Questions tagged [words]

言葉. Any question that does not deal specifically with grammar or pronunciation. Includes questions about prefixes, suffixes, compound words, loanwords, dialectal differences, pragmatic usage, etc. In other words, phenomena that occurs at the level of the word.

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Meaning and transitivity of ゴミ袋を手に立ち上がる

While doing some translating, I stumbled upon this usage of 立ち上がる。 わたしがゴミ袋を手に立ち上がると、イツカ君とお姉ちゃんは二人一緒にわたしの所へやって来ました。 It doesn't match up with the definitions I'm familiar with, nor any of the other ...
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15 votes
1 answer
2k views

what exactly is "体言止{たいげんど}め"?

There is some discussion about "体言止め{たいげんどめ}" on the internet, but it is all in Japanese. My Japanese ability is too low to be able to read it, so I need some help. At the least, "体言止め" refers to ...
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  • 2,242
15 votes
3 answers
9k views

Why are the names of plants and animals often written in katakana?

I was wondering why fruits, vegetables, animals and plants, are written in katakana? Often, there exist kanjis for those, so why aren't they written with those kanjis instead? For example: カマキリ ...
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13 votes
1 answer
6k views

How is the "のです" working here?

目立つ事を恐れ、一緒でなければいけないという日本人が確実に減ってきているのです。 The strong feelings that Japanese have of being afraid of standing out and everybody having to do things together are starting to become less prominent. To ...
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6 votes
1 answer
692 views

おる in honorific contexts

Usually, we're told that おる is a humble verb, and that mostly holds true. But sometimes I see it conjugated to a light honorific form おられる, usually when talking about someone to whom respect must be ...
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  • 9,150
15 votes
1 answer
1k views

Use of する to describe one's colour

From Japanesepod101: 象は灰色をしている。 The elephant is gray. The meaning of the sentence is not in doubt but I've been trying to figure how する is being used here. Checking a dictionary, definition 2エ might ...
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  • 1,136
12 votes
2 answers
772 views

what is the name of the abbreviated writing style used in newspapers?

To make articles as short as possible in newspapers, certain conventions are used. One such convention is that when a sentence ends with サ変名詞{へんめいし}、「をする」is omitted. Another is that the full names of ...
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  • 2,242
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

What does the word 「ぶったてる」mean?

What does the word 「ぶったてる」mean? このドヤがいの西{にし}のはずれにりっぱな総{そう}合{ごう}病{びょう}院{いん}をぶったてること!
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1 vote
1 answer
764 views

What does 持った mean?

If context is needed, please consult this previous question. So, there's a bunch of verbs related to "持っ" but how can any of them evolve to 持った?
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  • 287
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Fun with synonyms - "to grab/catch/capture"

Here's a question for you experts. I've actually asked this to my Japanese friends, but I want to see how you guys answer too. Explain the differences in the following verbs and which one(s) appear ...
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6 votes
1 answer
232 views

What is the meaning of "超か" in this news headline?

I saw this in a news article saying that Toshiba had losses of \1T: 東芝、赤字1兆円超か http://www.asahi.com/articles/DA3S12867082.html What is the purpose of adding か at the end?
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45 votes
4 answers
58k views

What do the shapes △ ◯ ╳ ◻ mean in Japanese? And are there variations in meaning, depending on whether or not the shape is filled?

I am interested in Japanese culture and the symbolism used in Japan, specifically I'd like to know what the △ triangle, ◯ circle, ╳ cross and ◻ square mean to a Japanese person. How are those shapes ...
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11 votes
3 answers
3k views

How to negate "べき"? (ie. "should not")

「食{た}べる」 can be negated as 「食べない」. 「美{うつく}しい」 can be negated as 「美しくない」. etc. etc. Can you negate 「べき」as in: 「明日は受験なので、勉強するべきです。」(Since you are taking a test tomorrow, you should study.) 「明日は受験なので、...
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  • 2,870
8 votes
1 answer
3k views

What are the differences between 女子{じょし}, 娘子{じょうし} and 女{おんな}の子{こ}?

Apparently there are many ways to say "girl / young woman" in Japanese. I've learned the differences between 女の子, 少女 and 乙女 from other question in this SE, where 女の子 seems to be the most common way ...
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  • 1,433
13 votes
1 answer
837 views

How do 自他 triplets of related verbs work?

I thought this had been asked before (possibly by me), but I couldn't find it. I'm wondering why for certain verbs/words, instead of just a 自他 pair, there is a triplet (or possibly more) where two of ...
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7 votes
2 answers
976 views

Use of かける (N5 question)

An N5 vocabulary question I'm having trouble understanding: わたしの となりの (   ) を かけた ひとは すずきさんです。 1 くつ   2 かぎ   3 めがね   4 でんわ The answer is 3: わたしの となりの ( めがね ) を かけた ひとは すずきさんです。 Which I ...
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14 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is there a difference between 赤{あか} and 赤色{あかいろ}?

While studying Japanese I've met some problems with distinguishing some vocabulary. For example we have: 赤{あか} = Red (color) 赤{あか}い = Red (adjective) But what about 赤色{あかいろ}? Is there a ...
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  • 3,039
6 votes
3 answers
681 views

does anyone know of any o-words or go-words which are absolutely neutral?

Does anyone know of any o-words or go-words which are absolutely neutral (have no nuances of being polite / courteous / respectful / womanly / cute etc etc)? The only ones I'm aware of currently is ...
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2 votes
1 answer
605 views

What is the term for two kanjis, that when written in the reverse order, have the same meaning?

What is the term for two kanjis, that when written in the reverse order, have the same meaning? For example, "northeast". I have seen this situation occasionally.
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  • 6,537
41 votes
3 answers
5k views

How indistinguishable is blue from green really?

青 ao seems to be used very much interchangeably for both blue and green. Why is that so, and how does 緑 midori play into this?
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  • 5,605
18 votes
4 answers
6k views

What is the *proper* differentiation between 来る and 行く?

In many beginning Japanese classes, 来る【くる】 and 行く【いく】 are presented as "to come" and "to go," respectively. Dictionaries generally also define them this way. However, every once in a while in more ...
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  • 7,389
28 votes
4 answers
5k views

Are there words so bad that they aren't allowed on television?

Warning: We're all adults here, but just in case, this question may contain words, in both Japanese and English, that some may not like to read. A long time ago, when I was working with a translator, ...
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16 votes
7 answers
6k views

Are there words which consist of katakana and hiragana letters together?

Obviously many Japanese words consist of kanji characters plus hiragana since the latter are used for okurigana: 食べる 水割り 鷹の爪 Recently I'v started to discover a few words that use kanji characters ...
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  • 14.8k
9 votes
1 answer
4k views

Correct use of かけて

I'm confused by the use of かける in the sentence : 雑誌の占いコーナーを読んでいたら、「日本人は占いが好きです」と、外国人の友達が話しかけてきた。 I thought かける was used to express an activity on going, which gets interrupted by something else. eg ...
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  • 1,446
16 votes
3 answers
2k views

Historical differences between colors that are i-adjectives and those that are simply nouns

EDIT: Started a bounty with hope of getting more definitive and elaborate answers, e.g. timeline of when color names started being used in Japan. In Japanese language, there are colors that are i-...
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5 votes
4 answers
2k views

「横断する」と「横切る」の違い

Could you explain the difference between 通りを横断する and 道路を横切る?
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  • 403
3 votes
1 answer
364 views

Is there any difference in meaning between 「抜け切る」 and 「抜ける」?

Actually, I cannot find the definition of 抜け切る in general sources but some of them suggest the word 抜ける instead. Here is the sentence where I came across the word in a manga. そいでもって くりかえすけどな... ...
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8 votes
2 answers
663 views

Is the grammar of 心の冷たい人 idiomatic?

The phrase 心の冷たい人 (which is given by Japanese-English dictionary on OS X) looks wrong to me, but given that it's an example in a respected dictionary and confirmed by tens of thousands of Google hits, ...
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  • 2,074
2 votes
1 answer
464 views

Confirmation regarding Japanese colors i-adjective

I want to ask confirmation regarding Japanese colors. I understand that there are NOUN, and I-adj version of some colors. Such as 赤&赤い, 青&青い, etc. But this part below is something I cannot confirm. ...
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  • 1,816
8 votes
1 answer
748 views

Words with metathesis

What common Japanese words underwent metathesis (transposition of sounds)? Examples. 新{あたら}しい < あらたしい 秋葉原 {あきはばら} < あきばはら
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19 votes
1 answer
5k views

Difference between the words for "feeling"

I have seen and been taught many words meaning "feeling", but what is the difference between the words, and where are they used? I have done a bit of research myself and have come up with these ...
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47 votes
1 answer
20k views

What is the difference between いえ and うち?

I am trying to understand the difference between using いえ and うち. I originally drew the conclusion that うち is used for your own house and いえ for others' houses, but my Japanese teacher said that this ...
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36 votes
2 answers
24k views

Why does 今度【こんど】 mean "next time"?

The word 今度【こんど】, though its literal meaning is "this time" is in my experience used pretty heavily to refer to tbe next time or some unspecified point in the future. For example: 今度【こんど】こそ一緒【いっしょ】...
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  • 7,389
15 votes
1 answer
3k views

Terms for Royalty

Why are there so many terms for royalty? And I'm talking about generic words like "king", "queen", etc. I seem to remember from my studies that certain terminology was used specifically for Japanese ...
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16 votes
1 answer
2k views

Nuances of "give" - あげる/与える/授ける

Can someone give some good context and scenarios for using these? Not only when to use them, but when NOT to use them as well. I know あげる is kind of the most common, but I'm just not sure of the ...
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  • 42.4k
22 votes
1 answer
12k views

Getting your haircut in Japan

I have been living in Japan now for the last 3 months and my hair is starting to look like it needs a cut. But I have never been to a Japanese barbers before so as you can imagine I am a little ...
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  • 745
10 votes
1 answer
803 views

Regarding は数あれど (or possibly just あれど )

The following sentence is from a newspaper article メレンゲ菓子は数あれど、これほど繊細なものは珍しい。 あれど = あるけど makes sense to me in the context, and this seems to be supported by my searches so far - is it simply a ...
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  • 5,686
9 votes
2 answers
862 views

Origin/etymology of こころ~ words

There are three unique words that begin with こころ~: 快い (こころよい)、 試みる (こころみる)、 志 (こころざし) What is the origin of these words in relation to "heart/spirit/mind", if any??? Or is this just something ...
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  • 42.4k
14 votes
2 answers
783 views

Different conventions for animal meat

After reading this awesome question, I got to thinking about different animal meat. Upon researching a little, there seems to be different conventions in referring to different meats. Using 訓読み (...
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12 votes
3 answers
1k views

Difference between 愛する and 愛す

How do these two verbs differ?
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  • 727
6 votes
2 answers
4k views

Meaning of 「これはこれで」, and the difference between it and 「それはそれとして」

I came across the following lines. ・・・俺としては、下駄箱の中に手紙が入っているみたいなほうが好みだった。でもこれはこれで、少なくとも相手が積極的だってことはわかる。 I am wondering about the meaning of 「これはこれで」 here. As one might expect, it does not have any ...
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  • 1,861
28 votes
2 answers
2k views

How is the wind related to illness?

I've seen the kanji 風 appear in several different illnesses: [風邪]{«かぜ»} (a cold), [中風]{ちゅう・ふう} (paralysis), and [痛風]{つう・ふう} (gout). Conceivably there may be others, but I haven't seen them. What ...
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  • 42.4k
13 votes
1 answer
385 views

Using くれる for doing something bad

Today I heard the phrase なんてことしてくれた, as in: 君!なんてことしてくれたんだ! which I learned means "Look what you've done". I thought くれる was only used when someone does something nice for you. Is this just a ...
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  • 6,958
3 votes
1 answer
225 views

分 in 今回は単行本第三巻予定分から

I'm trying to translate somebody's tweet, and I'm just blocking on this one bit. I understand every part ("単行本", "第三巻", "予定", "から"), except the "分", of course. I know what the kanji "分" means ...
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  • 477
2 votes
2 answers
21k views

How do say "close to" re: location?

How would you say "A is close to B" ? As in, "A and B are nearby each other". Would you use 近く here? If so, how?
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  • 21
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

~まくる as a suffix, what does it mean and how is it used?

I found this phrase 「家族に突っ込まれまくった」 and I believe it means "[my] family really stuck it [to me]" but I'm not familiar with the suffix まくる. Any examples and clarifications would be appreciated.
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  • 4,297
1 vote
2 answers
17k views

How do I say "cat"? And do I use kanji, hiragana, katakana or rōmaji?

猫, ねこ, ネコ, neko Which of these means "cat"? Is it all of them? Which situation do I use each of these in?
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  • 103
11 votes
2 answers
722 views

Rare/Obsolete verb forms

I have noticed that some verbs have this "rare" or old form that is no longer used much (if at all). Here are some examples. おそる: おそるべき者 → One who is feared ほむ: ほむべきお方【かた】 → Seen often in my ...
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  • 42.4k
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can a two Kanji character word ever have the same meaning if written in reverse order?

I am asking this question because it might be possible for two Kanji characters, if written in reverse order, could have the same meaning. Thank you very much.
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  • 6,537
2 votes
1 answer
315 views

汗をかくvs 発汗する - is there a difference?

Is there any difference between 汗をかく and 発汗する? Are there any subtle nuances between the two or is one more common than the other? I've checked WWWJDIC and I can't find any way to distinguish between ...
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