16
votes
3answers
919 views

Confusion about “Seemingly not ~”

So there are several ways to express something is "seemingly not ~": ~なさそう ~そうにない ~そうもない ~そうにもない (is this one even real?) I was always taught ~なさそう in my Japanese classes, and it was ...
10
votes
5answers
644 views

What to say when leaving the table before everybody else?

For example, while having lunch with your coworkers and you have to attend some matter soon, what would be a natural way to leave the table? I think that in this case saying お先に失礼します would be wrong.
7
votes
4answers
349 views

Using すみません instead of ありがとう

Can すみません always be used in place of ありがとう? What's the difference? When using すみません to express thanks, what other words are used with it? Could you show me some examples?
6
votes
2answers
165 views

Help for this expression: 猿は人間に毛が[三筋]{みすじ}足らぬ

I read this expression in a text. It seems to be an old proverb about monkeys. But I am not sure about its meaning. Why 筋, for instance? Does it mean muscle? reasoning faculty? Why would they be ...
5
votes
4answers
196 views

What is the subject of this sentence?

I'm translating a song which can be seen here. At the end of the song is this: 傷つけてしまう夜もあるだろう 分かち合えない想いもあるだろう What is the subject of 傷つけてしまう夜もあるだろう? Is the singer saying, "there may be nights ...
8
votes
2answers
347 views

How should I view でより and でのより?

My basic understanding of より to compare things or ending letters, is failing me when there's a で or での in front of it. As I write this, I'm wondering, can read でより as "with, more", "in, more"? ...
2
votes
2answers
635 views

What's the difference between the に祈る【いのる】 and を祈る【いのる】 forms?

What's the difference between the に祈る and を祈る forms? Like what's the difference between (1.) and (2.): うまく行くのに祈ってくださいね。 うまく行くのを祈ってくださいね。 EDIT: What's the difference between the ように祈る and のを祈る ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the *proper* differentiation between 来る and 行く?

In many beginning Japanese classes, 来る【くる】 and 行く【いく】 are presented as "to come" and "to go," respectively. Dictionaries generally also define them this way. However, every once in a while in more ...
5
votes
1answer
487 views

Phoenix: 不死鳥【ふしちょう】, 鳳凰【ほうおう】, 鳳/鵬【おおとり】, フェニックス… How many lives does this bird have!?

All of the following words and kanji (and a few more obscure ones) seem to be used in Japanese, to describe a bird that is translated by "Phoenix" in English: 不死鳥【ふしちょう】 鳳凰【ほうおう】 鳳【おおとり】/鵬【おおとり】 ...
14
votes
3answers
503 views

What is the difference between 蔵, 倉, and 庫?

The word 【くら】 can be written with any of the kanji 蔵, 倉, or 庫. However, WWWJDIC lists them all under one entry, defined as: (n) warehouse; cellar; magazine; granary; godown; depository; treasury; ...
54
votes
10answers
3k views

How should I choose between [知]{し}る and わかる?

Both 知る and わかる get used for "know", "understand", "learn", "find out", and various other concepts. How do you know which to use when? Are there any rules to help you decide? Additionally, both of ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What does やい mean? [closed]

Someone ended their sentence with やいな. What dialect is this? What does やい mean? I assume that な means the same thing as in standard Japanese? Update: the original sentence was 「もう出来あがり?仕事はやいな~」.
10
votes
4answers
320 views

Trouble understanding this apology: 我々が…謝罪

An English website wrote an apology in Japanese after it took down an image of cracked hinomaru (日の丸) — the hinomaru linked to a donation page for the disasters following the March 11 earthquakes. It ...
9
votes
3answers
536 views

is it true to say that 亡くなる is a polite form of しぬ?

is it true to say that 亡くなる is a polite form of しぬ? Like what is the difference in nuance between these two sentences: 1) ディックは10歳のとき亡くなった。 2) ディックは10歳のとき死んだ。
12
votes
2answers
4k views

Why is 空【くう】, and not 無【む】, used to define “void”, “emptiness” in a buddhist context? What are their nuances?

Feel free to participate to the meta-discussion on whether this type of question (relying on buddhist terms) should be allowed on JLU. A while back, looking at a reproduction of some famous zen ...
11
votes
2answers
214 views

Why use the kanji compound 惑星 for ほし?

The title of a manga I'm slowly working through is 惑星のさみだれ, but there is furigana above the two kanji that says ほし (star) instead. Why did it use both kanji, which seems to be normally read as わくせい ...
7
votes
1answer
297 views

What is the difference between 予想、期待、予期、思惑 for the meaning of “expectation”?

What is the difference between these 4 words for the definition of "expectation": 予想{よそう} 期待{きたい} 予期{よき} 思惑{おもわく} Specifically, which would you use for "managing customer expectations (for project ...
18
votes
1answer
762 views

is there a difference between さみしい and さびしい?

Both mean "lonely" and appear to be valid readings for 寂しい. Is there a difference in nuance? Is this difference due to dialect?
10
votes
3answers
469 views

Why is it お[腹]{なか}が[空]{す}いた but [腹]{はら}[減]{へ}った?

Is there any particular reason why the noun おなか goes with verb すく while the noun はら goes with the verb へる? Would it be weird if I use おなかへった or はらすいた? While on the same topic, does the 'starving' ...
9
votes
4answers
245 views

When is a person referred to with 様 in the mass media and what does it signify?

In media like TV and newspapers, it appears certain classes of people can be referred to with the honorific "様": The Imperial family: 皇太子殿下と美智子さま The Crown Prince and Michiko-sama Celebrities ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the meaning and usage of ネタ?

For example in this phrase: 話すネタはもっていそう I translate it into "he might have some stories", but I have the impression it has many other meanings.
1
vote
2answers
192 views

are the usage of うるさい to mean “fussy” and the usage of 草 to mean “substandard” archaic? [closed]

I was thinking what things could be described with 草 (3) not genuine; substandard;) Can we describe someone who is a ゴミ as 草? Like say: アイツはどうおもう? くさだ! Or is the "substandard" meaning of 草 already ...
15
votes
3answers
567 views

Can I end sentences with ん?

One friend of mine told me when she was living in Japan, she liked to end her sentences with ん (maybe instead of の). Examples: 明日学校にいくん? 明日学校に行かないと思う…風邪引いたん。 Actually I've never seen it! But my ...
6
votes
1answer
187 views

What is the usage of 先 vs. 元?

I think that the both of them mean before, but I have seen that they are sometimes use in parent-child metaphors, but I always get confused with these. Some examples of ○○先、○○元 words would be ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Are there any metaphors in these Japanese sentences?

I'm trying to understand the following three lines from a song: ただ会いたくて 声も無くしそうで でも会えなくて 夢さえ恨んだ 日々薄れてく 記憶を手探りで 感触をただ愛した Each line is progressively difficult to understand. I can read the words but ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the difference in nuance between 間違う and 間違える?

I've heard from a Japanese native speaker friend of mine that both 間違う and 間違える are correct usage, but he wasn't able to explain the difference in nuance between them. Is there a difference, and if ...
12
votes
2answers
594 views

what is the difference in the usage of [成]{な}るべく and できるだけ?

Hi guys what is the difference in the usage of 成るべく and できるだけ? Don't they both mean as [x] as possible? E.g.: 1) できるだけ多くの本を読みなさい vs なるべく多くの本を読みなさい 2) できるだけ早くお願いします vs なるべく早くお願いします
1
vote
4answers
649 views

What are some sentences that exhibit わがまま

わがままはもう言わない gets translated as "won't say anything selfish anymore." However, this doesn't really make sense. If I google "say anything selfish," what I find are sites that have translated わがままはもう言わない ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

About the な part in negative imperative verb form (e.g. 飲むな)

In the Japanese version of "don't drink and drive" slogan, 【乗るなら飲むな】 (also 【飲んだら乗るな】), what part of speech is the な that follows the plain verb 飲む (or 乗る in the second variation) to form the negative ...
12
votes
2answers
360 views

Colloquial Contraction Confusion

This is taken from one of the mindless pop songs I shouldn't even be listening to: なんてったって ラッキー! I know what なんて and ラッキー mean, of course, but I can't figure out in a way that makes sense to me ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

Using Japanese honorifics with non-kana names

Some Japanese websites have no problem addressing me as Amandaさん, but how common is this in human-produced Japanese? Under what circumstances would someone refer to someone else as Amandaさん, בועזくん, ...
9
votes
2answers
672 views

how do we tell if ばかり means “about” or “only” ?

If ばかり could mean approximately; about; and could also mean only; merely; nothing but;, then how should we know if this sentence 5000円ばかりもっている。 means: 1) I have about 5000 yen. or 2) I have only ...
9
votes
1answer
754 views

天気 vs. 天候, what's the real difference? [duplicate]

What's the real difference between 天気 and 天候? In at least one of my dictionaries, 天候 just redirects to 天気. I've always thought (read: "felt") that 天候 is the general "concept" of weather, or even ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

The reason for using 何も+negative, but 何でも+positive

In one of the Japanese classes I attended, I've been taught that while we use 「何も出来ない」to say "He cannot do anything", to say "He can do anything" we use 「何でも出来る」 instead of 「何も出来る」. Why is there a ...
15
votes
2answers
773 views

Difference and nuance between することはない and する必要はない/する可能性はない

I understand the grammar point "Verb (Dictionary Form) + ことはない" can mean either "There is no need" or "There is no possibility" depending on context. However, what are the differences? Are there any ...
8
votes
1answer
4k views

What are the meanings of ~とも [tomo] and ~かしら [kashira]?

Sometimes I think: ~とも came from ~と思う ~かしら came from ~かしらん(知らない) It's possible I'm wrong, so I would like to know the real meaning of those suffixes. Also, I'd like to know when I can use them ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Other meanings of でしょう besides “probably”

でしょう can usually be understood to mean "probably." But does it sometimes mean the same thing as ですね? What other meanings can it have? Can it mean "you know?"
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a study available on the similarities between Japanese and Turkish grammars?

No I'm not claiming the Altaic hypothesis so try not to bring that up in answers. Still there are grammatical similarities between Japanese and Turkish such as agglutination and use of postpositions ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

How to say: “I am returning your call”

Title says it all! If somebody called and left a message, when calling them back, is there a set expression for that? I generally just use "さっきにお電話頂いた...", but wondering if there is a more idiomatic ...
10
votes
3answers
977 views

芸能人・スポーツ選手・公人に「さん」などの敬称を付けなくてもよい理由は?

Reasons for omitting titles like 'さん' after names of entertainers, performers and public figures 「記者ハンドブック 新聞用字用語集」によると、 運動、芸能欄などのスポーツ選手、芸能人には敬称をつけない [出典] ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

Are there cases when two or more particles will occur next to each other without intervening lexical words?

Most particles seem to be postpositions but I'm sure I've seen say a noun followed by a location particle followed by "wa" or "ga" or possibly "wo" but when I've tried to use it I've only confused my ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

Using な particle after common nouns (non na-adjectives)

Is な particle allowed to be used after common nouns (i.e non na-adjectives) for whatever reasons, e.g. cuteness, trendy, humor etc? Dictionary@goo website seems to use (normal noun)+な in a couple of ...
28
votes
2answers
4k views

Where does “もしもし” (moshimoshi) for answering the telephone come from?

Does the term "もしもし" (moshimoshi) predate the telephone? Does it have any use besides answering the phone? Where does it come from, is it just a reduplication of "もし" (moshi) "if", and if so how does ...
14
votes
6answers
1k views

Are there any common Japanese words which were borrowed from Ainu or other indigenous languages?

I know plenty of Japanese words that came from English and a few from other European languages (obviously tons from Chinese), but what about words from Japan's indigenous languages such as Ainu? Also ...
14
votes
2answers
529 views

Can we optionally include (or exclude) an を particle in between the noun of the する-verb and the する itself?

When we have a する verb (e.g. 支度する、案内する、心配する), is it true that we could optionally insert an を particle in between the noun and the する? Because in the example sentences here and here, we can see this ...
15
votes
3answers
548 views

How are 化け物, 妖怪, 幽霊, etc. related to each other?

In the past few years, reading light novels and the like, I have come across many different terms for ghosts, spirits, monsters, etc. in Japanese, and I'm wondering how they relate to each other. What ...
10
votes
1answer
609 views

what's the difference between 返事 and 答え?

both have the similar English of "answer," but when do you use one over the other?
12
votes
1answer
389 views

What do the question marks on these gas station signs mean?

ハイオク: 148? レギュラ: 137? 軽油: 115? What meaning do the question marks have?
19
votes
2answers
6k views

How does ほど work in the 〜すれば〜するほど construction?

I understand that 〜すれば〜するほど is used to mean "the more you do ~ the more ~". However, I don't see how this meaning is derived from this sentence pattern. I assume the ば is from the conditional form ...
7
votes
1answer
878 views

Is ~がる suffix limited to specific adjectives only?

I noticed that there are some adjectives that have ~がる suffix to make them into verbs. Some examples from WWWJDIC: ほしがる こわがる いたがる くるしがる さびしがる うれしがる Apparently ~たい form also can take ...

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