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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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What does the word あるほうで mean? 「かわいげがあるほうで」

It is bold in the below sentence. まあ そんなのはまだまだかわいげがあるほうでよ
George's user avatar
  • 4,267
0 votes
2 answers
174 views

What does this ため say here?

かたい帯を上手に結ぶことができない若い女性が多いため、柔らかい帯を去年より30%増やしたと言っています。 From http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/k10010984931000/k10010984931000.html I would translate it as follows (without ため): They say that there ...
Narktor's user avatar
  • 4,847
25 votes
3 answers
3k views

How are 化け物, 妖怪, 幽霊, etc. related to each other?

In the past few years, reading light novels and the like, I have come across many different terms for ghosts, spirits, monsters, etc. in Japanese, and I'm wondering how they relate to each other. What ...
rintaun's user avatar
  • 7,639
24 votes
1 answer
5k views

Is there a difference between さみしい and さびしい?

Both mean "lonely" and appear to be valid readings for 寂しい. Is there a difference in nuance? Is this difference due to dialect?
pinguish's user avatar
  • 241
23 votes
2 answers
43k views

Words/characters for fast food meal sizes: 並, 大, 特

When dining at Yoshinoya I never know how to ask for the size meal I want. Their sizes are 並, 大, and 特. I only know that "大" means big, but it also has two readings so I have no idea whether to ask ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 15.4k
22 votes
5 answers
4k views

In modern usage how do Japanese natives regard the differences between 外人, 外国人 and 外人さん?

As a near native speaker of Japanese, I find it annoying to be called 外人 since it seems to imply that I "know nothing about Japan" (outsider). I much prefer 外国人. In modern usage, how do native ...
crunchyt's user avatar
  • 4,415
21 votes
4 answers
130k views

How many Kanji characters are there?

I have been searching around, but all the sources give completely different answers ranging from 2,000 to 50,000. So my question is how many Kanji characters that have ever existed since the dawn of ...
Van Nguyen's user avatar
20 votes
1 answer
7k views

What's the difference between 思う and 考える?

These two words both seem to mean "to think", but is there any difference between them? Is it related to the difference between 言う and 話す by any chance?
小太郎's user avatar
  • 4,432
20 votes
1 answer
6k views

How is the 〒 postal code symbol pronounced?

I know the symbol is placed in front of the postal code. How is it pronounced?
Jack Bosma's user avatar
  • 6,767
19 votes
3 answers
2k views

How do Japanese understand "non-standard" words without looking at kanji?

This question seems so "obvious" that there might be a duplicate but could not find any. Anyway, while I try to think how to better rephrase the title, let me explain briefly what I mean. I'll give ...
Tommy's user avatar
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19 votes
2 answers
7k views

For body: 身体 or 体

体{からだ} and 身体{からだ} (or even 躰{からだ}) seem to be used interchangeably, is there a nuance difference between them?
paullb's user avatar
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19 votes
2 answers
11k views

Which is the "official" kanji for さい, 歳 or 才?

Well if I'm not wrong, usually when a word has multiple kanjis one of them is selected as the "main" or more commonly used one. But is it true that 才 and 歳 are both the "main" kanji for さい?
Pacerier's user avatar
  • 12k
18 votes
2 answers
4k views

Are the days of the week named after the planets?

I was studying the names of the planets and noticed some similarities. Are the days of the week named after the planets?
Jack Bosma's user avatar
  • 6,767
17 votes
7 answers
9k views

Are there any Japanese words as versatile as "fuck" in English?

I was wondering about this one recently. "Fuck" in English is famous for being applicable in a wide, wide range of circumstances (none of them formal). What word in Japanese covers a wide spectrum of ...
17 votes
3 answers
4k views

What's the difference between 成人 and 大人?

What's the difference between 成人 and 大人 ?
Pacerier's user avatar
  • 12k
17 votes
3 answers
17k views

How do you ask for "the bill" at a restaurant?

This is probably a bit of a silly question, but what do you say in Japanese when you're asking for the bill in a restaurant? Or is it unusual to say anything at all? When I was in Japan I could never ...
Kafka Fuura's user avatar
  • 1,660
17 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why is 島 used in the name of some cities?

I can understand "島" being used in 硫黄島 (Iwo Jima/Iwo To, literally "Sulphur island"), because it is an island, but why is it used in 福島市 (Fukushima city, literally "Good fortune island") and 広島市 (...
Golden Cuy's user avatar
  • 16.2k
16 votes
2 answers
2k views

"Should" in Japanese

The word "should" in English has these uses when not used as a question: To express the expectation of the speaker (Probabilistic reasoning). The train should arrive in 10 minutes. To express a ...
Flaw's user avatar
  • 20k
14 votes
3 answers
14k views

How to tell よく (often) apart from よく (good)?

Whenever I see 「よく」, I have to ask someone whether it means "often" or "good". For example, here is a sentence from my book: クラスへ行って、先生の講義をよく聞いて、ノートをよく取り、それをよく覚えれば、試験でいい点がもらえる。 I thought all ...
BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft's user avatar
14 votes
3 answers
3k views

Are there differences in nuance and usage of [内]{ない}[緒]{しょ}, [秘]{ひ}[密]{みつ}, [隠]{かく}し[事]{ごと} and [秘]{ひ}め[事]{ごと}?

They all carry the meaning of "secret" in English, but are there differences in nuance and usage of each of them: [内]{ない}[緒]{しょ} [秘]{ひ}[密]{みつ} [隠]{かく}し[事]{ごと} [秘]{ひ}め[事]{ごと} Incidentally, ...
Lukman's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
11k views

Polite Way to Ask "How old are you?" : 何歳 , いくつ ,年齢 , ご年

I think the sentences: 何歳ですか? いくつですか? 年齢は? お年は? are all sentences that ask "How old are you?" How are they different? What form is most polite?
ZarNge's user avatar
  • 532
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

What does アタマ mean in reference to food/portion sizes?

I came across this at a Yoshinoya and I've never seen this before on a menu. I can't figure out what this is supposed to mean; all I can infer from the pricing is that maybe it's a size in between 並 ...
Reveiller's user avatar
  • 809
12 votes
1 answer
2k views

What does かの日 mean?

In my Japanese Bible, I've seen several passages that use the phrase かの日. Here are a couple. ある人たちの習慣に倣【なら】って集会を怠【なまけ】ったりせず、むしろ励【はげ】まし合いましょう。かの日が近づいているのをあなたがたは知っているのですから、ますます励【はげ】まし合おうではありませんか。 ...
istrasci's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
11k views

way to use さっぱり (sappari) and すっかり (sukkari)

Maybe it's just me, but I keep mixing up As in すっかり忘れてた I've completely forgot and さっぱりわからない I haven't the faintest idea / I really don't know are there other expressions to use them?
Uberto's user avatar
  • 807
12 votes
1 answer
825 views

人:difference between ひと and -うと

There are two readings of 人, as in these two examples: 恋人【こいびと】 and 素人【しろうと】 Why is 素人 (among others) the way it is and not しろひと or しろびと? Furthermore, 狩人 is かりゅうど. Why is the final mora voiced here?
HAL's user avatar
  • 2,412
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

What's the difference between 心, 念, and 意?

I can say that after much research on this, I'm more thoroughly confused than before I started. I'm talking mostly about when they are used as suffixes, but the concept applies when they stand alone, ...
istrasci's user avatar
  • 44.3k
12 votes
3 answers
6k views

The difference between 辞書 and 字引

My dictionary lists both 辞書{じしょ} and 字引{じびき} as simply, "Dictionary." On tatoeba.org I can only find example sentences of 字引 where it is used in the phrase: 生き字引 = A walking dictionary Example: ...
coyote's user avatar
  • 537
11 votes
2 answers
1k views

Cardinal and intermediate directions

The four cardinal directions are the directions north, east, south, and west. The intermediate directions are northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest. In English it would be incorrect to say ...
Enguroo's user avatar
  • 2,275
11 votes
1 answer
7k views

Describing my exact height

How do I describe my height in centimetres? I think you can say "私は背が高いです" to say that you're tall, but how about your exact height? Would "私は背が190cmです" sound like broken Japanese? I came across ...
Golden Cuy's user avatar
  • 16.2k
11 votes
4 answers
1k views

What determines whether a word gets a kanji compound or katakana?

I read electronics/computing articles, and I find an incredible amount of terms are written either in kanji (almost similar to Chinese) or katakana. There are times when it's confusing as to know why. ...
Chris's user avatar
  • 6,553
10 votes
3 answers
1k views

When is 酒【さけ】used to mean 日本酒【にほんしゅ】?

The fermented rice alcohol called "sake" in English is usually referred to as 日本酒【にほんしゅ】 in Japanese, while 酒【さけ】 merely means "alcohol" in general. Yet, all dictionaries list both "alcohol" and "...
Dave's user avatar
  • 9,079
9 votes
1 answer
423 views

どれ as an attribute

I found this sentence and I wonder whether I understand it correctly: どれ腹の傷をおみせ、薬草をぬってあげよう。 The どれ there looks to me like “whichever” or “all”, so I’d get the sentence as “Let me look at all the ...
Glutexo's user avatar
  • 1,087
9 votes
3 answers
12k views

What is "koto" used for? [duplicate]

I know "koto" means thing, but I've seen it used like this in my Self-Study Japanese book: Nihon no koto ga yoku wakarimasu ka. and Chiimu no koto o kangaete imashita. Does this mean Japan's thing ...
Kyzen's user avatar
  • 337
9 votes
1 answer
362 views

The order after 男女比

Here is a short text I've encountered in a manga I'm reading: The main character talks about his school where 男女比 (the sex ratio) is 9 to 1. At first I thought it means that it has 9 times more boys ...
kuchitsu's user avatar
  • 2,715
8 votes
2 answers
24k views

"Hey Bro!" how to call out friends

There is a variety of words such as ”友” ”相棒” ”仲間”, etc. to describe a person as a friend or partner. Is there a casual way to call out your friend in Japanese, instead of having to call his/her name ...
Wasu M.'s user avatar
  • 163
8 votes
1 answer
5k views

から ending a sentence

I've seen this in a few texts now and since it's appeared with some frequency I thought to post the question here. I tried searching online but came up with no real conclusions. ありませんから or plain form ...
フレヂィ's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
8k views

Can I help you?

In English, the word "help" can be used for any of these cases to ask somebody for help or to give a help to someone: In a store, when a clerk (store worker) says: Can I help you, sir? With ...
daniel tomio's user avatar
  • 2,233
8 votes
1 answer
466 views

What does 八 have to do with [八つ当たり]【やつあたり】?

For the longest time, I had never seen yatsuatari written down. I always figured it was written 奴当たり, which I figured would have been derived from 「あの奴に当たる」 or something. Imagine my surprise when I ...
senshin's user avatar
  • 5,645
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Questions about ありたい

心がいつも美しくありたいです I want my heart to always be beautiful. 心がいつも美しくして欲しいです (Incorrect) 心がいつも美しくなりたいです I want my heart to always be beautiful.(?) My Japanese friend wrote the first ...
yadokari's user avatar
  • 10.4k
8 votes
1 answer
31k views

Japanese Dog Training Commands

My fiance and I will be moving to Japan sometime next year and are trying to prepare our dog for the experience by teaching her Japanese commands so she can be easily handled by kennels/vets/groomers/...
thanby's user avatar
  • 183
8 votes
2 answers
250 views

Dismissing an expectation

What can be said when I need to dismiss an expectation? Here are some examples of what I mean by "expectation": I ask someone what time it is, then I remembered that I'm actually wearing a watch. ...
Flaw's user avatar
  • 20k
8 votes
1 answer
350 views

かかったためしない - how can this be translated?

I encountered the following sentence in a comic book which I could not make sense of. The comic strip depicts a character using a simple bird trap and saying: 「長年やってるけどかかったためしないなあ」 The first part, ...
undercat's user avatar
  • 391
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

What are the general patterns of child-directed speech in Japanese?

In English, parents usually talk to their kids differently from how they usually talk. The words they use when doing so usually ends in -y. For example, "kitten" becomes "kitty", "I" usually turns ...
Sweeper's user avatar
  • 2,932
7 votes
2 answers
432 views

Implications/usage of "訳あり"

I am reading a work of fiction by a Japanese novelist and I found an interesting phrase that I'm unfamiliar with, "訳あり" In the story B launches a surprise raid on A's property. They talk a little bit ...
Sulrein's user avatar
  • 71
7 votes
1 answer
700 views

The difference between するには and する為には

The one answer I have really found says there is no semantic difference. Is there a formality difference? Is する為には more formal than するには?
Angelos's user avatar
  • 11.7k
7 votes
4 answers
1k views

という used right before comma: What does this mean, and how is it grammatically possible?

Finding questions about the meaning of という isn't too hard, but the answers tend to revolve around its usage before a word particle or something, such as in ということ. However there's a sentence in a ...
Panzercrisis's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
4k views

If 'little girl' is 「少女」, then why is 'little boy' 「少年」?

Question 少女 means little girl because 少 means little/small and 女 means lady/female. It makes sense here. However it does not make sense when I read 少年 because 年 means year. Is there any reason why 年 ...
Keale's user avatar
  • 281
7 votes
2 answers
5k views

Repetitive words (e.g. どんどん, ぺらぺら, いらいら...)

This is one area that sometimes dings me on tests. While I can generally figure out what is meant from context, I only know a handful offhand. The question here is twofold: Is there a specific name ...
Kaji's user avatar
  • 5,250
6 votes
1 answer
832 views

Understanding "よりを戻す" and "止めておこう"

I don't think us getting together tonight is such a good idea. やっぱり今夜、よりを戻すのは止めておこう。 I would like to understand this sentence better, specifically the (idiomatic?) expression, "よりを戻す." I ...
yadokari's user avatar
  • 10.4k
6 votes
1 answer
510 views

Meaning of 真逆, how it is different from 逆

[真]{ま}[逆]{ぎゃく} (not [真]{ま}[逆]{さか}, which is an interjection standardly used) is another 若者言葉, or an expression that is used mainly by young generation (with low education level) that makes me feel ...
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