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6

Leo's guess is actually right. For reference, it is enough to go on the wikipedia page of お負け. The meaning originally comes indeed from the fact that the seller is losing something in the bargaining process (from wiki): おまけの語源は「御負け」の文字通り、店員が客との駆け引きに負けて値を下げる行為を指す言葉であったが、のちに商品以外の物品を追加する行為なども言うようになった.


5

The practice of reversing a word's syllables to create a slang term is a common one across many languages. Compare Pig Latin and these Japanese terms, as above, or the South American argot called Lunfardo -- search the page for the word "vesre" for a description of how slang terms were derived by reversing the syllables. In a nutshell: historical ...


5

I think Martin has 応 (old form 應) in mind. This was not uncommonly used to write ō, especially in Edo times. A famous haiku by Kyorai: 応々といへどたたくや雪の門 ō ō to / iedo tataku ya / yuki no kado "All right, all right!" / I say, but the knocking doesn't stop / at the gate in the snow However, I agree with the commenters that ō is unlikely to have been borrowed ...


5

Please refer to the other answer(s) for your main question (etymology). As for the modern usage, the difference in frequency is not that large. Here are the hit counts from BCCWJ. 役に立 2302, 役に立つ 1039, 役に立っ 270, 役にたつ 94 役立 3031, 役立つ 1419, 役立っ 447, 役だつ 30 役に立つ and 役立つ are not always interchangeable. As a simple predicate, 役に立つ is the more common ...


4

My copy of Shogakukan's 国語大辞典 gives a quote from 狂言記{きょうげんき} using the 役立つ form, dating this term to at least the late 1650s. As to formality, a native speaker would be able to answer more authoritatively, but I am not aware of any particular difference in register between 役立つ and 役に立つ, and none of my resources to hand indicate any such difference.


2

I can't think of any straightforward uses for お負け as "exaggeration", but it could be used like this: 彼の話にはいつもなんらかのお負けが付いている "There's always a little something more to his stories" This might imply an exaggeration... Sidenote: おまけ can also mean menstrual cycle


2

To me both ”役に立つ” and “役立(やくだ)つ” mean the same thing, “It helps,” or “helpful.” When I consulted how to translate “役立(やくだ)つ” into Japanese with Kenkyusha’s “New Japanese English Dictionary” for a reference, it simply told “See 役に立つ.” However, it appears to me there's a bit of difference between their usage and nuance. The former (役に立つ) is more often used ...


2

As stated in the thread that WeirdlyCheezy linked to, the full kanji "spelling" for America is 亜米利加. 米 is officially only ベイ or マイ, but, as in other places it acts as a phonetic -- 迷 謎 -- it can also be read as メイ. Ok, so why not 亜国 then? Well, 亜 already referred to Asia in general, so that was out. Ok, 米国 then. Except, 米 isn't commonly read as メイ, and if ...



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