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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5
votes
1answer
187 views

“You and I both know full well” = 「二人ともよく知っている」?

I'm writing a section of a relay manga for Hokkaido University's Manga Research Society. How you do you express "You and I both know full well..." and "our actual skills" in formal お嬢様っぽい Japanese? ...
-4
votes
1answer
119 views

Translating “僕は神様”

I initially thought that 僕は神様 meant "I am God", but when putting it through Google Translate, I've instead received "My God" as the English translation. Is the latter equally or more likely to be the ...
3
votes
2answers
381 views

Meaning of the phrase 「体幹の見切りと筋肉の凝固弛緩その隙間」

I've been reading 魔法使いの夜 and stuck with this sentence -「体幹の見切りと筋肉の凝固弛緩その隙間。」. I completely cannot grasp the meaning from it, so I'll try to break it into parts and translate them. 「体幹の見切り」 - the ...
2
votes
2answers
171 views

What could リル mean in this situation?

I'm reading a children's story called きつつき商売. Here's an excerpt: 『音屋』 それだけでは、なんだか分かりにくいので、きつつきは、そのあとにこう、書きました。 「できたての音、すてきないい音、おきかせします。四分音符一こにつき、どれでも100リル」 I'm assuming リル is some sort ...
6
votes
1answer
123 views

Why is the き in 充電器 器 not 機?

A charger is a machine. Why is it 器 not 機?
6
votes
1answer
175 views

When is 兄弟 interpreted as “siblings” and when is it interpreted as “brothers”?

I know that people often ask [兄弟]{きょうだい}いますか but does this mean "do you have siblings?" or just "do you have brothers?". Since the answer would be different in either case: (Has a sister) "No, but I ...
4
votes
1answer
80 views

Is there any difference between 講義 and 講演?

According to my dictionary both of them mean "lecture". But is there any difference between them in nuance?
10
votes
1answer
494 views

How do 自他 triplets of related verbs work?

I thought this had been asked before (possibly by me), but I couldn't find it. I'm wondering why for certain verbs/words, instead of just a 自他 pair, there is a triplet (or possibly more) where two of ...
2
votes
1answer
332 views

Need help with the superlative form of my sentence

I need a bit of help with my Japanese. If I want to say: Castle X is beautiful. Among all the castles in the world, castle X is the coolest. Is this sentence written correctly? しろ Xの ほうが ...
8
votes
2answers
357 views

Is 君 (きみ) obsolete as a way to call your romantic partner?

In many love songs, the singer calls their partner 君 (きみ). But is this used by couples in real life, as of 2013? Should this word be considered obsolete, or is it still seeing some use outside of the ...
4
votes
3answers
313 views

How would you say “A has the meaning of B” or “A conveys B”

For example, if I was trying to tell someone that in English when we say "sake" it already has the implication of it being "Japanese sake", so have the "Japanese" is redundant. My English brain wants ...
0
votes
1answer
108 views

What does これも at the start of a sentence mean?

I have found a dictionary definition of これもまた, (meaning roughly "this is also") so I'm assuming that this is a shortened version of it. What troubles me is I can't find it without the また, so I wonder ...
0
votes
1answer
153 views

Do 親切な (taisetsuna?) really exists?

From a basic Japanese book I'm reading, I found that word in a vocabulary table. Now I'm having problems finding that word using Google, jisho.org, etc. I can find 大切な (taisetsuna) and that kanji ...
-1
votes
1answer
74 views
4
votes
1answer
184 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
1k 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
97 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
159 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
5k 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
227 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
247 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
156 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
238 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
220 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
272 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
408 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
229 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
247 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
346 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
287 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
297 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
116 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
227 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
1k 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
288 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
296 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
276 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
539 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
144 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
549 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
220 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
279 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
160 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
119 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
224 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
321 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
292 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
303 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
309 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 ...