10
votes
1answer
196 views

How do I use うく as casual slang (as in ういた)?

Sometimes I hear Japanese people say ういた in conversation when describing something (usually someone) unpleasant. I asked my coworker once "what is this word", but I got a very poor explanation (not ...
3
votes
2answers
228 views

What was the origin for the term 水色 to be associated with youth, adolescence and puberty?

I am particularly interested in the phrase 「水色時代」. Did it come from the old manga that used the phrase as its title, or has the phrase been carrying that particular cultural connotation long before ...
2
votes
0answers
289 views

What techniques/resources do you use to learn Japanese? [closed]

I make flashcards of kanji to read in the bus and study with my text books, while I'm in home I listen to podcast. Could you recommend other techniques, maybe a way to contact native Japanese people ...
7
votes
3answers
891 views

How many dialects are commonly used today?

Which dialects would one normally encounter when visiting/living in Japan (in popular places like Tokyo, Kyoto and and so on) or reading something produced in Japan?
7
votes
5answers
945 views

If I wanted to sound more like a Samurai, what words and phrases should I learn?

Having watched jidai-geki for a long time, I have come across many Samurai-isms, but I can recall only a few. I would like to be able to do this more believably the next time I'm at the Izakaya. What ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

How to differentiate ~られる conjugation between passive form and potential form?

For verbs of group 2, whose ~ます form is formed by dropping the ending ~る from the plain form, both the passive and potential forms have the same conjugation: ~られる. Example: 食べられる 1. to be eaten ...
27
votes
6answers
2k views

How important is one's pitch when speaking Japanese?

I'm aware of some words in Japanese that have the same reading but different meaning depending on the pitch of each syllable. The canonical example is はし (hashi), which can mean either chopsticks ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

When did the “wu” character drop out of use?

In the last century, the ゐ and ゑ characters were eliminated from common use. But it seems like there used to also be a "wu" character that has since been lost. Given that it's a lot harder to find ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Common 四字熟語 that use/are 当て字

Are there any commonly used known 四字熟語 that use/are 当て字 besides the following? Just crossed my mind, and now I'm curious. 滅茶苦茶 (めちゃくちゃ), 夜露死苦 (よろしく), 無理矢理 (むりやり)
3
votes
0answers
131 views

What's the standard for making plurals of Japanese words in English? [closed]

There's the movie "Seven Samurai", which would sound strange as "Seven Samurais", but in the news you often read about "hundreds of tsunamis". Some people say they know 500 kanjis, but I've always ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

Native word for “pen”

Is there a native, non-loanword for "pen" (the writing instrument)? Or is there only 「ペン」? There is one for "pencil" (鉛筆), one for "ruler" (定規), one for "paper" (紙) and even though the one for ...
6
votes
1answer
121 views

What is the counter used for doors?

This is from deceze, but what is the counter used for doors. Is it 枚(mai) or something else?
22
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the equivalent of “alphabetical order” in Japanese?

I know there's あいうえお, but what about at the consonant level? Also, are there any common mnemonics used by Japanese children to remember these?
10
votes
3answers
613 views

In what situations can you use "ぞ” as a sentence ender

When can one use the sentence ender ぞ? I've only ever heard it anime, so I'm unsure of it's actual usage in the real world. Is it not used that often or limited to specific age/gender groups?
7
votes
2answers
2k views

When to use 「とにかく」 and when to use 「とりあえず」?

This is a variant of the top definition question @ Area51: http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/7526/japanese-language-usage/7529#7529 When to use 「とにかく」 and when to use 「とりあえず」? I have heard ...
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 ...
10
votes
2answers
688 views

What is the difference between [plain form of verb]~そう and [root of verb]~そう?

I heard both forms of [plain form of verb]~そう and [root of verb]~そう in an anime I watched, reproduced below, so I'm wondering how are they different and how to choose to use one over the other? ...
12
votes
4answers
776 views

Counter for chopsticks

Just curious about this one. I'm never sure what to say when I ask for chopsticks in Japanese. I know that "by-the-book", you can count them with ~そろい (揃い) or ~ぜん (膳). So I always say 「お箸を ...
10
votes
2answers
475 views

Meaning of 〜あれだ

Recently I encountered this phrase: _____ってあれだよね What is あれ in this context? Is the speaking making a positive or negative statement about ___?
10
votes
3answers
257 views

Are there differences in nuance and usage of [内]{ない}[緒]{しょ}, [秘]{ひ}[密]{みつ}, [隠]{かく}し[事]{ごと} and [秘]{ひ}め[事]{ごと}?

They all carry the meaning of "secret" in English, but are there differences in nuance and usage of each of them: [内]{ない}[緒]{しょ} [秘]{ひ}[密]{みつ} [隠]{かく}し[事]{ごと} [秘]{ひ}め[事]{ごと} ...
10
votes
2answers
452 views

When would you use 低い【ひくい】 vs 短い【みじかい】

Are 低い and 短い interchangable or do they have specific uses?
6
votes
2answers
454 views

Are first, second, and third person in Japanese all the same as in English?

Are first, second, and third person nominals in Japanese used in the same way as in English? What should English speakers keep in mind when considering the three persons in Japanese? Particularly for ...
10
votes
2answers
325 views

About -eru and -aru verb pairs that are not transitive/intransitive counterpart of each other

Most -eru and -aru pairs of verbs that I know are transitive/intransitive counterparts of each others. For example, 見つかる is the intransitive counterpart for the transitive 見つける, and 変わる is the ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

About writing numbers using Japanese numerals vs using Arabic numerals

I noticed that even though Japanese language has kanji characters for numbers (e.g. 十、百、千、万 etc), there are many places where Arabic numerals are used instead, for example, prices for shop items are ...
17
votes
3answers
831 views

Is it ok for non-japanese to refer to themselves as 僕{ぼく} and if not why?

Grammatically speaking it shouldn't be an issue, but I have heard from some people that a non-japanese using 僕{ぼく} sounds really weird. Has anyone else heard this? And if so, is there a reason?
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What does ~頂ければと思います mean? Why does such a construction happen?

I've heard phrases sometimes like: チェックいただければと思います。chekku itadakereba to omoimasu "If you check this ... I think."? Why is that ~と思います at then end of the phrase?
7
votes
5answers
2k views

When to use だ before と思います。

If you want to state what you think you can put と思います at the end of a sentence. However I noticed that sometimes you're supposed to put だ before と思います so that it becomes だと思います, and sometimes you're ...
5
votes
2answers
661 views

Can anyone explain the obsolete, non-phonetic use of hiragana from pre war times?

At university our most learned lecturer in Japanese once mentioned there were non-phonetic usages of hiragana at the end of kanji verbs and adjectives pre WWII. Apparently books printed prewar used ...
12
votes
2answers
901 views

Which kanji to use for saying ありがとうございます in emails?

When sending emails, I've noticed that Japanese colleagues use all sorts of kanji/kana combinations for the simple phrases ありがとうございました and よろしくおねがいいたします. For example: ありがとうございました 有難うございました ...
3
votes
1answer
493 views

The differences and similarities between ーたら and ーば [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Differences among -たら、なら、-んだったら、-えば, etc. There are different ways to say "if" in Japanese. I want to concentrate on these two verb endings which mean "if": たら and ば. ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

What's the difference between “マグロ” (maguro), “ツナ” (tsuna), and “シーチキン” (shiichikin)?

It seems that there are (at least) three words for "tuna" in Japanese: "マグロ" / "鮪" / "まぐろ" (maguro) - Seems to be the native name for the creature and used at least in sushi "ツナ" (tsuna) - Seems to ...
12
votes
2answers
350 views

On the replacing of kanji made obsolete in the 1946 reforms with similar-looking kanji.

This is my understanding but please correct me if some of my details are wrong: In 1946 the Japanese language underwent a reform and standardization process A set of 1850 kanji were made official ...
11
votes
3answers
638 views

How can I differentiate between 「もう」 that means “already” and 「もう」 that means “more/additional”?

I noticed that 「もう」 can mean both "already" and "additional", such as the following sentence: もう二本飲みましたよ。 Can mean either one of: I already drank two glasses. I drank additional two glasses. ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I differentiate between feet and legs?

Feet are 足, and legs are also 足. Is there a word or method with which I can easily talk about one and not the other? And if not, why is there no word for feet in the Japanese language? Caveat: I ...
14
votes
3answers
4k views

What to say after someone dies

What is the proper response when someone tells you, for example, that their mother has died? Relatedly, what should you do to express your sympathy? Do you send a card? flowers? bake a casserole?
7
votes
1answer
175 views

Difference between 創立、設立、樹立

Can anyone explain the difference between these words? They all basically mean "to set up / to found", and from what I've researched, it's all very 微妙 to me.
17
votes
4answers
7k views

What exactly is “なの” (nano)?

I asked a female Japanese friend to translate a sentence for me and it ends in "nano" which I took to be either an alternative question particle to -ne or -ka; or possibly two particles I don't know ...
8
votes
1answer
316 views

Is there a general counter word for objects that you can fallback on if you're not sure which one to use?

I guess we could use the native Japanese numbers, 一つ, 二つ, 三つ...but we'd run into a problem at or after ten (not sure how とお works — same for はたち). Is there a general counter word that we can fallback ...
1
vote
0answers
281 views

How to thank someone in different ways? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Can somebody explain the various words and combinations thereof used for thanking? There are numerous ways of saying thanks. To give the ones I know: ありがとう ありがとうございます ...
10
votes
4answers
489 views

Use of ~のか (~んですか) in questions not seeking a yes/no answer

I would like to know if there is a shift in nuance in questions such as these: 誰が参加したんですか。 vs. 誰が参加しましたか。 いつ着いたんですか。 vs. いつ着きましたか。 I wish to limit discussion to only non-yes/no questions ...
10
votes
2answers
356 views

What is the etymology of [山葵]{わさび}?

I know that "わさび" 'wasabi' can also be written using kanji as "山葵" and that these two characters mean respectively "mountain" and "hollyhock", but hollyhock doesn't seem at first glance to be related. ...
7
votes
1answer
452 views

What are the differences between 帰る and 戻る?

Can you give an example of when 帰る should be used instead of 戻る, and vice versa? The reason I ask is that I sometimes get corrected when using the two, such as in: × そのとき私は日本から戻ってきて、大学に戻って入りました。 ...
6
votes
3answers
446 views

What does 思いっきりどうぞ mean?

I heard this phrase a few times but I still can't grasp its meaning. Does it mean, "as much as you would like"?
8
votes
2answers
497 views

How can I thank somebody for pointing out my mistakes?

Thanking and apologizing in several forms is essential in a Japanese working environment. I currently have the following list that I have picked up from mails amongst my Japanese coworkers but I'm ...
7
votes
2answers
395 views

Concretely, on what scenarios should I say either お世話になっています or いつもお世話になっております?

Furthermore, what is its different in meaning between the both? When I was in training as a fresh graduate at a Japanese company, they told me to use いつもお世話になっております all the time and so I did. But ...
21
votes
5answers
1k views

Does -ou / -you / -mashou conjugation have a negative form?

Does the -ou / -you / -mashou (the "let's X") form have a negative counterpart? For example, how do I say "let's not X" for the following?: 行こう 食べよう 寝ましょう As far as I can remember, the Japanese ...
9
votes
2answers
185 views

Is there a difference between この小さな街で and 小さなこの街で?

I noticed in songs, there are lyric lines that push the demonstrative adjective (*) この, その etc to the middle of sentences by switching it with an adjective/verb that describe the subsequent nouns. For ...
4
votes
3answers
153 views

Looking for expressions similar to なるほど or やっぱり for situations that are opposite of speakers' previous suspicion

This is an extension of the question: Using 「なるほど」 {naruhodo} and 「やっぱり」 {yappari} in the same situation From what I understood from the answers to the question above, なるほど and やっぱり imply the ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

The many ways to say “and” in Japanese

In English, we just have one word for the conjunction and which works just fine for many categories, but in Japanese, there are separate words: と joins nouns together in a closed list や joins nouns ...
15
votes
10answers
3k views

What to say after someone sneezes

It's happened several times: I'll be chattering away with a friend in Japanese, and they'll sneeze, and without even thinking about it I'll revert back to English to say "bless you." Is there a set ...

15 30 50 per page