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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 is the difference in the usage of [成]{な}るべく and できるだけ?

Hi guys what is the difference in the usage of 成るべく and できるだけ? Don't they both mean as [x] as possible? E.g.: 1) できるだけ多くの本を読みなさい vs なるべく多くの本を読みなさい 2) できるだけ早くお願いします vs なるべく早くお願いします
Pacerier's user avatar
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17 votes
2 answers
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How would I know whether a word existed and was commonly used N years ago?

Suppose I'm writing a novel that takes place N years ago, say N = 80. Given the dramatic increase of loanwords in the past century, especially from English, what would be the best way (if there is any)...
Tommy's user avatar
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17 votes
1 answer
5k views

加える/増やす and 加わる/増える or even 増加する/殖/足, various kanji for "adding things"

I'm a bit confused regarding the choice between the 加 and 増 kanji for any meaning related to "adding one thing to another". I assume that, as usual, the suru-verb combination 増加する is somewhat more ...
jkerian's user avatar
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17 votes
3 answers
11k views

How can I differentiate between 「もう」 that means "already" and 「もう」 that means "more/additional"?

I noticed that 「もう」 can mean both "already" and "additional", such as the following sentence: もう二本飲みましたよ。 Can mean either one of: I already drank two glasses. I drank additional two glasses. How ...
Lukman's user avatar
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16 votes
2 answers
12k views

What's the difference between 触る and 触れる?

These two seem to overlap almost completely. The only thing I can really tell is that 触れる seems that it can also be used in a metaphorical sense ("touch on" something; feel; perceive). I'm ...
istrasci's user avatar
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15 votes
1 answer
5k views

What is the meaning/usage of いざ?

Will someone please explain what this word いざ means? I've found several definitions, but I'm very unclear on what it really means and its usage. I've heard it mostly in the following ways: ~(は・...
istrasci's user avatar
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15 votes
1 answer
8k views

ならば vs なら. both are totally interchangeable without affecting the nuance of the sentence?

is it true that なら is merely a short form of ならば and as such, both are totally interchangeable without affecting the nuance of the sentence? Also, a second question is is ならば more "formal" than "なら" ?...
Pacerier's user avatar
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15 votes
3 answers
858 views

When is it appropriate to refer to yourself by これ?

I have occasionally heard and read instances, where a person has referred to themselves as これ. My Japanese dictionary also lists "Me, I." as a definition of これ. Now, this obviously isn't used as ...
Miguel's user avatar
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15 votes
1 answer
6k views

what's the difference between 返事 and 答え?

both have the similar English of "answer," but when do you use one over the other?
user avatar
14 votes
3 answers
1k views

Fun with synonyms - "eternity"

What are the differences among the following two-kanji words that seem to mean "eternity": 永遠 {えいえん} 永久 {とわ} 永世 {えいせい} 永代 {えいたい} 永劫 {えいごう} 永永 {えいえい} 久遠 {きゅうえん} 悠久 {ゆうきゅう} 恒久 {こうきゅう} 恒常 {こうじょう} 長久 {...
Lukman's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
2k views

What does とな mean (and how do I use it)?

I came across this on Twitter, it seems to be mostly a question but sometimes an exclamation. Is it とは, or maybe とか? How do you use it? My dictionary has a とな as word that come at the end of a ...
nevan king's user avatar
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14 votes
1 answer
305 views

Did the Japanese have a concept of "Asia" apart from the Eurocentric definition?

Japan had contact with China, India and the Mongols, among others. Is there a term they used for Asia (in the sense of "land mass where China is" or such) before "アジア"?
omae's user avatar
  • 141
14 votes
1 answer
791 views

Difference between 創立、設立、樹立

Can anyone explain the difference between the words 創{そう}立{りつ}, 設{せつ}立{りつ} and 樹{じゅ}立{りつ}? They all basically mean "to set up / to found", and from what I've researched, it's all very 微{び}妙{みょう} to ...
istrasci's user avatar
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14 votes
3 answers
5k views

Does 韓国 mean "South Korea" or "Korea as a whole"?

When I type in 韓国 in Google, I find South Korea. But when I use Google Translate, I find just Korea. I recently read a Japanese news article where they refer 韓国 as South Korea (I think). So what is ...
2hTu2's user avatar
  • 419
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

What's the difference between 根気【こんき】, 我慢【がまん】, 辛抱【しんぼう】 and 忍耐【にんたい】

Recently i found these four words and have no idea what's the difference between them. They all mean "patience" and "endurance". Here are some sentences: 僕【ぼく】は、あいつには我慢【がまん】できない。 ...
Jan BARTOCHA's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
8k views

What is the difference between jibiki and jisho?

I see both of these words used to describe dictionary. Can someone tell me the difference between these two?
Samantha J's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
6k views

天気 vs. 天候, what's the real difference? [duplicate]

What's the real difference between 天気 and 天候? In at least one of my dictionaries, 天候 just redirects to 天気. I've always thought (read: "felt") that 天候 is the general "concept" of weather, or even ...
istrasci's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is it rude to refer to a person as 古い?

Objects, you can refer to as 古い with impunity. But I have never once heard a person referred to as 古い, so for a long time I thought the word just didn't apply to people. Still, searching 古い男 on Google ...
Angelos's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
6k views

The different meanings of "life"? 生気/生活/ライフ/生命/一生/人生/命

I was looking through a dictionary and came across 生活. My original question was Is this the difference between 生気/生活? 生気 would be like an idea of life. more abstract 生活 would be concrete. ...
User4516's user avatar
  • 199
13 votes
2 answers
3k views

Younger uncles and aunts

If you are older than your uncle or aunt, do you still address them as 叔母さん or 叔父さん? I see no reason why you wouldn't, but I recall once seeing a description saying that family titles are only used ...
Angelos's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
6k views

Difference between 自分 and 自分自身 and how to reflect their difference in English

Consider: 自分について書きたいことがあります。 = There are times that I want to write about myself (lit: things concerning me) 自分自身について書きたいことがあります。 What is their difference? I think the second sentence has more ...
yadokari's user avatar
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12 votes
4 answers
774 views

What do we call things that are neither kana nor kanji?

I was wondering Is there a Japanese name (or term) for written stuff that are neither kana nor kanji? By that, I mean stuff like: ゠ (ダブルハイフン, for indicating the dash in foreign words) ・ (ぽつ, for ...
Pacerier's user avatar
  • 12k
12 votes
2 answers
643 views

Counter intuitive meaning of お開き

Apparently 開き means "opening" but お開き means "closure", which seems very counter intuitive. What is going on here? Are there any other similar cases in Japanese language?
kuchitsu's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
439 views

What's the difference between [電光石火]{でんこうせっか} and [疾風迅雷]{しっぷうじんらい}

They both seem to mean "quick as lightning". What are the nuances between them? In what sort of context would they be used? Are they interchangeable? etc.
istrasci's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
2k views

The difference between 書店 and 本屋

What is the difference between: 書店 and 本屋 Are there any specific places where you can use one over the other? Or is it simply like the English Bookstore/Bookshop, and are perfectly interchangeable?
phirru's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
3k views

"看護師" vs. "看護士"

Good afternoon all, I was wondering is it true that "看護師" is a gender-neutral way of referring to a "nurse", Whereas "看護婦" implies that it is a girl, And "看護士" implies that it is a guy? Initially ...
Pacerier's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
671 views

Do people actually ever say みょうにち?

I've heard people using あした (the common one) and あす (rather uncommon) to refer to "tomorrow". I was wondering does anyone actually uses the reading みょうにち ?
Pacerier's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
9k views

What's the difference between 値段 and 価格

They're both "price", but I don't see the difference. Even the Kanji appear to suggest similar meanings. Thanks for any advice!
Gerhard's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
7k views

What is the difference between 語{かた}る and 話{はな}す?

What is the difference between 語{かた}る and 話{はな}す? I know that I can say #1, but it's correct to say #2? If it's ok, sentence 1 and 2 have the same meaning? 1.私{わたし}は日本語{にほんご}を話{はな}す。 2.私{わたし}は日本語{...
zdo's user avatar
  • 561
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the meaning of しも?

In a recent class, my Japanese teacher taught me the use of しも as something akin to a formal version of でも as in the following sentences: いつでも暇{ひま}じゃないんですよ。 いつしも暇{ひま}じゃないんですよ。 I was told the above ...
yushi's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why does 一体 mean "what the heck?"?

the definition for 一体【いったい】: Adverb : ...the heck (e.g. "what the heck?");  ...in the world (e.g. "why in the world?");  ...on earth (e.g. "who on earth?"); —Before an interrogative, forms ...
yadokari's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
3k views

Relation between 大学, 学校 and 大学校

These are the specifications, that I do already know: [学校]{がっこう} = school, including [小学校]{しょうがっこう}, [中学校]{ちゅうがっこう}, etc. [大学]{だいがく} = university (used frequently) [大学校]{だいがっこう} = university (not a ...
Matmarbon's user avatar
  • 255
10 votes
2 answers
7k views

The difference between 初めて, 最初に and 最初

初めて日本に行った時、友達のお母さんが伝統的な和式朝食を作ってくれました。 The first time I went to Japan, my friend's mother made me a traditional Japanese breakfast. If I wrote the opening of the sentence in the following manner, how ...
yadokari's user avatar
  • 10.4k
10 votes
1 answer
14k views

What is the name of the writing that appears on the screen when watching television?

When watching the news and other shows on television, I often see various written content displayed on the screen for brief periods of time, usually on the bottom, but sometimes on the right. I just ...
Jack Bosma's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
8k views

Is しまった an appropriate translation for "Oops"?

In the course of localising an app for the Japanese language I have been tasked with translating the Google-style error string "Oops", which will presumably be used as in Oops Please check your ...
ジョン's user avatar
  • 4,420
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

words for snail

I have seen かたつむり and でんでんむし and ででむし listed as "snail." What are the differences between these words?
cloveapple's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
617 views

Nuance between いっとき and いちじ as a pronunciation of 一時

I am writing a flashcards deck to memorize Minato-ku's list of 防災-related words. Excerpt: 一時集合場所 いっときしゅうごうばしょ Temporary meeting places 一時滞在施設 いちじたいざいしせつ   Temporary stay facilities As you see, ...
Nicolas Raoul's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

What's the difference between 変態 and 痴女 (or 痴漢)?

In the Dead Tube manga, a girl is being accused of being a 痴女【ちじょ】, at which she replies: 私変態だけど痴女じゃないもん!! What's the difference between the two words? Is 変態 just a pervert and 痴女 someone that ...
Marco's user avatar
  • 4,473
10 votes
4 answers
893 views

Describing aptronyms (names that fit their owner)

I thought of this after seeing a news article about 星出{ほしで}彰彦{あきひこ}, who is an astronaut. Aptronym is a term for a name (often the surname) that fits a person's occupation or personality. A classic ...
nkjt's user avatar
  • 5,772
10 votes
1 answer
953 views

What is the meaning of 国の母?

I'm attempting to translate parts of my 完全マスター N2 textbook just for the practice, and even though I've already gotten past this section, the meaning of [国]{くに}の[母]{はは} still eludes me. I don't like ...
Pleiades's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
4k views

What is the difference between 特殊 and 特別?

I've got two questions. Firstly, what is the difference between 特殊{とくしゅ} and 特別{とくべつ}? Secondly, is it true that all these grammar forms are correct: 特殊{とくしゅ}な + [noun] 特別{とくべつ}な + [noun] 特殊{とくしゅ}の +...
Pacerier's user avatar
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10 votes
4 answers
10k views

What is the difference between お手洗い and トイレ

Is one more polite than the other? Is there some situations where you'd use one or the other? Would different people prefer one?
Helephant's user avatar
  • 255
10 votes
3 answers
471 views

Strange phrase? 「お切らせ願います。」

I was translating a song (full lyrics: http://vocaloidlyrics.wikia.com/wiki/反芻の印象_(Hansuu_no_Inshou) ) and found this phrase which I am very confused about: 「お切らせ願います。」 "Please make (let) it cut" is ...
Smoothie's user avatar
  • 599
10 votes
1 answer
757 views

What are the nuances between [死亡]{し・ぼう} and [死去]{し・きょ}?

Will someone explain the finer points between these two words? With the tragic death of Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington last week, almost every Japanese tweet I saw used 死去. Until then, I'd ...
istrasci's user avatar
  • 44.3k
9 votes
2 answers
767 views

Terms for Japanese/Western name order

Does anybody know of a standard term to describe Japanese and Western name orders (for example, when filling a form): John Somelastname ← "Western name order" Somelastname John ← "...
Dave's user avatar
  • 9,079
9 votes
1 answer
26k views

How to define 羨ましい?

羨【うらや】ましい! You're so lucky!/ I envy you!/ I'm jealous of you! As I learned it, 羨ましい as an exclamation does not carry much of a negative context, so perhaps a combination of these three ...
yadokari's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
2k views

What would be the closest native Japanese word to エラー in the context of IT?

Is there a Japanese word alternative to エラー that can be used in the context of IT? If not, what would be the closest? 間違い、誤り、過ち... would any of this work or what would be the most suitable in this ...
Tommy's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
528 views

Oceans ー Thick or Big?

Straightforward question. The Pacific Ocean is 太平洋【たい・へい・よう】 and the Atlantic Ocean is 大西洋【たい・せい・よう】. What was the reasoning in using a different character for the たい in each? And why 太 for Pacific ...
istrasci's user avatar
  • 44.3k
9 votes
1 answer
539 views

Can "響く" have the meaning of "to come (home); to remain (with someone)"?

I looked up 響{ひび}く on jisho.org, where I found the meaning "to come (home); to remain (with someone)" under definition 3. I was curious and checked a few monolingual online dictionaries, but none of ...
Kaskade's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
304 views

What is a grammatical terminology to describe the group of the refrain of two syllable words like pera-pera, don-don, iki-iki?

Japanese language have a special group of words which repeat mostly two syllable word like pera pera, para para, jito jito, suku suku, aka aka, zuki zuki – you can name it, that are used adverbially. ...
Yoichi Oishi's user avatar
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