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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5
votes
2answers
314 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
230 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
107 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
221 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
940 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
222 views

Where to find a list of all syllables [closed]

How many syllables are there totally? Is there any complete list? Update: Yes, a list of all sounds would be great. This is what I had to start with http://www.bnb32.com/images/katakana.gif And ...
2
votes
1answer
219 views

adding 「化」as a suffix can create サ変名詞, right?What is the technical term for this?

"Personification" might be the term for adding 「人」or「者」as a suffix to a noun. I am pretty sure that 「化」can also function as a suffix to a noun. My perception is that adding 「化」as a suffix "injects ...
3
votes
3answers
256 views

Does a word for vending machine shorter than 自販機 exist?

My Japanese teacher told me there is no shorter way to say 自動販売機{じどうはんばいき}. However, I found 自販機{じはんき} in my dictionary. Does a word (including slang) for "vending machine" shorter than four morae ...
10
votes
2answers
494 views

“Should” in Japanese

The word "should" in English has these uses when not used as a question: To express the expectation of the speaker (Probabilistic reasoning). The train should arrive in 10 minutes. To express a ...
0
votes
1answer
136 views

How to say Populations and Civilizations when talking about history?

Dealing with historical matters for a certain urban area, one would like to say the following: In this city we had many populations here: Normans, Greeks and French... So what is the right term ...
6
votes
1answer
423 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. ...
1
vote
1answer
179 views

What does ウリ mean

What does ウリ mean in the following conversation? Where ソウ and アムロ=レイ are two characters in the [第]{だい}4[次]{じ}スーパーロボット[大戦]{たいせん}. ソウ「よろしくお[願]{ねが}いします!アムロ=レイ[少佐]{しょうさ}」 ...
3
votes
2answers
240 views

What is the meaning of さん in ごくろうさん?

ごくろうさん gokurousan 【ご苦労さん · 御苦労さん】 expression meaning: I appreciate your efforts アリさん、今日もご苦労さんだよ。はい、角砂糖あげるよ。 Hi Mr Ant, keeping up the good work today as well. Here's a sugar cube. ...
4
votes
2answers
153 views

Questions about 背負う

背負う is pronounced せおう, but many dictionaries also list a second pronunciation as しょう. I've never heard it pronounced as しょう in practice. In what situations does it have this pronunciation? Is ...
1
vote
2answers
111 views

Dangerous driving: “queue de poisson” in Japanese?

How to call it when a vehicle that just passed you gets back in lane too early, forcing you to brake, or even causing an accident? See this Diagram. This can also happen when a vehicle overtakes and ...
4
votes
2answers
165 views

The difference between 辞書 and 字引

My dictionary lists both 辞書{じしょ} and 字引{じびき} as simply, "Dictionary." On tatoeba.org I can only find example sentences of 字引 where it is used in the phrase: 生き字引 = A walking dictionary ...
8
votes
1answer
292 views

How difficult is it for Japanese to distinguish between 五日【いつか】 and 何時か【いつか】 in spoken contexts?

There are times when both 五日 (5th day of the month) and 何時か (someday) could be used I think. Does this become a minor problem for Japanese when speaking (no kanji to guide), or do they speak in some ...
11
votes
3answers
282 views

Do people actually ever say みょうにち?

I've heard people using あした (the common one) and あす (rather uncommon) to refer to "tomorrow". I was wondering does anyone actually uses the reading みょうにち ?
4
votes
3answers
271 views

Is 門 read as かど or もん?

Is it more common to read 門 as かど or もん? e.g. how would we pronounce the 門 in 彼らは門が開くのを待っていた。
7
votes
1answer
158 views

Do the various verbs pronounced つく differ in intonation?

Related: Dissecting つく verbs There are many verbs which are pronounced つく, and I was simply wondering: Do their intonation patterns differ? If so, what are the intonation patterns of the most ...
5
votes
2answers
292 views

I am wondering if someone can shed light on this tweet from Japan?

A friend of mine recently translated a Japanese article from Japan's October issue of An An magazine and sent her a tweet in English telling her that it was completed. The author replied with the ...
1
vote
1answer
116 views

となし in 「往{ゆ}け八紘を宇{いえ}となし」

I'm currently listening to 「愛国行進曲」, which is apparently a Shōwa-era patriotic song. It is written in a rather confusing mix of modern and Classical Japanese, but I think I can understand most of it ...
0
votes
0answers
44 views

what is the difference beween おんなみたい、おんならしい and おんなっぽい。 [duplicate]

what is the difference beween おんなみたい、おんならしい and おんなっぽい。 could any one please clear the difference between them with example.
1
vote
1answer
176 views

Does the word 津波 (tsunami) have negative connotations?

Or is it just a neutral term for tidal waves? (I'm considering naming a JavaScript library tsunami.js – would it be offensive?)
4
votes
2answers
175 views

What does 工夫(する) mean?

I am aware of the generic English translation: In this case, "device" or "to devise" in English, but this does not really help me out. In what context would you use this word? 例文 would really be ...
1
vote
1answer
196 views

How does 生まれ translate in this context?

こんにちは、皆さん。ちょっと質問があります。 今日、この歌を聞きました。 最初の歌詞はこれです: アイデンティティがない 生まれない らららら でも意味が分かりません。英訳するができない。 「(If you) have no identity, (you) haven't been born」と思いますが、確かめたいです。 日本語で説明していい。手伝てくれてありがとう!
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it true that all Japanese words end in a vowel when transliterated to English?

First off I know zero Japanese, so sorry if this is a stupid question. I seem to remember hearing a while back that all Japanese words, when transliterated to the Latin alphabet, will end in a vowel. ...
0
votes
2answers
102 views

the use and the meaning of the verb 実感する in the given example

I would like to ask for help with translating the following sentence: 今日は、「練習していないことは嘘をつかない」という悲しいセリフを実感しました。練習も嘘をつかないんだけど、その逆も然り。 I understand parts of it for example 練習していないことは嘘をつかない 悲しい セリフ ...
4
votes
1answer
203 views

Is it possible to write anything long completely in 和語?

I sometimes wonder how feasible is it to completely avoid loanwords, i.e. 漢語 and 外来語, but still using Modern Japanese (i.e. not simply just using Old/Classical Japanese vocabulary). Is the 和語 ...
1
vote
2answers
265 views

What's the equivalent to densha, futsuu, tokkyuu, and kyuukou in the West? [closed]

I know that they are all trains, but what would their counterparts be in the US or even Western Europe? Or better yet, when do you use one train as opposed to the other?
4
votes
2answers
380 views

Using 全然 with a positive pejorative

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
226 views

What is the ちょ in こなしてちょ?

I'm playing a video game (Final Fantasy VI), in which a character is reading her lines and stage directions for a play. The stage directions contain the following sentence: この芝居を間奏の間にこなしてちょ。 ...
4
votes
2answers
156 views

What is the difference between 要するに and つまり?

I read that 要するに and つまり are not always interchangeable. Still, I don't really understand the difference between the two...
5
votes
2answers
209 views

Pronunciation of 天爾遠波 (てにをは)

Straightforward question. 天爾遠波 (or 弖爾乎波) - written as てにをは - is a term used to refer to the Japanese particles (助詞) or sometimes Japanese grammar as a whole (文法). So how to do pronounce the は at the ...
5
votes
2answers
296 views

What's the meaning of ブチブチ?

I'm having some trouble to find the meaning of this word. I already saw this 2 times in a game and I can't find the meaning in any dictionary that I use. Examples: あやせ:「そうなると私のことなんか放っておいて…」 ...
4
votes
1answer
244 views

Is there a Japanese word for “finding the pleasantest point of an interior”?

I recently read a quote from architect Sverre Fehn that stated: "Japan has a word for finding the pleasantest point in an interior..." I was wondering if anyone might know what this word is. Thanks ...
2
votes
1answer
111 views

what does the とは mean in this phrase?

Hello pretty new to Japanese and I have a question. So I know this is supposed to be something like "he differs from his former self" but I can't really make sense of what the とは is supposed to mean ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the longest word in Japanese?

What is the longest (based on their representation in romaji) word in Japanese? Are there any longer than リュウグウノオトヒメノモトユイノキリハズシ? If it depends on criteria for a word, then list them by their criteria. ...
4
votes
2answers
349 views

What does カッコいいじゃーん mean?

I've sent some pictures to a Japanese friend, and she replied saying カッコいいじゃーん. I don't get either the Hiragana and Katakana mix in that word as the last じゃーん... Could anybody please get me out of ...
3
votes
2answers
156 views

What's the difference between 治す and 治る?

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
149 views

Simple questions on 明け方

So 明け方 means "dawn," but if looked at more closely, is the literal meaning of 明け方, "in the direction of dawn"? I think this is wrong, but I can't remember which meaning of 方 is taken here. Is it ...
4
votes
2answers
236 views

Are there differences between 自動車{じどうしゃ} and 車?

According to the dictionary, both of these terms refer to the same object: car/automobile. Now, I understand that 車 is also used in compounds to provide the "vehicle" part as in 電車, but I'm just ...
4
votes
2answers
345 views

Which reading is more common for 剣: tsurugi or ken

剣 by itself can be read either way. What's the difference? Clarification: In particular, when 剣 refers to a 諸刃 sword, which reading are natives more likely to use?
2
votes
2answers
150 views

Difference between 延ばす and 伸ばす

As far as I can tell, they both mean something like stretch or extend. When would you use each one?
0
votes
1answer
168 views

What does 中 suggest when it's used with another word? (e.g. 世界中 and 絶望中)

I've heard it thrown about in different contexts, but I never quite under neither what it does or what dictates when the sound changes to じゅう in a context, as in 世界中. Anyone have any ideas?
8
votes
4answers
530 views

Are there any common Japanese words which were borrowed from Ainu or other indigenous languages?

I know plenty of Japanese words that came from English and a few from other European languages (obviously tons from Chinese), but what about words from Japan's indigenous languages such as Ainu? Also ...
3
votes
1answer
143 views

What is the English equivalent of an 意匠ノート?

I came across the term 「意匠ノート」as a type of notebook. Translated, I guess it would be a "design notebook," but I'm not sure what that means? A drawing book? A notebook with graph paper for ...
3
votes
2answers
173 views

What is 坊 in 朝寝坊する?

I always thought that 坊 in 朝寝坊する was a bit weird. At least in Chinese, 坊 means "small factory". Thus I assumed it was a pun about "went to work at the morning sleeping factory" though it seems a bit ...
1
vote
2answers
182 views

How should I understand 今よりもっと?

person: うん痩せたいです今よりもっと me: 私も... ;; person: だよなー person: I want to lose weight, now more than ever/especially now me: Me too... ;; person: Ya know-;) Ok so だよなー is not an ...