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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1answer
266 views

When grandmas tell their kids お天道様がみてるよ, how do the kids know who お天道様 is?

I checked Japanese Wikipedia and お天道様 is an early Edo period word for the sun, as used in some kind of early modern popular religion that is not really described well at all. Anyway, I've never seen a ...
5
votes
1answer
163 views

Are 清酒{せいしゅ} and 日本酒{にほんしゅ} two words for the same thing?

As well as the several other kinds of Japanese alcoholic drinks I seem to have found two words which both mean the drink known in the west as "saké". Now I know 酒{さけ} can be used for many kinds of ...
3
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1answer
169 views

How would you use 化かす?

The dictionary says that it means 'To bewitch.' Could you please give an example of it's use and when you'd use it? Thank you immensely!
5
votes
1answer
390 views

How is となりのトトロ supposed to be perceived in Japanese?

How is the title of the well-known cartoon となりのトトロ supposed to be perceived in Japanese? What is the device behind the トトロ? Is it alliteration, word-play or something else?
4
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2answers
114 views

Meaning of 「臨徴す」?

I'm currently reading the novel 「学生街の殺人」by 東野圭吾, and on page 230 the following sentence is spoken: 「商店街の会費を臨徴して作ったんだろう?まさしく背水の陣だな」 The character is referring to all shop owners of the district ...
4
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1answer
212 views

Are the expressions 桜咲くand 桜散る only used for exams?

Those expressions mean respectively to pass and to fail an exam. I have the feeling that those expressions convey something that is not in the neutral verbs to pass and to fail. That is to say that ...
8
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3answers
391 views

Does うるさい have a “negative” connotation?

Is it true that when someone uses the word うるさい, it means that there is a feeling of "discontent" ? Like for example, we will take this sentence: "It will be noisy in the factory" "It will be ...
2
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1answer
156 views

Using を/に+伴う and meaning of 後接させる (+ 現場指示 and 文脈指示)

Here is the sentence (from the 日本語文法ハンドブック : 疑問詞が 「が」 「を」 以外の格助詞を伴う時はその格助詞の後にそのまま 「も」 を後接させます。 My guess : When the interrogatives are accompanied by a case-marking particle other than "が" ...
10
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3answers
477 views

Describing aptronyms (names that fit their owner)

I thought of this after seeing a news article about 星出{ほしで}彰彦{あきひこ}, who is an astronaut. Aptronym is a term for a name (often the surname) that fits a person's occupation or personality. A classic ...
6
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4answers
580 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
231 views

What's the difference between 舟 and 船?

They both mean "ship/boat". Are they completely interchangeable? Do they signify boats of different sizes or uses (people, cargo, etc.)? Is only 船 used in compounds to describe metaphorical "boats" ...
4
votes
2answers
273 views

Are “ピーナッツ” and “ピーナツ” both correct for “peanut(s)”?

I've just noticed that the usual word for "peanut" or "peanuts" in Japanese is "ピーナッツ" (pīnattsu), but the first spelling I found, from looking in the translation table in the English Wiktionary was ...
4
votes
2answers
419 views

Can と and な have the same meaning?

I was told that the following uses of と and な after 色々 were the same. 彼女のために色々と甘いものを買ってきた。I bought a bunch of sweets and brought them to my GF. 彼女のために色々な甘いものを買ってきた。 If this is true, is this an ...
6
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3answers
5k views

How many Kanji characters are there?

I have been searching around, but all the sources give completely different answers ranging from 2,000 to 50,000. So my question is how many Kanji characters that have ever existed since the dawn of ...
6
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2answers
264 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 ...
9
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2answers
354 views

What's the difference between 何【なん】 and 幾【いく】 when referring to amounts?

Is 幾 simply more literary/archaic than 何? Can 幾 only be applied to certain words whereas 何 is more versatile?
0
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1answer
188 views

Trying to lookup word or expression てんとてん

I can remember hearing this combination of sounds several times, and the way it's used makes me think that it's a part of a common phase or saying. Particularly I can point to two cases where it was ...
1
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0answers
280 views

How To Learn Japanese Vocabulary? [closed]

So I'm in the beginning stages of "Remembering The Kanji Vol. 1 (Frame 74)" and it just occurred to me; How do I learn vocabulary? Do I learn it in compounds like " 好" ? Or learn the single kanji that ...
5
votes
1answer
398 views

what exactly is “体言止{たいげんど}め”?

There is some discussion about "体言止め{たいげんどめ}" on the internet, but it is all in Japanese. My Japanese ability is too low to be able to read it, so I need some help. At the least, "体言止め" refers to ...
4
votes
1answer
177 views

Difference between 方法 and 手段

I was brushing up on some basic vocabulary. Asked what the Japanese equivalent of "the means (of doing something)", I would use 方法. However, they've used 手段. As far as I can tell, these are (fairly) ...
18
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4answers
1k views

Commonness of casual phrases like “あたし” and “ちっちゃい”

I came across a Japanese girl in Germany who talked using words like あたし instead of わたし, or ちっちゃい instead of ちいさい. When I asked her, she said that these words or usages of words are more common in ...
0
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2answers
225 views

Which way should you review vocabulary using flashcards? [closed]

Say I want to review a list of verbs, and I create a deck of flashcards, with the polite form verb (よみます) on the front and the English infinitive (to read) on the back. Is it better to review by ...
6
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1answer
225 views

人:difference between ひと and -うと

There are two readings of 人, as in these two examples: 恋人【こいびと】 and 素人【しろうと】 Why is 素人 (among others) the way it is and not しろひと or しろびと? Furthermore, 狩人 is かりゅうど. Why is the final mora voiced here? ...
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2answers
988 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:     ...
5
votes
1answer
210 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? ...
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votes
1answer
130 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
394 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
203 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
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1answer
126 views

Why is the き in 充電器 器 not 機?

A charger is a machine. Why is it 器 not 機?
6
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1answer
194 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
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1answer
85 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?
2
votes
1answer
342 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
395 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
376 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
127 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
171 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 ...
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1answer
80 views
4
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1answer
228 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
99 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
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3answers
175 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
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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
242 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
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2answers
258 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
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1answer
159 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
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1answer
287 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
257 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
276 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
437 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 ...
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votes
1answer
250 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.