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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0
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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 ...
4
votes
2answers
314 views

Problem understanding 今度一度

I'm having trouble trying to understand a fragment from a dialogue between two students in the book "An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese". I do know that 今度 means "now", "next time", or ...
6
votes
1answer
105 views

影 vs 形 vs 形状. What's the difference between them?

I've been reading a text and all three of these come up 影 vs 形 vs 形状. I know they mean shape/figure, but is there a more nuanced difference between them? I can see the logic of where they are in the ...
3
votes
1answer
692 views

How do you say “to ask for” in Japanese?

How do you say "to ask for" in Japanese?. For example: He asked his boss for a raise. We ask for great revival. Is "仰{あお}ぐ" fine? In particular, I want to use something that's natural and ...
6
votes
2answers
154 views

What is “koto” used for?

I know "koto" means thing, but I've seen it used like this in my Self-Study Japanese book: Nihon no koto ga yoku wakarimasu ka. and Chiimu no koto o kangaete imasshita Does this mean Japan's thing ...
6
votes
1answer
215 views

What difference is there between そろそろ and もうすぐ? (if any)

そろそろ and もうすぐ can both be translated as 'soon', but I feel they have different uses and connotations. My take on it is that そろそろ is slightly more formal and has more of a meaning of 'It's about ...
1
vote
2answers
263 views

How to express “Eternal/Endless Love” on an engraved bracelet [closed]

In a fanfiction i am writing, one of the characters who was born in Japan gives her girlfriend a bracelet she had made, as a sign of her nationality there is an engraving in japanese which, when her ...
2
votes
2answers
167 views

Difference between こんにち and きょう

My dictionary says 今日(きょう) is a special reading. My textbook presents it in the third lesson, so I'm guessing it's a normal pronunciation. So... what's the difference between 今日(こんにち) and 今日(きょう)?
3
votes
3answers
291 views

How does one give directions in Japanese (e.g. to a cab driver)?

I already know some things, like 「最初{さいしょ}の道{みち}を右{みぎ}に曲{ま}がって」 and the like. However, unless one knows the exact moment to shout 「止{と}めて!」 then one would need to know how to say things like "it's the ...
3
votes
4answers
458 views

What is a word for “participation” that resembles “kameseru”?

According to the article "On Being Late to Work in Japan | 遅出" (linked from this post at The Workplace): The word for participation – kameseru – has a special significance which also explains why ...
3
votes
1answer
143 views

Difference between 区別 and 差別

What is the difference between 区別{くべつ} and 差別{さべつ}? I looked them up in my Japanese to Chinese dictionary, but the dictionary defines them to be "difference", to put it literally.
1
vote
2answers
113 views

What is the “one type” being “wiped away” in this sentence?

As part of a larger block of text, my JLPT textbook has this sentence: 私{わたし}たちは、コトバに対{たい}して一種{いっしゅ}のぬぐいがたい軽視{けいし}、軽{かる}く見{み}る傾向{けいこう}が一般{いっぱん}にあるといっていいかもしれません。 I'm specifically confused about ...
6
votes
1answer
183 views

この間 pronunciation

Probably a very simple question for those more familiar with Japanese language. How この間 are usually pronounced? Dictionary gives both このかん and このあいだ, I was wondering which one is most likely to be ...
0
votes
1answer
178 views

What does 持った mean?

If context is needed, please consult this previous question. So, there's a bunch of verbs related to "持っ" but how can any of them evolve to 持った?
1
vote
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
233 views

What's with all the possible kanji for とる?

Skimming through the options my IME presents for とる, I'm seeing a whole lot of choices, including the following: 取る 撮る 録る 執る 摂る 捕る 獲る 穫る 採る 盗る While I've seen 取る ("to take") and 撮る ("to record") ...
4
votes
1answer
452 views

What does “随分仲” mean in 「彼氏と随分仲が良い」?

I've seen it in a number of places, mostly in contexts like this one: 彼氏と随分仲が良い For me, it feels like 随分仲 translates to "relationship". What worries me is that I have not found the exact pair ...
2
votes
0answers
74 views

Is the Japanese verb 'ちらばります’ an intransitive verb or not? [closed]

Is the Japanese verb 'ちらばります’ an intransitive verb or not? Thanks!
2
votes
1answer
101 views

さて vs. そして: When should you use one or the other?

The title pretty well summarizes the question. さて vs. そして: When should you use one or the other? How are they different? To me, they come across as being used very similarly, at least when at the ...
0
votes
1answer
137 views

naming a school headquarters

I study a martial art called Geido Kenpo Ninpo Ryu. Having said this, what should a Honbu for this martial art be called? I see for Judo the Honbu is called the Kodokan. Would there be a similar ...
3
votes
1answer
478 views

Does「いとこ違い」mean “first cousin once removed” in Japanese?

In Japanese, how do I refer to my mother's cousin? She and my mother share the same great-grandparents. My mother's cousin's mother was the older sister of my mother's father (my maternal ...
6
votes
2answers
151 views

Does the use of 百足 as ateji for ムカデ come from calquing “centipede” (or a cognate)?

The English word "centipede" refers to basically the same type of disgusting creepy-crawly arthropod as the Japanese ムカデ. Sometimes, ムカデ is written in kanji as 百足. This is an obvious case of ateji ...
4
votes
1answer
624 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
121 views

Is there a difference between 平和 and 平安

Is it like 平安 is used mainly when talking about the 平安時代 or in terms of historical peace?
2
votes
2answers
248 views

How do you express “In exchange/In return”?

I am trying to figure this out, but online searches don't seem to be helping. In particular what I'm looking for is something like "In exchange for helping you, please help me" or put more simply "In ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

What is シ●ブ, and why is it censored?

The other day on the train I saw this advertisement for some tabloid, with headlines all over it, as they do: I'm trying to figure out what シ●ブ愛人{あいじん} is. 忍{しのぶ}愛人{あいじん}? "Sneaky lover"? Assuming ...
3
votes
2answers
146 views

What is the ど in やけど?

Given that やけど means "burn", it seems likely that the やけ part is 焼け. What about the ど, though? (The kanji for やけど - i.e. 火傷 - don't help, because those characters are obviously 当て字, and would ...
5
votes
2answers
288 views

Difference between 間【あいだ】 and 間【ま】

What is the difference between the words 間【あいだ】 and 間【ま】 ? Both seem to have the basic meaning space or time interval.
3
votes
2answers
111 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
145 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
184 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
122 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
298 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
856 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
276 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
119 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
161 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
110 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
93 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
172 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
112 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
104 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
594 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
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: ...
1
vote
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
114 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
334 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
785 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
128 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
78 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 ...