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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926 views

What's the difference between 水 and 湯

I start by saying that I'm a beginner in Japanese and maybe my question will seem obvious to you. I've been told by Japanese people that there's a difference between 水 and 湯. I understand that 湯 ...
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2answers
1k views

How accurately can 使い be translated as “angel”?

On jisho.org, 使い is translated with words such as "errand", and the same holds true on translate.google.com. Neither site is offering "angel" as a suggestion. Yet in Matthew 1:20, the phrase: ・・・...
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3answers
657 views

How to negate “べき”? (ie. “should not”)

「食{た}べる」 can be negated as 「食べない」. 「美{うつく}しい」 can be negated as 「美しくない」. etc. etc. Can you negate 「べき」as in: 「明日は受験なので、勉強するべきです。」(Since you are taking a test tomorrow, you should study.) 「明日は受験なので、...
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2answers
341 views

Counter intuitive meaning of お開き

Apparently 開き means "opening" but お開き means "closure", which seems very counter intuitive. What is going on here? Are there any other similar cases in Japanese language?
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3k 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 ...
7
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3answers
597 views

What does 思いっきりどうぞ mean?

I heard this phrase a few times but I still can't grasp its meaning. Does it mean, "as much as you would like"?
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4answers
1k 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 ...
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3answers
825 views

うるさい written as 五月蝿い

This is a follow-up question to Does うるさい have a "negative" connotation. I've seen うるさい written as 五月蝿い. 現代では、is this form used often / at all? What does this have to do with flies (蝿【はえ】) in May? ...
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2answers
297 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 ...
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4answers
746 views

Is there a word for the type of onigiri that comes in the triangular wrap that keeps the nori fresh?

The term "onigiri" covers all kinds of rice balls, with or without filling, and with or without nori seaweed around it. Is there a specific term that only covers the one class of onigiri available in ...
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1answer
2k views

How is the “のです” working here?

目立つ事を恐れ、一緒でなければいけないという日本人が確実に減ってきているのです。 The strong feelings that Japanese have of being afraid of standing out and everybody having to do things together are starting to become less prominent. ...
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4answers
483 views

does anyone know of any o-words or go-words which are absolutely neutral?

Does anyone know of any o-words or go-words which are absolutely neutral (have no nuances of being polite / courteous / respectful / womanly / cute etc etc)? The only ones I'm aware of currently is ...
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2answers
851 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 +...
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2answers
385 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
206 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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435 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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427 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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224 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 ...
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358 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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691 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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302 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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189 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
148 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 ...
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2answers
352 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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351 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
260 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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3answers
441 views

Why does 腰抜け mean coward?

Why does 腰抜け mean coward? I see 腰 (waist) + 抜 (missing/losing) = 腰抜け (coward), but I fail to see how they add up.
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1answer
200 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
172 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
929 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. ある人たちの習慣に倣【なら】って集会を怠【なまけ】ったりせず、むしろ励【はげ】まし合いましょう。かの日が近づいているのをあなたがたは知っているのですから、ますます励【はげ】まし合おうではありませんか。...
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3answers
607 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
258 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
219 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 words?...
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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
355 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 master,...
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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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504 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 up,...
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1answer
388 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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753 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
155 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
383 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 ...
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1answer
652 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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1answer
810 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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277 views

Does 前提に mean “to require”?

I recently came across the expression 前提に: feature1はfeature2と同じく各コンテンツに分類用の識別子を埋め込む機能ですが、統制を重視したユースケースを前提に設計されているため柔軟さに欠けます。 'feature1, just like feature2, is a way to embed classification into ...
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274 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
385 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
380 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, ...
7
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1answer
277 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.