7
votes
2answers
271 views

Reading 男 or 女 as ひと

Why is it that in Japanese sentence one sees 男 or 女 with furigana that says ひと? Furigana is supposed to help clarify the meaning of a kanji character, but using ひと doesn't seem to help clarify ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

what's the difference between ところで and ちなみに ?

what's the difference between ところで and ちなみに ? Are they always/often/seldom interchangeable?
20
votes
6answers
4k views

Why the “H” is pronounced as “Sh” in some cases?

My first question is about the rules of pronunciation of the letter "H". Some people pronounce the "H" as if it were "Sh". For example, "Shijutsu" instead of "Hijutsu", or "Shiyori" instead of ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

When and how did USA and UK come to be written as [米]{べい}[国]{こく} and [英]{えい}[国]{こく}?

I know of four countries with a specific kanji besides Japan: China, the Netherlands, the USA and UK. The last two must be quite recent (I presume 19th century) but I wonder on the details and context ...
29
votes
7answers
2k views

What is the most natural way to refer to someone when you don't know their name and don't have a close relationship with them?

I wanted to mention to a female staff member in a shop that I visit every day that I had seen their photograph in the Shibuya shop. I was going to say: 渋谷店であなたの写真を見た。 ..but あなた seemed too intimate. ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the difference between -さ and -み suffixes to make a noun out of an adjective?

For example, both 悲しさ and 悲しみ are glossed as “sadness” in JMdict. What's the difference? According to A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, 〜み “is more emotive and concrete characterization of some ...
13
votes
4answers
295 views

History of 十干(じっかん)and modern uses

As I was studying vocabulary today, I happened to come across the titular 十干 which are as follows: 甲(こう)• 乙(おつ)• 丙(へい)• 丁(てい) •戊(ぼ)• 己(き)• 庚(こう)• 辛(しん)• 壬(じん)• 癸(き) There's a somewhat lengthy ...
18
votes
1answer
670 views

How did 革 “leather” come to mean newness?

How did the character for "leather" - [革]{かわ / カク} - come to also convey the meaning for "newness"? 広辞苑 lists one of the definitions (under かく) as あらたまること, あらためること, and we can see this in some of its ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Can totemo be used with daisuki or daikirai

totemo means "very" suki means "like" daisuki means "like very much" If I really like something can I use totemo totemo daisuki desu?
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What's the difference between ~てください and ~ていてください?

This question has come up on the side of at least a couple of other questions, but I don't think it's been definitively answered, so let's see if we can come up with something solid. After going ...
8
votes
2answers
206 views

sometimes だけ gets mildly confusing..

If someone says それだけ、食べないでください, does it mean: Please don't eat only that [eat other things too!] or [You can eat anything you like but] only that, please don't eat it. What about それだけ、たべてください? ...
7
votes
3answers
498 views

Is 日語 a good two-kanji stand-in for 日本語 (“Japanese language”)?

This is a bit of an ad hoc question, but still should be well within the scope of JLU, so here goes: While trying to come up with ideas for our new logo in the meta group (subliminal message: go and ...
7
votes
2answers
285 views

Origin/etymology of こころ~ words

There are three unique words that begin with こころ~: 快い (こころよい)、 試みる (こころみる)、 志 (こころざし) What is the origin of these words in relation to "heart/spirit/mind", if any??? Or is this just something ...
5
votes
1answer
226 views

~まくる as a suffix, what does it mean and how is it used?

I found this phrase 「家族に突っ込まれまくった」 and I believe it means "[my] family really stuck it [to me]" but I'm not familiar with the suffix まくる. Any examples and clarifications would be appreciated.
46
votes
1answer
8k views

What is the difference between the nominalizers こと and の?

As Derek mentioned in his postscript, both こと and の are nominalizers that can turn a verb into a noun. ピアノを弾く【ひく】。 I play the piano. ピアノを弾く【ひく】のが好き【すき】です。 I like playing the piano. ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Is Japanese particularly good for punning/spoonerisms? If so, why?

Today I was laughing my heads off reading puns at 言いまつがい, which is a collection of user-contributed accidental puns and other mistakes. It struck me that I never experienced this kind of ...
8
votes
2answers
176 views

What is the meaning of かい and き in Google's Summer Solstice Doodle?

I was wondering what the meaning of かい and き is for the Google Summer Solstice Doodle pictured here: I'm guessing it has some relation to summer, but what?
19
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the usage of 〜げ and how does it differ from 〜そう or 〜っぽい?

How do these two differ, for example: 寂しそう vs 寂しげ 楽しそう vs 楽しげ 言いたそう vs 言いたげ 大人げ vs 大人っぽい(...? Not sure if this one works.)
5
votes
1answer
80 views

Difference between で and の when referring to “usage”

Simplest example would be when you are getting a coffee and ask for a paper cup. It seems that both 紙の and 紙で are acceptable. What are the differences?
8
votes
1answer
302 views

can we use ねー as a question?

I've read that people usually change ない to ねー to make it more manly, like: したくないよ becomes したくねーんだ So basically i often heard questions ending with ない but have not heard anyone end a question with ねー ...
16
votes
4answers
589 views

Appropriate ただいま-like greeting for a neighbor?

I frequently pass by an elderly neighbor who lives in the same apartment when coming home from a dog walk. He's kind of an in-house carpenter for the building and is frequently seen around the garage. ...
5
votes
1answer
446 views

How can you input and display a radical in a computer text document? [closed]

(I apologize if this question is off-topic on Japanese.SE or is more suitable for SuperUser). I like to write computer notes about what I learn in Japanese. From time to time, I would like to be able ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Would the plain form of a verb usually be translated as future tense?

In a recent question I asked, this example sentence was offered: 映画を見る。 (I will watch a movie.) What struck me about this was that the translated version was the future tense. However, I always ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

If Vて+いる isn't a gerund, then what is it?

I always thought that a verb ending in the て form along with the いる suffix was the English equivelent of the "ing" form of a verb. Thus: see = 見{み}る, seeing = 見{み}ている do = する, doing = している ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Are there various ways to use ~し?

The many ways to say “and” in Japanese thread showed me that ~し, ~し can be used give reasons for something. この部屋は綺麗だし広いし間取りもいいから人気がある。This room is clean, wide and also good partition, so most of ...
6
votes
3answers
152 views

“Statistically speaking … ”

I am looking for a way to express the equivalent of "statistically speaking, ..." (followed by a quote from a paper, or something like that), or pretty much any other grammatical construction that ...
17
votes
2answers
341 views

Is the title ~[殿]{どの} used in modern day japanese?

Is the title ~[殿]{どの} used in modern day Japanese? If so, which people can you use it with? I've only really seen it come across in referring to [大]{だい}[名]{みょう} (feudal lords). Also it is applicable ...
7
votes
3answers
707 views

Verb classifications by japanese learners

As a studies of Japanese I've come across two distinct ways to group verbs for purposes of remembering how to conjugate them. う動詞 / る動詞 Group1 / Group 2 Pacerier mentioned a verb1 and verb5, can ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the etymological connection between sake (alcohol) and sha-ke (salmon)?

I read once somewhere that the word 'sake' (酒, Japanese rice wine) comes from sha-ke (鮭, salmon). Can someone explain what this connection is? Any thoughts on why most Japanese people * don't know ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

What exactly is the difference between <verb>-てしまう and <verb>- [切]{き}る?

I've read that both the ~てしまう and ~きる (18th meaning of 切る at http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/cgi-bin/wwwjdic.cgi?1MUE%E5%88%87%E3%82%8B) forms are used to signify something has been ...
22
votes
2answers
368 views

When should either 「」 and 『』 be used?

In what scenarios would you use 「」 quotation marks instead of 『』, and vice versa?
9
votes
1answer
939 views

Gregorian calendar year to Japanese era name, and vice versa [closed]

Just for fun, I'm curious about how native speakers do mental translation from Gregorian calendar year (e.g 2011) to Japanese era name 年号 (e.g. 平成23年), and vice versa. Do you have special and ...
9
votes
2answers
237 views

Written resources for scientific and philosophic japanese?

In this Question about computer science jargon, most answers to date are electronic resources and that makes sense. But I would like to know if there are printed japanese/english or japanese/german ...
7
votes
1answer
495 views

Do 擬態語 (いらいら, きらきら, すっきり, etc.) generally have root words?

I understand that 擬音語 (ぎおんご) imitate sounds, like どきどき imitates a heartbeat. So, if these onomatopoeia don't have roots I wouldn't be at all surprised. But where do 擬態語 (ぎたいご) come from? Do いらいら (to ...
8
votes
3answers
219 views

Was the name for the Shōwa era a voluntary pun?

According to dictionaries, the WA 和 in 昭和 has both the meaning of peace, harmonious and Japan, japanese (although mostly as the first kanji of a compound, such as in 和語). So I wonder how Japanese of ...
7
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the difference between は and のは?

The following sentence means "seeing all the different foreign people was interesting." This, according to my Japanese friends is incorrect: 色々な外国人を見ているは面白かった。 ... and this is correct: ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Correct usage of [verb stem] + に + [another verb]

I'm a little unclear on the use a verb stem, followed by に and another verb. Take these two examples: 特別なビザをもらって行った 特別なビザをもらいに行った I think the first means "I went with a special visa", but ...
3
votes
1answer
374 views

What is the meaning of 人児, and is it a compound?

There's this rather unpleasant sign on a restaurant that says: 中国人&帰化人、残留孤児、中国系混血人児、絶対入店禁止、純血日本男児のみ。 Putting aside the racist content, from a linguistic point of view, the one word that throws ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is the correct counter for rabbits 羽(わ)

Why is the correct counter for rabbits 羽(わ), the counter that is used for birds. I figured it is because they jump, cause fly and jump are the same verb in Japanese, but then frogs are 匹.
23
votes
6answers
1k views

Pluralization in Japanese: usage of -たち and -ら

I know that -たち and -ら pluralize the nouns they come after (or indicate a group that the noun is part of), but most of the time the plural in Japanese is implicit. When is it appropriate or necessary ...
15
votes
2answers
155 views

What are the nuances between these three terms for intelligence: 知恵 [ちえ], 知能 [ちのう], 知性 [ちせい] ?

In particular which one is closer to the idea of "ability to reason over things" as a quality of someone in particular? What I believe is that 知識 on the other hand is closer to "knowledge" and ...
15
votes
3answers
700 views

What is the difference in meaning between “husband and wife” 夫婦【ふうふ】 and 夫妻【ふさい】?

I see that those two compounds mean husband and wife, as a married couple. But is there a difference in usage or context?
11
votes
2answers
635 views

自~/他~ペア:逆の形 — Transitive/Intransitive pairs: opposite forms

I've noticed (through much frustration) that many 自~/他~ pairs have "opposite" forms; particularly with the ~u and ~eru types. For example, 焼く・焼ける are opposite from 開く・開ける. 焼く (他) - パンを焼く ("Bake ...
11
votes
3answers
666 views

Nuance, usage and etymology of お[出]{い}で

I observed in drama and anime (being outside Japan, those are my only ways of keeping in touch with spoken 日本語) that elder people sometimes say お出で to younger people when they want to say something ...
5
votes
2answers
317 views

In this location context how are に, で and にて different?

I still have trouble with how に and で differ when dealing with locations, and I just stumbled across にて. Are these all interchangeable? How are they different? オンラインマーケットにて販売開始しました。 ...
9
votes
2answers
494 views

When is 酒【さけ】used to mean 日本酒【にほんしゅ】?

The fermented rice alcohol called "sake" in English is usually referred to as 日本酒【にほんしゅ】 in Japanese, while 酒【さけ】 merely means "alcohol" in general. Yet, all dictionaries list both "alcohol" and ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

Use of the question mark and か

I was surpised to hear from a Japanese coworker that using a question mark "?" (gimonfu) after the か particle is correct Japanese. Which of these are NG? 何時に会いましょうか 何時に会いましょうか? 何時に会いましょう? In what ...
10
votes
1answer
358 views

How should I use 始める (はじめる) and 始まる (はじまる) as a suffix to intransitive verbs?

When describing intransitive actions that are commencing, I often end up saying dumb things like 沸き始まる (わきはじまる) instead of 沸き始める (わきはじめる) - starting to boil. Perhaps it's some meta pattern I am ...
10
votes
1answer
645 views

What are the origins of 掘った芋いじるな (hotta imo ijiru na)?

The gag expression 掘った芋いじるな (hotta imo ijiruna) sounds to japanese ears uncannily like "What time is it now?" I'm guessing this is Showa era humour, since English probably sounded more foreign then ...
4
votes
1answer
197 views

What is the nuance of この + [first person pronoun]?

For example, from the song Fare Well by L'Arc~en~Ciel: あなたは いつまでも この僕のこと 愛してくれたのかな and countless examples from manga, like: だが このオレは 死なん... こんどは このオレが きさまを 滅ぼす このオレに 勝てるわけがない My ...

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