Questions tagged [linguistics]

言語学. The study of languages.

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How are conjugation endings called by Japanese linguists?

How are conjugation endings (たい, た, ない) called by Japanese linguists*? Examples: 食べた tabeta 'ate', 食べない tabenai 'do not eat' According to Wikipedia, and an electronic dictionary, it seems they are ...
Starckman's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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Term for "Letter"/Symbol name vs. pronunciation

I was trying to explain to someone why spelling & reading in Japanese (at least with kana) is easy because the name of the letter is its pronuncation. (Yes, I realize kana are not strictly "...
istrasci's user avatar
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144 views

Are words like CD or DNA counted as Japanese?

Yes, they are written with the Latin alphabet, but they are used in the Japanese language, so I am not sure. I mean, they have entries in Japanese dictionaries and a Japanese reading. What are they? ...
NeonGooRoo's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
114 views

Accent pattern of ています

According to the rules of accent, a "flat" verb (平板式) keeps flat in its て-form, and a non-"flat" (起伏式) verb is accented in the antepenultimate position in the て-form: ア↑ビル(浴びる)→ ア↑...
Kotoba Trily Ngian's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
237 views

About ancient pronunciation on dictionaries

In large dictionaries like 広辞苑 or 大辞林, there are some entries tagged with "ancient pronunciations" which are almost identical to the modern ones but with a voiced consonant voiceless (or ...
Kotoba Trily Ngian's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
193 views

Does Japanese have postpositions?

Let's take the following sentence as an example: 八時に家を出ます。 I leave home at eight o'clock. に and を are usually called particles. But に for example looks like "at" (preposition) that follows ...
x-yuri's user avatar
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0 answers
76 views

Is there a word specifically for "a transitive/intransitive verb pair"?

There are many pairs of transitive and intransitive verbs in Japanese: e.g. 上げる and 上がる, 交える and 交じる, 広げる and 広がる. Separately, transitive verbs are called 他動詞{たどうし} and intransitive verbs are called ...
user19642323's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
130 views

Is the infinitive form the masu stem or does it include the masu?

Looking it up has gotten me mixed answers. I've seen people refer to either as the infinitive. A follow-up: is the -ru on ichidan verbs seen as an auxiliary or is it part of the word?
Awesome_fire's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
157 views

Role of は when following phrases ending in particles

I have read several linguistic accounts of the particle は that claim it has two fundamental uses: To indicate the theme/topic of the discourse (assuming that the speaker can take for granted that the ...
G-Cam's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
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Suffix as defined in romanized Japanese morphological analysis

Older grammar books tend to rely on a lot of romanization to teach the nitty-gritty of morphology, which is also reflected in some of @snail's answers like this one. I was reading Samuel Elmo Martin's ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
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Are forms of address and kinship terms pronouns/代名詞 in Japanese? Why or why not?

It hit me when I was editing this question which had the pronouns tag. I wasn't sure if 「娘」 is considered a pronoun in Japanese. Looking for relevant examples of kinship terminology in English, I ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
266 views

How does「~てほしい」work grammatically? [closed]

It seems like the verb that uses「~て」should be affected by an adverb or an auxiliary verb unless we have a string of「~て、~て ...」。Grammatically, for an adjective to affect a verb should require ...
DeityofAutomation's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
199 views

What does Kenneth Henshall mean by "X is used phonetically to express Y"?

Henshall seems to have a quite specific idea about how many phonetic elements end up in characters, which diverges from explanations I find online, but I'm not sure I'm reading him correctly. ...
Simon Whitaker's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
246 views

Why is the Japanese term for grammatical case 「格」? How did this translation come to be?

From Google's definition of 格: きまり。法則。標準。  「格式・格言・合格・別格・破格・規格・本格・古格・適格・律令格式(りつりょうきゃくしき)」 《名・造》地位。身分。程度。  「格が違う」 方形に組みあわせた材。  「骨格・格子(こうし)・格天井(ごうてんじょう)」 くる。いたる。とおる。きわめる。  「格物致知」 ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
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3 votes
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648 views

Do native speakers learn consonant and vowel length easily, or is it difficult?

Just want to ask if this is normal or I am just fighting the wrong way. かっこいい say this word has the final 2 い which shall take 2 length of the i sound. I am struggling to keep trying to speak with 2 ...
Hao's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
101 views

Syntactic Properties of "Bare Numerals": 「一」in「其の一」

I am currently attempting to research the syntax of nominal classifiers (i.e. "counter" words like 「〜台」and 「〜個」) and wanted to look for references to the irregular phenomenon of "bare" numerals: ...
archaephyrryx's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
196 views

What is the term for "Past Tense Negative Form" in Japanese?

Doing my Japanese practices today, and I've noticed that Present Tense: 現在形 Negative Form: 否定形 Past Tense: 過去形 And I wondered what Negative Past tense is in Japanese. Thought it's an easy ...
September's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
159 views

How to interpret intransitives in non-past tense

I've been reading linguistics books lately and they've gotten me reexamining things I've learned in Japanese textbooks for foreign learners. Susumu Kuno's book The Structure of the Japanese Language ...
Fluffer's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Are on’yomi words loanwords?

this is probably a silly question, but since words with multiple kanji are usually read with on’yomi would that effectively make most japanese vocabulary loanwords? like 森林 or 図書館?i understand ...
jacoballens's user avatar
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Sleeping verbs and まで vs までに

So I was wondering, pretty much all of the sleep related verbs switch meaning with まで and までに. Was it always like that? Or was there a time when 8時まで寝る meant "going to bed at 8"? Or take the even ...
sollniss's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
449 views

How is readability measured in Japanese?

First of all, I apologize if this question is better suited for the meta. It's a little theoretical, but it's also very much about the Japanese language, so I figured it was fine here. I was looking ...
Mindful's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
133 views

Terminology for leaving out parts of words

In Japanese some parts of words or letters often get left out in order to shorten them, but what is this phenomenon called? Does anyone know? Do you know the English terminology? The Japanese ...
JiRu's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
303 views

Word lists/sources for pitch accent in Middle Japanese

Is there anywhere I can find a list of words and what their reconstructed pitches were in Middle Japanese? Or especially what words we have tone dot information on (with a preference for the oldest ...
LinguistCat's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
169 views

Does using 「だ」in だと思う actually serve a practical purpose?

I know it's to indicate whether something is a Na adjective or not, but other than the language rules stating it to be so, is there any real use of it? I'm pretty sure everyone would understand you ...
shoryuu's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
402 views

How do the Japanese ask questions about language? [closed]

In Japanese class, when you are confused about vocab or grammar or sentence structure, you ask the professor in English. But if you live in Japan and are communicating with Japanese natives who barely ...
デヤン's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
199 views

一段動詞が五段動詞に進化できますか?

日本語の文法では五段動詞の方が一段動詞より多いです。文法が変化すると、一段動詞が五段動詞に変化する可能性がありますか? 私は日本語を練習したいです。上手くなければすみません。
Tirous's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
5k views

the different adverbia between 'mousugu', 'mamonaku', and sorosoro

What is the difference in meaning between "mousugu", "mamonaku", and "sorosoro"? According to what I found, in English they all mean "soon"?
user25388's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
536 views

Analyzing breakdown of jukugo

I may just be misunderstanding the etymology of certain words, but I think of certain jukugo e.g. 「大学生」as being derived from patterns like 「大学の学生」, where there is a kanji-level shiritori, leading to a ...
archaephyrryx's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
203 views

Comparing the "severity" of words of amount, degree, etc

I'm looking for lists of words/phrases of degree, ordered by how strong they are relative to each other. For an example in English, I ran across this research recently: http://www.businessinsider....
eruciform's user avatar
  • 359
4 votes
2 answers
5k views

Rules and phenomena about reading/writing words with kanji

I'm trying to learn Japanese but I'm the kind of person who can't really learn if they don't understand some of the mechanisms. I'm stuck when learning vocabulary because I can't just be like "OK this ...
Destal's user avatar
  • 297
0 votes
2 answers
176 views

Why are English loanwords so much more popular than Chinese ones?

While I get that Chinese-Japanese relations are complicated, American-Japanese relations are as well; given how Chinese jargon and terms of art are available, why is it that English terms are so often ...
Williham Totland's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
8k views

Expressing difference between "fluent" and "native speaker" in Japanese

I want to explain the difference between the English linguistic terms "fluent" and "native speaker". I could do this in English, but I'd also like to know if it's possible to do so in Japanese. To be ...
Andrew Grimm's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
249 views

Can compound words like 「外食」be considered as a morpheme?

According to Wikipedia, In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest grammatical unit in a language. In other words, it is the smallest meaningful unit of a language. By that definition, do you ...
Andree's user avatar
  • 157
5 votes
2 answers
568 views

How many possible phonological forms could be represented by a randomly chosen single character?

In Chinese, every character is monosyllabic and Mandarin has a total of about ~1200 licit syllables including tone (about 400 if you don't count tone). This means that if I take any Chinese character ...
Nick Anderegg's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
161 views

How do you call different methods for writing numbers (notations)?

Are there proper terms for the methods of writing numbers in kanji (literal vs powers-of-10)? 千五百三十六 vs 一五三六 If not (or the terms are too scientific) how to differentiate between them in ...
macraf's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
521 views

Is modern day keigo borrowed from kansai-ben? Sources?

I have heard on various occasions that modern day keigo was borrowed from Kansai-ben. It states this on Wikipedia: Historically, extensive use of keigo (honorific speech) was a feature of Kansai-...
Sento9N's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
3k views

Difference between 「にかかわらず」 and 「にもかかわらず」

I would like to know the difference between 「にかかわらず」 and 「にもかかわらず」 with regard to the semantics of the predicate-argument relation. Do they express the same semantic relation (non-causality?)? or ...
Pierre's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
701 views

The genesis of pitch accent in Japanese

There is a significant amount of research relating to tonogenesis -- the mechanisms by which a toneless parent language develops tone. But what about the genesis of pitch accent? For instance, the ...
jogloran's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
140 views

Is the particle を in をでる comparable to elative case?

I remember that Estonian has multiple grammatical cases marking some kind of location. I recently learned that the particle を can be used to mean something like "out of" or "from", for an action that ...
Lou's user avatar
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4 votes
4 answers
933 views

Please teach me more about ハダカ格

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_(grammar): In certain languages, the agent is declined or otherwise marked to indicate its grammatical role. In Japanese, for instance, the agentive case ...
Val's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
2k views

How were hiragana/katakana influenced by syllabary writing systems?

Today, I was in English class, and I learned about language families and then writing systems. Of course, there is kanji, and ideographic system, but hiragana and katakana are both syllabary systems. ...
Julian Jefko's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
240 views

Are there words or phrases that are commonly mistyped by native speakers on the Internet?

Like how it is common to see their/there and "could/would/should of" instead of "could/would/should have" in English discussions.
User4516's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
912 views

How should we understand the plain form when used in novels set in the past?

I am trying to understand how the plain form is used in novels set in the past through the explanations in the paper referenced below. I wonder if someone could explain how we should understand the ...
Tim's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
7k views

Is there any merit to the claim that Japanese and Tamil are genetically related languages?

In India, regional nationalism is strongly tied to language. This is particularly the case in the Dravidian-speaking south, especially among speakers of Tamil - Tamil nationalists trot out all manner ...
senshin's user avatar
  • 5,645
14 votes
2 answers
740 views

Nouns exhibiting vowel fronting

As touched upon in another thread, there are several nouns that exhibit a kind of vowel shift in older forms, where the ending vowel is fronted when the noun is used on its own to become /i/ or /e/, ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
137 views

What do we know about the phonetic distinctions between the 甲類 and 乙類 syllables in 上代特殊仮名遣い? [closed]

上代特殊仮名遣い【じょうだいとくしゅかなづかい】 is a Nara-period practice in which two distinct versions of certain syllables (called 甲類【こうるい】 and 乙類【おつるい】, and denoted by subscript 1 and 2 in Latin script) were ...
senshin's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
418 views

Can 「食べも飲みもしない」 be rewritten as 「食べなくも飲まなくもある」?

I'd like to see if I understand a couple grammar points correctly. I'd like to rewrite this sentence:  1. 食べも飲みもしない As either one of these:  2a. 食べなくも  飲まなくもある  2b. ...
user avatar
8 votes
5 answers
2k views

Does Japanese have any infixes?

In English, we have prefixes, like "pre-"; suffixes, like "-ize"; and arguably, expletives that function as infixes (one classic example is "abso-fucking-lutely"). In Japanese, we also have prefixes,...
senshin's user avatar
  • 5,645
6 votes
2 answers
771 views

Which verb receives a negation in a Japanese sentence?

I can say 歩いて渡る which translates to "to cross by walking". However, if I would like to say "I am not going to cross by walking, but by some other means", would I say 歩かないで渡る or 歩いて渡らない? There are ...
takwing's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Does Japanese have morphemes that span two kanji?

I read once (in this comment by Victor Mair on Language Log) that Chinese has single morphemes that span two hanzi. The example given was the Chinese word pútáo 葡萄. At the time, I assumed it applied ...
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