7
votes
3answers
713 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
157 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
701 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
667 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
318 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
360 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
345 views

What does the もて before a verb means?

What does the もて before a verb means? I found this word in the dictionary http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/cgi-bin/wwwjdic.cgi?1MDEemphatic%20prefix (which only says it is an "emphatic verb prefix" ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Is there a difference between すみません (sumimasen) and すいません (suimasen?)

I'm at the proverbial izakaya and my friend tells me one is more polite. I think theyre the same. Who's right? When can I use one or the other?
13
votes
3answers
2k views

When and to whom should I use the expression ご苦労様 (gokurousama)?

In what context and relationship wise to who can I safely say ご苦労様 (gokurousama)? I often defer to using otsukaresama since I'm not sure if I'm talking down to someone by saying gokurousama. Please ...
6
votes
3answers
250 views

Computer calculation: is there a better word than “オンザフライ” to say “on-the-fly”?

As a valuable feature of my software product, I want to say that results are calculated on-the-fly, meaning the user does not have to wait and receive results by email: results are displayed after two ...
38
votes
3answers
17k views

What are the differences between じ and ぢ, and ず and づ?

The Japanese hiragana and katakana syllabaries can mostly be described as phonetic. But there are two exceptions, the two pairs of syllables modified to be voiced with the dakuten diacritic which ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

What does っつの mean?

I recently saw 冗談だっつの. What does it っつの mean, or how does it modify the meaning of a sentence?
6
votes
4answers
326 views

Giving something to oneself

what is the theory that 僕は自分にプレゼントをあげる is right but not 僕は自分にプレゼントをくれる ? Btw I'm also curious if these sentences are equally valid: A) 僕は自身にプレゼントをあげる B) 僕は自分自身にプレゼントをある C) ボブはボブにプレゼントを[あげる/くれる?] ...
6
votes
2answers
240 views

Shouldn't 確認する always be translated into “check”?

One thing I have noticed among my Japanese coworkers is that it seems that they overuse the verb "confirm" when translating 確認する: テストを確認する ("confirm the tests") 彼と確認して欲しい ("[I want you to] ...
15
votes
2answers
358 views

Is there a logic for deciding when to employ furigana?

I'm vaguely aware that the usage of furigana is based on the intended target audience. The younger or less likely literate the target audience the more furigana are employed. But is there a system to ...
7
votes
1answer
158 views

Difference between various “calculation” words (演算, 算出, and 計算)

Is there a difference in usage between these words? 演算 (えんざん) 算出 (さんしゅつ) 計算 (けいさん)
20
votes
3answers
630 views

What is the difference between 完了 and 終了?

Both 完了 and 終了 seem to have the connotation of finished/complete, but what is the difference, if any, in usage?
7
votes
1answer
148 views

What is the difference in usage between [問]{と}い[合]{あ}わせ and [依]{い}[頼]{らい}

Both 問い合わせ and 依頼 can mean to ask, but my co-workers are using both words in the application we are working on as if they are two different words. I have a suspicion one is transitive and one is ...
14
votes
2answers
539 views

Nuances between the different kanji spellings of あける:明ける vs. 開ける vs. 空ける

開ける, 明ける and 空ける are all read as あける. From their kanji, it is obvious that 開ける has to do more with opening (a door etc), 明ける with dawning and 空ける with emptying... However, JMDict gives the exact ...
16
votes
3answers
14k views

What's the difference between “さけ” (sake) and “しゃけ” (shake)?

Today I saw onigiri claiming to contain "しゃけ" (shake). When I asked my friend what that was, she said it was the same as "さけ" (sake), "salmon". So are these two just different readings of a kanji, ...
16
votes
2answers
529 views

Where does the word ダイヤ come from that means “train schedule”?

For the longest time I've been hearing the word ダイヤ and just always assumed it meant "Diamond", but found recently it all means "train schedule". My question is, what word/language did this word ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Does the particle “を” (wo) have a special use when at the end of a sentence?

I thought the character "を" (wo) was only used for the particle whose only job was to indicate the direct object of a verb. But today I saw it at the end of an exclamation on a sign I think on a ...
9
votes
3answers
4k views

Is “あらら” (arara) a word or just a “vocal noise”?

A friend just wrote this as a comment on a photo of mine on Facebook. Is it an actual word or is it what I call a "vocal noise"? By "vocal noise" I mean those things which convey some meaning but ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Am I coming or going? 戻ってくる vs 戻っていく

A little while ago I was in a shop, and about 5 minutes after I left, they phoned me to tell me I had left my USB stick there. I said I would head back and pick it up. I used 戻{もど}って行{い}く to mean ...
3
votes
1answer
425 views

超 vs めっちゃ + explanation [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Significance of the kanji 「茶」 in the set phrase 「滅茶滅茶 / 目茶目茶」 {めちゃめちゃ} So, in Kansai they use めっちゃ, and in Kanto 超. But what about the other parts of Japan? And from ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

How do you pronounce the Japanese “r”?

How do you pronounce the Japanese "r"? Is it more like an "l" or something inbetween? Would there be any picture or video explaining it correctly, please link it!
7
votes
2answers
1k views

what is the past tense of お腹が空いた?

if お腹が空いた means "I'm hungry", then what would be the past tense of お腹が空いた since (i think) it's already in the past tense?
21
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the difference between “家” (ya), “屋” (ya), and “や” (ya) as used in the names of shops/stores/restaurants?

As a gyudon addict I have noticed that the names of the three major national restaurant chains all end in "ya" but they used two different characters: "吉野家" (Yoshinoya) "松屋" (Matsuya) "すき家" (Sukiya) ...
6
votes
1answer
219 views

Does “keigo” cover only the use of honorific/humble/polite elements, or does it cover the full range and choice of what to use and not use?

I'm having trouble putting this question into words, especially short enough to use as the question title, basically I'm confused about what the term "keigo" applies to: Is it just the addition of ...
21
votes
3answers
59k views

When is it appropriate to use お疲れ様 (otsukaresama)?

I know the general meaning of using お疲れ様です/でした to express gratitude for some work, but I'm a bit fuzzy about appropriate times to use it. I know it is a common saying when leaving for the day, and ...
15
votes
4answers
983 views

How would I respectfully disagree with a superior?

If my manager says something that I know to be factually incorrect, how can I point that out without sounding disrespectful? (Is ~違います appropriate in this context or is that too strong?) Is this a ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

今までに vs. 今まで - what is the difference in meaning?

I recently used a following sentence in my homework: 今日までに 私は 二百まいしゃしんを とりました。 Now, in my homework I actually used 今日まで, without に, and I got it corrected. What's the difference between 今日まで and ...
5
votes
1answer
207 views

“感動した!(like ex-primeminister Koizumi)” Where does this reference come from?

After showing a project to a Japanese coworker, he answered me the following: 感動した!、小泉元総理風 I found this amusing, but I couldn't get the Mr.Koizumi reference. Is there a story behind this?

15 30 50 per page