13
votes
1answer
242 views

Why did の disappear from 山手, but in 御茶ノ水 it's in katakana?

I realize that very likely the answer to this question is likely to be something along the lines of "that's just the way it is", but I thought it worth asking to see if there were some insights that ...
7
votes
2answers
168 views

What's the difference between じき and すぐ?

すぐ, and especially 今すぐ, is my habitual way to express "soon", or "right after this". I know that じき means more or less the same thing, and when I hear it or see it written, I get the general meaning ...
4
votes
1answer
151 views

虚; 空; 洞 【うろ】and differences

虚; 空; 洞 【うろ】: hollow; cavity; hole pronunciation is only one but why are there three kanji words??what are they differences??
7
votes
2answers
221 views

Reading a number range

I have a bottle of 洗顔料(facial soap), and the instructions are: ご使用量の目安 ポンプ1~2回 (use about 1 to 2 pumps) If I were to read 1~2 aloud, how would I do it?
7
votes
1answer
295 views

“Never say never”

Since there is apparently no literal translation for "never", how would you translate this idiom ? What periphrasis would you use to express the same meaning ?
5
votes
2answers
975 views

Wait… えらい means also means “terrible”?

For over a decade of speaking (poorly) and listening to Japanese, it seems to me that I have almost exclusively heard the word えらい in the sense of meaning "admirable". For example, I'd mention ...
6
votes
3answers
295 views

より not used for comparing?

The title of a piano arrangement of a Touhou song (Hakurei Reimu's Theme) is: 「東方永夜抄 - Imperishable Night.」 より 博麗霊夢のテーム (Question) What does より do in the title? If it were to mean "from the ...
6
votes
1answer
334 views

Does Japanese have a term equivalent to “Engrish”?

It seems common enough for Japanese to attempt to use English, that we get some truly bizarre translations. Especially bad are older games that were non-professionally translated to what we came to ...
7
votes
2answers
237 views

How broad is the meaning of 薬?

I saw on a board the other day someone referring to insecticide as "薬", which doesn't really fit with the English conception of "medicine". I looked up "薬" in Kenkyuusha, and sure enough, "chemical" ...
5
votes
3answers
486 views

What is the difference between 〜ないではいられない and 〜ずにはいられない

I was taught that these two phrases are interchangeable and have the same meaning. However, I recently wrote a few practice sentences using this grammar point and they were corrected to use ずには ...
9
votes
1answer
195 views

Is 音沙汰 not used anymore because communication technology has changed?

My understanding of the word 音沙汰【おとさた】(news, letter) is that in terms of usage, it functions the same way that 連絡【れんらく】(contact, communication) does. It refers to modes of communication between ...
6
votes
2answers
130 views

Why is there 丼 {どんぶり} in 丼勘定 {どんぶりかんじょう}?

How does 丼勘定 {どんぶりかんじょう} (sloppy accounting) related to 丼 {どんぶり} (bowl of rice with toppings)? I mean, why どんぶり of all foods and things? Was there special history for the origin of this set phrase?
4
votes
1answer
191 views

Is けど a conjunction (接続詞) or particle (助詞)?

I have a book that claims けど is a conjunction (接続詞), yet another book that I have claims that it is a particle (助詞). Seems it doesn't seem to make sense if けど is both a conjunction and a particle, I ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

“You don't have to be so polite.” Really?

Sometimes a Japanese person will say to me: そんなに丁寧な言葉を使わなくてもいいんですよ。 This is an invitation to be less formal. But how much less formal? As I have experienced, sometimes unintentional gaffes can ...
5
votes
2answers
194 views

Difference between 割合 vs 率

割合 and 率 both mean ratio, rate, and percentage. What is the difference?
3
votes
1answer
141 views

Omitting the particle で in Xでもない

In the song "Eien no tobira" (永遠の扉) by Yonekura Chihiro (米倉千尋) the chorus starts with this line: 言葉じゃなくて約束もなくて Since じゃなくて is contraction of ではなくて, I would have expected the second clause to say ...
9
votes
1answer
777 views

Difference between 「 ただ」, 「たった」, 「ただ ~だけ」, and 「ただし」

I translate these words as either "only, just, simply". I'd like to know how I could differentiate these 4 ways (i.e., when I use that one, and when I use the other). Examples: たったひとつの恋 ...
2
votes
1answer
91 views

Can 首 be used to refer to students who have just graduated and not yet found a job?

The example sentences in WWWJDIC all use the word "首" in the "fire" sense (e.g. 彼を首にしてやる) hence I was wondering is the term only used to refer to "firing" someone? Or is it also used to refer to ...
6
votes
2answers
198 views

When to read 一人 and 二人 as いちにん and ににん?

WWWJDIC lists いちにん and ににん as alternative readings of 一人 {ひとり} and 二人 {ふたり}, but I can't recall anywhere I heard those readings except when counting more than 10 people for example 三十一人 {さんじゅういちにん}. ...
2
votes
2answers
147 views

How do we use the word 短~ in a sentence?

JLPT 2 has this word 短~ (たん) EDICT lists it as fault; defect; weak point; or minor (music), however there isn't any examples at all on the usage of the word. Does anyone have some example usages ...
14
votes
1answer
493 views

Understanding all the words but not the meaning: What does this ad say?

This is a frequent problem that I think many Japanese learners experience. You look at some Japanese sentences, and you understand the words, and most, if not all, the grammar, and yet still, it just ...
1
vote
1answer
135 views

What is the difference between ホワイトシャツ・ワイシャツ and 背広? [closed]

How do we decide whether to call a shirt a ワイシャツ or 背広 ? What's the difference in nuance between the two terms? Side question: EDICT claims that a ホワイトシャツ is a white business shirt but even if it's a ...
2
votes
1answer
261 views

What is a シドギャ? ギャ doesn't mean girl, does it?

At first I thought ギャ meant girl, but after doing some googling, that doesn't appear to be what it is. What is シドギャ? シドギャ is related to the band シド, the most popular Visual Kei rock band in Japan for ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

ことにする vs. ことに決める

My Japanese text book says that a present-tense verb followed by ことにする is used to indicate making a decision about the action. But I've also noticed the verb 決める, and that it's usage is very similar. ...
4
votes
0answers
152 views

What are these furigana (or punctuation marks)? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do Japanese writers use underline for emphasis? What do the punctuation marks next to あだ and はるひ mean? I can type the sentences, or show the passage if it helps.
6
votes
2answers
143 views

言ったりしたら versus 言ったら

I came across the phrase 言ったりしたら【いったりしたら】 in one of the Tintin books I'm reading. It means something like "if I say [it]". What I can't figure out is how it's different from simply saying 言ったら. Here ...
5
votes
2answers
479 views

How can I say “make a big deal [about/out of/of] X”?

See title. I'm looking for idiomatic ways to say something like this - over-emphasizing something, worrying about it overly much, etc. Bonus points if a literal 大 (whether read as だい or おお) is ...
8
votes
2answers
290 views

How do you classify a word like “電子レンジ”?

This recent question introduced me to the concepts of 外来語【がいらいご】, defined as foreign words not originating from Chinese, and 和製英語【わせいえいご】, which are English constructions that were made in Japan. ...
6
votes
1answer
333 views

Usage of “sensei”/“先生” when the recipient is a peer?

In a professional setting, would two professors/doctors/lawyers—who would normally be addressed as "sensei"—refer to each other (as peers) using "sensei"? Note: This question used to be asking about ...
5
votes
1answer
148 views

もっとも: distinguishing between 尤も and 最も

I found a page in Japanese with title "世界でもっとも汚染された10の都市". Having encountered the phrase 「もっとも」 for the first time, I looked it up on WWWJDIC and found two entries: 尤も 【もっとも】 (adj-na,adv,conj,n) ...
10
votes
1answer
472 views

verb た-form + そう, hearsay or observation?

Verb る-form + そう indicates hearsay. 帰るそうだ 'I hear he will go home.' 帰らないそうだ [Negative] Verb masu stem (i.e. conjunctive form 連用形) + そう shows information obtained through the senses, ...
3
votes
1answer
98 views

Usage and means of 向き

The following sentences are difference usage of 向き which have different meanings. Why do they differ? この本は初心者向きである。 This book is suitable for beginners. 逆さまに向きを変えてください。 Please turn over.
9
votes
1answer
240 views

Difference between 向け and 向き

My boss just corrected one of my documents from 企業向きな開発 to 企業向けの開発. Apart from the の/な problem that I always get wrong, is there a problem with 向き ? I got it from my textbook that says 子供向きです Could ...
7
votes
1answer
235 views

Is there any difference between 意外に and 意外と?

I hear 意外に and 意外と used frequently to mean "moreso than I thought." They seem to be interchangeable. Example: 意外と簡単でした = Easier than I thought Are they both grammatically correct? Is there a ...
5
votes
1answer
163 views

Regarding は数あれど (or possibly just あれど )

The following sentence is from a newspaper article メレンゲ菓子は数あれど、これほど繊細なものは珍しい。 あれど = あるけど makes sense to me in the context, and this seems to be supported by my searches so far - is it simply a ...
5
votes
2answers
337 views

What is the function of と when it's not quoting, or doing exhaustive listing?

Consider these two sentences:  (1) 母はついてくるようにアリスに合図した (Mother signaled to Alice to follow her)  (2) 父は手で私に部屋を出ていくようにと合図した。 (Father gestured to me to go out of the room) And another sentence ...
7
votes
1answer
210 views

Does it make sense to say [v]ませんでしたら instead of [v]なかったら?

I'm wondering whether it makes sense to say [v]ませんでしたら instead of [v]なかったら. When I googled for that conjugation there were very few results, but since there were results, I wonder if people actually ...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the difference between なぜ、どうして and なんで when meaning 'why'?

I've been meaning to ask this for a while. What is the difference between these 3 words. I was taught they all mean "why", but obviously, being different words they convey different nuance and would ...
7
votes
1answer
192 views

When and how to use 来る 【きたる】

Of course 来る is most often read as くる. However, it can also be read as きたる. Is きたる mostly an archaic reading? Does it carry a different, or any additional meanings?? When are "appropriate" ...
2
votes
2answers
132 views

The nuance of 得る compared with ~ば

If we compare the following two sentences: でき得るならば、独立して事業を始めたい。 できれば、独立して事業を始めたい。 意味が同じですか?どう違いますか?すみませんが、説明して頂けませんか?
4
votes
1answer
153 views

「Verb + たら」always have ambiguous meanings?

I agree that ~たら is one practical tool that could express lots of meanings. but sometimes it became one problem for students of japanese. If I say: 日本に行ったら、友達を訪ねます。 it's : If I go to Japan, I ...
13
votes
2answers
210 views

How does adding 手 to the beginning of an adjective change its meaning?

There are several adjectives that are formed by attaching 「手」 to more common adjectives: 手厳しい 手堅い 手早い 手広い 手短い But most of the time this does not seem to change the meaning of the adjective very ...
6
votes
1answer
206 views

What's the difference between 作る、造る、創る?

According to jisho.org they have the same meaning. How to know which to use?
10
votes
5answers
987 views

Is there an objective source of the origins of kanji?

Is there an authoritative source that explains where the different kanji come from and what the radicals mean? I think it's hard to tell from most of the textbooks/other sources whether a shown ...
4
votes
1answer
118 views

前 or 後 when placing an event in temporal reference to “now”

Consider this phrase:  今は(event)二十分前です。 Deconstruction of the above phrase yields: Now is twenty minutes before (event). (Q1) Can I reconstruct the statement using 後 in this manner?:  ...
7
votes
2answers
473 views

What is the difference between 様子、状況、状態、and 事情

I'm unsure of the difference between these four words. They all seem to indicate some type of "condition" or "circumstances". (1) Are they interchangeable? (2) What are some example sentences which ...
14
votes
5answers
555 views

Modern names of the obsolete kana ゑ and ゐ

In modern Japanese, the kana ゑ/ヱ (we) and ゐ/ヰ (wi) are largely obsolete. Words formerly containing them now are pronounced with /e/ and /i/, so they were replaced by え and い, respectively. But when ...
7
votes
2answers
142 views

How to use 対応 correctly

I see 対応(たいおう) quite often, but I can't seem to grasp exactly what this word means or how to use it properly. Checking a dictionary I get about 5 different definitions, all quite different from one ...
5
votes
2answers
187 views

What does 公け mean?

I am wondering what the reading and meaning of 公け is in the following sentence: 彼女のことが公けになることを好まず、ひそかに離縁しようと決心した。
6
votes
3answers
819 views

Are there verbs that are neither intransitive nor transitive?

i was taught that verbs are either transitive or intransitive. but what kind of verb is 分かる ? WWWJDIC lists it as intransitive. Yet the replies/comments from this thread Why is it 日本語 [[が]] わかります ...

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