. For most uses I find that 近所 works well. However, this usually seems to refer to a closer proximity than one would ...
5
votes
1answer
177 views

What do the words じゃが and おるかの mean?

Here are the sentences I have found these words. 警察の者じゃが。 ジョーという少年はおるかの?
5
votes
1answer
228 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
277 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
487 views

What does で分かる mean?

I have a hard time understanding the use of でわかる. I'm guessing that it doesn't just simply mean that "something is understood". Instead I wonder if it means that "something was realized"? I read the ...
4
votes
3answers
532 views

What's the difference between 治す{なおす} and 治る{なおる}?

My dictionary says they are both cure/fix, so I am wondering what the difference is and how to use them? Is it an active/passive difference, or transitive/intransitive? Or just a subtle nuance? I ...
4
votes
2answers
502 views

Using 全然 with a positive pejorative [duplicate]

So far, I know that in proper speech, 全然 should be used with negative verbs such as 全然出来ません or in expressions such as 全然だめ or 全然違う. I am curious about the second type of usage. In that case, 全然 is ...
4
votes
1answer
282 views

Appropriateness of the word 膣外射精 in average adult conversations?

In discussing the marriage of Jin Akanishi and Meisa Kuroki, and why many young celebrities in Japan seem to fall into shotgun marriages, I wanted to use an equivalent for the term "withdrawal ...
3
votes
1answer
184 views

What does the word 「ぶったてる」mean?

Here is the sentence including the word. このドヤがいの西{にし}のはずれにりっぱな総{そう}合{ごう}病{びょう}院{いん}をぶったてること!
2
votes
2answers
635 views

What's the difference between the に祈る【いのる】 and を祈る【いのる】 forms?

What's the difference between the に祈る and を祈る forms? Like what's the difference between (1.) and (2.): うまく行くのに祈ってくださいね。 うまく行くのを祈ってくださいね。 EDIT: What's the difference between the ように祈る and のを祈る ...
13
votes
2answers
559 views

What does とな mean (and how do I use it)?

I came across this on Twitter, it seems to be mostly a question but sometimes an exclamation. Is it とは, or maybe とか? How do you use it? My dictionary has a とな as word that come at the end of a ...
10
votes
2answers
232 views

Questions on the word シクシク

I understand that the word シクシク is 擬声語/giseigo/onomatopoeia equivalent to the English "boo-hoo/boo-hoo-hoo." 恐怖でシクシク泣く : To whimper in fear 彼女はボーイフレンドに捨てられた時、あまりの惨めさにシクシクと泣いた。 : She ...
10
votes
1answer
610 views

what's the difference between 返事 and 答え?

both have the similar English of "answer," but when do you use one over the other?