5
votes
1answer
451 views

Sound mimesis (or 擬音語【ぎおんご】 or 擬態語【ぎたいご】) of ビ and シッ

Consider this panel: What do ビ and シッ represent? I'm conjecturing ビ is the mimesis for the raised finger, and シッ is the mimesis for the scarf as she turns around.
8
votes
2answers
951 views

How do you know when to use みな or みんな?

Are there any tips for deciding to write みな or みんな? If I'm not sure can I just go with 皆? Also, in speech is there a distinction made? If not, which pronunciation is more common in standard Japanese? ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

Why is gaikokujin more politically correct than gaijin?

While in English, the word "gaijin" is far more common than "gaikokujin", I've heard that in Japanese [外人]{がいじん} has been replaced by [外国人]{がいこくじん} for reasons of political correctness. What ...
4
votes
1answer
270 views

How do I read the kanji in this ad for mascara?

On the train yesterday, I came across this ad, which is just for some mascara or whatever: Sorry it's a little blurry. The text is 凛{りん}と際立{きわだ}つ艶ロング。 I'm just a little unclear on a couple of ...
12
votes
3answers
294 views

Is it appropriate to use [先生]{せんせい} when addressing a ski instructor?

Is it appropriate to use [先生]{せんせい}, either by itself or as an honorific after their name, when addressing a ski instructor? I'm not sure whether it'd be appropriate because: Using 先生 in this ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do some people use 分からない, when they mean 知らない? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How should I choose between [知]{し}る and わかる? I often get puzzled when I ask a question and the other person says 分からない or 分からん, when they seem to understand but they ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Reading of years

Years (Gregorian) can be read out in English: A – two digits at a time; B – each digit separately; C – full reading of the number. For example: 2012: "Twenty twelve"; "Two ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is water polite but ice not?

I was amused by, and interested in, this little sign on a water dispenser in a sandwich shop: The options are that you can have ice only, ice and water, or just water. What intrigued me was that ...
6
votes
2answers
396 views

What is the meaning of お気の毒に and how is it used?

Although the there are several definitions in the dictionary: my condolences that's too bad my sympathies What does お気の毒に literally mean? I'm guessing that it might have something to do with ...
11
votes
1answer
945 views

Why has を been spared but ゐ and ゑ been deemed obsolete?

According to When is the katakana form of wo (ヲ) used?-ヲ-used, を is almost always used only for the particle, and is usually pronounced o (お). There are some dialects where を is pronounced with a ...
6
votes
1answer
132 views

Are 勅 and 詔 simply synonyms?

I cannot find a clear difference between these two kanji: 勅 : Imperial decree (みことのり、ショウ) 詔 : Imperial edict (みことのり、チョク) The English definitions for "decree" and "edict" are so similar, I ...
10
votes
1answer
871 views

Reading fractions

In Japanese (and other East Asian languages), the denominator of a fraction is read as a part of the modifier to the numerator: 3分の5 'five that was divided by three' 'five thirds' This ...
8
votes
2answers
238 views

Prefixing `一` to numbers

It seems to me that 千 is exceptional in having it prefixed with 一. As for 一, 十, 百, they work together with 千 to describe the numbers from 1 to 9999, so they compete with one another, or are ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Difference between の代わりに and に代わって

I need help understanding the difference between の代わりに and に代わって. This is how A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar explains the difference: の代わりに cannot be used when "replacement" is ...
2
votes
1answer
151 views

How is 信じる being conjugated here?

信じようと信じまいと Believe it or not How is 信じる being conjugated here? I am unfamilar with the stem + まい pattern, if anyone could explain the ins and outs of that, or provide a more literal translation ...
6
votes
1answer
171 views

What is the origin of エンターティナー

Some people use the word エンターティナー to mean 'entertainer'. I suspect this word comes from the English word entertainer. But the accented vowel is "ei", rather than "i". It would be a better ...
3
votes
1answer
93 views

What is the origin of イレーザー?

There is a word イレーザー, which means 'eraser'. I suspect this comes from the English word eraser. But the "s" sound in eraser is not voiced in American English, and a closer approximation in kana will ...
2
votes
1answer
274 views

What is the underlying grammar in the difference between `足らない` and `足りない`?

Based on the comments from Tsuoyshi Ito's answer to Translation of 竜すらも恐るるに足らない, 恐るるに足らない/恐るるに足りない is a set phrase meaning "not worth fearing". Based on my understanding of 一段 verbs like 足りる, ...
2
votes
1answer
162 views

Translation of 竜すらも恐るるに足らない

The full text is... この魔剣があれば… メルヴィンの言うとおり 竜すらも恐るるに足らない… Is this a double negative? "Even dragons to be not afraid is not enough" = "Even dragons are [will be] afraid".
3
votes
1answer
154 views

Tense of どういうつもりだ…

The full sentence is: 反撃の機会は幾度もあった… どういうつもりだ… "There were many chances to counter attack... what is your intention". But the event took place in the past so why is it not どういうつもりだった… "What was ...
3
votes
3answers
428 views

How do I add an object to noun を します verbs?

When you want to associate a noun を します action (what English-speakers would call "verbing a noun") with a specific noun, what particles are used and where? For example, if I was saying "I study", you ...
4
votes
1answer
187 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
258 views

What is the etymology of 赤の他人?

彼は赤の他人だよ — He's a total stranger to me How did "red stranger" come to mean "total stranger" in Japanese? Is there anything that makes this expression make sense more than "That's just what it ...
1
vote
1answer
190 views

How does this で work?

日本女性で電車の中で化粧をする人を見ると恥ずかしいくて嫌な気持ちになる。 In my understanding, the で following 日本女性 could correspond here to the english "of," or "speaking of." Thus one interpretation of this sentence (though in ...
3
votes
1answer
227 views

Can 彼 be used as an indefinite pronoun like やつ or 男?

気取らない彼が好きです。 I like him, who doesn't put on airs. My first reading of this sentence was to assume that 彼 was referring to the boyfriend meaning of 彼, and thus my interpretation was "I like an ...
5
votes
2answers
321 views

Subject following verb?

I'm translating bits of Hyrule Historia to test myself a bit and I'm a little confused by this sentence structure. お面を使うリンク I'm inclined to say this translates to something along the lines of: ...
5
votes
2answers
480 views

How is 「なう」most commonly appended to verbs?

I read the other two questions on なう on this site, and I want to know what the most common way to add なう after a verb is. I've seen なう most frequently with nouns. This is supported by ...
8
votes
1answer
397 views

How difficult is it for Japanese to distinguish between 五日【いつか】 and 何時か【いつか】 in spoken contexts?

There are times when both 五日 (5th day of the month) and 何時か (someday) could be used I think. Does this become a minor problem for Japanese when speaking (no kanji to guide), or do they speak in some ...
14
votes
2answers
432 views

Why is “ゼロ” more popular than “れい”?

For the number zero, [零]{れい} is a Chinese origin word that is pretty much familiarized in Japanese. Nevertheless, it seems more popular to use the Western origin word ゼロ, which probably appeared ...
3
votes
4answers
499 views

How does this meaning of 笑えないかな work?

In this Bump of Chicken song, the line 笑えないかな is used a number of times. For example: 全て受け止めて笑えないかな If only I could just accept everything and smile. 誰かに優しく出来ないかな 全て受け止めて笑えないかな If ...
7
votes
2answers
21k views

How to write down sound of laugh in speech

I'm listening to some dialogues in Japanese and I write them down. I need to write down sound of laughter in sentence (speech) like in English for example Ha ha What I need should have notion of ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

In actual Japanese society, how often are second-person pronouns used?

My Japanese professor (I'm in first-year Japanese) advised us to primarily avoid the use of second-person pronouns like あなた or 君 or おまえ throughout the year, and essentially treated their utterance as ...
5
votes
1answer
223 views

Why do people say 小学校の時 or 中学校の時?

When reffering to the school days, people often say 小学校の時, 中学校の時. Even though this may not be wrong, they are shortened forms of relatively complex (redundant) structures. Thus, they are close to the ...
4
votes
1answer
151 views

Why do people say 未知数 when it is not a number?

Sometimes, people tend to use metaphors from arithmetics to refer to something in ordinary life. For example, to mention some claims or preferences common among people, the expression 最大公約数 'greatest ...
4
votes
2answers
334 views

Clarifying だから use at the end of a sentence

I was given this sentence: ここが、きみの クラスだから。 The explanation I was given is that the から at the end is used when giving information. What is the だ used for? What are other examples of だから usage?
15
votes
2answers
526 views

What are the rules for reading numbers before a foreign counter-word?

Is there a rule of thumb for knowing the reading of a number when it is written in western numerals, and is followed by a loaned counter-word? For example, how would you pronounce the "1" in 1セット? My ...
11
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the difference between なぜなら、だから、and なので?

I'm trying to get clarification on how to use these three pieces of grammar and whether or not they all hold some kind of "Because" meaning.
12
votes
1answer
326 views

Is there a keigo expression which can be translated as playing or pretending to do?

I have heard that, in former times, there was a very polite form of speaking in the form of, e.g., "the emperor liked playing to die" instead of "the emperor died". Is this true that there is a style ...
5
votes
2answers
470 views

What is the って in 連れてってくれる?

ALC can give several examples of this, not only in 連れてって: いつ私たちを湖に連れてってくれるの? When are you going to take us to the lake? これ、帰りに叔母さんとこ、持ってってちょうだい。Will you take this to your aunt on your way home ...
4
votes
1answer
128 views

Meaning of この延長線上にこそ、

Does X。この延長線上にこそ、Y。 have the same meaning as XなのでY ? Context: 今回、時間の制約が大変厳しい状況にありますが、[...]自動的なチェックのしくみを実現したいと考えます。この延長線上にこそ、新しい世代のより低コストな技術を安定的に評価できる体制が実現可能となります。
18
votes
6answers
826 views

How can I differentiate agreement with the person and agreement with the idea?

A zillion years ago, before I came to Japan, I took a short introductory course on Japanese. In it, they showed a video of a business meeting where an American businessman is speaking to a Japanese ...
5
votes
2answers
161 views

How does one know how to read 堪える? Is it 「こたえる」、「こらえる」 or 「たえる」?

The verb 堪える has three different readings: こたえる, こらえる, and たえる, and as far as I can tell they all mean "to bear, to endure, to put up with", with slight variations. Is there a way to tell which ...
10
votes
1answer
327 views

Difference Between べんきょう する And べんきょうを する

What is the difference between べんきょう する and べんきょうを する.
3
votes
2answers
769 views

Sentence ending に and のに compared to their non-sentence-ending form

Consider these: [A] 僕はいい仕事があったら美智子さんと結婚出来ただろうに [B] 僕はいい仕事があったら美智子さんと結婚出来たのに Is に in [A] related to the case particle に? Is のに in [B] related to the use of のに as a conjunction in ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

Can a Japanese person understand something written in traditional Chinese

If I didn't know any japanese, could I potentially communicate with Japanese people just by writing in traditional Chinese? I've heard and seen this in movies, how true is this?
5
votes
1answer
483 views

Is 胡 missplaced in the Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary? [closed]

I recently tried to look up the kanji 胡 in the Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary, which uses the SKIP method to look up each kanji, and I couldn't find it. It seemed to me a relatively ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the correct way to say: “where are you going?”

What is the correct way to say "where are you going?"? Is it: あなたはどこに行きますか or あなたはどこに行くの Also, can someone please explain that の in "あなたはどこに行くの"?
13
votes
7answers
6k views

Why are there 3 ways of writing in Japanese?

Why are there kanji, hiragana and katakana? Is there a logical reason behind this or just tradition?
9
votes
1answer
652 views

Making sense out of Japanese proverbs

I was never able to make any sense out of the following Japanese proverbs or idiomatic expressions: 豆腐の角に頭をぶつけて死んでしまえ。 'Hit your head against a corner of a cake of tofu, and die.' ...
17
votes
1answer
409 views

Politeness in examination questions

1) Why do Japanese school examination questions get more rude as the year gets higher? In elementary school ...してください。 or ...しましょう。 ... です。 ...ですか。 In junior high school to high school ...

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