言葉. 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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801 views

What is the difference between 特殊 and 特別?

I've got two questions. Firstly, what is the difference between 特殊 tokushu and 特別 tokubetsu? Secondly, is it true that all these grammar forms are correct: 特別な tokubetsu na + [noun] 特殊な tokushu na ...
7
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2answers
376 views

Is the grammar of 心の冷たい人 idiomatic?

The phrase 心の冷たい人 (which is given by Japanese-English dictionary on OS X) looks wrong to me, but given that it's an example in a respected dictionary and confirmed by tens of thousands of Google hits, ...
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3answers
205 views

Is there an equivalent of 英会話 for the Japanese language?

I tried to quickly Google and search for this here, but couldn't find anything relevant. Basically I want to know whether there is any common word for Japanese conversation; e.g. in the context of ...
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2answers
426 views

What would be the most apt word in kanji, for “Animal world”?

Okay, that may sound a little confusing, and no, not looking for the name of a zoo or theme park here XD Essentially, simply put, I'm writing a novel, and for that, building a world around it. Yes, ...
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2answers
401 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?
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217 views

What is the origin of ポイ as in “タバコのポイ”?

I was trying to see how much of the writing on the signs in the park I could make sense of today and found something of interest. A sign stating what not to do in the park covered not littering and ...
7
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2answers
355 views

Is くろじん a word?

I used to call black people くろじん, either because I mistakenly read 黒人{こくじん} as such or because I heard it somewhere (or both), until I was told by another Japanese learner that こくじん is more ...
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2answers
634 views

What is the etymology of the word バレる?

What is the etymology of the word バレる, and why is it often written with katakana? ばれる(P); バレる (v1,vi) to leak out (a secret); to be exposed (a lie, improper behaviour, etc.) (behavior) ...
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1k views

Does なかなか (with negative verb) mean “by no means” or “considerably”?

WWWJDIC defines なかなか (with negative verb) as by no means But shouldn't it have been considerably ? By no means means 100% not considerably means like 85% not So does なかなか (with negative verb) ...
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2answers
294 views

Origin/etymology of こころ~ words

There are three unique words that begin with こころ~: 快い (こころよい)、 試みる (こころみる)、 志 (こころざし) What is the origin of these words in relation to "heart/spirit/mind", if any??? Or is this just something ...
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3answers
158 views

How to tell よく (often) apart from よく (good)?

Whenever I see 「よく」, I have to ask someone whether it means "often" or "good". For example, here is a sentence from my book: クラスへ行って、先生の講義をよく聞いて、ノートをよく取り、それをよく覚えれば、試験でいい点がもらえる。 I thought all ...
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1answer
147 views

What does 八 have to do with [八つ当たり]【やつあたり】?

For the longest time, I had never seen yatsuatari written down. I always figured it was written 奴当たり, which I figured would have been derived from 「あの奴に当たる」 or something. Imagine my surprise when I ...
7
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2answers
338 views

私は米国人です vs 私はアメリカ人です

They both mean I am an American but which is preferable in everyday speech and in writing, and why? Is the former more formal than the latter?
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2answers
336 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 ...
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2answers
255 views

How is the Kanji of 口実 related to the meaning?

口実 noun: excuse;  pretext Literally translated it seems to mean mouth-truth. Most excuses seem to avoid the truth, so what is the logic here?
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2answers
1k views

What is the meaning of 女子力?

What is 女子力? I see it often recently, and understand that it does not worth discussing seriously about it. I know it is a stupid word. Just curious how people are interpreting it.
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1answer
191 views

What is the meaning of 国の母?

I'm attempting to translate parts of my 完全マスター N2 textbook just for the practice, and even though I've already gotten past this section, the meaning of [国]{くに}の[母]{はは} still eludes me. I don't like ...
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2answers
167 views

What does the word 「っぴい」mean?

Here is the sentence containing the word. おことわりだね おまえみたいな 弱{よわ}っぴいと組むなんて! やるんなら おれひとりでやらあ。 In my opinion, I think it would be transformation of the word 弾き or 'player' but I'm not uncertain if it ...
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1answer
907 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. ...
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3answers
605 views

低い鼻 vs 短い鼻 and 高い鼻 vs 長い鼻 ?

After reading this thread: When would you use 低い vs 短い, I'd just thought of something. I once heard that a long nose (witch / Pinocchio) is called 高い鼻 and not 長い鼻 whereas the opposite (short nose) is ...
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1answer
253 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 ...
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1answer
217 views

What may be the difference in the usage of 自尊心, 誇り and 自慢?

I read a paragraph and it contains the word 自尊心. I want to know the meaning of 自尊心. Dictionary says 自尊心 = pride. Is it the same with 誇り? or 自慢? What may be the differences in the usage of these ...
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2answers
471 views

What's the difference between “巻寿司” (makizushi), “海苔巻き” (norimaki), and “巻物” (makimono)?

It seems there are three words for the same Japanese food item, a kind of "sushi in a long roll": "巻寿司" (makizushi) "海苔巻き" (norimaki) "巻物" (makimono) Are they all identical / synonyms? Do they ...
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1answer
1k views

What's the meaning of 上 in this sentence?

I am not sure what 上 means in this sentence. I know that 上 means above or on, but I think the meaning here is different because it does not mention anything above or on the sushi. ...
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2answers
354 views

Word play: “Easy peasy” analog

We have: Easy peasy + lemon squeezy (+ additional rhymes) I've come across this expression: らくしょう + かいしょう + ??しょう Where I was unable to clearly identify the third element, but it sounds ...
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1answer
1k views

What is the female equivalent for 「ご主人様」 or “master?”

In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe novel, the character Aslan orders centaurs and eagles to chase a wolf, saying, "He will be going to his mistress." He is referring to the wolf's female ...
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2answers
205 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 ...
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1answer
480 views

Board / Card game expressions

I wanted to talk about a board game recently, and realized that I am missing all related vocabulary. Before you shout foul and throw dictionaries at me, these expressions are very difficult to look ...
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397 views

How to ride an escalator

I came across this phrase in a story book: エスカレーターを乗りつぐ It puzzled me because I thought 乗りつぐ meant 'to connect with (flight/train etc)'. Is this the normal way to talk about getting on/riding ...
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2answers
737 views

Why does 留守{るす} have two almost opposite meanings?

Why does 留守{るす} have two almost opposite meanings? One is "to keep the door" or "to look after home" and the other almost opposite meaning is "not at home".
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1answer
153 views

I can't find a translation for 言やいー

I would very much appreciate it if someone could tell me what 言やいー refers to. All I know is that 言 has something to do with speaking or words, but that alone doesn't help. Is it slang? The entire ...
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4answers
380 views

Where exactly in your body is “心”?

Where in your body is [心]{こころ} located? When people refer to [心]{こころ} do they refer to their heart or brain? I assume heart as the literal translation, but I've heard both so was wondering what the ...
7
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1answer
716 views

which instruments use 弾く and which use 引く?

I was wondering how do we identify what instruments may be used with the verb 引く, or 弾く, or both? If both 引く and 弾く can be used is there any difference in nuance between one vs the other?
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1answer
376 views

_っ_り form adverbs

I keep seeing these onomatopoeic adverbs popping up with the form: _っ_り. Some examples include ぐっすり、ぴったり、すっきり、etc…. Is there a name for these adverbs, and why are they in this specific form?
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273 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 ...
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1answer
369 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: ...
7
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1answer
375 views

What's the difference between 心, 念, and 意?

I can say that after much research on this, I'm more thoroughly confused than before I started. I'm talking mostly about when they are used as suffixes, but the concept applies when they stand alone, ...
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1answer
264 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.
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1answer
607 views

What is the literal meaning of  ”いいかげんにしろ!”?

Some translations for the expression いいかげんにしろ! are: that's enough!;  cut it out!;  get a life! If the correct kanji of this expression is 好い加減, what is the literal meaning of both 好い and 加減 in ...
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5k views

How do I spell “So! So! So! So! So!”?

I've heard people say "So! So! So! So! So!" (or possibly "Sou! Sou! Sou!" or maybe using "z" instead of "s" - I'm bad at hearing) when laughing in agreement. When middle-aged women speak Japanese ...
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1answer
278 views

What does 意外と mean?

I heard the expression [意]{い}[外]{がい}といい in a video. I know that 意外に expresses something you didn't expect: 意外においしいよ。 It's delicous! (and I didn't expect that) Why did I hear 意外と instead of ...
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1answer
2k 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 ...
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1answer
342 views

How different is 冷やかす from 冷やす? And 散らかす from 散らす?

I've long known 冷やす as the transitive counterpart of 冷える. But thanks to one question here, I've realized that there is another version with an extra syllable in it: 冷やかす. Although 冷やかす seems to have ...
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170 views

what is the difference in the nuances / usage of 気に病む and 心配する ?

I was wondering what is the difference in the nuances / usage of 気に病む and 心配する ? (E.g. If I want to tell my friend not to worry about a test (albeit an important test), is it more appropriate to use ...
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1answer
2k views

Common 四{よ}字{じ}熟{じゅく}語{ご} that use/are 当{あ}て字{じ}

Are there any commonly used known 四{よ}字{じ}熟{じゅく}語{ご} that use/are 当{あ}て字{じ} besides the following? Just crossed my mind, and now I'm curious. 滅{め}茶{ちゃ}苦{く}茶{ちゃ}, 夜{よ}露{ろ}死{し}苦{く}, 無{む}理{り}矢{や}理{り}
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1answer
171 views

Origin of the word 烏有

I saw the phrase 烏有{うゆう}に帰{き}す, which means to "become nothing" as if turning to ashes. The word "烏有" means nothing, but its parts are 烏 (crow) and 有 (to be). How did 烏有 come to mean nothing? When I ...
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1answer
226 views

What's the difference between 向こう and 向こう側?

My textbook (An Introduction to Modern Japanese) introduced 向こう as meaning "the other side of" and 側{がわ} as meaning "side". On page 76 it states that 側 can be added to some, but not all, of these ...
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1answer
94 views

Difference between 土日 and 週末

Well just as the title indicates, I've heard in a game the word "土日" used and translated as "weekend", and wanting to learn the word since I realized I didn't know it yet, I checked on Jisho, but the ...
7
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1answer
428 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; ...
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1answer
965 views

Difference between 自分 and 自分自身 and how to reflect their difference in English

Consider: 自分について書きたいことがあります。 = There are times that I want to write about myself (lit: things concerning me) 自分自身について書きたいことがあります。 What is their difference? I think the second sentence ...