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
votes
2answers
292 views

Can と and な have the same meaning?

I was told that the following uses of と and な after 色々 were the same. 彼女のために色々と甘いものを買ってきた。I bought a bunch of sweets and brought them to my GF. 彼女のために色々な甘いものを買ってきた。 If this is true, is this an ...
3
votes
1answer
208 views

Why would one use 当て字?

I came across 当て字 in my N1 vocabulary list, and while I think I understand what it is from the definition "kanji used as a phonetic symbol, rather than for its meaning", I'm not sure what the point of ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How many Kanji characters are there?

I have been searching around, but all the sources give completely different answers ranging from 2,000 to 50,000. So my question is how many Kanji characters that have ever existed since the dawn of ...
6
votes
2answers
225 views

what is the name of the abbreviated writing style used in newspapers?

To make articles as short as possible in newspapers, certain conventions are used. One such convention is that when a sentence ends with サ変名詞{へんめいし}、「をする」is omitted. Another is that the full names of ...
9
votes
2answers
341 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?
0
votes
1answer
176 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
168 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
273 views

what exactly is “体言止{たいげんど}め”?

There is some discussion about "体言止め{たいげんどめ}" on the internet, but it is all in Japanese. My Japanese ability is too low to be able to read it, so I need some help. At the least, "体言止め" refers to ...
4
votes
1answer
164 views

Difference between 方法 and 手段

I was brushing up on some basic vocabulary. Asked what the Japanese equivalent of "the means (of doing something)", I would use 方法. However, they've used 手段. As far as I can tell, these are (fairly) ...
18
votes
4answers
1k views

Commonness of casual phrases like “あたし” and “ちっちゃい”

I came across a Japanese girl in Germany who talked using words like あたし instead of わたし, or ちっちゃい instead of ちいさい. When I asked her, she said that these words or usages of words are more common in ...
3
votes
1answer
384 views

What does 春夏冬 mean?

So, I was watching an anime, whereupon I found the following text (cf. screencap): 夜ト・春夏冬中 090-xxxx-##3x どんなお悩みも解決いたします! This text appears in the context of the character 夜ト trying to find ...
0
votes
2answers
102 views

Which way should you review vocabulary using flashcards? [closed]

Say I want to review a list of verbs, and I create a deck of flashcards, with the polite form verb (よみます) on the front and the English infinitive (to read) on the back. Is it better to review by ...
6
votes
1answer
191 views

人:difference between ひと and -うと

There are two readings of 人, as in these two examples: 恋人【こいびと】 and 素人【しろうと】 Why is 素人 (among others) the way it is and not しろひと or しろびと? Furthermore, 狩人 is かりゅうど. Why is the final mora voiced here? ...
7
votes
2answers
895 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:     ...
5
votes
1answer
154 views

“You and I both know full well” = 「二人ともよく知っている」?

I'm writing a section of a relay manga for Hokkaido University's Manga Research Society. How you do you express "You and I both know full well..." and "our actual skills" in formal お嬢様っぽい Japanese? ...
1
vote
1answer
118 views

What is “uchi” in “goro uchi”?

I recently came across this sentence: Takashi ha 7 ji goro uchi ni kaerimashita I do understand that it probably means Takashi came home at around 7, but from what I learnt to say "around 7" ...
-4
votes
1answer
101 views

Translating “僕は神様”

I initially thought that 僕は神様 meant "I am God", but when putting it through Google Translate, I've instead received "My God" as the English translation. Is the latter equally or more likely to be the ...
3
votes
2answers
357 views

Meaning of the phrase 「体幹の見切りと筋肉の凝固弛緩その隙間」

I've been reading 魔法使いの夜 and stuck with this sentence -「体幹の見切りと筋肉の凝固弛緩その隙間。」. I completely cannot grasp the meaning from it, so I'll try to break it into parts and translate them. 「体幹の見切り」 - the ...
2
votes
2answers
150 views

What could リル mean in this situation?

I'm reading a children's story called きつつき商売. Here's an excerpt: 『音屋』 それだけでは、なんだか分かりにくいので、きつつきは、そのあとにこう、書きました。 「できたての音、すてきないい音、おきかせします。四分音符一こにつき、どれでも100リル」 I'm assuming リル is some sort ...
6
votes
1answer
117 views

Why is the き in 充電器 器 not 機?

A charger is a machine. Why is it 器 not 機?
6
votes
1answer
150 views

When is 兄弟 interpreted as “siblings” and when is it interpreted as “brothers”?

I know that people often ask [兄弟]{きょうだい}いますか but does this mean "do you have siblings?" or just "do you have brothers?". Since the answer would be different in either case: (Has a sister) "No, but I ...
4
votes
1answer
71 views

Is there any difference between 講義 and 講演?

According to my dictionary both of them mean "lecture". But is there any difference between them in nuance?
10
votes
1answer
460 views

How do 自他 triplets of related verbs work?

I thought this had been asked before (possibly by me), but I couldn't find it. I'm wondering why for certain verbs/words, instead of just a 自他 pair, there is a triplet (or possibly more) where two of ...
2
votes
1answer
313 views

Need help with the superlative form of my sentence

I need a bit of help with my Japanese. If I want to say: Castle X is beautiful. Among all the castles in the world, castle X is the coolest. Is this sentence written correctly? しろ Xの ほうが ...
8
votes
2answers
320 views

Is 君 (きみ) obsolete as a way to call your romantic partner?

In many love songs, the singer calls their partner 君 (きみ). But is this used by couples in real life, as of 2013? Should this word be considered obsolete, or is it still seeing some use outside of the ...
4
votes
3answers
245 views

How would you say “A has the meaning of B” or “A conveys B”

For example, if I was trying to tell someone that in English when we say "sake" it already has the implication of it being "Japanese sake", so have the "Japanese" is redundant. My English brain wants ...
0
votes
1answer
88 views

What does これも at the start of a sentence mean?

I have found a dictionary definition of これもまた, (meaning roughly "this is also") so I'm assuming that this is a shortened version of it. What troubles me is I can't find it without the また, so I wonder ...
0
votes
1answer
141 views

Do 親切な (taisetsuna?) really exists?

From a basic Japanese book I'm reading, I found that word in a vocabulary table. Now I'm having problems finding that word using Google, jisho.org, etc. I can find 大切な (taisetsuna) and that kanji ...
-1
votes
1answer
68 views

What is the difference between “ちょっと” and “ちと”? Is one more polite than the other?

It seems like ちと is more polite since I've seen more people use it. Is it true?
4
votes
1answer
143 views

Difference between 表れる and 現れる

How are these two terms different? Also how about 表す and 現す? Thank you so much! 楽しいクリスマス、そしていい正月を。
6
votes
1answer
724 views

Taking Class, Course, Lecture - Which verb is fit?

I would like to know how we say taking class or course or lecture in japanese. I have heard about 「クラスを受ける」 and 「クラスを取る」. Are there significant difference? And Is there any other verb we can use ...
5
votes
1answer
90 views

Can 買い食い be used for any kind of food?

Kenkyuusha defines 買{か}い食{ぐ}い as: spend one's pocket money on candy and Daijirin defines it as: (主に子供が)菓子などを自分で買って食べること。 Both of these identify 買い食い as being related to candy/sweets. Is ...
1
vote
3answers
142 views

What does 「ならないようにする」 mean?

Source: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/k10013967481000/k10013967481000.html 「しかし、建物を地震に強くしたり、火事にならないようにすると、亡くなる人を2300人に減らすことができると言っています。」
14
votes
8answers
4k views

Are there any Japanese words as versatile as “fuck” in English?

I was wondering about this one recently. "Fuck" in English is famous for being applicable in a wide, wide range of circumstances (none of them formal). What word in Japanese covers a wide spectrum of ...
3
votes
2answers
209 views

What's Neo saying?

In "The Matrix Revolutions", at the final showdown, there's a brief exchange: Smith: アンダーソン君 お帰り Smith: 会いたかった Neo: 今夜が最後だ That's what the subtitles say, anyway. The dub is almost ...
3
votes
1answer
151 views

How would you express “pausing to think” in Japanese?

I was wondering how would you express pausing to think in Japanese. So for example in English it would us be said as "hmmmm...". I believe あのう。。。 can be used but are there anymore ways to do so? I ...
8
votes
2answers
230 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
147 views

“Apple tax” in Japanese

Wiktionary more or less defines "Apple tax" as The price premium paid by consumers of Apple consumer products over comparable devices from competitors. Is there an equivalent term in Japanese ...
5
votes
1answer
187 views

Why does いまいち have the meaning of “not good”?

いまいち imaichi (common) 【今一】 いまひとつ imahitotsu (common) · イマイチ IMAICHI 【今一 · 今一つ · いま一つ · 今ひとつ】 adjectival noun → conjugation / adverb: 1.)one more;  another;  the other; ...
6
votes
1answer
193 views

What do you call the small wooden plates that people write wishes in and hang on some stand in a shrine?

What do you call the small pieces of wood(?) where people write wishes on and hang them on some stand close to where you tie folded o-mikuji (おみくじ)? Or are they also called おみくじ? Related question: ...
2
votes
2answers
260 views

しょう vs. しょ which is more often found in common words?

Which is found more often in common words, しょう or しょ? I tend to think しょう is found more often and is usually placed in the end of the word. On the contrary しょ seems to be placed at the start. Are ...
12
votes
1answer
370 views

Are the same terms for husbands and wives used for same-sex relationships?

When talking about same-sex relationships in modern Japanese (not Edo-era), are the same words used for husbands and wives as you'd use for opposite-sex relationships? For example, can you use ご主人 to ...
-2
votes
1answer
208 views

What does おせわになってます mean?

あなたにいつもおせわになってますからね. What does the above sentence mean? I'm confused about the おせわになってます part.
5
votes
1answer
238 views

What is the difference between 組, 団, 班, and 群?

These four words all seem to mean "group," but what are the nuanced differences? When can a group be identified with one/some of these but not the others? How much overlap is there between them? ...
5
votes
2answers
313 views

What word is used for an enemy in a Video Game?

What is the most common Japanese word to use when referring to any kind of enemy in a video game. I know the word モンスター is common for non-human enemies, but is there just a general term for any kind ...
5
votes
4answers
228 views

Can 低い be used to describe “salary”?

I was under the impression that 安い is used for anything related to "cost", whereas 低い is used to mean low for all things general. However, a simple Google search shows ~99k records for 低いお給料, ...
9
votes
1answer
290 views

What to call the characters-based decoration found in many announce emails

Many emails received from Japanese companies contains characters-based dingbat-style ornament like this: ■□■□■□──────────────────────────── blablablablablablablabla ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

Figurative use of 空ける?

う~ん、3週間も空けてしまっていた Oh, I've been away from here for three weeks. This Japanese sentence and its translation was provided by a native speaker, describing his absence from a website. What ...
7
votes
1answer
220 views

Oceans — Thick or Big?

Straightforward question. The Pacific Ocean is 太平洋【たい・へい・よう】 and the Atlantic Ocean is 大西洋【たい・せい・よう】. What was the reasoning in using a different character for the たい in each? And why 太 for Pacific ...
12
votes
3answers
934 views

What are slang terms for Japanese money?

This question about alternate terms for coins focused on the use of ワンコイン, but it got me thinking about slang terms for money in general. In all the years I've been in Japan, I don't think I've ...