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
votes
1answer
70 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
145 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
753 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
92 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
148 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
7answers
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
212 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
157 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
202 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
197 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
263 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
377 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
211 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
243 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
319 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
238 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
292 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
108 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
224 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
962 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
229 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
225 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
258 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
501 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
138 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
449 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
191 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
246 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
154 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
112 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
172 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
297 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
283 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
273 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
296 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
117 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
178 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
179 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
198 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
104 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
207 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
273 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
382 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
228 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。 ...
5
votes
2answers
160 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...