8
votes
2answers
1k 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?
7
votes
1answer
131 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
257 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
563 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
409 views

Why is it that ~かねる can refer to oneself, yet ~かねない must refer to another person?

When I tried to use ~かねない to express my own feeling about a situation, I was told by a native that it sounds incorrect and strange. However, ~かねる is appropriate and fine. For example, this is the ...
5
votes
2answers
339 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
234 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
344 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
330 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
585 views

Difference between sentence final ものだ and ことだ

My understanding is that ものだ is used to assert things which are mostly known to everyone. 誰かの家に招待されたときは、何か手土産をもっていくものだ 'When invited to somebody's home it's customary to bring presents'. On ...
13
votes
2answers
314 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 ? ...
9
votes
2answers
600 views

Can the particle は be used twice?

Can the topic marker は be used twice in a sentence? For example, かれは日本語はいいですね。 Is that right?
6
votes
1answer
174 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?
5
votes
3answers
371 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
216 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
108 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
187 views

What did 才六 and similar terms about Kansai residents mean?

While looking up the denonym for a Kansai resident (I've since found out it's 関西人{かんさいじん}), jisho.org described 才六, 贅六, 上方才六, 賽六 and 采六, with pronunciations (not necessarily in that order) of ぜいろく, ...
5
votes
1answer
132 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
297 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
200 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, ...
0
votes
2answers
504 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。
14
votes
2answers
557 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。?
4
votes
2answers
136 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
381 views

what does どことなくつかみどころがなくmean?

I came across this phrase in the sentence: 勘【かん】というものは、しょちゅう経験【けいけん】していながら、どことなくつかみどころがなく、いまの科学【かがく】ではまだその正体【しょうたい】が、明らか【あきらか】にされていない。(Soumatome N1 dokkai, p45) My best effort to translate it ...
5
votes
2answers
387 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。 ...
1
vote
1answer
262 views

When grandmas tell their kids お天道様がみてるよ, how do the kids know who お天道様 is?

I checked Japanese Wikipedia and お天道様 is an early Edo period word for the sun, as used in some kind of early modern popular religion that is not really described well at all. Anyway, I've never seen a ...
5
votes
1answer
845 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
418 views

What's the function of the particle も in 「かわいい写真たてもうれしかったけど、…」?

If you look at my translation of the sentence below from a text book (総まとめ N3 読解), I think you will agree that I have guessed the meaning correctly but can anyone explain the grammar to the first ...
1
vote
1answer
146 views

What is はこう from はこうやって?

What is the translation of はこう ? (from はこうやって) I know that it would mean something like : This is how (I do) ... Yet, I cannot find the word in any dictionary. I just find the meaning of "wave ...
3
votes
1answer
234 views

What does ぐぎぎmean?

I'm totally puzzled as to what this means, and I couldn't find any helpful hints when I searched through multiple websites. Does anyone else have a clue?
2
votes
1answer
133 views

Can 一緒 ever be used as an adjective?

According to this post, the に in 一緒に makes this an adverb. Which means that 一緒 is an adjective. But when can 一緒 ever be (or be used as) an adjective? 一緒人? (conjoined twins, a couple, best friends ...
10
votes
3answers
449 views

Describing aptronyms (names that fit their owner)

I thought of this after seeing a news article about 星出{ほしで}彰彦{あきひこ}, who is an astronaut. Aptronym is a term for a name (often the surname) that fits a person's occupation or personality. A classic ...
5
votes
3answers
483 views

Relation between kanji readings and meanings

I understand that a kanji can have several possible readings and several (typically related) meanings. Furthermore, I've noticed that a single reading typically corresponds to some subset of the ...
13
votes
3answers
393 views

What is the difference between 向かい and 向こう?

I am unable to locate objects and their orientation with respect to myself when 向こう and 向かい are used. Consider: 向こう側 向かい側 向こうの店 向かいの店 Where is 向こう側 and 向かい側 with respect to me? Are they the same ...
4
votes
2answers
223 views

Are the grammatical forms きっかけに and 契機に interchangeable?

One of my grammar books 日本語総まとめN2 文法 lists both of the grammar forms 「きっかけに」 and 「契機に」 in the same definition. However, in the example question a choice is given between them: その事件(a. の契機に b. ...
1
vote
2answers
532 views

“eat, sleep, drift” translation

A friend has asked me to design a T-shirt for him, and he wants it to read: eat, sleep, drift (as in car drifting) So far I have this: 食べる 睡眠 漂. I'm not sure if it's right as I am an English speaker ...
12
votes
2answers
363 views

What is the correct veritable meaning of 水無月 and 神無月?

This question is the result of a conversation with Chocolate in chat, and also this Japanese calendar I have that lists the months according to the traditional Japanese names. For some reason, there ...
7
votes
1answer
160 views

When do you use 回答 and 応答?

I would like to know when do you use the word 回答{かいとう} versus the word 応答{おうとう}. Based on my understanding they 回答 is reply while 応答 is response. Although to reply would also mean to response, in ...
1
vote
2answers
799 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
292 views

What is this extra と in the sentence?

This is more than likely due to my lack of reading enough Japanese; however, in this sentence the particles と and に are placed together which I haven't seen before. Sentence: ...
8
votes
1answer
212 views

Grammatically correct, yet improper?

Yesterday, I mentioned the fact that I was grateful for having someone play music for me, and letting me play music as well. I first said something like: ピアノを弾いてもらったり、弾かせてもらったりして、嬉しいです。 Then, I ...
6
votes
1answer
293 views

Why is 口が軽い the opposite of 口が堅い?

Why is 口が軽い the opposite of 口が堅い ? It seems interesting to me why 軽い/堅い would be chosen for this phrase. As far as I know, most of the time phrases that are coupled with 軽い usually have the ...
9
votes
3answers
520 views

When is the correct situation to use 案外 or 意外?

I think this is a question I should have asked a long time ago.. What is the difference between 案外 and 意外? What does the correct situation look like when using either? Example with 案外: ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Why is there a “tsu” in Nippon (にっぽん)? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How did “little tsu” become a lengthener? On Wikipedia and elsewhere, Japan is written like so: Nippon ( にっぽん ). What is that tsu doing in there? Why isn't ...
10
votes
2answers
672 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
61 views

particles for dekiru [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: が and に interchangeability and difference in meaning I have another question with “dekiru”. When this verb is used the particle “ni”? For example, like in the following ...
8
votes
1answer
571 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
291 views

Why can some words be written with or without okurigana? How do the uses differ?

What is the difference for word compounds that can exist with 送り仮名 and without and still retain the same pronunciation? As an example: 巻き貝 と 巻貝 取り引き と 取引 If I'm correct, both of these are ...
0
votes
4answers
587 views

How to know what Okurigana signify? [closed]

For example, the kanji for "one" has a kun reading of "hito(tsu)." I looked it up and found that it's the difference between "one" and "one thing," but how could you have known that without ...
3
votes
1answer
144 views

Can anyone explain 涼しげで?

In reference to Japanese sweets (わらび餅), I found this sentence: 見た目も透明感があり、涼しげで夏にピッタリです。 Its clear and cool appearance makes it perfect for summer. Is 涼しげで two words? 涼しい + で? Could I also ...

15 30 50 per page