9
votes
4answers
1k 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.
9
votes
1answer
662 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
483 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
261 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, ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How to use the inflection “やがる”?

こんなくそみたいな帽子かぶせやがって! "こんな仕事させやがって!" "こんなまずいものを食わせやがって!" "あいつは本当に良いものを作りやがる" I was recently acquainted with the inflection "やがる," as illustrated in the examples above. Would it be ...
7
votes
1answer
865 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
149 views

Meaning and transitivity of 立ち上がる in ~を手に立ち上がる

While doing some tranlating, I stumbled upon this usage of 立ち上がる。 わたしがゴミ袋を手に立ち上がると、イツカ君とお姉ちゃんは二人一緒にわたしの所へやって来ました。 It doesn't match up with the definitions I'm familiar with, nor any of the other ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Confusion with Japanese particle と in its multiple uses

I have read about the different uses of the different particles in Japanese but often become confused as to how it should be translated in different sentences. In other words the actual intent of the ...
5
votes
1answer
987 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
268 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?
4
votes
1answer
537 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
1answer
289 views

What is a subsidiary verb?

What is a subsidiary verb? Could one explain it and give some examples of its application?
23
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is は pronounced as わ when used as a topic particle?

The particle は is pronounced similarly to わ (unlike the rest of the ハ行 kana) when used as a particle; why is this? What historical shifts went on to cause this irregularity?
16
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 ...
16
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
662 views

Why did の disappear from 山手, but in 御茶ノ水 it's in katakana?

I realize that very likely the answer to this question is likely to be something along the lines of "that's just the way it is", but I thought it worth asking to see if there were some insights that ...
12
votes
2answers
851 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.
11
votes
3answers
750 views

What does it mean when この is in front of a personal pronoun?

As in このオレさま and この僕も. I know the literal translation, but I never understood what the intent of it is.
11
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 ...
10
votes
2answers
680 views

What words are used for dolphin meat?

What words are used for dolphin meat? Searching jisho.org using "dolphin" in the English field listed several different words for dolphin, but no compounds involving meat. Neither the English nor ...
10
votes
1answer
392 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
441 views

What does exactly does さま mean in dictionary definitions?

I've been using Japanese-Japanese dictionaries for a while now and this keeps popping up. It seems to me like a kind of usage that is found for the most part only in dictionaries. Can anyone help ...
7
votes
1answer
456 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
377 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, ...
6
votes
4answers
217 views

ブラウザ or ブラウザー? Words borrowed from English which end with -er

I noticed that some (most? all?) words that were borrowed from English and end with -er in English can have either short or long vowel at the end: browser - can be ブラウザ or ブラウザー driver - can be ドライバ ...
6
votes
2answers
324 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
323 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
2answers
383 views

What exactly is おく doing in 聞いておく?

Earlier today my friend and I were looking for a restaurant that someone had recommended we go to. We couldn't find it, and so my friend suggested I should check again with the person who recommended ...
6
votes
4answers
480 views

does anyone know of any o-words or go-words which are absolutely neutral?

Does anyone know of any o-words or go-words which are absolutely neutral (have no nuances of being polite / courteous / respectful / womanly / cute etc etc)? The only ones I'm aware of currently is ...
6
votes
1answer
373 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?
5
votes
1answer
347 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
2answers
1k views

How to parse ~なくたって?

I've been running into verbs such as 言わなくたって recently. I found these sentences using a sample sentence search and it seems to be a stronger form of ~なくても 見てなくたっていいよ。 You don't have to stand ...
4
votes
2answers
600 views

What does it mean for the 'feel' of a sentence / text when it's written in all hiragana?

When a Japanese-language sentence is written out in all katakana, it's supposed to be either stilted, robot-like speech or something to simulate ALL CAPS. How is that with hiragana? Does it make te ...
4
votes
1answer
172 views

using 〜ば〜ほど with adverbs

You can use this construct with verbs: 食べれば食べるほど太る and with adjectives: ジェットコースターは高ければ高いほど楽しい but what about adverbs? if, for example, I wanted to say of a windmill "the faster it turns, the more ...
4
votes
2answers
308 views

using 美化語 in 謙譲語 verb forms does not make sense, right?

So, 美化語 is used to create honorifics: お名前 ご注文 etc. But, the standard way to create the 謙譲語 form of verbs is: お+[verb stem] + いたします That does not make logical sense to modify the action that you are ...
4
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
241 views

What does it mean to be “over a law”?

I was a little confused after reading this on Wikipedia article for 宇部港, a harbor in Ube, Yamaguchi: 港湾法{こうわんほう}上の重要港湾...に指定されている。 I'm really not used to reading very technical writing, so there ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

~ておく / とく for preparation (Conjugation and nuance)

A few quick questions regarding ~ておく and the casual form ~とく Firstly, when changing from ~ておく to the more casual ~とく I'm assuming the verb is first conjugated to the ~て form then the ~て is dropped ...
12
votes
4answers
639 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
416 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 ...
11
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
413 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
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 ...
8
votes
4answers
609 views

How does the use of いかんによっては in this question determine one answer over another?

In my JLPT practise book, in a section explaining the use of いかんによっては, which roughly means "depending on", they have the following question: ...
7
votes
2answers
316 views

Do we use odd day pronunciations outside of calendar ranges?

After reading @jkerian's comment in this post, I started thinking about this. Here's the comment in full: On a side note, all days ending in '4' are also irregular, and use ~よっか. So the 14th is ...
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
372 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
442 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
6
votes
2answers
513 views

What are these forms: かけちゃお, つないじゃお?

I'm trying to understand the lyrics of a closing song of 「崖の上のポニョ」. First verse is simple, but the second stopped me: ペタペタ ピョーンピョン 足っていいな かけちゃお ニギニギ ブンブン お手てはいいな つないじゃお What happened to arms and ...

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