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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1
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3answers
160 views

An appropriate word for “psyllium seed husk powder” that doesn't describe it as a laxative? (Plantago psyllium L)

I'm thinking about translating a recipe in Japanese and I'm kind of astonished that there isn't a wikipedia page for psyllium seed husk powder, but there's a brief one for psyllium. I'm not sure if ...
3
votes
1answer
152 views

Can 交番 (koban) be used for old British-style/Dr Who police boxes?

When Dr Who is translated into Japanese, do they translate police box as こうばん? I've seen こうばん in Japan, and they aren't anything like old British police boxes, so if that's how it's translated, is ...
7
votes
1answer
410 views

Can どっち mean which one of many?

Given my understanding, it seems like "どちら" has the exclusive meaning of "which one (of two)" and "どれ" means "which one (of many)". Does どっち include both of these meanings? Also, do all of these ...
4
votes
1answer
145 views

Are 清酒{せいしゅ} and 日本酒{にほんしゅ} two words for the same thing?

As well as the several other kinds of Japanese alcoholic drinks I seem to have found two words which both mean the drink known in the west as "saké". Now I know 酒{さけ} can be used for many kinds of ...
5
votes
1answer
381 views

How is となりのトトロ supposed to be perceived in Japanese?

How is the title of the well-known cartoon となりのトトロ supposed to be perceived in Japanese? What is the device behind the トトロ? Is it alliteration, word-play or something else?
4
votes
2answers
106 views

Meaning of 「臨徴す」?

I'm currently reading the novel 「学生街の殺人」by 東野圭吾, and on page 230 the following sentence is spoken: 「商店街の会費を臨徴して作ったんだろう?まさしく背水の陣だな」 The character is referring to all shop owners of the district ...
4
votes
1answer
205 views

Are the expressions 桜咲くand 桜散る only used for exams?

Those expressions mean respectively to pass and to fail an exam. I have the feeling that those expressions convey something that is not in the neutral verbs to pass and to fail. That is to say that ...
2
votes
1answer
129 views

Using を/に+伴う and meaning of 後接させる (+ 現場指示 and 文脈指示)

Here is the sentence (from the 日本語文法ハンドブック : 疑問詞が 「が」 「を」 以外の格助詞を伴う時はその格助詞の後にそのまま 「も」 を後接させます。 My guess : When the interrogatives are accompanied by a case-marking particle other than "が" ...
5
votes
1answer
164 views

What's the difference between 舟 and 船?

They both mean "ship/boat". Are they completely interchangeable? Do they signify boats of different sizes or uses (people, cargo, etc.)? Is only 船 used in compounds to describe metaphorical "boats" ...
4
votes
2answers
154 views

Are “ピーナッツ” and “ピーナツ” both correct for “peanut(s)”?

I've just noticed that the usual word for "peanut" or "peanuts" in Japanese is "ピーナッツ" (pīnattsu), but the first spelling I found, from looking in the translation table in the English Wiktionary was ...
1
vote
0answers
218 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
170 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) ...
5
votes
1answer
353 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
245 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
147 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
292 views

Is 芸姑 a real word?

Do IMEs offer gibberish non-words when they make suggestions? I know that there's many words that have the same pronunciation, and therefore users of IMEs have to choose the correct one. I think 感じ ...
5
votes
3answers
197 views

What's the relationship between 'e' and 'wa' in some words?

Can someone explain how 'e' and 'wa' are related in some words / 音便? Presumably the 'e' was originally the obsolete ゑ since it's in the ワ行. Some examples: 上(うえ) ←→ 上着(うわ・ぎ) 声(こえ) ←→ ...
7
votes
2answers
924 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
178 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? ...
-4
votes
1answer
109 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
154 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
120 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
168 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
323 views

What is the difference between 沸く【わく】, 炊く【たく】, 茹でる【ゆでる】, 煮る【にる】, and 蒸す【むす】?

I am learning JLPT N2. I came across these words in one sentence. I couldn't find the difference between 沸く【わく】, 炊く【たく】, 茹でる【ゆでる】, 煮る【にる】, and 蒸す【むす】. All the words have similar meanings. Can anyone ...
4
votes
1answer
79 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?
3
votes
1answer
215 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
440 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
205 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? ...
0
votes
1answer
102 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
176 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
3answers
290 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
150 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
164 views

How would you use 化かす?

The dictionary says that it means 'To bewitch.' Could you please give an example of it's use and when you'd use it? Thank you immensely!
-1
votes
1answer
74 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
169 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。
5
votes
1answer
94 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
155 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。」
3
votes
2answers
223 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
340 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
175 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
153 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
240 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
376 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
221 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
211 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
1answer
327 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
392 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
341 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
1answer
246 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
4answers
267 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, ...