10
votes
1answer
357 views

How figurative can 姿 be?

I've always thought of 姿 as a physical form or shape, but I came across this passage from my book: 彼らの話から浮かびあがってきたのは、・・・・・{この人}の姿だった。 (I took just took out some descriptions of the woman they're ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Why are wisdom teeth called 親知らず in Japanese?

Why are wisdom teeth called 親知{おやし}らず in Japanese? The literal meaning seems to be something like "unknown to the parents".
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Why does 「やきもち」 mean to be jealous?

I've heard this word used quite a few times now, and I'm tired of pretending to understand it. Why does 「やきもち」 refer to being jealous? Is this a slang word? How do people use this word?
2
votes
2answers
1k views

How should I write “ikigai” in shodō?

I'd like to use ikigai ("something one lives for; purpose in life; raison d'être") for a calligraphy (shodō) work. According to Tangorin there are three possible ways to write this: 生き甲斐 生きがい ...
5
votes
1answer
142 views

When is 着ける used in context of clothes? (eg in comparison to 着る, する、履く)

I recently read that: 着る(きる)is used for the wearing clothes for either the upper half of the body (eg 上着)or the whole body in general. 履く(はく)is used for bottom half (eg shoes, socks, trousers)...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Is the “wa-particle” in katakana ワ or ハ?

Is the "wa-particle" in katakana ワ or ハ? (Just a quick question - I think I have seen both used, but if ワ is correct then I have just seen the results of a computer o/p automatically using ハ)
0
votes
4answers
2k views

Using “ha” instead of “wa” with QWERTY keyboards [closed]

Why is it standard practice to type "ha" when you are translating は{wa} using a QWERTY keyboard? This has always confused me. これは... is pronounced "Kore wa" but when you type it out you type "Kore ha"....
18
votes
1answer
544 views

When to read “その後” as “そのご”, “そのあと” or “そののち”?

I've recently been seeing あと as well as ご as Furigana on top of 後 in その後, but is there a difference in usage or meaning between the different readings? Looking at the Yahoo thesaurus, it seems it can ...
6
votes
1answer
209 views

The meaning and parsing of “はっといた”

In the Kanzen Master N2 listening textbook, there's the following sentence: 女: 昨日、はっといたんだけど。 Of which in the answers the correct reply was specified as: 男: その壁に? Man: On that wall? (?) ...
4
votes
1answer
343 views

Is 「~べくして」 related to 「~べき」 / 「~べく」?

How I understand it, ~べく, meaning "for the purpose of..." / "In order to....", is the conjunctive form of ~べき, which indicates something that should be done. たくさん本を読む べき (you should read many ...
7
votes
3answers
5k views

What does これ以上 (kore ijou) mean?

The whole sentence reads これ以上 シャレてる時間はない which is from the lyrics of this anime song. which, according to this website, means There's no more time to be fooling around I understand the first ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

How to say “Little did I/he/she/they know”?

I found a few examples at ALC, but still not sure about the best way to say it.
13
votes
2answers
878 views

Adjectives functioning both as イ- and ナ-adjective

This question has made me think about the class of adjectives, which can function both as イ- and as ナ-adjective, e.g. 大きい 大きな 小さい 小さな 真っ白い 真っ白な (etc.) 細かい 細かな 暖かい 暖かな 四角い 四角な (etc.) 柔らかい ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

〜しては is this a grammar pattern?

I was trying to translate this sentence: 僕はアルバイトしてはレコードばかり買っていたから、一日半働けばLP一枚買えるな、と思って働いていた。 I think I get the overall meaning as: Because I spent all my wages on records I went to work thinking "If ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the purpose of the suffix “さ” on adjectives?

What is the purpose of the suffix "さ" on adjectives like 美しさ and 多さ? The former is the title of an essay by Banana Yoshimoto, so I don't have much context for it. The book editors translated it as "...
9
votes
2answers
380 views

Are numbers part of romaji? (i.e. 1, 2, 3 vs 一二三)

Romaji is when you use the Roman alphabet to write out Japanese. I.e. you use "abc" instead of "あいうえお". Taking that one step further, what do you call it when you use "123" instead of "一二三"? My first ...
6
votes
1answer
128 views

~の時 vs ~歳の時: What's the difference?

When referring to a time where one was a certain age, are there any differences in meaning, nuance or usage between saying, for example, 18の時 and 18歳の時. I always thought you needed to have the 歳, but ...
3
votes
1answer
712 views

Why “to iu na no” instead of “de” or “no”?

So I'm watching this anime a couple of days ago and one of the characters were describing a group of people. He ended his description with "GIGN to iu na no inu". The subtitle says that meant: "Those ...
7
votes
3answers
594 views

[父]{ちち} vs. [乳]{ちち} — father vs. breast

Can one differentiate by pronunciation between [父]{ちち} and [乳]{ちち} (as for 雨 and 飴)? If not, does anyone have a reasonable explanation for why 父 and 乳 have the same pronunciation? It seems unlikely ...
7
votes
2answers
515 views

“Sunday this week” or “Sunday next week”

I am wondering about the history about the beginning of the week. Although some recent calendars start their week on Monday, "traditionally", the Japanese start their week on Sunday (so that 今週の日曜日 ...
6
votes
2answers
822 views

How to use に with “masu-stem (連用形 stem) + に + Verb” structure

Could somebody provide a bit more explanation, possibly giving correct and incorrect examples on how to use に with "masu-stem (連用形 stem) + に + Verb" as illustrated in the following examples? Both ...
4
votes
2answers
729 views

Please help me understand this grammar: ようになるだけではなくて

I'm having trouble understanding this grammar. Could someone please help? 「ようになるだけではなくて」 Taken from the sentence: 本を読めるようになるだけではなくて
14
votes
2answers
531 views

Different conventions for animal meat

After reading this awesome question, I got to thinking about different animal meat. Upon researching a little, there seems to be different conventions in referring to different meats. Using 訓読み (...
7
votes
3answers
346 views

How would you say “talking shop” in Japanese?

In English, when we say someone is "talking shop", we mean that they are having a conversation about a particular trade or skill that they're familiar with (usually because it's their profession), ...
9
votes
1answer
9k views

Onigiri and nigiri

I was reading this two articles: Onigiri wikipedia's article Nigiri explanation inside wikipedia's sushi article I first thought that onigiri was a type of sushi but it's not. It calls my ...
10
votes
2answers
685 views

What words are used for dolphin meat?

What words are used for dolphin meat? Searching jisho.org using "dolphin" in the English field listed several different words for dolphin, but no compounds involving meat. Neither the English nor ...
10
votes
2answers
18k views

How to say “also” or “too”

The sentence "I also ate in Tokyo" can mean three different things: (Aside from my friends who ate there), I also ate in Tokyo. (Aside from the other places where I tried local cuisines), I also ate ...
4
votes
1answer
110 views

What is the etymology of がらんと?

What is the etymology of がらんと, an adverb meaning empty or deserted?
1
vote
2answers
428 views

What does the construction “passive voice + ままに” mean? (~{ら}れるままに)

I generally know ~まま as used in the sense that something is left in a certain state, for example: 窓を開けたまま寝る. Does this have a different meaning or connotation when used following the passive voice? ...
7
votes
2answers
445 views

Expressing desire of a third party using したいそうです

姉は学校を卒業後は海外留学したいそうです。 ane ha gakkou wo sotsugyougo ha kaigairyuugaku shitai sou desu. My sister says that she wants to study abroad after graduating from school. I found this sentence ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

How to distinguish between passive and potential forms of the verb?

I've read that potential form of the ru-verb is formed by replacing る with られる, which is exactly the same for the passive form of ru-verbs. How can we tell the passive form and potential apart in this ...
13
votes
3answers
912 views

Why is “Xy” pronounced as “Ki Shi” in Xylitol「キシリトール」?

Why is "Xy" pronounced as "[Ki Shi]{キ シ}" in [Xylitol]{キシリトール}? I believe "Xy" can pronounced as "Zai", which is probably a valid sound in Japanese. I would like to know its etymology too, if there ...
4
votes
1answer
911 views

Meaning of 「そればかりか、〜Vーるというようなことさえ、始めはしない。」

I am struggling to grasp the meaning of this expression 「そればかりか、〜Vるというようなことさえ、始めはしない」It comes up in the following sentence. The English translation is my best effort but I am guessing from the context....
12
votes
1answer
426 views

How did 家, 手, and 士 come to be included in the names of professions?

When I look at the words for professions, there are usually kanji such as 員、者、長、師、屋 and such, that end the name. These appear to make sense to me; however, what about ones such as 家、手、and 士? For ...
0
votes
1answer
627 views

Beginners Japanese learning resources [closed]

I want to learn Japanese Language by myself. I googled around and there are some resources but due to the fact that I have absolutely no idea what I could be missing, I was looking for some well ...
4
votes
1answer
202 views

Making sense of the N1にN2 construction (「パンにバター」=「パンにバターをぬる」)

I understand from my previous question on the N1 に N2 construction that it is usually a phrase with omission of a verb (eg パンにバターをぬる makes パンにバター, which comes from パンにぬる and バターをぬる). If this is the ...
6
votes
1answer
205 views

Spotting the N1 に N2 construction (eg パンにバター)

I have recently come to the conclusion that the N1 に N2 construction (eg パンにバター)is more common than I thought. It is the only explanation I think of to make gramatical sense of the sentences below. ...
3
votes
1answer
254 views

What is よ doing as a connector before a comma?

I saw this as a comment someone posted on Google+ in response to NHK announcing a show: 本気{ほんき}なら地上波{ちじょうは}でやれよ、受信料{じゅしんりょう}返{かえ}せ I think it's saying "If this is really what you intend to ...
5
votes
1answer
163 views

What does “気結び” mean?

According to a (non japanese, but he spent lots of time in Japan) Aikido teacher I know, this is supposed to represent "an obligation bounding student and teacher". To be honest, I am a bit skeptical....
6
votes
2answers
412 views

Difference between verb types (verbal nouns, transitive & intransitive: eg 開始, 始める and 始まる)

All three of these words mean "to start", but what's the difference between them and where are they used?
7
votes
2answers
471 views

Where does the phrase 「ノリが悪い」 come from and what is the meaning?

What is this phrase 「ノリが悪い」? I've seen it in a few places, but I haven't been able to find it in a dictionary yet. I had first thought it meant that "the seaweed was bad". What is the meaning of ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Are times after noon expressed in military time?

How are times after noon expressed when speaking? I assume that if it's obvious from context that it's after noon, then people will just say 5時. But what if it's not obvious from context? My ...
23
votes
3answers
1k views

Kanji for native Japanese concepts: Kun'yomi spanning multiple morphemes

There are a few words, which are written with Kanji imported from China, but where the intended native Japanese meaning would prefer a different choice of Kanji. My favourite examples are 雷 vs. 神鳴り (...
6
votes
1answer
283 views

What does「新聞っぽい曜日」mean? Newspaperish? Commonplace? Routine?

This is a practice problem from a textbook on natural language processing: やってみよう:ブラウンコーパスのニュースとロマンスの 2 つのジャンルのデータを利用して、どの曜日がもっとも新聞っぽく、どの曜日がもっともロマンチックかを調べてみよう。 "Which day of the week is newspaperish?...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

How 「えい」 should be pronounced in the words like 英語, 先生, etc?

P.S.: I heard that 「生」 (せい) in the word 先生 can be pronounced either as [sei] or as [see]. If it is so, is there any semantic difference between these variants?
4
votes
1answer
411 views

Use of unit abbreviations in Japanese

Are unit abbreviations like mm for millimetres or % for percent used in Japanese? I've seen people translate those two words in to ミリメートル and パーセント respectively and that is what makes me raise this ...
4
votes
1answer
172 views

What is 我が身 and how is it justified in this sentence?

First off, I tried looking at the explanation here. However, the reasons for 我が家 don't seem to apply to 我が身. Here is the excerpt that doesn't seem to apply from Jesse Good's post: The above also ...
1
vote
1answer
94 views

What is the difference between 流体 and 液体?

I'm unable to understand the difference between 液体 and 流体. Both sound like "fluid" to me, while the latter sounds like "flowing fluid" (if that makes sense). I had thought there was only 気体、液体、and 固体. ...
0
votes
1answer
203 views

Translating contrasts with English expressions that not their naturally equivalents in Japanese

When translating how does one deal with contrasts best satisfied with English expressions that not the naturally translations from Japanese. In the following example: 現在の株式市場は、...
0
votes
1answer
303 views

How should we translate double negatives/negatives that are unnatural in English?

Is there a basic rule for translating negatives/double negatives that do not feel natural in English. The example I have been struggling is as follows: [TOPIXは29年ぶりの安値に沈んでいます。]この株価水準は、経営者が暴走し、...

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