15
votes
4answers
3k views

What's the difference between せっかく and わざわざ?

せっかく and わざわざ seem to be pretty close in meaning/usage, but is there ever a time you would use one and not the other? Or is there a small nuance there? Just to give some example sentences: ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Why isn't ある's negative form あらない?

ある is listed in dictionaries as having ラ行五段活用, which would suggest a negative form of あらない. However, that form does not exist. Why not?
12
votes
4answers
952 views

How commonly are “あたし” or “[僕]{ぼく}” used?

My friend and I are learning Japanese. For a time, all we knew was 私, but after we learned more words, she started to use あたし when referring to herself, and I began using 僕. What I'm wondering is, how ...
11
votes
2answers
751 views

います and あります usage

I just learned about: います and あります. I know I should use います for people and moving things and あります for plants and inanimate things. I have two doubts: Which one should I use with "dead body". For ...
10
votes
4answers
4k views

What is the difference between tori vs. dori?

In Aikido, different dojos seem to latch on to using either dori or tori when describing grabbing attacks. For instance one dojo might say: Katate Dori Another would say: Katate Tori Each dojo ...
9
votes
1answer
556 views

In which dialects have the sounds “ゐ” (wi) and “ゑ” (we) been preserved, and are their kana still occasionally seen?

In Nate Glenn's answer to bdonlan's qestion "Why were ゐ and ゑ eliminated?" he states: "Wi" and "we" are still in some dialects, but standard Japanese does not have those sounds. My question is ...
9
votes
8answers
2k views

What are the advantages/disadvantages of writing in romaji instead of in kanji and kana?

Romaji is somewhat of a conversion from kanji and kana to the Roman alphabet. What are the disadvantages of learning only or mostly romaji aside from being unable to read/write in kanji? I don't ...
8
votes
2answers
213 views

What is this form : Verb + はせん?

I am currently trying to read Bleach in Japanese. So far I haven't ran into any difficulty that a good dictionary cannot overcome. However in this particular scene I am puzzled by a particular scene, ...
8
votes
2answers
226 views

Varying word order for stylistic effect

Sometimes, for stylistic or rhetorical effect, one wants to delay mentioning a word/concept until the end of a sentence. For example, it's often best to save the punchline for the very end: I was ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

The different usages of ことがある

If I understand correctly, the main usages of ことがある seem to be the following: Verb(plain)+ことがある: There are times when (I) Verb(past)+ことがある: (I) have experienced (something) before But after this ...
7
votes
1answer
776 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
442 views

Use of する to describe one's colour

From Japanesepod101: 象は灰色をしている。 The elephant is gray. The meaning of the sentence is not in doubt but I've been trying to figure how する is being used here. Checking a dictionary, definition ...
5
votes
1answer
305 views

What is the difference between using を and と with the verb 言う?

I apologize if this is a basic question, but it's something I've never been entirely clear on. When using the verb 言う (to say), I can never figure out whether to use the particle -と or the particle ...
4
votes
1answer
460 views

Origin of ~なければ ならない

The expression ~なければ ならない if I learned correctly means "must not not do ..." as in: 日本語を勉強しなければなりません。 You must not not learn Japanese. (i.e. you need to learn Japanese) However, taken on face value ...
3
votes
2answers
237 views

世話【せわ】: Do the kanji have meaning?

Are the kanji in 世話【せわ】 as in 世話になります used for their meaning, or are they ateji? If they aren't ateji, what exactly is the reasoning?
2
votes
3answers
338 views

How does one keep from being confused about the pronunciation of 地下鉄?

[地下鉄]{ちかてつ} How does one know the "hiragana spelling", i.e. the hiragana representation of the word is ちかてつ but not other forms involving misspelling one or more of the following か vs. が て vs. で ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

“Seemingly cute” - かわいい + 〜そう

The 〜そう form means "seemingly 〜" and is usually conjecture made based on first-hand information. This usually means seeing something or hearing about something and making a conjecture, e.g., おいしそう ...
14
votes
1answer
747 views

Why are points used where furigana would be normally?

Sometimes in mangas there points where you would expect normally furigana. What meaning is it supposed to have?
13
votes
2answers
473 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
652 views

Is 「でいい」 the same as 「でもいい」?

For example in the sentence: 書くだけでいいですか.
12
votes
3answers
971 views

Difference between [行く末]{ゆくすえ}, 将来{しょうらい} and 未来{みらい}

I've been looking around and I got that the three words can mean "future". Is there a way to differentiate them? Can they be used the same way?
11
votes
1answer
590 views

How to use ~に同意する to agree or disagree with a person?

A couple of times I've tried to say "I agree with..." or "he agrees with..." but I don't know whether I'm using 同意{どうい}する correctly. In what ways should に同意{どうい}している be used? Also, which particles ...
10
votes
1answer
337 views

Unifying concept for noun-adjectives of the pattern Xかな

Consider these: ~か: 静か 愚か 厳か ~やか: 穏やか 鮮やか 賑やか ~らか: 柔らか 滑らか 明らか There are many more that I've not listed. The か/やか/らか at the end of these words ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

In what way is the negative form of a verb an adjective?

I was reading the wikipedia page on "predicate," where it mentioned that in Japanese, the negative form of a verb is an adjective. I thought that this was too expansive a statement to be true, but ...
9
votes
2answers
998 views

Why is ローマ字 spelt without an ン?

Why is ローマ字 spelt without an ン? As far as I can tell, it's not because you can't have an ん sound before a じ sound, because 漢字 has an ん sound before 字. Did early Europeans' term for Roman letters not ...
7
votes
4answers
907 views

Are 終{お}わる and 済{す}ませる synonyms?

I know that they both mean "finish". But I wonder if there are situations or contexts where you can use one but not the other.
6
votes
1answer
290 views

What nuance brings “ですな”?

I often see ですな used in social text posts. Examples: こんにちわ、あついし、ひまですな。 いいてんきですなw A Google search for "ですな" does not show me any explanation. Here is how I understand ですな in such context: ...
6
votes
1answer
351 views

と言っても vs とは言え .

Hi all is it true that と言っても and とは言え is the same thing except that と言っても is for spoken clauses whereas と言いえ is for written clauses?
6
votes
2answers
342 views

Is the grammar of 心の冷たい人 idiomatic?

The phrase 心の冷たい人 (which is given by Japanese-English dictionary on OS X) looks wrong to me, but given that it's an example in a respected dictionary and confirmed by tens of thousands of Google hits, ...
5
votes
1answer
531 views

「二番」 vs. 「二番目」 confusion

I am confused by 「二番」vs.「二番目」、「三番」vs.「三番目」etc. While 「一番速い人。」 seems grammatically correct and sounds ok to me, 「二番速い人。」 sounds so unnatural to me I am thinking the grammar might be wrong. But, if ...
5
votes
2answers
297 views

Origin of 信じる, 感じる, etc?

Wikipedia claims that Japanese verbs are a closed class and that loanwords from Chinese always use する. 信じる, 感じる seems to be an exception. Why aren't they 信をする and 感をする? Maybe because one kanji is too ...
5
votes
1answer
330 views

Does the 助動詞「ます」 still have a 連体形 in modern Japanese?

Does the 助動詞「ます」 have a 連体形? According to 大辞林, it's ます, and I see the old forms ます/まする on 学研全訳古語辞典. However, in the comments on this question, Darius Jahandarie wrote the following: @snailplane ...
5
votes
1answer
859 views

Examples of when passive form in English takes active/non passive form in Japanese

Can anyone give a few more common examples (or even more insight) of when we should be "switching" from English passive into Japanese active/non-passive? (A joint effort might help a lot of us to ...
5
votes
1answer
418 views

なり as an archaic 'to be'?

In the following saying: 時は金なり。 What exactly is なり? My dictionaries seem to give a number of different options that could all explain its use here. Is it 成る? Is it 也, an archaic version of です ...
4
votes
1answer
342 views

Grammar of との, what is the meaning

So here in this sentence below "との" was used 2 times. What does との standfor? Can someone please explain it to me? ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

R sound vs L sound

First, I'd like to mention that I've seen this question, which is related but doesn't quite seem to be a duplicate. I've covered some Hiragana lessons and it seems there is no L in Japanese. The ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

How do you write someone's name if you don't know what kanji to use?

Since kanji can have multiple pronunciations, how would you know how to write someone's name if you've only heard it spoken? What's the convention? Would you just guess, or maybe write it out in ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

Why are there two versions of the kanji for 冷?

The screenshot below is from Kotoba for iPhone. It shows the character for "cool", 冷 as used in the word 冷たい. However, the character in the stroke order diagram is slightly different to the main ...
12
votes
4answers
576 views

What determines whether a word gets a kanji compound or katakana?

I read electronics/computing articles, and I find an incredible amount of terms are written either in kanji (almost similar to Chinese) or katakana. There are times when it's confusing as to know why. ...
12
votes
2answers
383 views

Rare/Obsolete verb forms

I have noticed that some verbs have this "rare" or old form that is no longer used much (if at all). Here are some examples. おそる: おそるべき者 → One who is feared ほむ: ほむべきお方【かた】 → Seen often in my ...
12
votes
3answers
459 views

Dissecting つく verbs

I think we all are familiar with する verbs, which are verbs that are formed by appending する to nouns. Examples include 勉強する, 愛する etc. This pattern is very convenient because it can be appended to ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it possible to tell whether a word is kanji or hiragana without reading it?

Is it possible to tell whether a word would be written in kanji or if it would be written in hiragana without actually reading it, like it is reasonably easy to tell if a word is likely to be written ...
10
votes
2answers
367 views

Counter for 熊 (bears): ひき or 頭?

While hiking I saw 3 bears, and I have heard a lot of people say ひき to count them. There was a mother and two small ones, if that matters. But when talking about it I also have been told that 頭 ...
9
votes
4answers
341 views

相手の日本人 or 日本人の相手?

If I wanted to describe the person I was speaking about as being Japanese, to me it seems natural to say: 日本人{にほんじん}の相手{あいて} ... however, one time a Japanese teacher told me it's more correct to ...
9
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Stative verbs: ~ている vs ~てある vs ~(ら)れる

I'm not sure if I'm wording this properly, but I want to know the nuances of these "stative" type verb forms that act kind of like adjectives. For example, you could describe an open window with any ...
7
votes
2answers
313 views

Reading a number range [duplicate]

I have a bottle of 洗顔料(facial soap), and the instructions are: ご使用量の目安 ポンプ1~2回 (use about 1 to 2 pumps) If I were to read 1~2 aloud, how would I do it?
7
votes
1answer
411 views

Is it true that all verbs have a corresponding noun form?

Is it true that all verbs have a corresponding noun form (which is formed by making the -masu form and removing the -masu)? Like 遊び and 遊びます 飲み and 飲みます 生き and 生きます 死に and 死にます
5
votes
2answers
344 views

How is determined whether a sound should be romanized into an L versus an R?

I know there isn't a particularly distinct difference between L and R in native Japanese, but very often proper nouns and other non-translated Japanese names/words work their way into English ...
5
votes
2answers
591 views

Which readings would you use to pronounce people's names?

I'm confused whether it is normally appropriate to use On-readings or Kun-readings when dealing with people's names; I'm fine when its just two character names; I just make a logical deduction in my ...

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