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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4answers
289 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?
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3answers
2k views

Is さようなら still used in real life?

Amongst native speakers of English, "sayonara" is one of the best known Japanese words, at least for words that don't fill a semantic gap ("sushi" is derived from a Japanese word but fills a semantic ...
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2answers
320 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 ...
9
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2answers
2k views

way to use さっぱり (sappari) and すっかり (sukkari)

Maybe it's just me, but I keep mixing up As in すっかり忘れてた I've completely forgot and さっぱりわからない I haven't the faintest idea / I really don't know are there other expressions to use ...
9
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1answer
700 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 ...
9
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3answers
4k views

Is “あらら” (arara) a word or just a “vocal noise”?

A friend just wrote this as a comment on a photo of mine on Facebook. Is it an actual word or is it what I call a "vocal noise"? By "vocal noise" I mean those things which convey some meaning but ...
9
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
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2answers
546 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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4answers
623 views

Is there an online list of frequently used words in the news?

There are a few books with lists of words and kanji compounds found in the news. Like this one, this one, and this one. However, unless one wants to spend a lot of time doing data entry, they don't ...
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2answers
494 views

When is 酒【さけ】used to mean 日本酒【にほんしゅ】?

The fermented rice alcohol called "sake" in English is usually referred to as 日本酒【にほんしゅ】 in Japanese, while 酒【さけ】 merely means "alcohol" in general. Yet, all dictionaries list both "alcohol" and ...
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1answer
119 views

Why is the word「ござる」used in this sentence?

This is a dialogue being discussed between 3 students. A: おまえきょうのテストどうした? B: へへ まあな A:なんだよまあなって...できたんかよ? B:ばーか このおれができるわけないだろ C: こいつのまあなはいつものとおり白紙でございって意味だよ As I ...
9
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2answers
335 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 ...
9
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3answers
885 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 ...
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1answer
134 views

Help understanding these uses of 「取っぱらい」

Yet another sentence in a taiko performer's memoirs that I can't quite grasp... 総ての枠を全部取っぱらって、というのはやっぱり難しいけれど、投銭興行でやったのも一つの取っぱらいだった。 I know 「取っぱらう」means "to throw away" or "set aside", etc. The ...
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1answer
344 views

Words with metathesis

What common Japanese words underwent metathesis (transposition of sounds)? Examples. 新{あたら}しい < あらたしい 秋葉原 {あきはばら} < あきばはら
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1answer
390 views

What does 「漢語」 mean in this sentence?

そういう訳で、診察所の方の人達と口を利くのはあたしだけといってよい位だったわ。そりゃああたしがお侠{きゃん}だからだけれども、先生の小間使いですもの、そりゃどうしたって診察所との交渉が多いわよ。ええ、こりゃ漢語よ。 甲賀 三郎 著 『ニッケルの文鎮』 青空文庫 No.1428 I could not understand the actual meaning of ...
9
votes
1answer
173 views

Etymology of the term お局 and how it is used in slang

Can someone explain the etymology of the word お局 as well as how it is used in modern slang? I took an educated guess as to the colloquial meaning but am unsure of its nuances, be they comedic, ...
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2answers
198 views

“乗せる” vs “乗っける”

Good afternoon all, I was wondering when someone gives someone a ride (bicycle, car, etc), what's the difference in nuance between using the verb "乗せる" and the verb "乗っける"? For example, I was ...
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2answers
2k 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?
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2answers
157 views

How to use 対応 correctly

I see 対応(たいおう) quite often, but I can't seem to grasp exactly what this word means or how to use it properly. Checking a dictionary I get about 5 different definitions, all quite different from one ...
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1answer
542 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 ...
9
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1answer
5k views

How to define 羨ましい?

羨【うらや】ましい! You're so lucky!/ I envy you!/ I'm jealous of you! As I learned it, 羨ましい as an exclamation does not carry much of a negative context, so perhaps a combination of these three ...
9
votes
1answer
251 views

The difference between 書店 and 本屋

What is the difference between: 書店 and 本屋 Are there any specific places where you can use one over the other? Or is it simply like the English Bookstore/Bookshop, and are perfectly interchangeable? ...
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3answers
169 views

昨週 - when is it used? (compared with 先週)

Are they interchangeable, or is 昨週 an old way to say it, and not used as much any more? 昨週レストランに友だちと行った。 If anybody knows any kind of nuances or differences, such as where one would be more ...
9
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2answers
206 views

Use of かける (N5 question)

An N5 vocabulary question I'm having trouble understanding: わたしの となりの (   ) を かけた ひとは すずきさんです。 1 くつ   2 かぎ   3 めがね   4 でんわ The answer is 3: わたしの となりの ( めがね ) を かけた ひとは すずきさんです。 Which I ...
9
votes
1answer
190 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
903 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
1answer
266 views

What's the difference between 電光石火【でんこうせっか】 and 疾風迅雷【しっぷうじんらい】

They both seem to mean "quick as lightning". What are the nuances between them? In what sort of context would they be used? Are they interchangeable? etc.
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1answer
95 views

Expressions of surprise おや あれ あら

There seem to be three very similar expressions of surprise - おや, あれ, and あら. Is there much particular difference? So far I've gathered that あれ is almost always genuine surprise, whereas あら and おや can ...
9
votes
1answer
428 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
100 views

How is 発行 different from 刊行?

Also, how does 発刊 fit into all of this? Is it that 発行 can be used for magazines, newspapers and books while 刊行 can't be used for newspapers?
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2answers
345 views

Terms for Japanese/Western name order

Does anybody know of a standard term to describe Japanese and Western name orders (for example, when filling a form): John Somelastname ← "Western name order" Somelastname John ← "Japanese ...
9
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2answers
530 views

Earnest and serious: when should each be used?

I've noticed there's a lot of overlap between the following words meaning "earnest" or "serious" when talking about a person: まじ 真面目{まじめ} 真剣{しんけん} 本気{ほんき} 正気{しょうき}: (This word really means "sane" I ...
9
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1answer
543 views

Small towels to wipe sweat off

I was in Japan recently and am trying to remember the name for a small towel the Japanese may use to wipe the sweat off their faces in the summer. I was hoping to buy one for myself in the U.S. Do ...
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1answer
212 views

Using くれる for doing something bad

Today I heard the phrase なんてことしてくれた, as in: 君!なんてことしてくれたんだ! which I learned means "Look what you've done". I thought くれる was only used when someone does something nice for you. Is this just a ...
9
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1answer
266 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
188 views

How was Japanese animism referred to before 国家神道 (State Shinto) was created?

Pre-Meiji: What was Japanese animism popularly called before 国家神道 (State Shinto) was created in the early Meiji period (19th century)? Prior to that, was the word 「神道」 a common term among the ...
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1answer
195 views

How do you replace 「お悔やみ」 in condolences to a Japanese Christian?

In Yosh's answer to the question What are the ways to express someone's condolences?, this link states that Buddhist terms should not be used in expressing condolences to a Christian in Japanese: ...
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votes
7answers
2k views

What is the opposite of 初心者?

As in, I want to say veterans/old hats at doing something instead of beginners at doing something. Edit: Thank you for all the responses. I wasn't looking to imply skill, so I think 経験者 is the word I ...
8
votes
1answer
680 views

Terms for Royalty

Why are there so many terms for royalty? And I'm talking about generic words like "king", "queen", etc. I seem to remember from my studies that certain terminology was used specifically for Japanese ...
8
votes
3answers
973 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 ...
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3answers
531 views

Why is the meaning of人一倍 opposite of what it seems to say?

This could be just me, but at first glance the word (phrase?) 人一倍 looks like it would mean "one's own share of the work". I assumed 人 to mean one person, and 一倍 means "one share, one amount". I was a ...
8
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2answers
297 views

What is the difference between 意味 and 意義?

I have learned (意味) and (意義)as "meaning". I am confused these two words. Are they same or is there any difference in usage?
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3answers
417 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 ...
8
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1answer
3k views

What's the difference between “マグロ” (maguro), “ツナ” (tsuna), and “シーチキン” (shiichikin)?

It seems that there are (at least) three words for "tuna" in Japanese: "マグロ" / "鮪" / "まぐろ" (maguro) - Seems to be the native name for the creature and used at least in sushi "ツナ" (tsuna) - Seems to ...
8
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2answers
289 views

Questions on the (underlying) meaning of the word お化け

If ばけもの / ばけもん / お化け can, in general, be understood to mean ghost/apparition/monster, what is the connection to the meaning of 化け, meaning "transform?" (or "transforming one's appearance") Is it ...
8
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3answers
432 views

what does どことなくつかみどころがなくmean?

I came across this phrase in the sentence: 勘【かん】というものは、しょちゅう経験【けいけん】していながら、どことなくつかみどころがなく、いまの科学【かがく】ではまだその正体【しょうたい】が、明らか【あきらか】にされていない。(Soumatome N1 dokkai, p45) My best effort to translate it ...
8
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2answers
161 views

Dismissing an expectation

What can be said when I need to dismiss an expectation? Here are some examples of what I mean by "expectation": I ask someone what time it is, then I remembered that I'm actually wearing a watch. ...
8
votes
3answers
509 views

Evil twins and other tropes

I was trying to talk about films and (marvel) comics the other day, and stumbled upon "evil twin". Sure, I can translate it verbatim, but that usually works badly for such fixed expressions. And then ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Heaven in Japanese

I have found that there are a number of words in Japanese that correspond to "heaven" in English. By heaven I mean the concept of a paradisiacal afterlife. The two most frequent in my limited and ...