3
votes
1answer
465 views

Why is 自分 used instead of 私?

For example: 自分の名前が呼ばれたとき、私は自分の耳を疑った。I couldn't believe my ears when I heard my name called. Would it be appropriate if I said 私? When is it appropriate to use 自分? What is the difference?
3
votes
2answers
252 views

Is 眠たい an adjective?

I was told 眠たい was an adjective, and that it is an exceptional case. How does it work as an adjective and what is its relation to the verb 眠る?
3
votes
2answers
445 views

2 versions of tara ii no ni

What is the difference in usage and meaning of: 行ったらいいのに =V/conditional and 行けたらいいのに = V/potential/conditional Can both be translated as "If only I could go..."? Thanks!
5
votes
3answers
360 views

what does it mean when a causative verb is conjugated in the causative form?

If ”かぶせる” is a "causative verb," what does it mean when a causative verb is conjugated in the causative form? プランターに生えているカタバミの葉を用意し、アルミホイルをかぶせさせる。 ...
10
votes
3answers
414 views

When should 男の人/女の人 be used instead of 男/女?

My teacher always corrects me when I use 男 or 女 by themselves, without adding の人 to the end of it. But in various Japanese media (music, drama, anime, etc.), I know for sure that I have heard them ...
0
votes
1answer
252 views

How is this verb being conjugated and contracted?

" こんな馬鹿みたいな帽子かぶせやがって!!” " こんなくそみたいな帽子かぶせやがって!!” " こんなくそみたいな帽子かぶせんじゃねーよ!!” I believe I'm looking at a conjugation and contraction of the verb かぶる. What is the original conjugation and ...
4
votes
2answers
311 views

Stem classification 終止形 vs 連体形(しゅうしけい vs れんたいけい)

What is the difference between 終止形 and 連体形 and which one is the correct term for the dictionary form? The Japanese Grammar Wiki entry says... Terminal form (終止形 shūshikei) -u is used at the ...
3
votes
2answers
460 views

Is こんばんは too formal for everyday conversation?

When giving a talk on Japanese, How to talk like a ge1sha, I made a terrible mistake: I invited someone who knew something about the language along. The only times he heckled me was when he reckoned ...
0
votes
1answer
119 views

Want to be sure I understand the nuance of 払{はら}う

払{はら}う has a number of meanings, but to summarize, it means to chase away or brush off. I often see it used in combinations like 追{お}い[払]{はら}う, "to chase off", or "to drive away". I recently came ...
0
votes
1answer
152 views

What is the meaning of 「…みけんならみけん…」?

I'm reading a book on how to draw manga style characters, and I came across this sentence. It is part of a larger block explaining how to make a character look the same from all different angles. ...
4
votes
2answers
117 views

What is the nuance of 解{げ}す?

Today in my JLPT text book, I came across the word 解{げ}す. I know that the kanji 解 means "unravel", and it can be read 解{わか}る, and with that reading it's synonymous with 分{わ}かる, "to understand". When ...
13
votes
3answers
368 views

Is パートナー likely to be interpreted as a same-sex partner?

When I talked about a relative and his パートナー visiting for Christmas, the person I was speaking to asked if his パートナー was male. Is this a common interpretation of パートナー? Is there a better word than ...
8
votes
1answer
178 views

How do you read zeros in abbreviated years? (i.e. 03年)

I came across 03年度 and 09年度, and while the meaning is clear I didn't know the actual way of reading it. My first reaction was ゼロさんねんど, but I have no way of checking if that's right. I thought it might ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Internet speak - orz

I've seen several of my Japanese friends use "orz" in various types of posts on Facebook. What does "orz" mean? It's driving me nuts!
4
votes
1answer
185 views

Meaning and spelling of1対1で対応

In a recent email conversation, an acquaintance used the expression: 1対1で対応するそれは、大変だね。 Although I can vaguely infer the meaning of the expression 1対1で対応する (いちたいでたいおう), I am having a hard time ...
7
votes
1answer
217 views

What is the etymology of the term [仏]{ほとけ}[様]{さま}?

What is the etymology of the term 仏様 ? I am interested because of all the meanings this word can possess.
4
votes
1answer
150 views

Can the volitional form be used to nominate yourself for something?

I did a quick search on this site to see if I could find any answer to this and found this question: Does the volitional form of a verb mean both "lets" and "I want to"? But ...
7
votes
1answer
225 views

Difference between 「~のない~」 and 「~がない~」?

For example, plugging these into Google, I can find stuff like, 自信のない人 and 自信がない人. Or, 愛のない生活 and 愛がない生活. I found a movie called 顔のないスパイ. How is this any different from 顔がないスパイ? I've asked ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

How do you say “[amount of time] later”?

What is the general rule for saying, for example, "2 hours later"?
8
votes
2answers
292 views

Any books or websites dedicated to Japanese tech/IT language?

I work in IT in Tokyo, so most of what I do doesn't require interaction with our Japanese customers, but every so often we get that one phone call where someone wants something explained, and I can ...
11
votes
1answer
328 views

What does さようなら (左様なら) have to do with “left”?

What is the relationship between 左様なら and 左? I assume there's some idiomatic meaning for "left" but how does it fit?
10
votes
3answers
692 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?
4
votes
2answers
207 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
465 views

Problems with は and が

Consider: [A] 猫が好きだ To me this means [A']"I like cats." Contrast this to: [B] 猫は好きだ To me this means [B']"I like cats (among other animals)" I based my understanding of [B] from Derek ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Expressing “don't work too hard”

I've read at other sites that "don't work too hard" isn't something that's generally said in Japanese. Is there any truth to this? Are there any alternatives if that is the case? In which ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is the Hepburn system of romanization generally used over the Nihon-shiki system?

Generally when you see romanization of Japanese it is in the Hepburn system; however, I recently came across the Nihon-shiki system which seems to be preferable. Why is it that the Hepburn system ...
4
votes
1answer
119 views

Help with newspaper shorthand

I was reading a short news article on students taking entrance exams in Japan, and it listed the number of students from the prefecture who took what test. Here is the excerpt I had a question about: ...
5
votes
1answer
169 views

の versus が used to mark the subject of an appositive clause?

A friend of mine wrote this sentence in Japanese: 彼女のどんな困難からも逃げない態度を尊敬しています。 'Her attitude of not running away from any hardships is something I respect.' 'I respect that she has this attitude ...
1
vote
2answers
309 views

Action verbs and conditional ~ば

I understand もし寝過ごせば、起こしてください is wrong. I believe instead it should be 寝過ごしたら、起こしてください。 In "A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar" it says the second part of the sentence "...can be a command, a ...
2
votes
1answer
364 views

What does this Japanese text say? [closed]

Could somebody tell me what the Japanese text in the screengrab below says? Unfortunately, I only have a picture, not the text itself, and have insufficient knowledge of Japanese to accurately ...
8
votes
1answer
250 views

Meaning of “マスオさんする”

What is the meaning of "マスオさんする" in the following self-introduction extract? 家は表参道と近所ですが、特段お金持ちなわけではありません、妻の実家でマスオさんしてます。 My translation attempt: I live near Omotesando, but I am not rich: I ...
13
votes
1answer
209 views

Spelling over the phone

In Japan I often have to call somewhere and explain my name such that the person on the other end can write it down. My name is "Sepponen Bemmu", which I want them to write down as "セッポネン・ベンム". Is ...
6
votes
1answer
533 views

Usage of 目を覚ます and 目が覚める

What's the difference between 目を覚ます and 目が覚める? It seems both of them have the sense of literally waking up and also to wake up from some delusion. How are they different in usage? Perhaps because ...
5
votes
1answer
365 views

How to express “more than something”?

I was wondering if there is a form I can use to express "more than X". For example, "reading more than 200 pages a day is a challenge". Or maybe something like, "reading as much as 200 pages a day ...
3
votes
1answer
199 views

When is 顧客{こきゃく} used for “customer”?

In daily life, I usually hear the words お客様{きゃくさま}, お客{きゃく}さん, and maybe other variants that use 客{きゃく}/客{かく} to refer to customers at a shop. However, in the dictionary, the first word that comes up ...
2
votes
1answer
265 views

What is the difference between these words for “audience”?

What is the difference in usage between these three words for "audience"? 観客{かんきゃく} (audience, spectators) 聴衆{ちょうしゅう} (audience, attendees) 観衆{かんしゅう} (audience, onlookers) The ...
14
votes
4answers
2k 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: ...
18
votes
4answers
7k views

Why was both katakana and hiragana created?

Nowadays, katakana tends to be used for gairaigo and onomatopoeia, while hiragana tends to be used for native Japanese words. This is a slight simplification - more information is available here. ...
6
votes
2answers
487 views

Changing a question into a request for advice

How can I change a statement like どこへいきますか to mean "Where should I go"? Basically, what is the rule for changing a question into a request for advice?
7
votes
2answers
267 views

Logic behind “が” preferrence when using a “-たい” form

I have learned that when using a "-たい" form, when the sentence would normally require "を", you can use either "を" or "が", but "が" was actually preferred, "を" sounding unnatural. I searched about the ...
3
votes
1answer
978 views

How do you conjugate i- and na- adjectives (into the presumptive, imperative, conditional, provisional, and progressive forms)?

I feel like mastering conjugations is a major contributor to self expression in Japanese. I realized that some of the grammar points I have been working on have taught me new conjugations. Usually ...
5
votes
3answers
230 views

Is there a past tense conjugation form for ば?

I have been looking at conjunctive forms of verbs and my grammar books shows me a negative and affirmative version of ば but what about a past tense and a past tense negative? Would they be じゃなてれば and ...
6
votes
1answer
200 views

How can I express “you make a…/you'd make for a…”?

Do you know the English expression, "you make a"? It's pretty simple: You make a fine wife. It might be more correct as You'd make for a... but they're tenses are different then. I could ...
7
votes
2answers
451 views

The various ways of saying “all”

While trying to write a plugin to (unofficially fan-)translate this website to Japanese, I've been noticing that "all" has multiple different translations. What exactly is the difference between ...
4
votes
1answer
274 views

How is ほか used as a conjunction?

What does ほか mean when it is used in a sentence like this: [situationA] ほか, [situationB]" Specifically I would like a little help clarifying the following sentence: ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

How to define 羨ましい?

羨【うらや】ましい! You're so lucky!/ I envy you!/ I'm jealous of you! As I learned it, 羨ましい as an exclamation does not carry much of a negative context, so perhaps a combination of these three ...
4
votes
1answer
185 views

“Dive” = “fly into”?

The words 飛ぶ and 跳ぶ are both read as とぶ, the former meaning "to fly" and the latter meaning "to jump" (generally; don't know if they are interchangeable at all). The compound-verb suffix 〜込【こ】む means ...
1
vote
1answer
187 views

What is やっちゃるけんな?

This looks like やる in a colloquial form. Can someone clear up what this says?
7
votes
3answers
442 views

Why are these words considered less politically correct?

Warning: I have no sense of how offensive any of these words might be. They are repeated only insofar as they help me learn what not to say. Apologies for any accidental offense, and please do not ...
12
votes
3answers
567 views

What's bugging the Japanese language?

In my JLPT workbook, it has a section which gives a list of idioms that use [虫]{むし}. 仕事{しごと}の虫 (worker bee) 点取{てんとり}虫 (derogatory term for a student who tries too hard) 虫がいい (selfish) ...

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