Questions tagged [ambiguity]

曖昧な表現. A situation where multiple interpretations are possible as a result of scarcity of information. Ambiguity can exist at the grammatical and lexical level, and is usually resolved through context.

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12
votes
3answers
570 views

Are Japanese modifiers “greedy”, “anti-greedy”, or do they mean whatever people choose them to mean?

(I'm a beginner. I just started learning Japanese about a month before I wrote this.) The Japanese Wikipedia article 飛べない鳥, which corresponds to the English Wikipedia article Flightless bird, has the ...
5
votes
1answer
8k views

Confusion with Japanese particle と in its multiple uses

I have read about the different uses of the different particles in Japanese but often become confused as to how it should be translated in different sentences. In other words the actual intent of the ...
17
votes
4answers
4k views

“Seemingly cute” - かわいい + 〜そう

The 〜そう form means "seemingly 〜" and is usually conjecture made based on first-hand information. This usually means seeing something or hearing about something and making a conjecture, e.g., おいしそう ...
8
votes
2answers
226 views

「星が見えない=Stars can't be seen」 but 「目が見えない=Eyes can't see」, why?

Are the two 「が」 different? Is 「目が見えない」 (at least in principle) ambiguous (eyes can't see / eyes can't be seen)?
4
votes
3answers
232 views

General meaning of AとBのC?

Is it (AとB)のC, Aと(BのC), or (AのC)と(BのC) ...?
2
votes
1answer
118 views

How to use 彼 and 彼女?

The first time I saw these two terms, they were used in a love context, to mean "boyfriend/girlfriend". Later, I came to know that you can also use these to refer to "that guy/girl". So, what I ...
9
votes
2answers
550 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
592 views

私に言われても versus 私が言われても

I am aware that "言われる" means "to be told". My impression would be that "私に言われても" means "Even if I told you..." while "私が言われても" means "Even if I am told...". But this site answer seems to suggest that ...
4
votes
1answer
278 views

Help parsing a sentence with possibly embed relatives

“はっきりとしてくれないわたしが好きな人”より“はっきりとしているわたしを好きな人”を憎からず はっきりとして=Be clear くれない=not give to me わたしが好きな人=The person I like [はっきりとしてくれない]>わたしが好きな人 so はっきりとしてくれない modifies わたし or はっきりとしてくれない ...
5
votes
1answer
269 views

How to choose between 「いれる」 and 「はいれる」?

The questions is how to choose between 「いれる」 and 「はいれる」. As far as I know, the same kanji is used for both (入れる). How can one make the distinction when reading a text?
2
votes
2answers
238 views

What does の apply to after a list of items with と?

I've looked around, but I couldn't find an answer for this question. Here's the example phrase that I'm trying to translate that I pulled from a light novel: せりとレタスとキャベツの違い I'm not sure whether ...
2
votes
1answer
153 views

Does there exist a poem that uses direction to change its meaning?

I've been reading about writing order and the question has been poking at me for a while now: since writing order could theoretically introduce ambiguity, is it possible that someone has written a ...