5
votes
1answer
491 views

How is 空気を読む translated into English?

I've often seen 'read the air' (literal translation) or 'read between the lines' but is there a better rendition of this concept in English? Or does it just not exist?
2
votes
1answer
191 views

Verb in te-form with 中に, as in “通って中に”

I have started to read a novel for practice. I came across these sentences. I can't make sense of the part 通って中に. 少年はあそこ一夜過ごすことに決めた。彼は羊の群れが、壊れかけた門を通って中に、入るのを見届けてから、夜中に羊が迷い出さないように、何本かの棒を門にわたした。 I ...
7
votes
3answers
384 views

Teaching the difference between “see” and “she” in English

I've been teaching ESL for over 30 years, but for the last three I've had almost exclusively Japanese students (I teach mostly 1-on-1 classes over Skype, to students from High School to Business ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

What's a nice way to say “fingers crossed”?

What's a nice way to express any of the following - "Let's keep our fingers crossed" "I'll keep my fingers crossed!" (We / I) (are / am) keeping (our / my ) fingers crossed"
5
votes
1answer
149 views

Is 圧力 countable?

Consider the following sentence (emphasis mine): ひょっとしたら僕が​圧力の一つや二つをかけられて​いることも知っているのかもしれない。 The bolded part is kind of confusing me. I get that 圧力をかけられる means "to be pressured" or "to have ...
1
vote
3answers
147 views

Use of に in 人間に

人間に[上下]{じょうげ}はない。 People are equal. Why the use of に after 人間? Are we treating 人間 as a "location" where 上下 is absent?
2
votes
1answer
129 views

Confusion between nouns and adverbs in あと一部

この仕事はあと一部を残すだけだ。 Only one part of the job remains. Does one think of あと (remainder) as a noun (and object of 残す) and 一部 as a counter/adverb, or is あと the adverb and 一部 the noun here?
5
votes
1answer
132 views

Are non-Japanese political party names translated, or transliterated?

Are the names of new political parties, especially in English-speaking countries, typically translated, or transliterated? I looked at the Japanese language Wikipedia template for Australian ...
4
votes
1answer
199 views

What's the difference between 学科, 教科 and 科目

I've seen all three used in somewhat similar situations. What are the differences between them, and in which cases should i use one over another?
1
vote
2answers
181 views

What is this dash-like punctuation mark?

Here is a piece of text from 「ノルウェイの森」by Haruki Murakami: この寮の唯一の問題点はその根本的なうさん臭さにあった。寮はあるきわめて右翼的な人物を中心とする正体不明の財団法人によって運営されており、その運営方針は――もちろん僕の目から見ればということだが――かなり奇妙に歪んだものだった。 How are these things ...
1
vote
2answers
236 views

The origin of しなさい

勉強しなさいよ! i know what this means.. but what is the origin of しなさい ? Does it come from する (to do verb) ?? Is it short form of something? or what?
1
vote
1answer
200 views

Does the word 津波 (tsunami) have negative connotations?

Or is it just a neutral term for tidal waves? (I'm considering naming a JavaScript library tsunami.js – would it be offensive?)
5
votes
1answer
250 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
110 views

Nuance due to absence of は

その帽子に赤いマフラーが似合いそうだ。 A red muffler seems to go well with that hat. Is there a difference in nuance between the above sentence and the following one? その帽子には赤いマフラーが似合いそうだ。 I get that it's ...
1
vote
2answers
162 views

Premature optimization is the root of all evil [closed]

"Premature optimization is the root of all evil" I would like to translate this quote into Japanese for a personal project. For further understanding of the meaning, Donald Knuth wrote this phrase in ...
4
votes
2answers
200 views

What does 工夫(する) mean?

I am aware of the generic English translation: In this case, "device" or "to devise" in English, but this does not really help me out. In what context would you use this word? 例文 would really be ...
3
votes
1answer
216 views

The use of も; spotting if it is comparison/contrast, or for emphasis

Could somebody tell me the meaning/use of both もs in bold in the following sentence? It is the background explanation for the essay titled 「さよなら、ゴジラ先生」 in the magazine, 中上級のにほんご. Also, I am not sure ...
1
vote
1answer
375 views

Period + に + frequency

I'm looking at JLPT4/5 grammar list and see such grammar point. But I can't find any information about it (truthfully I don't know how to). Though I found some examples: 1 shuukan ni ikkai - once a ...
6
votes
1answer
191 views

Is there any relationship between the verb 死{し}ぬ and the 音読み 死{し}?

I noticed that both 死ぬ and the 音読み of 死 share a し sound. Is this a huge coincidence between Japanese and Chinese, or is there some sort of relation? I guess the former, because I don't know any ...
3
votes
3answers
298 views

It seems that 渡る is categorized as 自動詞 (intransitive verb), yet it is frequently used with を. Why?

Jisho says 渡る is an intransitive verb, and ALC says it is sometimes 自動 and sometimes 他動. In either case, the particle を can be used. What's going on here?
1
vote
1answer
213 views

How does 生まれ translate in this context?

こんにちは、皆さん。ちょっと質問があります。 今日、この歌を聞きました。 最初の歌詞はこれです: アイデンティティがない 生まれない らららら でも意味が分かりません。英訳するができない。 「(If you) have no identity, (you) haven't been born」と思いますが、確かめたいです。 日本語で説明していい。手伝てくれてありがとう!
1
vote
2answers
234 views

Use of に with -てあげる/-てくれる with a human direct object

Quoting from page 292 of A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar (DBJG), entry for に, note 2: "Any transitive verb used in the V-てあげる or V-てくれる construction can take に, if the verb does not take a ...
2
votes
1answer
113 views

question about 午前n時

I'm learning Japanese and I just finished learning Hiragana and Katakana and now I'm moving to Kanji. In my studies I found that 午前8時 means 8 a.m Ok, that's cool but I would like to know how to ...
2
votes
2answers
218 views

Is there an idiomatic Japanese equivalent of the construction “Let [infinitive verb]”?

In English, we have constructions like "Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York" (MLK's I Have A Dream speech) and "Let there be light" (Genesis 1:3, KJV and other versions). Is there ...
7
votes
1answer
144 views

Future dates in the Japanese calendar

I was looking at the heisei wiki page and I wondered how you would refer to future dates in the japanese calendar? For example would 'The 2020 olympics' be '[平成]{へいせい}32[年]{ねん}のオリンピック'? Is there some ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

Etymology of grammar-related terms in Japanese

I've been searching up words like '~の近く' (near), '~の裏側' (behind), '~より先' (further away). Basically words related to the position of an object or thing. The term I've been using is 前置詞 in Japanese, but ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it true that all Japanese words end in a vowel when transliterated to English?

First off I know zero Japanese, so sorry if this is a stupid question. I seem to remember hearing a while back that all Japanese words, when transliterated to the Latin alphabet, will end in a vowel. ...
3
votes
2answers
240 views

Usage of particles で and に with ~的

A sentence from JapanesePod 101: 北米とヨーロッパでは通常スカートは女性がはくものと思われているが、世界的には多くの男性がスカートをはく。 In North America and Europe a skirt is thought of as something a woman wears, but in many countries men ...
2
votes
2answers
141 views

Usage of a clause to modify an い-adjective?

近所のバーは友達とお酒を飲むのにちょうどいい場所だ。 The neighbourhood bar is a great place to have a drink with friends. Does one think of the dependent clause 友達とお酒を飲むのに as modifying the い-adjective ちょうどいい (which then ...
3
votes
2answers
132 views

Usage of particles with 出てくる

Another sentence from Kanji in Context. 初めて[山奥]{やまおく}から町に出てきた村の人たちは見るものすべてに[驚]{おどろ}いた。 In this instance, does 山奥から町に出てきた mean "left the mountains and came to the city" (町)? Also, I would normally ...
1
vote
1answer
125 views

Alternate の particle usage

I've come across two similar examples of a usage of の I am not familiar with. 彼は運のいい男だ 意志の強い人だ I kinda understand how it is supposed to work but feel like I could parse it better if I were to hear ...
2
votes
1answer
112 views

How is '打って' being used in this context?

こん、皆さん。ちょっと質問があります。 この歌:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEwycsmfACg 最初の歌詞はこれです: 「またビートを打ってリリック書く だってそうじゃなきゃ俺が俺じゃない」 でも意味が分かんない。^^; 英語で説明していい。 "(I'm) writing lyrics for another beat ... ... If I'm ...
4
votes
2answers
160 views

Questions about 背負う

背負う is pronounced せおう, but many dictionaries also list a second pronunciation as しょう. I've never heard it pronounced as しょう in practice. In what situations does it have this pronunciation? Is ...
0
votes
1answer
179 views

Trying to lookup word or expression てんとてん

I can remember hearing this combination of sounds several times, and the way it's used makes me think that it's a part of a common phase or saying. Particularly I can point to two cases where it was ...
2
votes
2answers
115 views

What's the difference between 体育 and スポーツ?

This may be my Chinese getting in the way of my Japanese again, but doesn't 体育 and スポーツ both mean "sport"? What are the differences between them, and when is one used over the other?
0
votes
2answers
108 views

the use and the meaning of the verb 実感する in the given example

I would like to ask for help with translating the following sentence: 今日は、「練習していないことは嘘をつかない」という悲しいセリフを実感しました。練習も嘘をつかないんだけど、その逆も然り。 I understand parts of it for example 練習していないことは嘘をつかない 悲しい セリフ ...
10
votes
1answer
219 views

How similar is the Japanese spoken in Taiwan to the Japanese spoken in Japan?

I've heard that Japanese is spoken by some Taiwanese people who were old enough to have lived during Japanese rule, along with some people who've learnt it for other reasons. For younger people, I've ...
7
votes
1answer
782 views

Differences between いよいよ / やっと / ようやく / ついに and とうとう

I've come across these words which can all mean "finally". What I'd like to know is how they differ in usage [nuance and formality]. Below are their respective entries in the 研究社 新和英大辞典 第5版. いよいよ 1 ...
2
votes
1answer
184 views

What is the origin of ゟ (より)?

ゟ is a digraph that is read より. Where does it originate from? Is it a ligature, like & <- et, or German ß <- ss (well, ſs)? (Wikipedia claims this, citing no source.) Also, if it is a ...
1
vote
1answer
666 views

How do you correctly use 'gesu' 下種/下衆/下司?

下種/下衆/下司 are all pronounced "gesu." According to various dictionaries "gesu" can be used to describe a sleazebag, a humble person, or a petty official. How can one differentiate between which to ...
2
votes
2answers
107 views

The correct usage of 召し上がる and お召し上がる

A Japanese friend of mine explained to me that many people often incorrectly use the honorific お in the example sentence. The correct sentence is without the お. I have two questions regarding this ...
2
votes
2answers
172 views

te-form without a final verb and its usage as a conditional

歩いて二十分ほどのところにある川原です。 It's a riverbank about twenty minutes away by foot. I have a couple of questions with the usage of 歩いて here: The usage of the te-form without an auxiliary verb (e.g. 歩いていく) or ...
2
votes
2answers
309 views

What is the most accurate (literal) translation of でしょう?

I understand the concept of でしょう. All my books say that it is like saying "probably". I have also been told that it is more accurately a means of adding doubt to a statement to seem less assuming and ...
4
votes
2answers
196 views

When and where did 丁寧語 emerge?

I've been reading some old text recently and I find that everybody seems to use plain forms even in polite contexts (like proclamations from the Emperor). When did the modern ます and です come from? I ...
5
votes
1answer
239 views

When did 全然 get restricted to the negative?

全然 means "completely" in Chinese, and also in Classical Chinese. Why does 全然 only go with negative conjugations in Japanese? My teacher also says that you cannot say とても with negative things in ...
0
votes
1answer
92 views

meaning of でも~くらい

I cannot understand what is 自分でも無様なくらいに means in the following sentence. I'd translate it like - "I felt so akward, that my voice trembled" 自分でも無様なくらいに声が震えていた Thank you very much for help!
4
votes
1answer
345 views

How Do You Say “I read it wrong” in Japanese?

How Do You Say "I read it wrong" in Japanese? Is there such a word like 読み間違え or something like that in Japanese? Thanks!
5
votes
1answer
245 views

Pre-Kana Kanji readings

How did Japanese know how to read kanji before invention of kana? (having only kanji to write a language) Without kana and romaji, if they heard a new word - how could they look it up in a ...
7
votes
2answers
505 views

Function of の particle in the title 「進撃の巨人」

I came across the anime/manga title 「進撃の巨人」 and I am a bit confused about the usage of the の particle there. I know that の has several uses, but I'm not sure which one applies in this case. I looked ...
3
votes
1answer
324 views

How to say a double negative in Japanese

My Japanese friend asked me whether I believe in an afterlife. I wanted to say, "I don't believe, but also I don't not believe." My point is that while I do not believe, I like to keep an open mind. ...

15 30 50 per page