21
votes
1answer
4k views

Must do : ~なければならない vs ~なくてはいけない

What are the differences when using ~なければならない and ~なくてはいけない, or their colloquial contracted forms ~なきゃ and ~なくちゃ when saying "must do"? For example, what is the difference in the nuance and usage of ...
21
votes
5answers
922 views

Modern names of the obsolete kana ゑ and ゐ

In modern Japanese, the kana ゑ/ヱ (we) and ゐ/ヰ (wi) are largely obsolete. Words formerly containing them now are pronounced with /e/ and /i/, so they were replaced by え and い, respectively. But when ...
13
votes
2answers
581 views

Are foreign adjectives always な adjectives?

Sitting in a restaurant yesterday I saw a sign advertising a mango flavoured bagel. It was described as トロピカルな味. That just got me wondering... whenever a 外来語【がいらいご】(word taken from a foreign language ...
2
votes
2answers
139 views

で used for abstract location?

Consider the sentence: 今度の旅行は全部で何人行きますか。 I would roughly translate it literally to: For this trip, in the domain of "total"(abstract location), how many people will be going?" And then ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

the difference between じゃん (jan) and だろう/でしょう (darou/desho)

I would like to know what's the difference of じゃん and だろう/でしょう. the meaning I know it's similar, but when I should use each of them? Is it same to say: これはすごいじゃん! = これはすごいでしょう! = これはすごいだろう! ...
3
votes
1answer
174 views

Can the ったら form of a verb be used to mean “after?”

Take this example: AったらB Could this mean, "After doing A, B happened?"
16
votes
1answer
1k views

まち: what's the difference between 町 and 街?

My impression is that 町 tends to be used for smaller cities and 街 tends to be used for larger ones. Is this correct? If not, what is the difference?
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What does 氏 mean after a name, how is it different from さん or 様?

If you look in the dictionary for the definition of 氏 you'll find it defined as: family name; lineage; birth. However I have seen it used in such a way that it is doubtful that it means any of those ...
10
votes
1answer
387 views

What form is 恐るる?

In Final Fantasy VIII, Bahamut has a little speech: …G.F.とは我らのことか 我らを力として使うとは… 恐るるべきは人間どもよ I'd never seen two るs doubled up like that. Which conjugation is this? It seems to have plenty of ...
4
votes
1answer
371 views

The phrase 乞うご期待

What does the phrase 乞うご期待 mean in English? Can you show some example sentences?
7
votes
2answers
297 views

Is 見物{みもの} derogatory?

To say something is a 見物, does it have a derogatory nuance like we are making fun of that person / that thing? If so, is it derogatory to the extent that even if I intended it as a fun joke it seems ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the phrase for “getting to know” someone or something?

My question is how is the concept of "getting to know" or "knowing" someone conveyed? How do you invite someone to get to know you better? I was posting a message on mixi and could not figure out ...
5
votes
2answers
199 views

What is the subject of this following sentence:実際問題として、不倫が原因で家庭が崩壊したり、離婚に至る例も少なくないです。

Can it be 不倫の原因で家庭が崩壊したり? What's the main clause and what is a subordinate clause?
8
votes
2answers
232 views

What conjugation is included in 恥ずかしながら?

What conjugation rules are applied in 恥ずかしながら?
11
votes
1answer
465 views

Why did オレンジ replace 橙【だいだい】?

This question about colours got me thinking: Why, and how, did オレンジ come to replace 橙【だいだい】 to refer to the colour orange? It seems weird to me that a word taken from a foreign language became ...
14
votes
2answers
877 views

Why do 適当 and いい加減 refer to both considerate and inconsiderate things?

I understand that 適当【てきとう】 can mean both "appropriate" and "whatever/vague". How do you know 適当な人を教えてください means "please inform me of the appropriate person" as opposed to "please tell me about ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

What are slang terms for Japanese money?

This question about alternate terms for coins focused on the use of ワンコイン, but it got me thinking about slang terms for money in general. In all the years I've been in Japan, I don't think I've ...
8
votes
1answer
784 views

What does it mean if a sentence is in all-kana?

I came across this sentence in a manga: なにすんじゃこんガキャ―――!! There is no kanji use in that speech-bubble, making it hard to work out the meaning. In fact, I haven't been able to find the meaning of ...
8
votes
2answers
184 views

Which is better for a sales budget: 予算, 推計, or something I haven't even thought of yet?

I'm writing a short (3-5 page) business plan in Japanese. I'd like to include an "estimate" of the sales for the next 3 years. The question: what would you choose for the graph titled: 2012 ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

How to speak in Kansai dialect

For someone who has studied standard Japanese, how hard is it to learn Kansai dialect? Is there a lot to learn, or not much? What are the basic things to learn in order to speak in this dialect? All I ...
11
votes
2answers
327 views

When are ふう and よう interchangeable?

Lately ふう has been on my mind. Often it seems interchangeable with よう: これを{こんなふう/このよう}にしてください。 Please make it like this. あれを{どういうふう/どのよう}に解釈しますか。 In what way do you interpret that? 家を出るとき、...
6
votes
3answers
240 views
6
votes
2answers
271 views

I've seen 達人and 名人used to indicate master or expert. What's the difference?

I'm not familiar with either word, but just looking at the characters, 達人 would seem to indicate 'accomplished' (ie an accomplished pianist). While 名人 seems more like 'renowned'. Is that a valid ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it true that the べつに when used to mean “nothing particularly” is pronounced differently from when it is used to mean “separately / apart”?

Is it true that the べつに when used to mean "nothing particularly" is pronounced differently from when it is used to mean "separately / apart" ? Like am I right to say that these 3 examples belong to ...
7
votes
1answer
399 views

How to parse the proverb [艱難]{かんなん}[汝]{なんじ}を[玉]{たま}にす?

I found this particular proverb on WWWJDIC when I looked up for なんじ : [艱難]{かんなん}[汝]{なんじ}を[玉]{たま}にす. It is translated into English as: Hardship makes the man. How do we parse the proverb? I know 艱難 {...
5
votes
1answer
285 views

Meaning of しやしま as sentence ender [closed]

Look at this conversation from Twitter. Do you know what dialect it is? shohei110h: やっとdead stock手に入りました(´ω`)田舎にはなかなか無くて東京で購入しやしま mao_sid: おれもど田舎だったから気持ちわかるなぁ。ありがとう。 The part I don't ...
11
votes
1answer
321 views

Contraction of particle の to ん before nouns in colloquial Japanese

I am familiar with contraction of の to ん before です (and variants で, だ, でした etc) but I noticed that の is also contracted before 家 in spoken set-phrases like あたしんち and おれんち. Are there any other ...
4
votes
2answers
180 views

Are there names like ワンコイン for the other coins?

So ワンコイン refers to a 500円 coin, but is there other names for the other coins? Also in conversation does ワンコイン refer to any specific currency or only to 500 yen (as in the sense of being a default).
18
votes
3answers
3k views

“You don't have to be so polite.” Really?

Sometimes a Japanese person will say to me: そんなに丁寧な言葉を使わなくてもいいんですよ。 This is an invitation to be less formal. But how much less formal? As I have experienced, sometimes unintentional gaffes can ...
15
votes
3answers
397 views

The etymology of 関手【かんしゅ】

In Japanese mathematics, the word ‘functor’ is translated as 関手【かんしゅ】. What is the etymology of this word? I suspect that it is a pun on 関数 (function). This leads to two further questions: Why 関手 ...
16
votes
2answers
755 views

Plain verbs that end with ぬ other than 死ぬ

Are there any other verbs than 死ぬ whose plain forms end with ぬ? Why are they so rare? Is it because the verb 死ぬ itself has special etymology why it ended up having the ぬ ending?
6
votes
4answers
295 views

Kanji 行 with なみ, なめ, みち and アン pronunciations

I have only found 行 being pronounced as いく, ゆく and おこなう for kun'yomi and as コウ and ギョウ for on'yomi, but my dictionary software also lists down なみ, なめ, みち and アン as the other pronunciations of this ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a polite saying like “May I?”

Looking for a phrase that has the same meaning as "May I?" in English. One that would work in situations that would indicate I would like to try to solve a problem at hand, or receive control over ...
5
votes
1answer
132 views

just by the phrase 試験を受ける, can we imply anything on the 試験?

since 受ける is the same verb associated with "sustaining damage", "incurring losses", "suffering injury", all 3 seemingly have negative nuances, I'm wondering when we use it (受ける) with 試験, does 受ける ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

The difference between くらい and ほど in hyperbole

The following two sentences, I believe, are grammatically okay, however I'm not sure on how they differ in nuance. もう歩けないほど疲れた! (もうあるけないほどつかれた) もう歩けないくらい疲れた! (もうあるけないくらいつかれた) Additionally, why is it ...
21
votes
3answers
4k views

Contrasting っぽい、らしい、みたい

For example, the following 3: 女っぽい (おんなっぽい) 女らしい (おんならしい) 女みたい (おんなみたい) In what situations would you use っぽい over らしい? Does っぽい have negative connotations? Are 女らしい and 女みたい interchangeable as in ...
6
votes
2answers
193 views

の performing back referral? の used adjectivally?

Consider the following sentence: その薬は去年期限切れのだったので、捨てました。 I'm trying to explain what the bolded の does in the above sentence. This is what I came up with: の is used as a back referral ...
11
votes
2answers
502 views

Etymology of 土産 {みやげ}

The pronunciation "みやげ" does not correspond to on'yomi nor kun'yomi of 土産, so I thought it was a gikun (義訓), but the combination of kanji 土 and 産 does not seem to provide the meaning of "souvenir" ...
6
votes
1answer
447 views

から and ので formation/conjugation differences

Consider the case when から and ので follows a noun, な-adjective, or noun-equivalent: から:静かだから... "Because it is quiet..." (Subjective causality) ので:静かなので... "Because it is quiet..." (Objective ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Does 髭 refer to the beard or the moustache?

My dictionary lists 髭 as moustache / beard, but from the example sentences in WWWJDIC, it seems like 髭 is more often used to mean "beard" than "moustache" ? So for example, in this sentence: ...
-4
votes
1answer
358 views

Is 二ヶ所 slang for something else? [closed]

Can't find this in the dictionary. Is this the slang form of something else? What does it mean?
7
votes
1answer
332 views

ここんとこ (ここん所) and other “every now and then” adverbs

I have been in the market for some good synonyms for ときどき, and I encountered one today that I wanted to share, and also ask for some opinions, since I can not find a correct definition online. The ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

How do you do a countdown?

For example, when JAXA launches a rocket, or people count the seconds to the New Year, do they use し or よん to count 4? do they use しち or なな to count 7?
3
votes
2answers
260 views

How to get clarification in Japanese

I sometimes find that when Japanese answer my questions, their answers are too vague. For instance, I asked what つなぎ is in a given context. A Japanese person told me it is 作業着の種類, "a type of work ...
9
votes
2answers
609 views

Use of になります in the context of time

While attempting to translate the sentence "It will soon be two years since I started learning Japanese", I started wondering how になります works in the context of time. Ignoring any other translation ...
12
votes
2answers
511 views

Does the letter “C” attract any superstition?

I've heard that the number four attracts superstition because of its similarity with the word for death. For example, yon is used instead of shi in some circumstances, and sometimes the number 4, ...
7
votes
3answers
196 views

Does the use of は or omitting は affect the listener's reply?

This is a question taken from a JLPT excercise workbook. Person A: 新聞をよく読みますか。 Person B: そうですね。毎日は[Fill in this blank]。 I am given 4 choices, of which only 2 are conjugated correctly. ...
9
votes
2answers
192 views

Combining に/で particles with 等【など】(or other “etc.” stand-ins)

I was recently trying to make an open-ended enumeration of places in a construction that would require the use of a に particle. E.g.: AやBに行こう or even: A[and the like]に行こう Preferably using ...
7
votes
3answers
449 views

What's the meaning of すます in 耳をすませば?

What's the meaning of すます in 耳をすませば? How would you translate this?
6
votes
2answers
206 views

What does 「父なる砂漠」mean?

There is a line in the 「この涙 星になれ」, which is a song of ZARD (Sakai Izumi): 父なる砂漠 コイン投げて 明日を占おう I don't understand the meaning of 「父なる砂漠」. It's quite strange to think of it as the desert that has ...

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