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
773 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
474 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
444 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
453 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
829 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
660 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
898 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
492 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
348 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
315 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
488 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
451 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
444 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
494 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
394 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
151 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 ...
20
votes
5answers
1k views

Is it proper to thank waitstaff, cashiers, etc. for their service?

In my Japanese class we were taught that one does not need to thank a cashier when they check you out or a server when they bring you your meal, but I always feel awkward remaining silent. Was my ...
13
votes
5answers
350 views

Can I say なるほど when talking with customers?

I was told in class by a Japanese teacher that なるほど can not be used when talking with people above, but in the same lesson we listened to a CD (training material) where a student was saying なるほど to ...
8
votes
2answers
251 views

Why are furigana for number kanji almost always omitted?

Here's an example sentence from 北斗の拳 which uses a fair amount of furigana throughout. xxxに残された命は三日... Which includes furigana for のこ, いのち, and, bafflingly, even the か of 日, but none for 三. While ...
12
votes
5answers
297 views

What is the origin and usage of the word いい?

According to Denshi Jisho, いい and よい share the same Kanji, and the both roughly mean "good". Why are there two different pronunciations for the same meaning, and what are some ways to be able to ...
15
votes
3answers
739 views

「~たじゃない」 expression in spoken Japanese

I noticed in an anime I watched, one of the characters said something like below: さっき食べたじゃない。 And what I think the meaning is: Didn't you just eat a few while ago? From what I have learned in ...
14
votes
6answers
4k views

Can somebody explain the various words and combinations thereof used for thanking?

To my knowledge there are three words which can be used in thanking and they seem to be usable together in some combinations: どうも (domo) どうもありがとう (domo arigato) ありがとう (arigato) ありがとうございます (arigato ...
19
votes
3answers
390 views

Is there a rule for when to use くらい vs ぐらい?

I see phrases like 200人ぐらい, 半々ぐらい, and 何分くらい, which seem to indicate that くらい and ぐらい are synonymous, if not interchangeable. Is there any kind of rule for deciding which to use, or is it a stylistic ...
8
votes
2answers
8k views

Using 「なるほど」 {naruhodo} and 「やっぱり」 {yappari} in the same situation

I know, since they are of different word classes, 「なるほど」 {naruhodo} and  「やっぱり」 {yappari} may not be used interchangeably within the same sentence but can they be used within the same situation ...
9
votes
4answers
211 views

Is the use of 先生 and similar titles context sensitive?

While it is generally safe to use -さん when taking to someone and the use of -先生 is appropriate for use in a school environment when talking to a teacher, would the use of -先生 carry over outside of the ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Usage of なんて and なんか as emphasis.

When are なんて and なんか used as emphasis in casual speech? Are they used when you're surprised, angry or can it be both? What sort of feeling does it convey to the listener compared to a normal sentence ...
8
votes
2answers
274 views

What's the difference in usage and nuance between やはり and やっぱり?

I know that we say にっぽん instead of にほん when we want to inject a little national pride into the word, but I've never had a good understanding of the difference in meaning/nuance/usage between やはり and ...
16
votes
1answer
365 views

What are the differences between 〜ので and 〜から?

When I was studying this, my 先生 kind of brushed over the point, and then years later, I realize that they are different, but I don't know exactly how. The only thing I understand is that ので is more ...

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