9
votes
2answers
4k views

Why is the Japanese currency pronounced “yen” in English?

I'm wondering what the reason for the mispronunciation of 円 in English came to be "yen". I can understand how some words like 東京 became "Tokyo", but "en" to "yen" seems strange. On a side note, why is ...
2
votes
2answers
11k views

How many translations of “ichigo” are there? [closed]

"Ichigo" can be the pronunciation of a person's name (as in the cartoon "Bleach"), or words meaning "strawberry", "one and five", or a part of the word "一期一会". Are there any additional meanings of ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

How can I translate Romaji text to English? [closed]

I have a block of Japanese-language text that has been transliterated to Romaji that I would like to translate to English. They are lyrics to a song. I have very little experience with the Japanese ...
4
votes
2answers
629 views

Can you substitute やっぱり with さすが in 「疲れているが、やっぱり行くつもりだ」?

In such a sentence as 「疲れているが、やっぱり行くつもりだ」, can you substitute やはり with さすが, with the meaning of "as one would expect", "also", "as I thought", "still"? How would the meaning change in this sentence? I ...
10
votes
1answer
203 views

How does the katakana lengthening mark (長音符) sort?

Usually, lists are collated using the gozyuuon order. But how does the katakana lengthening mark ー fit in? Given the following sequence of words, what order should they be in? What are the sorting ...
0
votes
1answer
240 views

Using だということ to mean “that”

I was helping to translate this passage on the website Lang-8.com: Lang-8をやって良かった点は、どんな間違いをしても恥をかかないようになったという点と、ネイティブの人でも英語を話すときに同じような間違いをするんだということに気付いた点です。 The great point about having used ...
1
vote
1answer
242 views

Is there a word or phrase for “run around”?

I'd like to know if there is a phrase similar to the English phrase of "running around". To explain more clearly, it should mean to be able to go out freely and do whatever one like's without being ...
5
votes
2answers
421 views

So what is the difference between の and こと in this sentence?

So Sawa in another thread says that こと cannot be used in the example below. Even though it performs the same function as の (as far as I can see). 料理が(前より(もっと)) {上手だ/上手い/上手になった/上手くなった} ...
5
votes
1answer
556 views

How to decide to use どうせ or しょせん?

The dictionary translates both どうせ (WJDIC) and しょせん (WJDIC) as "anyway / in any case / after all". But what exactly is the difference in nuance between them? For example, what is the difference ...
2
votes
2answers
227 views

Meaning of given character [closed]

I was just wondering the character shown in image is Japanese or not. If yes then can you please tell me the meaning of it.
6
votes
2answers
373 views

What does the phrase らしいと言えばらしい mean?

I am reading a book where one character describes another's reading habits, and the person she is talking to says 「らしいと言えばらしいな」. From context, he seems to be saying that her reading habits are ...
6
votes
1answer
176 views

How does adding なる make this phrase more “natural”?

Recently, I wanted to express the sentence "Maybe they'd make good pets." in Japanese. I initially tried to say it as such: [多分]{たぶん}いいペットでしょうね! I was then corrected by a native speaker, and he ...
5
votes
1answer
342 views

What is the meaning of ぶさかわ?

I was talking to my language partner and she mentioned ぶさかわ being used in situations when you want to describe something not pretty but nice. Apparently the word is relatively new and was first used ...
1
vote
1answer
142 views

Contraction of や, the variant of は

In an answer to this question, Tsuyoshi Ito correctly points out that you can sometimes change the consonant や, a variant of は, into a glide but sometimes you cannot. 聞きやしない 聞きゃ(ー)しない  ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

How do you say “You have gotten better at X”?

I was just reminded on another site that "being good at something" is expressed as [上手]{じょうず}/[上手]{うま}い, not いい. How do you tell someone they "have gotten better at something"? Xさん, 料理することがもっと上手いですね。 ...
4
votes
1answer
174 views

What is this や in 大きすぎや?

Is this a contraction along the same lines of なければ → なきゃ? 反乱を抑えるためだけが目的だとしたらリスクが大きすぎやしないか Also, can you contract 言えば or あれば?
9
votes
1answer
233 views

Can 一杯 be used to express the fullness of things without physical volumes?

According to an answer to this question, the word [一杯]{いっぱい} can be used to expess fullness; especially in relation to the capacity of whatever is containing the quantity. This, however, tends to ...
4
votes
1answer
707 views

Why does 古希 / こき mean 70 years old?

I found out that 古希 / こき can mean a 70 year old person, or the occasion of turning 70 years old. Apparently its etymology derives from an ancient song where this line occurs:七十古希 【しちじゅうこき】 which means ...
9
votes
1answer
278 views

What does ending a statement with 「っ」signify when coupled with 「・・・」?

I have seen a few sentences or exclamations that end a sentence with 「っ」. Specifically, I read the example below: ちなみに純文学について語れなんて言われても私には、無理・・・っ! The following sentence is listed below (However ...
8
votes
2answers
536 views

are there any concrete rules for using いっぱい たくさん and よく?

Of course I can use these but sometimes I am corrected by Japanese people when I use them in the wrong circumstance. For example, 「よくしってるやん」 = "You know it quite well don't you!" 「よくいきます」= "I go ...
5
votes
2answers
768 views

For how long has Japanese been the official language of Japan?

That is to say, in Japan, at which point in time, was it declared that official documents had to be written in the Japanese language? I am also looking for any additional information like where it ...
5
votes
1answer
260 views

What do you call these words?

I'm trying to figure out what the term is that describes words that look like this: やっぱり; さっぱり; うっかり; こっそり; ひっそり; ぐっすり; すっきり They seem similar to 擬態語、義質語、and 擬音語, but I think they have a ...
2
votes
1answer
541 views

What is the difference in terms of grammar between ~かける and ~っぱなし?

Spawned from What is the difference in terms of grammar between きり and っぱなし?; I started thinking about ~かける. Don't these essentially mean the same thing? I'm failing to see any difference except ...
1
vote
1answer
85 views

に[配慮]{はいりょ} vs. を[配慮]{はいりょ}

I want to know if there is any difference between に and を when used with 配慮する. Example sentences: [環境]{かんきょう}に配慮した家 環境を配慮した家 [相手]{あいて}の[立場]{たちば}に配慮する 相手の立場を配慮する Are they ...
5
votes
2answers
523 views

What is the difference in terms of grammar between きり and っぱなし?

I'm pretty sure there is a difference between the use of these two words. I came across the example sentences: 息子は、自分の部屋に入ったきり出てこない。 母は入院している父をつきっきりで看病している。 電車が混んでいて、東京まで立ちっぱなしだった。 I ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

What does the nakaguro (・) between these two words mean?

The first sentence on the Mac OS X article on the Japanese version of Wikipedia reads: Mac OS X(マック オーエス テン)は、アップルが[開発]{かいはつ}・[販売]{はんばい}する、Macintoshコンピュータ[用]{よう}の[現行]{げんこう}オペレーティングシステム (OS) である。 ...
4
votes
1answer
154 views

だが attached to the subject/topic

だが is often attached to the subject/topic of a sentence as follows, with my supposed translation. 近くに住む叔父だが, 最近具合が悪いと聞いている. 'Speaking of my uncle who lives close-by, I've heard lately he's isn't ...
6
votes
2answers
222 views

What rules should be followed when saying “we”?

I know that, in Japanese, you can say X達【たち】 or Xら (where X is a first person pronoun) to say we. However, what rules should be followed for choosing that "X". Can I use whatever I would use to refer ...
3
votes
1answer
197 views

How to translate standalone noun + a ます verb (in a heading)

I would like to know how to translate something like this: ドロボー、つかまえます where there is a noun followed by a verb in masu from without any other details. Is it something like "Burglar, I('ll) ...
2
votes
3answers
637 views

Introducing an indirect quotation with と

I find it difficult to translate Japanese indirect quotations into my own language partly because of different grammatical patterns and verb conjugation altogether; for example, what about this ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the original Japanese for “It's always the darkest under the lighthouse”?

What is the original Japanese saying meaning, "It's always the darkest under the lighthouse"? (reference)
1
vote
1answer
744 views

Beginner: book/ website for reading comprehension and vocabulary [closed]

I'm looking for a book/website that helps me to increase my reading skills and vocabulary. The only "problem" is, that it should be only written with hiragana and katakana. At the very best there ...
2
votes
1answer
186 views

The stylistic use of romaji for the particle “de”

Or other cases when a single word/particle is rendered in romaji within a sentence otherwise written in normal Japanese. This is something I first came across on cooking websites, for example: ...
2
votes
1answer
703 views

Japanese pun to pronounce an English phrase [closed]

I have once heard that, during World War II, when the American Troops invaded Okinawa, they wanted the Japanese civilians to surrender, and in order to let the Japanese say the phrase "I surrender", ...
6
votes
1answer
198 views

What's the difference between 赤ん坊 and 赤ちゃん

Are both words interchangeable? Rikai-chan defines them both as "baby, infant". So what would be the difference?
2
votes
3answers
462 views

Translation of 出証意 and 長官殿

These are from a patent related document and I can't understand very well. They are used like these: 1) 特許庁長官殿 2) 出証意2012 Can anyone help me?
6
votes
1answer
369 views

Does the expression 抱えて生きている always imply a situation with negative aspects?

I was studying the expression 抱えて生きている (literally "living while holding"?), and have found the best English equivalent to be "having to live with." In the English expression, the "thing" that one has ...
2
votes
1answer
775 views

The difference between ~ようだ, ~ように見える, ~ように思える and ~みたい

In a Japanese English grammar textbook, "seems" is translated as ~のように見える, for example: He seemed to have been ill. 病気であったように見えた。 I've also seen "seems" written as ~(の)ように思える in various ...
5
votes
3answers
824 views

Is it OK to have more than one が particle in a sentence?

If, for example, I wanted to say "I like the book that my sister gave me", would it be 姉がくれた本が好きです? I'm using Genki to study, but they don't seem to have any examples of this particular structure ...
6
votes
1answer
249 views

Why would you use まいります for rain? (降ってまいります)

I ran across this example sentence in a basic dictionary, but I can't figure out what particular meaning まいります has in this context. 雨が降ってまいりました。 Generally speaking, it's used as the humble verb ...
6
votes
1answer
230 views

Which つける do I use?

So I looked up つける and saw it can be written as: 付ける 着ける 附ける And they all seem to have the exact same definition: to attach, to join, to add, to append, etc. So are these "spellings" ...
7
votes
1answer
304 views

Why is the affixal 子 treated specially when abbreviating people’s names?

Often, names are abbreviated using the initial letter in romanization, or some random letter, like "A". However, when the name has an affixal 子, that part is often left, like "A子". I have not seen any ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

How and when do Japanese children learn kanas and kanji?

I wonder how exactly Japanese children learn to write. It may help a foreigner to know what is important to memorize or not. The only thing I know is that first of all, hiragana are learnt, and then ...
20
votes
2answers
737 views

Can the suffix -人 be used to express heritage?

In English, if I want to talk about my Irish heritage, I would say "I'm Irish". I have an American passport, and I've never set foot in Ireland, but I still consider myself Irish. Both sides of my ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the rules for saying “made of [blank]”

Take these words for example: 木{もく}造{ぞう}: made of wood; wooden and 金{きん}製{せい}: made of gold I have been under the impression that -製 is used for where an item has been manufactured ...
5
votes
2answers
845 views

What's the difference between 話せる and 話す?

I came across [話]{はな}せます in the Japanese WOTD chat room. あなたは英語が話せますか? Can you speak English? What's the difference between it and [話]{はな}します? (Googling got some hits, but they were from user ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Saying “to miss” (“I missed you over the weekend”)

What's the best way to say "to miss" in the sense of feeling a longing for something, or that something pleasant is missing? I understand there's [懐]{なつ}かしむ, but it seems to me that, like 懐かしい, is ...
3
votes
1answer
343 views

Why do Japanese titles often start with titles/appositions?

Sort of hinted by a recent question How would one express an opinion from the perspective of an inclusive group? . Japanese titles in books, songs, shows, etc. are accompanied with a title (status) ...
10
votes
3answers
473 views

What are the rules for substituting の with ん?

I've noticed that sometimes the hiragana の can be shortened to ん. For example, 部屋のなか → 部屋んなか (inside of the room) 俺のうち → 俺んち (my house) 俺のところ → 俺んとこ (my place) (More examples can ...
2
votes
0answers
83 views

why is “know” expressed as 知っています, and what does 知ります really mean? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is 知りません the negative form of 知っています? I'm posting the question as suggested by Zhen Lin and troyen. What that said, why is that? And a secondary question, when would ...

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