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
3answers
365 views

Evil twins and other tropes

I was trying to talk about films and (marvel) comics the other day, and stumbled upon "evil twin". Sure, I can translate it verbatim, but that usually works badly for such fixed expressions. And then ...
5
votes
1answer
307 views

Understanding “よりを戻す” and “止めておこう”

I don't think us getting together tonight is such a good idea. やっぱり今夜、よりを戻すのは止めておこう。 I would like to understand this sentence better, specifically the (idiomatic?) expression, "よりを戻す." I ...
6
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
248 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
464 views

In modern usage how do Japanese natives regard the differences between 外人, 外国人 and 外人さん?

As a near native speaker of Japanese, I find it annoying to be called 外人 since it seems to imply that I "know nothing about Japan" (outsider). I much prefer 外国人. In modern usage, how do native ...
3
votes
1answer
166 views

Is メリー mainly used in the set phrase メリークリスマス?

Is the gairaigo メリー mainly used in the set phrase メリークリスマス (Merry Christmas!) or can it be used without the クリスマス to mean "merry", such as 私はメリーです to say "I am feeling merry"? There's also メリーゴーランド ...
5
votes
1answer
290 views

Meaning of -化 in context

I don't understand what the -化 suffix in the following sentence means for a word like カリスマ, or why fearing it can lead to early retirement. Can anyone shine some light? ...
5
votes
1answer
163 views

しゅうと/シュート - The great equalizer

I was watching the movie Mr. Baseball the other day. Several times during the movie they talk about しゅうと which they describe as "the great equalizer". (Could possibly be しゅうとう, but their dialog does ...
8
votes
2answers
165 views

“乗せる” vs “乗っける”

Good afternoon all, I was wondering when someone gives someone a ride (bicycle, car, etc), what's the difference in nuance between using the verb "乗せる" and the verb "乗っける"? For example, I was ...
11
votes
4answers
744 views

What's the difference between いいえ and English's “no”?

In "Japanese for Busy People I" page 2 (kana or romaji edition) it says that いいえ is 'virtually the same as "no"'. It sounds like there are some differences, but they want to omit mentioning them for ...
6
votes
2answers
295 views

Art: What is オブジェ and what is not?

Here is how Wiktionary defines オブジェ in the context of art: 表現の対象となるもの、前衛美術では,幻想的効果のために取り入れられる物体。 My very hesitant attempt at a translation: It depends on the represented target, but in ...
3
votes
1answer
238 views

Meaning of 真逆, how it is different from 逆

[真]{ま}[逆]{ぎゃく} (not [真]{ま}[逆]{さか}, which is an interjection standardly used) is another 若者言葉, or an expression that is used mainly by young generation (with low education level) that makes me feel ...
5
votes
2answers
269 views

What is the difference between いろいろ and もろもろ

Both mean 'various, all sorts of', but is there some subtle difference or not?
10
votes
1answer
387 views

What is the meaning/usage of いざ?

Will someone please explain what this word いざ means? I've found several definitions, but I'm very unclear on what it really means and its usage. I've heard it mostly in the following ways: ...
4
votes
2answers
353 views

The different types of pain and injuries

I'm lacking a range of vocabulary that allows me to express different kinds of pain. And since I'm on this theme I might as well included injuries in this question. It seems that everything can be ...
4
votes
2answers
156 views

入社 equivalent for a research internship

When writing in some formal Japanese CV (学歴/職歴), it is common to be asked to put each job/university/etc. on a single dated line, with a second line to indicate when one ...
3
votes
1answer
164 views

Buddhist facilities

I am working on Japanese texts describing Buddhist temples in South-East Asia and there is quite a number of words I can't really translate in English. Here is a list with my tentative translations (I ...
7
votes
1answer
200 views

動作 as opposed to 作用

The linguistics text I’m reading has a sentence with this fragment: 「動詞の表す動作・作用が[…]」。 Consulting dictionaries just made me more confused; what’s the contrast between the two in this context? “Action” ...
5
votes
2answers
524 views

“Dyke” and “Femme”

Warning! This question contains at least one, possibly, derogatory word. I appologise if readers are offended. A friend of mine asked me to translate a passage from a poem in British English into ...
3
votes
2answers
155 views

What is the first meaning of たたき台?

たたき台 means a springboard for discussion. According to my dictionary, this word's first meaning is "chopping block". On Google Images, it does not look like the plastic/wood board I use to cut ...
6
votes
2answers
253 views

Questions about ありたい

心がいつも美しくありたいです I want my heart to always be beautiful. 心がいつも美しくして欲しいです (Incorrect) 心がいつも美しくなりたいです I want my heart to always be beautiful.(?) My Japanese friend wrote the ...
2
votes
1answer
149 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) ...
7
votes
4answers
392 views

word search: voluntary pause between desire and action

Some years ago, I read that Japanese has a word (or idiomatic expression) that means roughly: The action of voluntary interposing a pause between the moment you desire something and the moment you ...
9
votes
2answers
293 views

Terms for Japanese/Western name order

Does anybody know of a standard term to describe Japanese and Western name orders (for example, when filling a form): John Somelastname ← "Western name order" Somelastname John ← "Japanese ...
5
votes
1answer
135 views

How can I express “and/or”?

When stating two things e.g. A and B , and not counting the possibility of "neither", there exists A, B and A and B. To express all of them at once, "and/or" is commonly used. What are the ways to ...
3
votes
1answer
132 views

What's the difference between 両方 and 双方?

What's the difference between 両方 and 双方? I am definitely more acquainted with 両方, so I guess it is used for a wider variety of things, but could anyone tell me the specifics of what they can or cannot ...
4
votes
3answers
242 views

What role does よかった play in this exchange?

It's from twitter. hetusa: 福岡県筑後、羽犬塚から行方不明になっていた叔母(73才)が発見された、と知らせがありました。 itoi_shigesato: よかった。 hetusa: ありがとうございました My feeling is that it says something like 'just so'. Also, it common to respond ...
6
votes
1answer
234 views

苦手 in describing dislike of people

率直に言って彼女が苦手なのは、彼女はまず最初に他人の助けを求めるからです。 Frankly speaking, I dislike her, because the first thing she does is to ask other people for help. I would like to better understand the quality of ...
4
votes
2answers
407 views

Slang definitions of ハゲ

私に命令するな。何様だこのハゲ。 Don't tell me what to do! Who the fuck does this idiot think he is? Besides meaning bald, or a bald/balding person, when cursing, does ハゲ also just become a generic curse ...
3
votes
1answer
238 views

Appropriateness of the word 膣外射精 in average adult conversations?

In discussing the marriage of Jin Akanishi and Meisa Kuroki, and why many young celebrities in Japan seem to fall into shotgun marriages, I wanted to use an equivalent for the term "withdrawal ...
7
votes
2answers
134 views

Dismissing an expectation

What can be said when I need to dismiss an expectation? Here are some examples of what I mean by "expectation": I ask someone what time it is, then I remembered that I'm actually wearing a watch. ...
6
votes
2answers
159 views

Is その always or only occasionally a demonstrative adjective?

The following Japanese sentence was translated with その as "the": その 仕事の一部を誰かにやってもらったほうがいい。 You should get someone else to do some of the work for you. while I translated it with その as "that": ...
1
vote
2answers
165 views

Defining a particular 系

http://mainichi.jp/life/kimochi/archive/news/2012/20120205ddn013070029000c.html The article above, about how a girl wants to be loved, is entitled 愛され系  I am wondering which definition of 系 ...
7
votes
1answer
165 views

The difference between 皮膚【ひふ】 and 皮【かわ】

What's the difference? I got told that 皮膚【ひふ】 only works for mammals (and humans), and 皮【かわ】 for other animals too.
10
votes
1answer
183 views

Fun with synonyms - “flattery"

What are the difference in the following words meaning flattery / to flatter: お世{せ}辞{じ} 追{つい}従{しょう} おべっか 胡{ご}麻{ま}をする 阿{おもね}る 諂{へつら}う 煽{おだ}て(る) 美{び}辞{じ}麗{れい}句{く} Which ones are honest, sincere ...
5
votes
1answer
184 views

Fun with synonyms - “freeze”

I'm a little confused on the difference between 凍る 【こおる】 and 凍える 【こごえる】. From what I've researched, it seems like 凍る focuses more on the physical process of something freezing, and the result being ...
7
votes
1answer
175 views

Difference between 創立、設立、樹立

Can anyone explain the difference between these words? They all basically mean "to set up / to found", and from what I've researched, it's all very 微妙 to me.
5
votes
1answer
98 views

Help with an expression that uses お笑い vocabulary

突っ込みどころ満載 I just have to butt in here. / I'd love to put my two cents in. I am having a hard time figuring out this expression. I see it uses vocabulary particular to お笑い, but I would ...
3
votes
3answers
164 views

What are the particular words for the first iteration of things?

Does anyone know the sorts of items for whose first iteration Japanese people have special names? The only example I can remember at the moment is for the first leader or, to be precise, (and reveal ...
7
votes
2answers
230 views

Any books or websites dedicated to Japanese tech/IT language?

I work in IT in Tokyo, so most of what I do doesn't require interaction with our Japanese customers, but every so often we get that one phone call where someone wants something explained, and I can ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I differentiate between feet and legs?

Feet are 足, and legs are also 足. Is there a word or method with which I can easily talk about one and not the other? And if not, why is there no word for feet in the Japanese language? Caveat: I ...
5
votes
2answers
229 views

Expressing neighborhood in Japanese

Something I have often stumbled on is the expression of "neighborhood" in Japanese. For most uses I find that 近所 works well. However, this usually seems to refer to a closer proximity than one would ...
3
votes
2answers
557 views

How do I convey “As you all know”?

Having been trying to write a "sakubun", I must say that I had some trouble to find a reliable translation for the phrase "as you all know" such as: As you all know, the education system in our ...
3
votes
1answer
339 views

Why is 自分 used instead of 私?

For example: 自分の名前が呼ばれたとき、私は自分の耳を疑った。I couldn't believe my ears when I heard my name called. Would it be appropriate if I said 私? When is it appropriate to use 自分? What is the difference?
5
votes
2answers
286 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, ...
-2
votes
1answer
117 views

attending court clerk in Japanese [closed]

What does 'attending court clerk' mean in Japanese? I can't find it.
3
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I improve my Japanese vocabulary, grammar, and listening skills? [closed]

I consider myself at a lower intermediate level. I want to improve my Japanese vocabulary and grammar in order to expand my reading and speaking skills. I know enough Japanese to get around and have a ...
1
vote
2answers
143 views

What is the word used for 'handheld'? [closed]

A handheld video game device E.g. PSP, DS
4
votes
1answer
172 views

Meaning and spelling of1対1で対応

In a recent email conversation, an acquaintance used the expression: 1対1で対応するそれは、大変だね。 Although I can vaguely infer the meaning of the expression 1対1で対応する (いちたいでたいおう), I am having a hard time ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

How to define 羨ましい?

羨【うらや】ましい! You're so lucky!/ I envy you!/ I'm jealous of you! As I learned it, 羨ましい as an exclamation does not carry much of a negative context, so perhaps a combination of these three ...