12
votes
2answers
661 views

Recent creation or adoption of hanzi characters into Japanese kanji

According to Wikipedia, kanji was introduced and imported from chinese hanzi long time ago before Japanese language even had a writing system. From there, Japanese kanji has transformed and evolved ...
6
votes
1answer
138 views

Are there rules for when 'e' becomes 'a' in compound words?

For example: て+つな=たづな(手綱) め+ふた=まぶた(瞼・目蓋) かね+つち=かなづち(金槌) The only thing I can see for sure is that the second word becomes voiced, but that's more of an after-the-fact thing than a rule that ...
5
votes
3answers
379 views

Trouble understanding this use of あっての

I've previously asked two separate questions regarding あっての, (and there's a third on here from Pacerier) and I thought I had it figured out, but then I found this sentence (from a JLPT practice ...
1
vote
2answers
137 views

Questions about this sentence

"当時の関係者何人かにあたって記憶を確かめてみたが、人の記憶の欠落部分というのは、捏造で補われる仕組みになっているらしく、共通の体験が、しばしば、お互いに矛盾する記憶になっていることに驚かされた。" What does "にあたって" mean there ? "驚かされた" is referring to what/whom exactly ? Does "関係者何人か" mean ...
2
votes
1answer
124 views

Difference between 〜げ and 〜そう [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference between ~げ and ~そう What is the difference between 〜げ and 〜そう? Consider for example: 彼が、何か言いたげに近づいて来た。 彼が、何か言いたそうに近づいて来た。 Or are they ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Grammar dictionary [closed]

The dictionary that I use primarily is http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/ . I wanted to know of good sources online for looking up how different aspects of Japanese grammar work. I would prefer it if the ...
2
votes
0answers
123 views

Japanese newbie, Chinese intermediate, how to get started? [closed]

I know mandarin, specifically pinyin tones, strokes writing rules, about 1000 characters. So what'd be a starting point for me with Japanese?
4
votes
1answer
93 views

Trouble understanding “また何処かで会えると 素敵ですね”

This is what a friend said to me in response to my wishing him a happy birthday on Facebook. The topic/subject omission is often my biggest problem understanding Japanese, as I have trouble discerning ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is 「昨夜」 pronounced as 「ゆうべ」 {yuube} and 「今日」 as 「きょう」 {kyou}?

「ゆう」 is neither the kun'yomi nor on'yomi of 「昨」 and 「べ」 is not a pronunciation of 「夜」 either. The same can be said about the pronunciation 「きょう」 for 「今日」. So how come the pronunciations of the two ...
3
votes
1answer
278 views

Can't quite understand this sentence

この間、時間を見つけては、過去の歴史をひもといてみたのだが、再認識させられたのは、人間というのは、どれほど多くの涙とともに飲み下した教訓であっても、喉元を過ぎたとたんに忘れてしまう生き物であるということだった. Especially what "忘れてしまう生き物" is supposed to mean in "喉元を過ぎたとたんに忘れてしまう生き物であるということだった".
1
vote
1answer
551 views

What does it mean in Japanese? [closed]

What does the Japanese word 赤道 mean? A Russian site claims that it means philosophical teaching.
3
votes
2answers
307 views

も particle after an adverb

I know that も particle can be used in place of は、が、を. And it means "in addition", "also". What function does it have in this adverb "不運にも"? Should we treat it as a separate word here?
5
votes
1answer
387 views

Is 子年 read as ねずみどし or ねどし? What about 卯年 and 亥年?

My dictionary says that 子年 can be read as both ねずみどし and ねどし, but when typing it in my computer, my IME only seems to convert ねずみどし to kanji. The same goes for 卯年 (うどし and うさぎどし) and 亥年 (いどし and ...
2
votes
2answers
227 views

What's the word or phrase used specifically to describe someone who is only concerned with physical appearence of others?

I believe it starts with み and is something like 'only has an eye for beauty', but it's been a long time since I used it. I believe it's a kanji compound.
7
votes
3answers
195 views

When do you use は/に for どようびは/に?

There is a sentence in a worksheet that goes: どようびは ほんを よみます。Why is it not どようびに? When do I know which one to use and what is the difference? Spoke to my sensei and she said you can use something ...
4
votes
1answer
407 views

Horizontal writing in the middle of vertical writing

My character dictionary is written in vertical style. In this dictionary, columns of text are sometimes divided into two smaller columns, which are read right-then-left. I've read that this is ...
7
votes
2answers
476 views

Addressing children in Japanese

Apologies for the very vague question. I'm unsure of how I'm supposed to address and talk to children - I imagine it varies a little depending on the social situation, and in general I should avoid ...
9
votes
2answers
290 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
436 views

Using で instead of に with いる

The example sentence in Why is も used instead of が in the sentence 「日本ではクモを見ると良いことがあると言う人もいますよ」, 日本ではクモを見ると良いことがあると言う人もいますよ got me thinking "Why is it using で, not に?". I.e., why not ...
5
votes
1answer
430 views

Is 胡 missplaced in the Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary? [closed]

I recently tried to look up the kanji 胡 in the Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary, which uses the SKIP method to look up each kanji, and I couldn't find it. It seemed to me a relatively ...
8
votes
1answer
731 views

Difference between うーん and ううん

What is the difference between うーん and ううん? In a comment on Pronunciation of ううん, paullb said that he usually sees the negative interjection ううん written as うーん. This confused me, because I thought ...
9
votes
1answer
341 views

How do you express “try”?

I know that -てみる can mean "try", but my understanding of it is that it means "try it and see what it's like" or "give it a try". But is there a way of expressing "try" that emphasizes that effort was ...
14
votes
1answer
719 views

Voiced or unvoiced syllables in compound words

Examples first. First example: 空 {そら}. Almost all compound nouns for which 空 is the second component pronounce it as ぞら (zo ra): 青空 {あおぞら}, 夜空 {よぞら}, 星空 {ほしぞら}. There is at least one exception ...
9
votes
1answer
808 views

Describing my exact height

How do I describe my height in centimetres? I think you can say "私は背が高いです" to say that you're tall, but how about your exact height? Would "私は背が190cmです" sound like broken Japanese? I came across ...
6
votes
1answer
276 views

Pronunciation of ううん

The pitch contour of the interjection ううん has been described as high, low, middle. Alternatively, it has been described as a falling-rising tone. In either case, this appears to be unique in ...
4
votes
5answers
227 views

Rust: 錆 vs 銹 vs 鏽 vs 鏥

In doing some looking around today I found four characters that all mean rust and are all read さび. Is there any distinction that can be made between these characters? 錆 銹 鏽 鏥
8
votes
2answers
1k views

How do these 3 ways of saying “It can't be helped” differ?

So I have heard: 仕方がない しょうがない 仕方あるまい And the translation I've seen for all 3 is: "It can't be helped." Is there a particular difference among the 3? Edit: Secondary question. Why isn't 仕方あるまい, ...
2
votes
2answers
153 views

How to say “To familiarise onself with”

I've been trying to figure out how to say something like: "I'd like to familiarise myself with XXX before the meeting so do you have any information that you can pass me before hand." (I.e. I have an ...
10
votes
7answers
397 views

IT system renewal: Can I say 更新 for “renewal”?

I am starting a new project and have to come up with a name for it so that everybody knows what we are talking about. The project is the renewal of an IT application that I will call エックスワイゼッド. ...
1
vote
0answers
207 views

What are some words with kanji/readings/meanings that don't match? [closed]

Maybe a hard to understand question, but for example, I love the word 百日紅 (さるすべり) because it's the name of a red flower and uses some very poetic kanji (one hundred days of red) but opts instead for a ...
4
votes
1answer
348 views

Does Japanese have morphemes that span two kanji?

I read once (in this comment by Victor Mair on Language Log) that Chinese has single morphemes that span two hanzi. The example given was the Chinese word pútáo 葡萄. At the time, I assumed it applied ...
3
votes
1answer
166 views

Help with a usage of 自慢

私は彼が自慢だ。 I'm Proud of Him 彼は私が自慢だ。 He is proud of me. I am confused by this pattern with 自慢. It kind of looks like 自慢 is being used as an adjective (?), but the definition in ...
4
votes
3answers
658 views

Is there a reliable translation of the kangxi radicals?

Inspired by the Wikipedia page on Kangxi radicals I decided to study the meaning and writing of radicals before I tackle the much more numerous kanji. But in working my way through the list, I started ...
8
votes
4answers
504 views

How does the use of いかんによっては in this question determine one answer over another?

In my JLPT practise book, in a section explaining the use of いかんによっては, which roughly means "depending on", they have the following question: ...
6
votes
2answers
475 views

How do you say “Please tell your wife to get well soon”?

How do you convey that you wish someone's wife (or husband, mother, brother, etc.) to get well soon? I understand that you say お大事に if the person you speaking to directly is the one who is not well. ...
3
votes
2answers
260 views

Why is も used instead of が in the sentence 「日本ではクモを見ると良いことがあると言う人もいますよ」

What is the exact sentiment expressed by も in this sentence as opposed to が? 日本ではクモを見ると良いことがあると言う人もいますよ It's a sentence in response to someone saying "I saw a spider in my room, I was scared".
3
votes
1answer
136 views

In what cases do I use 見られる with を? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: The difference between が and を with the potential form of a verb. I know the difference between 見る, 見られる, and 見える. I know that 見える and 見られる are verbs expressing a ...
4
votes
2answers
567 views

Reading 捻る: when is it ねじる or ひねる?

How can I tell whether 捻る is read as ひねる (P. ・ N.C.) or ねじる (P. ・ N.C.)? I assume the answer is "based on which verb is appropriate", so I've been trying to learn the difference between them. Based ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it true that the word “Omar” means “baby toilet” in Japanese?

I know it sounds funny, but my name is Omar, and one of my friends said that my name means "toilet for babies" in Japanese. I wanted to check if this is correct, because Google Translate did not help ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Does “敬語” (keigo) just mean “politeness” or is it a technical term specifically relating to Japanese grammar?

What is the difference between the Japanese term "敬語" (keigo) and the English term "politeness" (Specifically regarding language)? I assumed politeness is more general covering things like "please" ...
5
votes
2answers
547 views

How do I say “the reason why” or “the purpose of” in Japanese?

While studying this morning, I became interested in how to say "When you were a child, did you read books for fun?" in Japanese. In this case, would I use ため? Or would it be something like this: ...
3
votes
2answers
190 views

微温い versus 温い versus ぬくい versus ぬるい

According to WWWJDIC, ぬるい and ぬくい are both written 温い. Anthy and the iOS Japanese input systems agree. However a native speaker and the input of an electronic dictionary (広辞苑)say that 温い is read ...
11
votes
6answers
635 views

Greeting a person over the internet

So I was wondering, how do japanese people greet each other when they are, for example, writing on a blog or recording a video? My doubt comes from the fact that their greetings will be directed ...
2
votes
2answers
265 views

生け花をします does it mean to practice flower arranging?

In my Minna no Nihongo book (Chapter 12), it says that 生け花をします means to practice flower arrangement. If that is so, they how do you expressing, "flower arranging or arranging the flowers or doing ...
3
votes
1answer
201 views

Why can 髪の毛 only refer to hair on your head?

I've never really understood why there is a difference between 髪の毛 and 毛 when talking about hair on one's body. What is it about 髪 that makes it only relevant in the context of having "hair on the ...
7
votes
2answers
308 views

Polite form of ~っけ

In my everyday conversations when trying to confirm an understanding or recall a piece of information I am sure I had heard before, I often use (そう)だっけ、だったっけ、and でしたっけ when speaking to equals or 目下の人。 ...
0
votes
1answer
181 views

Problems with particles

I'm trying to understand when to use appropriate particles in a sentence, and keep up with vocab too! Please someone help. customer: "そのぼうし[の, を, か, ね] ください" "たけしさん [か, の, よ, or no particle] ...
18
votes
2answers
604 views

Can the suffix -人 be used to express heritage?

In English, if I want to talk about my Irish heritage, I would say "I'm Irish". I have an American passport, and I've never set foot in Ireland, but I still consider myself Irish. Both sides of my ...
12
votes
3answers
417 views

Positioning of quantities (using counters)

Example 1 ビール一杯を飲む 一杯のビールを飲む ビールを一杯飲む Example 2 ネジ2本を取り付ける 2本のネジを取り付ける ネジを2本取り付ける Is there any difference between the above examples with the positioning of the ...
5
votes
1answer
164 views

Function of the first の in とかの他の

Are ...とか他の... and ...とかの他の... equivalent? What is the function of the first の in the latter example? And why can't a の follow とか in ...とかその他...? Or can it?

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