7
votes
2answers
433 views

Translating “barely”, “hardly” etc

In English, "barely"/"hardly" can be used both with a connection to time ("just finished"): I had barely finished eating when he arrived. (食べたばかり...) or to express the idea that a goal was ...
9
votes
2answers
418 views

What is the nuance when は directly follows a verb in plain form?

It seems like this is a remnant of (or reference to) older forms of Japanese. Is that all there is to it, or does it have special meaning? Examples from songs: 歌声 笑い声 満ちる大空 目指すは憧れ ...
4
votes
1answer
266 views

Is it true that only movement verbs can take [V-stem]に to express a purpose?

I decided to split this into a thread by itself because I was afraid of cramming too much into the first thread. Is it true that only movement verbs can take [V-stem]に to express a purpose? Will it ...
5
votes
2answers
441 views

Does [V-stem]に行く works for verbs whose stems are not stand-alone words by themselves?

I was taught that there is a grammatical form which goes like this: [V-stem]に行く For example: 遊びに行く, which means "Go. Reason: to 遊ぶ" I was wondering does this grammatical form work for verbs whose ...
5
votes
2answers
306 views

How to unambiguously express sentences with lots of relative propositions?

Background, problem statement Very often, I find myself in situations where I have to build structurally complex sentences in Japanese, and find myself struggling, trying to put all I want to say in ...
9
votes
4answers
320 views

相手の日本人 or 日本人の相手?

If I wanted to describe the person I was speaking about as being Japanese, to me it seems natural to say: 日本人{にほんじん}の相手{あいて} ... however, one time a Japanese teacher told me it's more correct to ...
5
votes
2answers
252 views

Is it true that all nouns must be able to accept a が particle and a を particle?

Is it true that all nouns must be able to accept a が particle and a を particle? I was curious about how we could form a sentence with: 特別が 特別を 出色が 出色を
7
votes
1answer
386 views

なく vs. なくて and stem form vs. てform as conjunctions

I have been wondering about this, since every time I hand in a 作文 in a Japanese class, I'm corrected on conjunctions. It seems to me that whenever I use a てform as a conjunction, a response comes back ...
8
votes
2answers
241 views

what's the difference between 余地 and よゆう?

I have been informed that よゆう is to do with temporal or physical room, while 余地 has to do with emotional room, but I might have misunderstood the explanation.
13
votes
1answer
252 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
4answers
2k views

How is it possible that kisama is more refined than temee?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_differences_in_spoken_Japanese claims that kisama is "more refined than temee". However I've always thought that kisama is so-called the "worst" level (in other ...
6
votes
3answers
144 views

Does 「彼は映画スター兼政治家だ。」 sound weird?

I asked about this in the comments section of another question, but no one responded, so I guess I'll ask it here. The question involved expressing that someone was both a movie star and a politician, ...
9
votes
4answers
239 views

Meaning of: イベントの前ふりをば。

A colleague is organizing an event and sent everyone an email beginning like this: 田中イベント担当の田中です。 イベントの前ふりをば。 ... (explanation about the event) The first line is a funny intro (the guy ...
12
votes
2answers
262 views

How to read the X in 5X4間?

A book about architecture I'm trying to read (it's a bit of a slog what with the technical jargon and such) contained this description of a temple building: 二重、初重5X4間、裳階 (もこし) つき、上重4X3間. So it's two ...
7
votes
2answers
243 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?
17
votes
4answers
2k views

The reality of answering いいえ to a negative question

tl;dr: when answering a negative question, can いいえ be used to affirm what the question states as a whole? I came to Japan at the age of six, and I guess I pass as a normal native speaker of Japanese ...
7
votes
1answer
311 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 ?
6
votes
1answer
548 views

What is the usage of 「つー」, what does it mean and what other ways are there to express the same thing ?

I've seen this many times in mangas, here's one example: アンタなんかが手にしていいお金じゃないっつーの!!! Context: A girl catches a thief that stole today's takings at the shop she's working at. Thank you! ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Ways to end a phone conversation

Despite its being one of the most basic element of daily-life Japanese, I often find myself looking for a proper way to end certain phone conversations. Of course, I know the standard: [それでは]失礼します, ...
7
votes
2answers
185 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
3answers
234 views

Is this grammatical: 彼は映画スターであり、政治家もだ。

I was about to ask a question but I can't without first confirming, Is this sentence: 彼は映画スターであり、政治家もだ。 grammatically correct, and mean: He is a movie star and also a politician. ==Follow-up ...
11
votes
2answers
672 views

I can't stand 立つ【た・つ】: Do all its meanings derive from “stand”?

I have an issue with the word 立{た}つ, which is that I get it's basic meaning is "to stand", but I see it used in all sorts of ways that don't make sense to me. Here are some examples, from various ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

When women use わ at the end of a sentence, is it different from よ?

My understanding of using わ at the end of a sentence is that it's essentially just for emphasis, just like using よ, and that only women can use it. However, as far as I know, women can, and often do, ...
7
votes
3answers
226 views

Where does the いかない in ~わけにはいかない come from?

My first thought is that いかない in this phrase conveys the meaning of 行かない, that is, not progressing to something. But this is mere guesswork. What is the history of いかない in ~わけにはいかない? Does it have ...
5
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
419 views

私 (watashi) vs 僕 (boku) [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Is it ok for non-japanese to refer to themselves as 僕(ぼく) and if not why? How should I select what first-person pronoun to use? How commonly are "あたし" (atashi) ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between そうか and そっか?

Is そっか just more slangy? Is そうか the same as saying ああそう? Or, is this more a spoken thing? If so, what is used when writing?
7
votes
1answer
356 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
370 views

Is「ふむふむ」still used nowadays?

I learned from a Japanese friend that ふむふむ could be translated like "oh, I got it", "I see", "I know", or "ok". It could be also in this form: ふむふむ なるほど But, my sister lived in Japan for 5 years, and ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

In what situation can I use ~かい (for interrogative question)?

One day, I asked my japanese friend how I could invite some friends to eat. He said "一緒に食べに行くかい?" I know that we could also say: 行きましょうか(行こうか)? 行きませんか(行かない)? 行きますか(行くの)? but I got interested ...
6
votes
3answers
320 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
259 views

Is there even 1 na-type adjective that can't be used as a real noun?

The passage suggests that not all na-type adjectives can be used as real nouns as shown in (b). It doesn't seem to be a case of careless choice of words, since in the 2nd para, the passage uses ...
7
votes
2answers
250 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" ...
1
vote
0answers
282 views

Looking for the original japanese of this haiku [closed]

I'm sure this is a translation of a haiku but I'm not able to find the original text or even the author. As the sun goes down the birds land one by one. I've been trying to Google it ...
13
votes
5answers
594 views

What is the role of の in 「お父さんのバカ!」

How did the の get in the expression 「◯◯のバカ!」? Was the expression originally longer? Is there any other example of usage other than insults? (other example I know of: 「つよし君のエッチ!」 or anything to the ...
5
votes
1answer
238 views

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

A book I've read states that けど is a 接続詞 (conjunction). However, another book I had read states that it is a 助詞 (particle). Who is right?
17
votes
2answers
347 views

Reading (and usage) of 他: when is it 【た】, when is it 【ほか】?

他 is one of these common words that still to this day confuses me... My general assumption is that: used as a prefix, it should always be read 【た】, e.g.: 他人【たにん】 when treated as a "substantive" ...
4
votes
3answers
572 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
156 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??
6
votes
2answers
134 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?
7
votes
2answers
219 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
1answer
96 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
389 views

What dialects use だべ?

I feel like I hear だべ all the time (through TV and on the streets of Yokohama where I live), but I'm wondering about it's origins and modern usage.
2
votes
2answers
156 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
2answers
1k views

Are all kanji compounds considered words?

A friend once commented to me that Japanese has a larger vocabulary than English. I said I didn't think it did, because it wasn't really accurate to call all kanji compounds "words". My friend said I ...
9
votes
2answers
204 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
200 views

Difference between 割合 vs 率

割合 and 率 both mean ratio, rate, and percentage. What is the difference?
1
vote
1answer
137 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
484 views

うるさい written as 五月蝿い

This is a follow-up question to Does うるさい have a "negative" connotation. I've seen うるさい written as 五月蝿い. 現代では、is this form used often / at all? What does this have to do with flies (蝿【はえ】) in May? ...
8
votes
3answers
367 views

Does うるさい have a “negative” connotation?

Is it true that when someone uses the word うるさい, it means that there is a feeling of "discontent" ? Like for example, we will take this sentence: "It will be noisy in the factory" "It will be ...

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