24
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the difference between “に” and “には”?

The title should be pretty self-explanatory. What meanings does each convey? And in what kinds of circumstances would one be used instead of the other? For example, what are the differences between ...
32
votes
2answers
3k views

What are the rules regarding “mute vowels” (“u” after “s” and “i” after “sh”)?

When you first begin to learn Japanese you are taught that Japanese has no stress and each syllable should be pronounced equally. You also learn that certain vowels are not pronounced, or only ...
6
votes
4answers
456 views

Is there a word for the type of onigiri that comes in the triangular wrap that keeps the nori fresh?

The term "onigiri" covers all kinds of rice balls, with or without filling, and with or without nori seaweed around it. Is there a specific term that only covers the one class of onigiri available in ...
10
votes
2answers
482 views

ご~いただけます vs. ご~になれます

I know that you can use ご~いただく toward "clients" (which is something I've never really understood; maybe better as a question of its own) such as ご来店いただき、まことにありがとうございます ("Thank you (customer) for ...
14
votes
1answer
344 views

Why is the topic marker often used in negative statements (ではない, ~とは思わない)?

What function does は provide in statements such as 本ではない or 本だとは思わない? I notice the は after と is often left out, at least if a Google search for 思わない is any indication, but there still seems to be a ...
17
votes
2answers
517 views

Are bookshelves in alphabetical (kana) order in Japanese bookshops and libraries?

How are fiction books such as novels sorted on the shelves at Japanese bookshops? Kana order seems to play a small part but not the whole part. (I'm not asking about nonfiction books since those are ...
6
votes
1answer
230 views

What are the Japanese terms for “character dictionary”? “漢辞海”? “漢字典”?

I'm looking for a cheap secondhand character dictionary in Japan but: I don't know if there is one or more kind of these, and I don't know what they are called. Two I saw had these on their spines, ...
0
votes
1answer
385 views

how would a native ask the question “Where are you going later?”

After reading the 2 threads: How to use へ (-e), に (-ni), まで (made) and の方 (no-hō) with destination and direction? and When going somewhere, is there any difference between e (へ) and ni (に)? I would ...
7
votes
2answers
399 views

へ or に particle for 曲がる?

i was wondering what may be the difference in nuance between 右へ曲がる and 右に曲がる ? Example: Take a right turn and you'll see the library. 1) 右へ曲がると、図書館がある。 2) 右に曲がると、図書館がある。 As for [noun-location] ...
3
votes
1answer
132 views

Can 差す be an intransitive verb?

WWWJDIC lists 差す as an intransitive verb, but in all of the example sentences I've seen it looks more like a transitive verb. So my question is, is 差す a transitive or intransitive verb?
7
votes
1answer
177 views

What is the origin of the theatrical intonation used by Tokyo Disneyland's cast members?

When I had the chance to go on a Jungle Cruise at Tokyo Disneyland, I noticed the skipper talked with sprinkles of prolonged vowels and uncommon rising and falling intonation patterns. Is this ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

When did you last…?

I am searching for a way to ask a question like "When did you last see her?" or "When did you last do the laundry?, or also "When did we last meet?" Basically, how do you construct a question with ...
26
votes
3answers
1k views

How indistinguishable is blue from green really?

青 ao seems to be used very much interchangeably for both blue and green. Why is that so, and how does 緑 midori play into this?
14
votes
5answers
2k views

Is すごい slang or just informal?

Regarding すごい: What is the right way to spell it? Is it vulgar, or is it slang like the English "cool"?, or informal or colloquial? Is it archaic? If it is slang, does it have a non-slang meaning? ...
8
votes
3answers
839 views

What are common mistakes made by Japanese kombini employees speaking “manual keigo” (バイト敬語)

I hope this question is not too open-ended, but please don't hesitate to suggest edits if it is... Mainly inspired by this question on what seems to be the misuse of a standard idiom by a Japanese ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

What exactly is a “taru adjective”

On the talk page of the Wikipedia article on "Japanese adjectives", user Dougalg suggested nearly two years ago: I know these are falling out of use, but still exist. If anyone can give an ...
26
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does Japanese have two kinds of adjectives? (-i adjectives and -na adjectives)

Japanese has two kinds of adjectives known by several terms but the ones I know are i-adjectives and na-adjectives - why? I recall that Japanese adjectives are much more like verbs than in English ...
5
votes
2answers
608 views

Can the qualifiers “very” and “too” be expressed unambiguously in Japanese?

I've noticed that some of my Japanese friends with fluent but imperfect English often say "too adjective" when a native English speaker would say just "very adjective". (I am asking about "too" in ...
2
votes
1answer
283 views

Is “ガール” (gāru) now considered a Japanese word? What about “ガールズ” (gāruzu)?

In my wanderings around Japan giving my kana knowledge some practice I've noticed both the words "ガール" (gāru) and "ガールズ" (gāruzu) in use at least in signage. Obviously they are borrowed from English ...
6
votes
2answers
456 views

Just how rude is 「俺」 / 「おれ」?

Statistics seem to show that (for young males, anyway) 俺 is beginning to be used more often than 僕 to refer to oneself. I have read that 俺 is somewhat rude. There are certain situations, of course, ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Words/characters for fast food meal sizes: 並, 大, 特

When dining at Yoshinoya I never know how to ask for the size meal I want. Their sizes are 並, 大, and 特. I only know that "大" means big, but it also has two readings so I have no idea whether to ask ...
12
votes
1answer
573 views

Why “社会の窓” (shakai no mado)?

A few years ago I was told by a Japanese friend "社会の窓" (shakai no mado). It was explained after some giggling that this is what is said to a man who has inadvertently left his fly open, and that it ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

How do I politely ask my boss for a moment of his time?

My boss is a native Japanese speaker. In English, when I have a question or an issue to bring up, I can ask "Do you have a minute?" to see if it is an appropriate time to interrupt them. In ...
5
votes
3answers
458 views

What’s the difference between [v] たとしても and just the plain ても

What’s the difference between [v] たとしても and just the plain ても, Example: (1) 説明書を読んでも分かりにくい (2) 説明書を読んだとしても分かりにくい
9
votes
4answers
300 views

Etymology of 右に出る

What is the etymology of 右に出る, as in 「右に出る者はいない」? What on earth makes the right superior to the left? Relatedly, is 左に出る ever used to mean "inferior to"?
10
votes
3answers
210 views

What is the sense of 気配がする (けはいがする) versus 気がする?

I'm (trying) to read a Japanese spy novel at the moment. It could just be the author's style, but I see lots of sentences end in 〜気配がする。 The more I read, the more I wonder - is there any difference ...
18
votes
3answers
485 views

Use of 自分【じぶん】as a personal pronoun in direct speech

Yay, yet another first-person-pronoun question! I know that 自分 is commonly used as a personal pronoun in indirect speech, e.g.: マイクは、自分はなんと不注意なのだろうと言った。→ Mike said that he was very careless. ...
13
votes
1answer
240 views

What are the origins of the 「こそあど」 demonstratives?

I've noticed the following sets of words that seem to have a very obvious pattern, and, of course, their meanings are very closely related: これ、 それ、 あれ、 どれ この、 その、 あの、 どの ここ、 そこ、 あそこ、 どこ What are ...
11
votes
3answers
310 views

When is it appropriate to refer to yourself by これ?

I have occasionally heard and read instances, where a person has referred to themselves as これ. My Japanese dictionary also lists "Me, I." as a definition of これ. Now, this obviously isn't used as ...
4
votes
2answers
291 views

is “超” (chō) seldom used in written works?

Is it true that the prefix 超 to mean “very” is seldom used in written works (like novels.. but of course i do not count the words between the 「 and 」), and is usually only used when talking?
10
votes
1answer
558 views

ならば vs なら. both are totally interchangeable without affecting the nuance of the sentence?

is it true that なら is merely a short form of ならば and as such, both are totally interchangeable without affecting the nuance of the sentence? Also, a second question is is ならば more "formal" than "なら" ...
4
votes
3answers
264 views

Is there a dialect where older men refer to themselves as あたし?

I remember reading that there is a dialect in which older men refer to themselves as あたし. It didn't have a feminine connotation, it may have even been a bit rough. I think I read it on Wikipedia, but ...
11
votes
1answer
360 views

When can I exchange くださる for いただく in expressions of gratitude?

Way back when, I remember being taught that when you want to say a really polite "thank you", sentences such as these are basically the same: 文章を訂正していただきましてありがとうございます。 ...
10
votes
4answers
749 views

How commonly are “あたし” or “[僕]{ぼく}” used?

My friend and I are learning Japanese. For a time, all we knew was 私, but after we learned more words, she started to use あたし when referring to herself, and I began using 僕. What I'm wondering is, how ...
17
votes
5answers
828 views

What does the final て in 待ってて signify?

In this scene a young girl, Yotsuba, drops in on her neighbors for some breakfast. The mother who's cooking breakfast says 「今お父さんの焼いてるからその次ねー。ちょっと待っててー」. So I guess she's preparing her husbands food ...
3
votes
2answers
249 views

Katakana changes

The katakana changes with time, and so recently they introduced the "v" "ヴ", and I'd like to know if there's a possibility they'll add letters like "si" "セィ" or something similar in the future? Do the ...
12
votes
1answer
3k views

What are the stereotypical characteristics of yakuza speech?

When people imitate yakuza speech, what are the major things they do to make it recognizable as such? If possible, how accurate is this compared to actual yakuza speech? I've seen mention elsewhere ...
10
votes
1answer
194 views

Using くれる for doing something bad

Today I heard the phrase なんてことしてくれた, as in: 君!なんてことしてくれたんだ! which I learned means "Look what you've done". I thought くれる was only used when someone does something nice for you. Is this just a ...
18
votes
4answers
1k views

Difference between にかんして and について?

What is the difference between にかんして and について? Example usage would be much appreciated!
10
votes
2answers
279 views

What's the difference between 悪 and 惡 ?

I'd like to know what the difference between 悪 and 惡 is. And also what usage you should do between both. I heard that they both mean "bad"
4
votes
1answer
479 views

Grammatically correct expression similar to the {~って感じ} slang

Is there a grammatically correct expression similar to the {~って感じ} slang? For example, I heard something like the following conversation in an anime: A: テストはどう? B: どうって? 「もう死にてぇ」って感じだぜ。 A: ...
9
votes
1answer
407 views

why is it that some 形容動詞 accepts の after it while some only accepts な after it?

why is it that some 形容動詞 accepts の after it while some only accepts な after it? Examples: の only: 普通、大勢 な or の: 初心、特別、特殊 Is there a way for us to tell if a 形容動詞 needs a の or な particle after ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Since Japanese already had several words for rice why was “ライス” (raisu) borrowed from English?

Last night I had dinner in a ramen restaurant in northern Japan and was surprised to read the katakana "ライス" (raisu) on the menu. This is obviously the English word "rice" borrowed. But what kind of ...
13
votes
2answers
365 views

What does とな mean (and how do I use it)?

I came across this on Twitter, it seems to be mostly a question but sometimes an exclamation. Is it とは, or maybe とか? How do you use it? My dictionary has a とな as word that come at the end of a ...
13
votes
8answers
802 views

Is the word ハーフ derogatory?

Is the term ハーフ (mixed-race Japanese/other) derogatory? Can you use it in a newspaper article? Can you use it to describe your boss? If it is derogatory, what word(s) should one use instead?
7
votes
2answers
469 views

What is the difference between 特殊 and 特別?

I've got two questions. Firstly, what is the difference between 特殊 tokushu and 特別 tokubetsu? Secondly, is it true that all these grammar forms are correct: 特別な tokubetsu na + [noun] 特殊な tokushu na ...
4
votes
3answers
367 views

Can 【~たら】 be a short form of 【~てから】?

I picked up a bad habit of using ~たら (a form of conditional) when I mean ~てから (once something happens, something else will happen) from a friend many years back while learning Japanese. In the years ...
15
votes
3answers
1k 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" ...
10
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
271 views

Meaning of pattern 「XがXなら、YもYだ」

While reading, I came across this sentence: 「上官が上官なら部下も部下だな」 What does this 「XがXなら、YもYだ」 pattern mean? "Like X, like Y"? "X will be X, and Y will be Y"?

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