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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6
votes
1answer
283 views

Can the term メリークリスマス be seen as politically incorrect?

In some countries, some people avoid using "Merry Christmas" and instead say Happy Holidays: Thought by some to be a politically correct alternative to Merry Christmas and/or Happy New Year when ...
5
votes
2answers
326 views

How to translate “from scratch”

I am having discussions with my Japanese friend about developing a new computer application. I want to suggest to him to not write the code from scratch but to use other libraries as our base. How can ...
6
votes
1answer
181 views

Questions about the term 自殺志願者

My Japanese friend used the term 自殺志願者 jokingly in a journal entry, saying she sometimes wondered if she qualified for such a position. I could not find a specific dictionary definition for this ...
4
votes
2answers
209 views

The origin of one of the usages of 狼{おおかみ}

I was watching the anime かんなぎ, and heard the following line: 男はみんな[狼]{おおかみ}だわ! "Men are all wolves!" I was curious as to what it means to call someone a "wolf", so looked 狼 up in Daijisen and ...
10
votes
1answer
356 views

Is かわいい wago or kango?

かわいい is sometimes spelled in kanji as 可愛い. This seems to be an 音読み reading which points to a Chinese loan, and Chinese does have this word. However, the meaning of 可愛 as "cute" in Chinese seems to ...
7
votes
1answer
490 views

What is the most common usage and meaning of もったいない?

もったいない (勿体無い)(勿体ない) can mean "what a waste!" / "too good". Apparently it is originally (?) a buddhist term meaning “The essence or quality of the thing does not exist,” and supposedly has been ...
5
votes
1answer
209 views

Can anyone provide a detailed definition of あんぐり and say if the expression あんぐりと口を開けて is redundant?

あんぐり is defined as such: adverb / noun or verb acting prenominally: open-mouthed 大学の門の前に真っ赤なフェラーリが停めてあるのを見て、アングリした。 I saw a bright red Ferrari parked at the campus gates and my jaw just ...
1
vote
1answer
131 views

What might be the meaning of the word or phrase 'こよかな'

I cannot really comprehend koyokana in the following short sentence: shoppu itte koyokana. What meaning does koyokana give to the "shoppu itte" part. How could I divide koyokana in mind: koyo ka na ...
3
votes
1answer
417 views

How to call a wait pointer in Japanese?

In Japanese, how to call a wait pointer? I am talking about a computer mouse pointer which becomes a spinning wheel or hourglass (depending on the OS) when the application is busy processing ...
1
vote
0answers
482 views

Lingualift review? [closed]

I am Japanese by blood but grew up in the U.S. and never learned the language. The most I have ever learned, actually, are hiragana, katakana and a few kanji. Which was something I forced myself to ...
6
votes
2answers
292 views

“Tourist trap” in Japanese

Assuming such a concept exists in Japanese, how do you say "tourist trap"? Wikipedia describes it as: A tourist trap is an establishment, or group of establishments, that has been created with ...
5
votes
1answer
112 views

The meaning of kakemawaru 駆け回る

I have been encountering this word kakemawaru 駆け回る a few times. It means running around, If I understand well. Does it mean only physically running around? For example: kids are running around in the ...
3
votes
2answers
201 views

Questions on イケてる

イケてる is defined by tangorin as such: noun, or verb acting prenominally: cool;  with-it;  turn-on;  sexy As a noun I can see it as "the state of being cool," as perhaps shown in the following ...
6
votes
2answers
154 views

Questions on the word シクシク

I understand that the word シクシク is 擬声語/giseigo/onomatopoeia equivalent to the English "boo-hoo/boo-hoo-hoo." 恐怖でシクシク泣く To whimper in fear 彼女はボーイフレンドに捨てられた時、あまりの惨めさにシクシクと泣いた。 She wailed in misery ...
3
votes
1answer
147 views

Difference between ともあれ and とかく

According to ALC ともあれ とかく they look pretty similar and express "anyway, anyhow". I came across the following excercise where you need to choose between those two: ...
3
votes
2answers
368 views

Why does 皮肉 mean “irony”?

I gather that 皮肉 can literally mean "skin-meat." I also see that one definition for 皮 is "mask (hiding one's true nature);  seeming." So perhaps 皮肉 can be understood as "hiding the real meat," which ...
5
votes
1answer
289 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
269 views

Is 見物{みもの} derogatory?

To say something is a 見物, does it have a derogatory nuance like we are making fun of that person / that thing? If so, is it derogatory to the extent that even if I intended it as a fun joke it seems ...
8
votes
3answers
430 views

Is しまった an appropriate translation for “Oops”?

In the course of localising an app for the Japanese language I have been tasked with translating the Google-style error string "Oops", which will presumably be used as in Oops Please check ...
4
votes
1answer
153 views

Saying northeast, northwest, north-north-east, etc

What would the correct way to write and say northeast, northwest, north-north-east, etc? In Chinese, we put east and west first and then put north or south at the end, for example, 東北 for northeast. ...
5
votes
1answer
184 views

inter- and intra- prefix

What would one use for the equivalent of the "inter-" and "intra-" prefixes in English? e.g. intercity, intracity, inter-server etc I did a fair amount of looking around. 間 looks like it might be ...
10
votes
1answer
375 views

Difference between さよなら and さようなら

I just saw the word "goodbye" spelt as さよなら. Having clearly heard the long o sound before, I thought the word was misspelled. However, a quick online search shows both さよなら and さようなら being used. Is ...
1
vote
1answer
69 views

meaning of 蠢{うごめ}き[伸]{の}ばして?

It's taken from ひぐらしのなく頃に OP (lyrics can be found here ) I know the meaning of each individual word, but I can't really understand how it works in this context: 鏡の中で蠢き伸ばしてくる無数の手で
3
votes
4answers
157 views

What is the difference between 楽しい and 面白い?

Google translates both of them to be interesting. And which can be used for a funny guy?
4
votes
3answers
286 views

What makes に基づいて instead of に応じて the correct choice for this question?

I'm working on some example questions from my grammar textbook. One of them I listed below:  税金はこの表(  )計算されています。  ア)につれて イ)に応じて ウ)に比べて エ)に基づいて I'm unsure why 「に基づいて」is the only correct ...
8
votes
4answers
280 views

What is the difference in usage between 準備 用意 and 覚悟

The dictionaries translate these three words roughly as preparation/preparedness or ready/readiness. I don't think I undersand the subtleties of their usage. Not to mention できる also has another ...
9
votes
1answer
444 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
137 views

Help with a usage of 自慢

私は彼が自慢だ。 I'm Proud of Him 彼は私が自慢だ。 He is proud of me. I am confused by this pattern with 自慢. It kind of looks like 自慢 is being used as an adjective (?), but the definition in ...
18
votes
2answers
497 views

Can the suffix -人 be used to express heritage?

In English, if I want to talk about my Irish heritage, I would say "I'm Irish". I have an American passport, and I've never set foot in Ireland, but I still consider myself Irish. Both sides of my ...
12
votes
2answers
351 views

Different conventions for animal meat

After reading this awesome question, I got to thinking about different animal meat. Upon researching a little, there seems to be different conventions in referring to different meats. Using 訓読み ...
3
votes
1answer
122 views

「のれん代」(Goodwill) and 「のれん」 of 居酒屋

Is there any relation between 「のれん代」(Goodwill) and 「のれん」 of 居酒屋? And how about those kanji, are they using same kanji for both? If there are the same kanji, I would like to know their etymology, ...
4
votes
1answer
161 views

What is the meaning and etymology of the (slang?) word まめ?

私はあまりまめに書きませんが、ことばを学ぶのは大好きです。 I don't write that well, but I love learning the language. What is the etymology of the word まめ here and what specifically does it mean? My friend gave me this ...
7
votes
1answer
114 views

Usage of 腱 vs 筋

What is the difference between the following characters: 腱 vs 筋 (すじ) Both translate to tendon (as in the connective tissue between muscles and bones)
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Does “おつまみ” (otsumami) mean “snack” or “rice crackers” or “crunchy snack” like chips and peanuts, or something else entirely?

This is a word I learned by reading and not by studying or in conversation with Japanese. After learning the kana years ago I had occasion to fly with JAL and the pre-meal snack was a little packet ...
5
votes
1answer
172 views

の要領で as “in the same way as”/“in the manner of” vs. のように

Full text is over here. This is part of the description of how 茄子餃子{なすぎょうざ} is prepared at a particular restaurant: 天ぷらの要領で水で溶いた小麦粉をつけて中火の油で揚げる。 If の要領で was replaced by のように, would there be any ...
6
votes
1answer
146 views

What is the difference between 口元 and 口?

When talking about the body part (not, for example, entrances/exits), what is the difference between these two words. Based on looking at these two pages (for 口 and 口元) I'm guessing that the ...
3
votes
1answer
116 views

Is the term 舞妓 used in all of Japan, or only in certain dialects?

The English language article on geisha says Apprentice geisha are called maiko (舞子 or 舞妓), literally "dance child") or hangyoku (半玉), "half-jewel" (meaning that they are paid half of the wage ...
3
votes
3answers
223 views

'Hearty' in Japanese

How would one say 'hearty' in Japanese? As in hearty meal, for example.
8
votes
1answer
123 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, ...
2
votes
2answers
194 views

前 as a counter word?

お客:寿司を五人前届けてもらいたいんですが。 寿司屋:かしこまりました。 Is 前 being used as a counter word here? If so, what meaning of 前 is being assumed as a counter--perhaps the serving placed "before" a person?
8
votes
1answer
190 views

かかったためしない - how can this be translated?

I encountered the following sentence in a comic book which I could not make sense of. The comic strip depicts a character using a simple bird trap and saying: 「長年やってるけどかかったためしないなあ」 The first part, ...
5
votes
3answers
220 views

Why use 数年 in あれから10数年?

My question is on 「あれから10数年」. My understanding is that this translates to roughly, "It's been 10 years since then." The dictionary says「数年」 means "several years" or "a number of years". How does ...
4
votes
2answers
203 views

What does 血のしょんべん mean?

I'm trying to figure out what 血のションベン means. I understand the individual words and literal meaning. So assuming it doesn't mean "bloods urine", what does this mean? Perhaps the full sentance is ...
8
votes
2answers
274 views

What しかりだ does mean?

I need to know what しかりだ does mean. I couldn't find over internet a satisfactory meaning. It is from a manga called Saint Seiya. Here is the whole text: 黄金聖闘士 十二人とはいえ まだ幼い者が かなり多い シルバーセイント ...
3
votes
2answers
242 views

Is ruby text essential?

I am trying to understand whether the ruby text in ancient scripture is essential to the meaning of a verse, or if the scripture can be understood without it. For instance, can this verse: be ...
7
votes
1answer
167 views

What's the difference between 平行 and 並行?

They both seem to mean "parallel". In my プログレッシブ dictionary, it seems to point to the former being the more mathematical sense of the definition (two co-planar, non-intersecting lines), while the ...
0
votes
1answer
160 views

How to say “It's not a lie if you believe in it” in Japanese [closed]

Eijiro doesn't have the definition so I thought I'd ask here
5
votes
1answer
149 views

What's the difference between いつだって and いつでも?

Pretty simple, like the title says, what's the difference between いつだって and いつでも? I can tell there's a little difference, but it's so very difficult for me to pin down.
7
votes
1answer
81 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?
11
votes
3answers
311 views

神様がある vs. 神様がいる

I was wondering if there's a difference in usage between 神様がいる and 神様がある. In both cases, I mean specifically the meaning "There is a God", either as a statement of the kind "God exists", or as in ...