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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2answers
373 views

What separates the different ways to ask a question in Japanese (何, どう, どんな, etc.)?

It's been something I've been thinking about for a while, but could never answer in a more concrete way. This is most apparent when I compare the functions of 何 and どう. I know that 何, どう and どんな are ...
8
votes
2answers
204 views

What is the difference between 「一応」and 「一時的に」

I wrote the sentence: 一応、私の日本人妻の親と同居しています。 The appropriate word to use is 「一時的に」as suggested by a native speaker. However, when I asked the difference between the two words, I wasn't given an ...
7
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2answers
271 views

For body: 身体 or 体

体{からだ} and 身体{からだ} seem to be used interchangeably, is there a nuance difference between them?
1
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1answer
198 views

What does 'hikarian' mean?

'Hikarian' (full name '超特急ヒカリアン') is a Japanese anime that I was in fond of when I was a child, but I have no idea what does 'hikarian' mean. Oxford dictionary tells me that 'hikari' has only one ...
2
votes
1answer
202 views

Can 依存はない mean “no objection”?

I'm having trouble understanding a translation I've encountered in Makino and Tsutsui's Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese grammar, under とする1. The original sentence is as follows: ...
6
votes
1answer
124 views

影 vs 形 vs 形状. What's the difference between them?

I've been reading a text and all three of these come up 影 vs 形 vs 形状. I know they mean shape/figure, but is there a more nuanced difference between them? I can see the logic of where they are in the ...
3
votes
3answers
338 views

How does one give directions in Japanese (e.g. to a cab driver)?

I already know some things, like 「最初{さいしょ}の道{みち}を右{みぎ}に曲{ま}がって」 and the like. However, unless one knows the exact moment to shout 「止{と}めて!」 then one would need to know how to say things like "it's the ...
3
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1answer
1k views

How do you say “to ask for” in Japanese?

How do you say "to ask for" in Japanese?. For example: He asked his boss for a raise. We ask for great revival. Is "仰{あお}ぐ" fine? In particular, I want to use something that's natural and ...
6
votes
2answers
180 views

What is “koto” used for?

I know "koto" means thing, but I've seen it used like this in my Self-Study Japanese book: Nihon no koto ga yoku wakarimasu ka. and Chiimu no koto o kangaete imasshita Does this mean Japan's thing ...
6
votes
1answer
264 views

What difference is there between そろそろ and もうすぐ? (if any)

そろそろ and もうすぐ can both be translated as 'soon', but I feel they have different uses and connotations. My take on it is that そろそろ is slightly more formal and has more of a meaning of 'It's about ...
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2answers
307 views

How to express “Eternal/Endless Love” on an engraved bracelet [closed]

In a fanfiction i am writing, one of the characters who was born in Japan gives her girlfriend a bracelet she had made, as a sign of her nationality there is an engraving in japanese which, when her ...
3
votes
2answers
181 views

Difference between こんにち and きょう

My dictionary says 今日(きょう) is a special reading. My textbook presents it in the third lesson, so I'm guessing it's a normal pronunciation. So... what's the difference between 今日(こんにち) and 今日(きょう)?
3
votes
4answers
468 views

What is a word for “participation” that resembles “kameseru”?

According to the article "On Being Late to Work in Japan | 遅出" (linked from this post at The Workplace): The word for participation – kameseru – has a special significance which also explains why ...
3
votes
1answer
144 views

Difference between 区別 and 差別

What is the difference between 区別{くべつ} and 差別{さべつ}? I looked them up in my Japanese to Chinese dictionary, but the dictionary defines them to be "difference", to put it literally.
7
votes
1answer
386 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 ...
13
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2answers
1k views

Which is the “official” kanji for さい, 歳 or 才?

Well if I'm not wrong, usually when a word has multiple kanjis one of them is selected as the "main" or more commonly used one. But is it true that 才 and 歳 are both the "main" kanji for さい?
14
votes
3answers
418 views

What is the difference between 蔵, 倉, and 庫?

The word 【くら】 can be written with any of the kanji 蔵, 倉, or 庫. However, WWWJDIC lists them all under one entry, defined as: (n) warehouse; cellar; magazine; granary; godown; depository; treasury; ...
1
vote
2answers
128 views

What is the “one type” being “wiped away” in this sentence?

As part of a larger block of text, my JLPT textbook has this sentence: 私{わたし}たちは、コトバに対{たい}して一種{いっしゅ}のぬぐいがたい軽視{けいし}、軽{かる}く見{み}る傾向{けいこう}が一般{いっぱん}にあるといっていいかもしれません。 I'm specifically confused about ...
6
votes
1answer
186 views

この間 pronunciation

Probably a very simple question for those more familiar with Japanese language. How この間 are usually pronounced? Dictionary gives both このかん and このあいだ, I was wondering which one is most likely to be ...
0
votes
1answer
210 views

What does 持った mean?

If context is needed, please consult this previous question. So, there's a bunch of verbs related to "持っ" but how can any of them evolve to 持った?
3
votes
1answer
212 views

How is “rack” (as in billiards or pool) expressed?

In pool/billiards, "to rack" means to set up the game by placing the balls into the triangle frame. What is the corresponding (technical) term in Japanese if any? I came up (via circumlocution) ...
9
votes
2answers
283 views

Etymology of とんでもない

Where did とんでもない (meaning "not at all" or "outrageous!") come from? Could it be 飛んでもない? ("will not even jump/fly" in a similar way how "When pigs fly" is considered a remark for something ...
3
votes
2answers
277 views

What's with all the possible kanji for とる?

Skimming through the options my IME presents for とる, I'm seeing a whole lot of choices, including the following: 取る 撮る 録る 執る 摂る 捕る 獲る 穫る 採る 盗る While I've seen 取る ("to take") and 撮る ("to record") ...
4
votes
2answers
436 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
455 views

What's the difference between the に祈る【いのる】 and を祈る【いのる】 forms?

What's the difference between the に祈る and を祈る forms? Like what's the difference between (1.) and (2.): うまく行くのに祈ってくださいね。 うまく行くのを祈ってくださいね。 EDIT: What's the difference between the ように祈る and のを祈る ...
1
vote
1answer
178 views

What does 死者は何も語らない mean?

As stated in the topic, what does 死者は何も語らない mean, maybe as an idiom? The phrase is from a sentence in a novel, the speaker being a woman talking to a girl. As a background, the girl is getting revenge ...
2
votes
0answers
74 views

Is the Japanese verb 'ちらばります’ an intransitive verb or not? [closed]

Is the Japanese verb 'ちらばります’ an intransitive verb or not? Thanks!
8
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
115 views

さて vs. そして: When should you use one or the other?

The title pretty well summarizes the question. さて vs. そして: When should you use one or the other? How are they different? To me, they come across as being used very similarly, at least when at the ...
3
votes
1answer
529 views

Does「いとこ違い」mean “first cousin once removed” in Japanese?

In Japanese, how do I refer to my mother's cousin? She and my mother share the same great-grandparents. My mother's cousin's mother was the older sister of my mother's father (my maternal ...
6
votes
2answers
168 views

Does the use of 百足 as ateji for ムカデ come from calquing “centipede” (or a cognate)?

The English word "centipede" refers to basically the same type of disgusting creepy-crawly arthropod as the Japanese ムカデ. Sometimes, ムカデ is written in kanji as 百足. This is an obvious case of ateji ...
4
votes
1answer
805 views

The different meanings of “life”? 生気/生活/ライフ/生命/一生/人生/命

I was looking through a dictionary and came across 生活. My original question was Is this the difference between 生気/生活? 生気 would be like an idea of life. more abstract 生活 would be ...
13
votes
4answers
880 views

Am I coming or going? 戻ってくる vs 戻っていく

A little while ago I was in a shop, and about 5 minutes after I left, they phoned me to tell me I had left my USB stick there. I said I would head back and pick it up. I used 戻{もど}って行{い}く to mean ...
3
votes
1answer
127 views

Is there a difference between 平和 and 平安

Is it like 平安 is used mainly when talking about the 平安時代 or in terms of historical peace?
7
votes
4answers
973 views

Have you tried XYZ before?

I English I can ask somebody if they've experienced or sampled a food or drink, or even an activity with this verb: Here try this and tell me if you like it. I tried koregusu once but I didn't like ...
7
votes
2answers
203 views

How does 話{はなし}が噛{か}み合{あ}わない work?

I saw this phrase discussed on esaura.cc 話が噛み合わない 'There's a gap in their conversation.' 'They can't meet on common ground.' 'They have been at odds with each other.' 'They have not been ...
2
votes
2answers
294 views

How do you express “In exchange/In return”?

I am trying to figure this out, but online searches don't seem to be helping. In particular what I'm looking for is something like "In exchange for helping you, please help me" or put more simply "In ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

What is シ●ブ, and why is it censored?

The other day on the train I saw this advertisement for some tabloid, with headlines all over it, as they do: I'm trying to figure out what シ●ブ愛人{あいじん} is. 忍{しのぶ}愛人{あいじん}? "Sneaky lover"? Assuming ...
6
votes
1answer
147 views

Interrogative for only two choices?

This is a quick one. I read in the dictionary that どれ is only supposed to be used when there are three or more choices. What word should I use if I have only two choices?
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2answers
1k views

Did the Japanese have a word for surrender before WWII?

I had always thought that the Japanese didn't have a word for surrender before WWII. It seemed to be plausible given their culture. However, I can't seem to find any solid evidence of this. Is it just ...
6
votes
2answers
352 views

Difference between 間【あいだ】 and 間【ま】

What is the difference between the words 間【あいだ】 and 間【ま】 ? Both seem to have the basic meaning space or time interval.
3
votes
2answers
169 views

What is the ど in やけど?

Given that やけど means "burn", it seems likely that the やけ part is 焼け. What about the ど, though? (The kanji for やけど - i.e. 火傷 - don't help, because those characters are obviously 当て字, and would ...
3
votes
2answers
124 views

In technical usage, is there any difference between 間投詞 and 感動詞?

デジタル大辞泉 gives the following definition of 間投詞: 《interjection》「感動詞」に同じ。 It also gives the following definition of 感動詞 (emphasis added): ...
4
votes
1answer
198 views

Why are 来る and する irregular?

I know that there are more irregular verbs than just this, but their changes are mostly euphonic and not really of any interest to me. What I would like to know is why 来る and する have developed the way ...
5
votes
3answers
203 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) ←→ ...
2
votes
2answers
310 views

Please help me understand [予習]{よ・しゅう}

tl;dr The word 予習 is strange to me. Is its usage related to cultural difference? Does the user's knowledge of the material have something to do with it? I've always had trouble understanding ...
4
votes
1answer
129 views

What's the difference between 降{ふ}る and 落{お}ちる?

Things I've seen go with 降{ふ}る are rain, snow and leaves, e.g. 雪が降る。 I'm thinking 降る is used for small and light things. So, perhaps 'feathers' could be used like so 羽が降る, but apples would be ...
8
votes
3answers
871 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
386 views

I am struggling with the sometimes conflicting uses of 先

Rikaisama's definition of 先 includes meanings like previous; prior; former; some time ago. However it also includes meanings such as front; ahead; the future; destination. I am struggling to make ...
6
votes
2answers
278 views

What may be the difference between the usage of チャンス and 機会 ?

What may be the difference between the usage of チャンス and 機会 ? For example: 1) これは機会だぜ! 2) これはチャンスだぜ!