3
votes
3answers
351 views

Interpreting a specific Japanese sentence

In one song (lyrics link) the line "Watashitachi no kore ga precious heartbeat" ("It's our precious heartbeat") appears, and I'm not sure how best to analyze it due to one particular grammatical ...
10
votes
1answer
143 views

Word order: what does 迷惑きわまりない modify?

In my JLPT practice book, there is a question that asks you to put words in the correct order: 朝の満員電車の中で、大きな音で ____ ____ ____ ____ 若者がいる。 What I put down was: 朝の満員電車の中で、大きな音で ...
9
votes
2answers
512 views

do people actually respect the nuances of 探す vs 捜す?

Part 1 I understand 探す to be to search for something (general) and 捜す to be to search for something lost But do people actually care about the difference in nuance when they use it? I mean do ...
2
votes
0answers
106 views

same reading, similar meaning, different Kanji [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: do people actually respect the nuances of 探す vs 捜す? There are many kanji that I have come across with similar meanings, and (seemly coincidentally) identical readings. ...
6
votes
3answers
444 views

In general/Generally: 概【がい】して, 一般【いっぱん】に, 全体【ぜんたい】に, 総【そう】じて, なべて, 一体{いったい}に, etc

When I look at them in the dictionary, they all mean the same thing. How to know which one to use? If I want to say: "Generally, I go to school by bus" or "Generally, people grow taller" or even ...
6
votes
1answer
210 views

Is くろじん a word?

I used to call black people くろじん, either because I mistakenly read 黒人{こくじん} as such or because I heard it somewhere (or both), until I was told by another Japanese learner that こくじん is more ...
9
votes
2answers
202 views

What's the difference between 迷う and 紕う?

I was looking in a dictionary and both were listed as being defined as "to lose one's way, to hesitate, or to waver," but I don't understand why there are two different kanji for the word.
4
votes
1answer
171 views

Are the meanings of 煙 and 烟 identical?

I noticed that 煙 in the phrase 茶煙永日香{ちゃえんえいじつかんばし} sometimes appears as 烟. For example, here is a teapot with 茶煙永日香 and a scroll with 茶烟永日香. Is there a difference in meaning between 煙 and 烟? 煙 and 烟 ...
11
votes
6answers
401 views

Computer: 計算機 or 計算器?

What is the difference between the two kanji variants for 「けいさんき」, the other word for 「コンピューター」? 計算器 計算機
8
votes
6answers
2k views

Why are there 3 ways of writing in Japanese?

Why are there kanji, hiragana and katakana? Is there a logical reason behind this or just tradition?
8
votes
1answer
318 views

Use of を and に with 頼る (to depend on)

Why is the direct object taking を in (1) and に in (2)? What are basic rules that drive these two sentence constructions? (1) 叔母は父を頼っている 'My aunt is counting on my father's help.' (2) ...
2
votes
1answer
168 views

The plural 等 in おいら, おら

Why do the singular first person pronouns 俺{おい}等{ら} and 俺{お}等{ら} involve the plural affix 等?
6
votes
2answers
207 views

Etymology of とんでもない

Where did とんでもない (meaning "not at all" or "outrageous!") come from? Could it be 飛んでもない ? ("will not even jump/fly" in a similar way how "When pigs fly" is considered a remark for something ...
17
votes
1answer
595 views

Did ありがとう come from Portuguese “obrigado”?

I have heard before that ありがとう came from the word "obrigado" in Portuguese. Is this true and is there any evidence to support this, or is it an old wives' tale?
4
votes
1answer
157 views

Does 被【かぶ】る have any relation to “cover”?

Topic. I've heard/seen somewhere that 被【かぶ】る was "gairaigo-fied" (?) from the English word "cover" (similar to ダブる or デモる), and then presumably given ateji from 被【おお】う since the meanings overlap so ...
7
votes
1answer
664 views

Did any writing systems exist before kanji was imported?

Did any writing systems, or even failed attempts at them, exist for Japanese before kanji was imported from China?
6
votes
2answers
389 views

Which kanji for はじめます? There seem to be two

I thought the kanji for はじめます was: 始めます However, one of my friends tweeted using 初: トマト鍋初めて食べたけどおいしかった Which is correct? Is there a difference in nuance between the two? jisho.org brings ...
4
votes
2answers
158 views

Difference between 颜 and 顔

I have seen both used like 笑颜 and 笑顔 to mean smile (noun). afaik both are pronouced as えがお (somebody correct me if I'm wrong, ビギナーだ). So what exactly is the difference?
2
votes
1answer
344 views

connecting phrases with the stem of masu-form

When is it possible to connect sentences using the stem of masu-form? Are there restrictions on the use of this form? Thanks in advance.
9
votes
2answers
225 views

What do the parts of じゃんけんぽん mean?

I imagine that in じゃんけんぽん, けん corresponds to 拳 which I interpret as "fist" which is "rock". Do じゃん and ぽん correspond to "scissors" and "paper" ? If not, then do the individual parts of じゃん, けん and ...
18
votes
1answer
671 views

Do Japanese writers use underline for emphasis?

Do Japanese writers use underline to emphasize a point, or other techniques? Wikipedia mentions the use of katakana here and here, but I'm not sure if it's appropriate. Background: I'm incorporating ...
7
votes
1answer
125 views

The expressions 後へ引く and 後を引く

What is the logic behind the similar sounding expressions 後へ引く and 後を引く? Are they idioms? Apple dictionary lists these examples: 後へ引く もう後へは引けない 'It's too late to turn back now.' 'We're in ...
2
votes
1answer
150 views

Usage of くれる in くれてやる

くれる usually means that the giver is not on the first person's side and the receiver is on the first person's side. Why is it used in くれてやる, where the giver is the first person and the receiver is not ...
7
votes
1answer
144 views

Is it normal to put さん after an internet handle?

Is it ok to put さん after an internet handle, such as a twitter name or a username? My suspicion is that you'd avoid adding さん if it'd confuse the software, and that addressing someone by their ...
2
votes
2answers
210 views

What is the ったい / -ttai suffix called?

In response to my question about くすぐったい, I was told of the specific suffix in use, the "ったい." What is this ったい / -ttai suffix called in English and in Japanese (or what would one call it if it does ...
4
votes
2answers
383 views

ii na to omoimasu

I read that ... to ii na to omoimasu means "I hope that ...". Is the na here a final particle that adds the first person's subjective feeling to the proposition as in sawa’s answer to using ...
5
votes
2answers
229 views

When is it appropriate to choose にわたって or を通じて in regard to time?

I seem to have a hard time recognizing when to choose either にわたって or を通じて in the following question: この地方は一年(  )暖かく、とても過ごしやすい。 The correct answer is を通じて. My idea is that を通じて would make this ...
5
votes
1answer
186 views

The logic behind “くすぐったい”

I am interested in the literal meaning of くすぐったい. If くすぐったい is equivalent to the English expression, "That tickles!" (said by someone being tickled), what is the literal meaning of this word? If it is ...
1
vote
1answer
183 views

What is the meaning of 疾風伝?

I am trying to understand the title of an anime series called: Naruto Shippuden. Searching google, I found that shippuden can be translated as hurricane chronicles or legend. I looked for hurricane in ...
19
votes
6answers
561 views

Pluralization in Japanese: usage of -たち and -ら

I know that -たち and -ら pluralize the nouns they come after (or indicate a group that the noun is part of), but most of the time the plural in Japanese is implicit. When is it appropriate or necessary ...
12
votes
2answers
268 views

What is the difference between 日曜日【にちようび】and 日曜【にちよう】?

In all the japanese learning books, they teach you that xxxday ends with 曜日. But sometimes I get to see xxx曜 only without the "Day" Kanji. Can I shorten it when speaking too or is it only written ? ...
4
votes
4answers
237 views

Why is 一緒に needed when it's already clear two people will be together?

A father is talking to his kid about their plans tomorrow and says, けんしんくん、お父さんと一緒に買いに行きましょうか? Why not: けんしんくん、お父さんと買いに行きましょうか? (The sentence is supposed to say, "Kenshin, would you like ...
5
votes
3answers
297 views

What is the difference between 寿司, 鮨, 鮓, 寿斗, 寿し, and 壽司?

It is likely that this is due to my poor understanding, but why are there so many names for「すし」? I think for the most part I have only seen the first three (寿司、鮨、鮓). For whatever reason in some ...
5
votes
1answer
163 views

外回り, 内回り instead of 時計回り, 反時計回り

Why were the terms 外回り and 内回り chosen for the directions on Yamanote line (railway) rather than the more straigntforward 時計回り and 反時計回り? Is it expected that people should know which matches which?
18
votes
2answers
1k views

The difference between が and を with the potential form of a verb.

When using the potential form of a verb, I was taught that the particle を becomes が. However, in real life this seems to not always be the case. I've even heard Japanese people use を instead of が ...
12
votes
3answers
298 views

Sentence structure/element order

In the textbook Japanese for Busy People I, the order of the elements in a sentence is always the same (subject - when - with whom - by what means - to where - verb) at least as far as I have made it. ...
6
votes
1answer
160 views

Can I say 行ってきます if I don't plan to come back?

When can I safely say 「行ってきます」when leaving home or another place? How loosely can this phrase be used? Can you use it even if you don't plan to come back until a day/week/month later? If it is going ...
4
votes
2answers
101 views

Difference between こぼれる and あふれる

What is the difference between the two words こぼれる and あふれる? I think for こぼれる, the focus is on improper or bad containment leading to overflow/spillage. And for あふれる the focus is on the abundance of ...
7
votes
3answers
322 views

Help with the particle も

If you look at my translation of the sentence below from a text book (soumatome N3 dokkai), I think you will agree that I have guessed the meaning correctly but can anyone explain the grammar to the ...
2
votes
3answers
619 views

What's the meaning of “Moe”

I've seen people trying to define it in many places, but all of them end up giving different versions or saying it can't be defined.
5
votes
1answer
115 views

Use of 「元」in honorifics

While reading this bit of news, I noticed that the article used an interesting type of "honorific": 京都大学院薬学研究科の辻本豪三・元教授(59)が医療機器販売会社(東京都世田谷区)から私的な旅行費用などの肩代わりを受けていた問題で [...] Although the ...
6
votes
4answers
269 views

Where exactly in your body is “心”?

Where in your body is [心]{こころ} located? When people refer to [心]{こころ} do they refer to their heart or brain? I assume heart as the literal translation, but I've heard both so was wondering what the ...
5
votes
1answer
169 views

Is 名詞 or な形容詞 + ながら a general case?

Not sure if this is a noun or a na-adjective but is something like 好きながら, 貧乏ながら, 親切ながら, 貧弱ながら, et cetera, a general grammar pattern of noun or na-adjective + ながら? What I mean is, do all these work, ...
12
votes
2answers
340 views

What's the difference between 今日{きょう} and 本日{ほんじつ}?

I also see both in different examples. As in : 今日は暑い。 本日はおめでとうございます。 Both are translated as "Today", but when and how should I use either one? Can we say : 本日はあつい。 And 今日はおめでとうございます。?
0
votes
2answers
333 views

What does 見ぬ/minu mean in this sentence?

The phrase is: mada minu kimi e tsudzuku. I believe the kana is: まだ見ぬきみへつづく。
4
votes
2answers
128 views

How do specific characters get included in 囲み文字 and what are the meanings they convey?

I have this book 「図解でわかる 文字コードのすべて」 which lists many of the Unicode and JIS symbols that one can type. I noticed the section of enclosed alphanumerics (囲み文字). Not all kanji are included in 囲み文字 which ...
11
votes
3answers
539 views

Fun with synonyms - “eternity”

What are the differences among the following two-kanji words that seem to mean "eternity": 永遠 {えいえん} 永久 {とわ} 永世 {えいせい} 永代 {えいたい} 永劫 {えいごう} 永永 {えいえい} 久遠 {きゅうえん} 悠久 {ゆうきゅう} 恒久 {こうきゅう} 恒常 {こうじょう} 長久 ...
5
votes
2answers
267 views

Are the grammatical forms ものか and だろうか questions?

For some reason, I have had the impression that か at the end of a sentence marks some kind of question that is being asked. However, in these examples from 日本語総まとめ 文法: うれしいもんですか。困っているんです。 ...
8
votes
1answer
351 views

Change of kanji like 大坂 to 大阪

Wikipedia says that Osaka used to be spelt 大坂, and is now spelt 大阪. Is there a term for what happened, and does it happen often? Related question: On the replacing of kanji obsoleted in the 1946 ...
5
votes
1answer
524 views

How many forms can a Japanese verb take?

Japanese verbs are quite complex compared to English verbs (Most English verbs have five or six forms and to be has eight not including archaic forms). Their agglutinative nature means they have ...

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