5

みなさんこんにちは! :D

Is there a general means in 日本語 of describing something as being 'like' something, while not literally being said thing.

Ive been trying to practice by (struggling to) write notes on things by partially using 日本語, and in english class i ran into the problem of not knowing how to properly write 'she is a vary child LIKE character'.

I normally just google these thīngs, but i aint been able to find a answer, thus i was wondering if y'all might be able to inform me on this.

Thanks! :D

8

Many expressions in Japanese seem to come in threes. For this one, "to be like or similar to something", we also have three.

  • ~っぽい
    Similar to the English -ish ending, with possible negative overtones.
  • ~らしい
    Similar to the English -like or -ly ending, with possible positive overtones.
  • ~のように
    Much as H. Ha describes. Probably the most neutral in terms of overtones.

To compare, English childish carries negative implications, while childlike is more positive. So too the English terms mannish versus manly, womanish versus womanly, etc. The neutral Japanese ~のように might be closest to the English construction like a ~.

  • 1
    I've also seen ~っぽい used in more informal context without any negative overtone (which is similar to -ish, now that I think about it. Or, put another way, similarish.) – JAB Sep 22 '16 at 23:03
  • Yes, ~っぽい is not necessarily negative, just as らしい is not necessarily positive. – Eiríkr Útlendi Sep 22 '16 at 23:21
  • just happened across this one an though to add it. Noun + じみた japanesetest4you.com/flashcard/… – Mark Sep 28 '16 at 8:18
4

How about adding っぽい after the noun.

子供っぽい = child-like/childish

2

のように can be used when it's actually [literally being said thing.]

♪ うす紅色(べにいろ)の シクラメンほど まぶしいものはない
♪ 恋する時の 君のようです 木(こ)もれ陽(び)あびた 君を抱(いだ)けば 淋しささえも おきざりにして愛がいつのまにか 歩き始めました
♪ 疲れを知らない子供のように 時が二人を追い越してゆく 呼び戻すことが ...

疲れを知らない子供のように 時が二人を追い越してゆく

Here, it's not [literally being that said thing].

Time ( like children who don't get tired ) is overtaking ( and passing ) us.

Time ( like children who don't know to get tired ) is overtaking ( and passing ) us.

0

This answer on the question Contrasting っぽい、らしい、みたい goes into detail on the different nuances between っぽい、らしい and みたい.

Quoting the part that is relevant for the current question:

  • Modifier Xらしい roughly means "fulfilling with ease the requirements for X", with a nuance of appropriateness or approval.
  • Modifier Xっぽい roughly means "strongly evidences the characteristics associated with X", with a nuance of inappropriateness or disapproval.
  • Modifier みたい comes originally from 見たよう and it simply means "appears to be, looks like, acts like, seems like". It does not require that the information be obtained visually, though: 赤ちゃんみたいな鳴き声, etc. X みたいな Y carries the implication that Y is not in the category of X.

Thus:

  • 女らしい would usually be applied to women, who are expected to be womanly, and 女っぽい to men, who are not, or to women who the speaker judges to be acting in a too stereotypically "womanly" way.

子供らしい would thus appear to be natural for childlike children and 子供っぽい for childish adults (or adolescents).

  • If you think the question has already been answered, you should flag it as a duplicate. Quoting another answer from Japanese.SE is not an answer. – macraf Sep 28 '16 at 6:32
  • I tried to improve your answer by drawing a conclusion from the linked question that is relevant to the current question. I don't know if I read your intention correctly, but please try to do the same when you link to content in an answer. Also, please edit this answer if you feel that something should be added to provide a good answer to the current question. – Earthliŋ Sep 28 '16 at 10:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.