15
votes
1answer
1k views

Does ごめん really mean sorry?

Normally ごめんなさい is translated as sorry or excuse me, but that seems like a translation for non-native speakers. In the same way, しつれいします can also be translated as excuse me or pardon me. But it really ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

What does ただいま actually mean?

I was wondering what the literal translation really means. I've seen it translated as I'm home but I've also seen it in a few situations where the person wasn't arriving home.
7
votes
1answer
926 views

When trying to convey 'apparently', when do you use, だそう, and when do you use そう?

I have seen both だそう and そう written at the end of a sentence to convey "apparently". Do you use だそう when trying to convey "according to" (によると)?
6
votes
3answers
433 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.
3
votes
3answers
465 views

善くも as opposed to よく

I found this line in the song,”三年目の浮気”: よくいうよ 惚れたお前の負けだよ How can you say that...you fell for me and lost At first I thought it was the よく meaning often, but someone told me it was an ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

〜ものだから 〜もの What are the differences?

What is the connotation when using 〜ものだから and 〜もの in a sentence? In my text, they state these examples: The first set is 〜ものだから: 上着を脱いでもいいですか。 暑いものですから。 Can I take my jacket off? I'm feeling ...
1
vote
1answer
201 views

Differences between 出るand 去る when expressing someone leaving

When expressing "to leave," as in "I left the store," or "I can leave the country," is there a difference in nuance or meaning between the verbs 出る and 去る? まあ、少なくとも、この国を出ることはできるな。 Well, at ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the difference between ですから, だから, それで、それでは?

I think they have the same meaning: therefore. But my teacher told me they were slightly different. So can you help me distinguish them and how to use please?
3
votes
2answers
586 views

Pronunciation of W

I often see the alphabet W being transcribed or pronounced as "ダブル" rather than "ダブリュー" in Japanese, and I think that in most cases, that was not what was meant. Indeed, there seems to be a practice ...
4
votes
1answer
174 views

Can we use すら without negation?

From what I understand, すら is commonly used with the negative conjugation (~ない, ~なかった) of verbs. For example: 「ひらがなすら書けない。」 I expected (him) to be able to write hiragana. But even hiragana, (he) ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

anata no koto suki vs anata ga suki [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the こと in sentences such as あなたのことが好きだ? What are the guidelines of omitting particles? It is possible to say both of these: あなたが好きです あなたのこと好きです The ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

What are some good ways to say “how to spell” in Japanese?

I wanted to know the correct way to spell a compound word in Japanese, and was wondering if there is a verb that correlates to "to spell" in the Japanese language. I found 綴る, but was told this is ...
6
votes
1answer
216 views

Subtitle symbol

My understanding is that a subtitle is expressed with the symbol 〜 in Japanese like this: Main Title ~ Subtitle Main Title ~Subtitle~ I am not sure about whether there is supposed to be a ...
1
vote
2answers
95 views

Translation for 食べ物を腐らせずに保存する

Saw this in my textbook. The translation is "to preserve food from decay". I get it, but I am not clear about the ず after 腐らせる. Where is it coming from?
2
votes
1answer
230 views

The etymology of the word バックシャン

What is the etymology of the word バックシャン? I understand it commonly refers to a woman beautiful only from behind. See this definition- 女性のうしろ姿が均整がとれて美しいこと。また、その女性。多く、前から見ると失望するような 場合にいう。 I ...
8
votes
3answers
800 views

What does ワソマソ mean?

I'm trying to translate some of the signs in the anime FLCL, and I came across this sign on the side of a train in the first episode: ワソマソ 出入口 The second part means "doorway", correct? But what ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

What does ちがいます。 mean?

I saw this translated in the first episode of FLCL as "It's wrong.", but checking the translation, I get "Different." Could someone clear this up?
6
votes
2answers
220 views

Numbers and Counters

I am still in a very early stage in learning Japanese, and just I have just learnt some numbers and my first counter words, such as the ones for telling time and まい. Do you ever use "regular" numbers ...
4
votes
1answer
166 views

Is を[noun]に, as in を条件に, a common construct?

I was a little confused by the following sentence because 条件 is a regular noun, but looking at examples I see that it means "on the condition of [object]": 財政危機におちいっているギリシャは、 ...
2
votes
2answers
434 views

Does V~たりする include the verb in a “perfect” sense or “varying” sense?

Does V~たりする include the mentioned verb in a "perfect" (specific) sense or "varying" sense? For example, in the sentence 「映画を見たりした。」, is (1) or (2) a more accurate depiction of the meaning of the ...
2
votes
1answer
394 views

difference of 将来(しょうらい) and 未来 (みらい) [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Difference between ゆくすえ, しょうらい and みらい Is there any difference between these two words? I first came across 未来 in a PS3 game (FFXIII-2) and after a bit of digging, I ...
9
votes
2answers
266 views

Varying word order for stylistic effect

Sometimes, for stylistic or rhetorical effect, one wants to delay mentioning a word/concept until the end of a sentence. For example, it's often best to save the punchline for the very end: I was ...
5
votes
1answer
326 views

What are the rules of using に and で with regard to 住む and 勤める?

I am going over the cases when に and で are used with location. According to the "Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar", に is used when something exists in a specific location (page 299) and で is used ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

The meaning of and difference between ~を中心に and ~をめぐって

What is the meaning of and difference between ~を中心に and ~をめぐって? Space ALC defines ~を中心に as "with a focus on" and ~をめぐって as "centering on", but I'm having trouble figuring out the meaning and ...
9
votes
2answers
415 views

Kanji 何: why is it missing in 今なにしてる (facebook text in status editbox)?

I had the impression that 何 is pretty common kanji and that it is used in situations as above (after all, 今 is there, so it is not that it wanted to be hiragana-only). Do I understand it right that it ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

What is the etymology of どんちゃん騒ぎ?

WWWJDIC defines it as this: どんちゃん騒ぎ【さわ】 (n) merrymaking; high jinks; spree 観光客は町中飲み歩いてどんちゃん騒ぎをした。 The tourists painted the whole town red What is the etymology of this word? Is it in common ...
4
votes
1answer
626 views

Ruby text in Documents

Note: I know they might not strictly be interchangeable, but I might end up using "Furigana" and "Ruby text" in an interchangeable manner in this question. Hi all, I'm in the process of writing a ...
6
votes
1answer
181 views

Is ノシ considered 絵文字?

My friend ended a letter thusly: あとでノシ ノシ symbolizes a waving arm. Is this considered 絵文字 or does it have a different name?
3
votes
2answers
168 views

Are most counter words made up of two parts? What are those two parts called?

When looking at counter words, there seems to be a part that has a number, and a part that stays more or less the same. For example, the counter words for hours of a day are ichi-ji, ni-ji, san-ji. ...
9
votes
1answer
412 views

understanding hōgejaku — an archaic imperative?

I would like to understand this Zen calligraphy: ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a logic behind the different endings when counting things in Japanese

So far I don't see any logic to it. It seems like it's just something you have to memorize, or is there a trick that I'm missing. Update To clarify, I'm not so much questioning the existence of the ...
11
votes
2answers
491 views

What's the difference between どうしたらいい and どうしていい?

Particularly in the following phrases, what's the difference between どうしたらいい and どうしていい? The following both seem to mean something like "I don't know what to do": どうしたらいいか分かりません どうしていいか分かりません ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the most common usage and meaning of もったいない?

もったいない (勿体無い)(勿体ない) can mean "what a waste!" / "too good". Apparently it is originally (?) a buddhist term meaning “The essence or quality of the thing does not exist,” and supposedly has been ...
3
votes
1answer
220 views

Is まい as in あるまい really only used in literary texts or TV?

My understanding --admittedly limited-- is that in Japanese, people say as much as they can with as little words as possible. So I wondered why ないだろう would be used in everyday speaking instead of まい? ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

What do you mean, “In Japanese there are no words for ”I’m suffering“”?

Today I noticed this article about eating disorders in Japan, which I got to via the News on Japan site. The first line jumps out at me. Supposedly, in an interview, a 25 year old Japanese woman ...
1
vote
1answer
494 views

At what level should we be able to understand Yojijukugo?

In my experience, Chinese language learners are introduced to these 4-character phrases at an early stage (around Chinese 3 in my high school); what I want to know is there a certain aptitude level ...
7
votes
1answer
768 views

Why do some kanji have furigana that are not valid readings?

In my text I read the sentence: あなたが体験したよりもっと[巨]{おお}きく、もっと深くさせてくれる力があるからだ。 (furigana is from the text) I understand 大きく, and I understand some words with 巨 like 巨大. However, when I looked up ...
9
votes
2answers
370 views

(noun) です vs. がある when either is appropriate

~するつもりです ~するつもりがある ~する予定です ~する予定がある These are just two examples. Obviously you can't stick in any noun, but I don't know if these fall into some well defined class either. Anyhow, ...
2
votes
2answers
271 views

Different versions of より?

Here is one definition for より: より (adv,prt) (1) from; out of; since; at; (2) than; (3) other than; except; but; (4) more; I see that one of the definitions of this word is "more". Is より一層 a ...
4
votes
2answers
681 views

Does だけが mean “but only” or “not just”?

Earlier today I saw this sign: 煙{けむり}の行方{ゆくえ}。本人{ほんにん}だけが、他人{たにん}事{ごと}だった。 The English is different enough that I think we can mostly ignore it for the purposes of this question. It helpfully ...
5
votes
3answers
409 views

Does 切った mean to “cut out” or “cut from”?

I was pretty sure that 切{き}った meant something was cut from something else. So ケーキから一人分{ひっとりぶん}を切{き}った would mean, "one piece was cut from the cake." However, I came across a usage which, at least at ...
9
votes
1answer
878 views

Ancient practise of sneaking into women's bedrooms…?

I was looking up the meaning of スマ婚{こん}, when my mouse happened to roll over the kanji 婚{こん}, and this definition popped up in Rikaichan: 婚 よばい ancient practice of creeping at night into a woman's ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the rules determining the use of the dash in katakana?

As explained in this question, a dash character is used in katakana as an extension of a sound. First, what exactly is this character called? A "nobasu mark"? Anyway, I saw this sign in Shibuya the ...
6
votes
1answer
191 views

What does 勝つべくして勝った mean?

I came across this phrase while looking at the meaning for べく: 勝つべくして勝った It seems to be a set phrase, but I'm not 100% on the meaning. To win in order to win? To try really hard to win? To be ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

When to use “もっと” vs “より”

Giving examples if possible, what's the difference between e.g. もっと大きい and より大きい to mean "more (than)"/"bigger (than)"? In what situations would you use もっと over より and vice versa? For instance, why ...
12
votes
1answer
218 views

What is the significance of a large く character in literary texts?

I am currently reading an early story by Tanizaki Junichiro in Japanese. I have come across both the hiragana く and ぐ written twice the size they usually are, taking up the same amount of space on the ...
5
votes
2answers
940 views

Which readings would you use to pronounce people's names?

I'm confused whether it is normally appropriate to use On-readings or Kun-readings when dealing with people's names; I'm fine when its just two character names; I just make a logical deduction in my ...
1
vote
1answer
142 views

Different permutations of 気 [closed]

Lots of words/expressions/phrases use 気 in one way or another. For example 気をつけて, 気味, 気になる, 気がつく, 気がする, 天気 etc... Is there a reference somewhere for the seemingly more "interesting" phrases (like the ...
5
votes
5answers
784 views

Meaning of 気持ちの持ち方まで問題にしている

I'm having trouble determining the meaning and nuance of this sentence. Can you help me out? [技術]{ぎじゅつ}といっても、上手か下手かだけではなく、その技術を使う人の気持ちの持ち方まで[問題]{もんだい}にしているのです。 I think the closest I've been able ...
7
votes
0answers
4k views

What is the difference between お元気に、お元気で、気をつけて? [duplicate]

I want to say hello to a friend I haven't seen for a long time, and end my message with "take care". All of お元気{げんき}に, お元気{げんき}で and 気{き}をつけて mean "take care", so which one suits my case? How should I ...

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