6
votes
2answers
226 views

What is the etymology of the word プラスアルファ?

What is the etymology of the word プラスアルファ(+α)? This is a neologism I believe, however I hear it quite often nowadays. I'm curious to what the origin would be?
4
votes
2answers
203 views

根も葉も火種も — is it proverbial?

I suspect「根も葉も火種も」 is an allusion to something I do not recognize. To what does it refer? Consider this couplet from an amusing song released in March by IOSYS called 「ステマの女」(CD and promotional ...
8
votes
2answers
490 views

How to say 24 divided by 8 equals 3

Pretty sure you have to use 割 but I don't know which pronunciation to use and how to say "equals" in this context.
2
votes
2answers
1k views

How to say “Slice of life anime”?

How do I say "slice of life anime/manga" in Japanese? I've tried looking this up. Perhaps it is only english speakers who categorize anime this way?
5
votes
1answer
295 views

What does 身の縮む思い mean?

I found a phrase in one vocabulary book about the usage of 縮む. I am not clear on the meaning of this phrase: 身の縮む思い I think it can be the same meaning as 恥ずかしい. Is that right?
8
votes
3answers
381 views

What conjugation/form is the ませ (for example: いらっしゃいませ)?

I know it's used for greetings in a restaurant or store. But what type of verb conjugation (ex: polite, plain, honorific, imperative, or something else) is it? Is it used with other verbs? Is it ...
5
votes
1answer
390 views

なり as an archaic 'to be'?

In the following saying: 時は金なり。 What exactly is なり? My dictionaries seem to give a number of different options that could all explain its use here. Is it 成る? Is it 也, an archaic version of です ...
8
votes
1answer
261 views

Is いらっしゃいませ only used by staff?

Is いらっしゃいませ only used by staff, or is it used in other circumstances? When I was at a dinner at a restaurant being held after a programmers' meetup, I thought that I heard it being used by one of the ...
12
votes
4answers
536 views

What determines whether a word gets a kanji compound or katakana?

I read electronics/computing articles, and I find an incredible amount of terms are written either in kanji (almost similar to Chinese) or katakana. There are times when it's confusing as to know why. ...
6
votes
0answers
181 views

What would be the Japanese name of a person with a native Chinese name? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When Chinese personal names are written in Japanese in kanji is there always an obvious reading? What would be the common ways to convert a Chinese name for a person to ...
8
votes
1answer
366 views

What kind of a thing is a “やつ”?

I've been seeing やつ used for "thing" reasonably frequently in Manga/online etc, for example: ほとんどは本とか食玩とか細かいやつかな。 "It's virtually all stuff like books, those small toys sold with food and small ...
4
votes
4answers
754 views

How do I write “Hard Work and Smart Work”?

I want to write an essay with the title “Difference between Hard Work and Smart Work”. By “hard work”, I mean continuing the work with old ideas without thinking up new ideas, and working all the ...
5
votes
2answers
203 views

What is the best expression used by an employee to appreciate his/her employer?

Assume that the employer gives a presentation to the public audience. After the presentation, you as the employee want to appreciate it. What is the best expression used by an employee to appreciate ...
9
votes
2answers
289 views

Using により to specify method

Here are two examples: [電話]{でんわ}による[通報]{つうほう} // Fine 電話により通報する // Okay? I feel like using により is strange in my second example, but I'm not sure. Is the second example perfectly fine ...
4
votes
1answer
147 views

Difference between the usage of 知恵 , 知能 and 知力

I have read the sentence "12歳の小児の知力しかない". In this sentence , I would like to know the usage of 知力 . In dictionary , it means "intelligence " Can I use 知恵 or 知能 instead of 知力. Is there ...
1
vote
1answer
844 views

Why did the author use hiragana instead of kanji in the following examples? (長い,幼い)

Could someone please explain why someone would use hiragana instead of the regular kanji? For instance, we have a character for nagai - 長い, but examples using ながい can also be found in dictionaries ...
4
votes
2answers
384 views

Can と and な have the same meaning?

I was told that the following uses of と and な after 色々 were the same. 彼女のために色々と甘いものを買ってきた。I bought a bunch of sweets and brought them to my GF. 彼女のために色々な甘いものを買ってきた。 If this is true, is this an ...
9
votes
1answer
340 views

How did やわらかい gain its い?

As we know, there is a class of adjectives that end in 〜らか: 滑【なめ】らか, 明【あき】らか, 清【きよ】らか, 安【やす】らか, etc. やわらか (柔らか or 軟らか) is also in this class of adjectives. However, it can also be written as the ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Difference between 気をつけて, お大事に and お元気で

What is the difference between 気{き}をつけて, お大事{だいじ}に and お元気{げんき}で. How and in which context(s) are they used?
4
votes
3answers
1k views

How and when to use せや and its variants in Kansai-ben?

Here in Kansai I hear せや, せやねん, and せやな everywhere. I was wondering if anyone could clarify the meaning and usage of these, as well as their equivalent in more standard Japanese? Additionally, are ...
4
votes
4answers
282 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
172 views

Practicing Hiragana [closed]

I'm currently learning hirgana and I was wondering what the best way was to learn it. Currently I am reading and writing each character 10 times. I was wondering if there were simple hiragana vocab ...
3
votes
1answer
302 views

Differences between listing particles と, や and に

Consider the following: A, B and C came: AとBとCが来た AやBやCが来た AにBにCが来た What do I need to consider when deciding which of the three (と, や, に) to use? I think a large portion is determined by the ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the more common pronunciation for the r­ōmaji letter Z in Japanese?

I was on the phone with NTT the other day and things were going well (or as good as they could), until I had to spell some email address for the customer rep, and fell upon the letter 'Z'. ...
8
votes
1answer
977 views

Why does 一体 mean “what the heck?”?

the definition for 一体【いったい】: Adverb : ...the heck (e.g. "what the heck?");  ...in the world (e.g. "why in the world?");  ...on earth (e.g. "who on earth?"); —Before an interrogative, forms ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I say “I understand much better than before.”?

Or "I understand much better now." If someone helped me with a translation and I responded with: どうもありがとうございます。前より上手に分かっています。 Would that be the correct way to express that in Japanese?
1
vote
1answer
137 views

Do you use 投入 to mean any input for a thin paper?

I usually see the 投入{とうにゅう} on labels on ATM or train station gate. Is this kanji applicable to all flat input devices, or does it also include coin slot? I can only infer this means some sort of ...
4
votes
1answer
160 views

What's the difference between にかけてand にわたって?

It looks like にわたって has just one meaning, "over (a period of time)" whereas にかけて means "over (a period of time)" and also "until". Is that correct? Can they be used almost interchangeably?
6
votes
1answer
453 views

Indicative form of an i-adjective used adverbially

As expected, the adverbial form (aka 連用形) of an i-adjective ...く can be used as an intensifying adverb to an adjectival predicate: すごく速い But there are cases where the indicative non-past ...
7
votes
2answers
378 views

Why are the words for prefecture so complicated?

The first level of Japan's political division is called "prefecture" in English. However, in Japanese, there are four words for it: 都, 道, 府, and 県, and depending the particular prefecture, a certain ...
9
votes
1answer
215 views

What's the etymology of 負けず嫌い?

It seems strange to me that 負{ま}けず嫌{ぎら}い means "hate losing" and not "hate not losing". (食わず嫌い for example seems to mean "hate a food without trying it".) Providing credible sources if possible, what ...
5
votes
2answers
123 views

How to read the 動_下一, _下二 pattern found in dictionaries?

There's a common abbreviation system in dictionaries and I'm wondering how they're read and used. Here's an example: I'm guessing it has something to do with how to fill in the blanks in the ...
7
votes
2answers
390 views

What is the etymology of the word バレる?

What is the etymology of the word バレる, and why is it often written with katakana? ばれる(P); バレる (v1,vi) to leak out (a secret); to be exposed (a lie, improper behaviour, etc.) (behavior) ...
6
votes
1answer
156 views

What is the difference between 直観 and 直感?

I'm trying to understand if there is a difference between the two words 直感 and 直観. After looking both words up in a dictionary, there entries both list "intuition / intuitive". I also tried looking up ...
6
votes
1answer
129 views

“XYZ mentioned in newspaper ABC!” in Japanese?

My organization XYZ has been mentioned in a newspaper, and I would like to post a link to the online article, together with a short explanation like "XYZ mentioned in newspaper ABC!" How about ...
7
votes
1answer
345 views

What's the difference between ちゃんと, きちんと, きっちり and ぴったり?

The four of ちゃんと, きちんと, きっちり and ぴったり all seem to mean something like "perfectly", "precisely" or "exactly", and there seems to be a lot of similarity between their definitions. Daijisen says that ...
22
votes
3answers
1k views

Why doesn't 分かる have a potential form?

This question may be related to What does で分かる mean? (Cf. Tsuyoshi Ito and my comments to my answer). (Regular) verbs can be turned into the potential form by attaching -((ra)r)e-: tabe-ru vs. ...
4
votes
1answer
370 views

What does で分かる mean?

I have a hard time understanding the use of でわかる. I'm guessing that it doesn't just simply mean that "something is understood". Instead I wonder if it means that "something was realized"? I read the ...
8
votes
1answer
418 views

Why is 「人口」 used to denote population?

I'm just curious at the appearance of 「口」 that makes this word mean "population". Why should it be 「口」 as opposed to any other body part or anything else? Is there a definitive reason or story ...
6
votes
2answers
194 views

Can someone explain the use of 水 in 水商売?

水商売 【みずしょうばい】 (n) (1) chancy trade (business) with a high turnover rate and uncertain profitability; (2) the entertainment, eating, and drinking business; (3) the night entertainment (nightlife) ...
3
votes
2answers
206 views

How is ちょっと、たべたら、どう used in this sentence?

This is from the second episode of Noir. The two women are sitting quietly eating dinner. One of the women says to the other: ちょっとは美味しそうに食べたらどう? For the life of me, I can't parse this sentence into ...
7
votes
1answer
160 views

What may be the difference between the usage of 自尊心 ,誇りand 自慢?

I read a paragraph and the paragraph contains the word 自尊心. I want to know meaning of 自尊心. Dictionary says 自尊心 = pride. Is it same with 誇り? or 自慢? What may be the difference between the usage of ...
5
votes
1answer
123 views

What is the difference between 義務and 本分?

Now, I try to brush up my vocabulary in Japanese. In dictionary, both 義務 and 本分 mean "duty". Is there any differences in usage? And can I use 本分 instead of 義務 in following sentence? ...
5
votes
1answer
158 views

は as sentence final particle

I meant to gather more examples before posting this question, but here we go. These are some lines out of various Ghibli movies I saw last weekend. わからないは - when asked to take a guess about something ...
4
votes
2answers
192 views

Analysis of もしかして (perhaps)?

I'm hearing this word a lot in Japanese drama and anime. What is the literal meaning of it? Does it have a Kanji form? What root(s) does it contain (I think there is a する in the second half of it? ...
7
votes
2answers
488 views

Rules governing formation of adjectival and genitive modifications for Noun-Phrase

The following was observed in sawa's answer to "Can ごとに be replaced by それぞれ in this question?":  ◯ 正月はそれぞれの家が門松を立てる。  × 木村さんはそれぞれの会う人に挨拶している。  ◯ 木村さんは会う人それぞれに挨拶している。 それぞれの会う人 is said ...
3
votes
1answer
229 views

Can ごとに be replaced by それぞれ in this question?

正月は家ごとに門松を立てる。 For example, could I say 正月はそれぞれの家に門松をたてる。 If so, the meaning remains the same, or are there any subtle nuances that comes with each word? It seems to me, whenever i see sentences ...
5
votes
1answer
326 views

Meaning and usage of suffix -まい

According to the WWWJDIC, the verbal suffix まい can mean: (1) probably isn't (doesn't, won't, etc.) (2) don't (doesn't) intend to; intend not to (3) must not; (when used in an imperative ...
8
votes
2answers
259 views

What is the difference between 意味 and 意義?

I have learned (意味) and (意義)as "meaning". I am confused these two words. Are they same or is there any difference in usage?
7
votes
4answers
447 views

Switch between transitives and intransitives

There are situations where transitives and intransitives are switched without any clear reason. For example, a transitive verb is usually used to describe a situation like this: タクシーが街を流す ...

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