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13
votes
1answer
726 views

How has Japanese kanji and kana usage changed since 1945?

How has the percentage of writing using each script changed since 1945? With script reform, increasing influx of loanwords, and stylistic choices, several factors affect how much certain parts of the ...
12
votes
0answers
901 views

Iterative / repetitive る evolving from classical 連体形【れんたいけい】

This is somewhat related to the discussion of classical auxiliary verb ふ, mentioned in the answer to snailboat's question, What is the わ in 忌まわしい and 嘆かわしい?. Another apparent iterative / repetitive ...
11
votes
1answer
328 views

Are there more terms similar to 上京 or 来阪 for going to Japanese cities?

I've seen that 上京する "going to Tokyo", 来阪する "going to Osaka" are used to refer to visiting these cities. What other terms are in use for visiting other cities? Which of them are commonly understood?
9
votes
1answer
638 views

The meaning of 吸口 in this context

The situation (story from Edo period, but in contemporary Japanese, at most stylised on old language): three thieves A, B, and C working in a group. Pickpocket A is caught in a crowd, B disappears ...
8
votes
2answers
232 views

Looking to understand a fantasy name

This is related to Beyblade, regarding a team exclusive to a game that didn't get translated to English. Each blader has their own holy beast to command and I'm not getting the name of one of them. ...
7
votes
1answer
171 views

ものを and conditional

I read the following sentence while learning about ~ものを: すぐに病院へ行けばいいものを、行かないで悪化させてしまった。 Which I would translate into (probably not perfectly natural English, but something like that): Though it ...
7
votes
0answers
141 views

Why are 湖 and 山 in geographical names typically read in On-reading but 川 in Kun-reading?

This question is based on my somewhat limited understanding and observation of places I have been to so I may be falling victim to a bad sample size. If that is the case, please alert me. In the ...
7
votes
1answer
376 views

A name for common words that use uncommon kanji?

I didn't see a duplicate for this in the similar questions, so here goes. Is there either a list of words like this, or a name for this type of word (made of two very rare/complex kanji, but the word ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Meaning of, Transitive verb in “te form” + iru vs Intransitive verb in “te form” + iru

When I learnt Japanese I was taught that a transitive verb in its "te form" followed by the verb "iru" represents a continuous action. However, this is not the case with intransitive verbs which ...
6
votes
0answers
145 views

Difference between 「~てからでないと」and 「~ないことには」

Both of these grammar can be translated to English as A~てからでないと/~ないことにはB = Unless A is done, cannot do B From what I can find, ~てからでないと stresses the order or sequence of actions, that until A is ...
6
votes
0answers
105 views

五段動詞特異的なイ音便について

Are there any explanations for the 五段動詞-specific イ音便 of 連用形+た/て that aren't based/dependent on the 子音語幹/母音語幹 explanation for the differences in 五段動詞/上一段動詞 conjugations? For example, take 開く and 飽きる, ...
6
votes
1answer
179 views

Specific use of してまで

Recently I've been reading Michael Emmerich's "New Penguin Parallel Text" for Japanese short stories. In Yoshimoto Banana's "A Little Darkness," there's a passage that describes how the narrator's ...
6
votes
0answers
154 views

When is である/な Needed for Certain Words?

While studying grammar I noticed that some words require using である/な when used with a noun/な-adjective respectively. I wanted to see if there was a pattern between which words required them and which ...
6
votes
1answer
198 views

Are both of these correct sentences: 「ここに住所を書いてくださいますか?」「ここに住所を書いてくださいませんか?」?

I believe 「ここに住所を書いてくださいますか?」 means “Could you please write the address here?” And 「ここに住所を書いてくださいませんか?」 means “Would you please write the address here?” An exercise I’m doing shows the second ...
6
votes
1answer
127 views

What is the origin of っこない?

There's a construction V+っこない which means something like "have no way of doing V". お前には分かりっこないでしょう。 There's no way you would understand. Is it known what this construction originates from? I ...
6
votes
1answer
678 views

Casual Speech Particles in Classical Japanese

I'm writing a simple Japanese skit for my class and there is a place where an ancient samurai needs to speak a few sentences of Classical Japanese. I can mostly make the sentences, but it seems weird ...
5
votes
1answer
128 views

Help understanding だからこそ、という場合もある

I'm struggling to understand the sentence in the exchange below. To explain the context, these characters have been shipwrecked and landed on an unknown island. They find that several of their ...
5
votes
0answers
130 views

How can I differentiate if a word is (either fully or preferentially) used for spoken or written language?

Sorry if this has been answered before, but I couldn't find it. I understand that when the on'yomi reading is used, this is associated with words with a more "literary" feeling or with written usage. ...
5
votes
2answers
193 views

Translation of 〜さえ〜ば (“if only ~ then” or “as long as ~ then”)

The term 〜さえ〜ば is often translated as "if only ~ then". I am not a native Japanese speaker, but several example sentences I see make me think it can be translated more like "as long as ~ then". ...
5
votes
1answer
195 views

How to handle が and によって in this sort of sentence?

I'll be taking a written test in a few weeks to become a part-time translator for an automotive client; they sent me some practice documents in the meantime. I am having issues at the moment, since ...
5
votes
1answer
303 views

Is it grammatically correct to use もし and/or 〜ば form along with the 〜たい form to convey desire in a conditional clause?

My impression when using conditionals, most of the time, you lose the ability to express desire. For example, when conjugating to -たら、you have to use the past tense of the verb. Is it grammatically ...
5
votes
1answer
300 views

“~Ni” or “~De”?

Should I use (に or で) for the following lines? Since they are time periods, I thought に would be correct, according to Times The particle ni is usually used with times: Go-ji ni ...
5
votes
1answer
172 views

Is it ungrammatical to say Nがなく instead of Nなく when it means “without N”?

The phrase Nなく means "without N" and is used to modify verbs, as in: 彼は私を躊躇なく殴った。 He hit me without hesitation. In sentences like this, is it ungrammatical or unnatural to say Nがなく instead of ...
5
votes
1answer
178 views

The uses of である

I understand that である is most commonly used to replace だ/です at the end of a sentence in written expressions. But outside this usage, I can't find much explanation on how to use this structure. In ...
5
votes
1answer
162 views

Why 気にされる instead of 気にする?

These two characters are discussing ヒューバート in the below, and about how he lacks self awareness. However I am not sure why 気にされる was used instead of 気にする here. I know that される can be used as an ...
5
votes
1answer
163 views

"A: いつごろ切符を予約しましたか。 B: 3か月前です” why should it be です but not でした?

"A: いつごろ切符を予約しましたか。  B: 3か月前です” why should it be です but not でした?
5
votes
1answer
232 views

What is the difference between といったところです and というところです?

銀行に変化を促しているのがタイの中央銀行です。 日本で言えば、日銀が腰を上げて、変革の旗振り役をしているといったところです。(source) Could we replace といったところです by というところです here? If yes, what would be the difference? If not, why?
5
votes
1answer
307 views

Is writing the “wa particle” as は a modern convention?

Recently, I was given a copy of Complete Course of Japanese Conversation-Grammar by Oreste and Enko Elisa Vaccari. As it dates back to 1967, I was expecting at least a few things to be a bit old-...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

といいんです and といいんですけど

What exactly is the difference between these two phrases. How does けど/が affect the meaning and how does it relate to its meaning of 'but'?
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Pronunciation of the Japanese ん and nasalized vowels

I've been trying to grasp how ん sounds when placed after a vowel. Apparently the vowel becomes nasalized (and extended?) but does it get rid of the n sound completely then? If so wouldn't ほん have its ...
4
votes
0answers
50 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"?
4
votes
0answers
230 views

What is the etymology of パイセン?

As a slang term for [先輩]{せんぱい}, パイセン doesn't seem to be very popular. I occasionally hear it used among young people. Is it mostly a term used in Tokyo (dialectal)? Where did it come from? My ...
4
votes
0answers
86 views

Using 「に」, 「にとって」 and 「に対して」 with adjectives

I read these two questions but I still don't understand the relation between the use of the 「に」 particle with adjectives and other structures such as 「にとって」 and 「に対して」. On the first link, Axioplaseさん ...
4
votes
0answers
66 views

What is the common reading of the word 外海?

外海 has two readings がいかい and そとうみ. What is the difference of the two? Personally, I am under the impression that がいかい is the common reading because of its similarity to the word 外国【がいこく】. However, I ...
4
votes
0answers
69 views

What's the difference between にはおかない and にはすまない?

I've searched them online, but still couldn't distinguish these two. I know: ①The former is to remark or to express a strong feeling. ②The later is more about personal emotion, obligation and social ...
4
votes
0answers
85 views

Understanding this usage of 「〜に変わって」

I am reading a selection from A Japanese Reader and am trying to figure out the meaning of this passage, especially the usage of 「これに変わって」: 古い行事のすべてをそのままに行うことは生活様式が異なってきた今日{こんにち}、無理であろうし、...
4
votes
0answers
141 views

Why does いい加減 have diametrically opposite meanings?

When scolding a misbehaving child, we tell them to be iikagen: いい加減にしなさい。 But we can also tell a misbehaving child to stop being iikagen, or describe something bad as iikagen: もういい加減でやめなさい。 ...
4
votes
0answers
204 views

来た2日後に vs 来て2日後に vs 来てから2日後に

日本に来た2日後にこの本を買った。 日本に来て2日後にこの本を買った。 日本に来てから2日後にこの本を買った。 I created these sentences from similar-looking examples I found on Google. Are they all grammatical? These all mean "I bought this book two ...
4
votes
1answer
171 views

Confusion about 大したこと(で)(は)ない

There are three variations on this phrase that I can find in Google, and I'm not sure whether all three are really used, or how frequently. But I am confused about the differences between them. ...
4
votes
4answers
296 views

What is the difference between ~たい and ~ことを望む?

I have been trying to translate some English sentences into Japanese. I have been asking people on OKWAVE to translate these sentences. I am happy to say that the results have been mostly satisfactory....
4
votes
0answers
112 views

How did the on-readings with -チ appear?

This is what I know. 1) Unlike, say, -p, the final -t of Chinese readings was maintained in careful speech at least as long as the Christian resources of the XVIth century (Frellesvig 2010: 316-7). ...
4
votes
2answers
424 views

Meaning/use of ように in this sentence

鳥の絵が得意になり、クリスマスにハトの絵を贈ってくれるようにもなった。 I cannot understand the meaning of ようにもなった in this sentence. I know that 鳥の絵が得意になり、 means "I became good/strong at drawing birds and..." ...
4
votes
1answer
683 views

What does ~ながらにして mean?

Can someone please explain the bold grammar? せんてんてき 【先天的】 《ダナ》生まれながらにして持っていること
4
votes
0answers
138 views

Phonetic Mapping of the Hiragana System Used in the Okinawan Omoro Sōshi

The classical Okinawan poetry collection the Omoro Sōshi is written (mostly) in Hiragana, but the phonetic mapping of the characters to sounds seems to be different to their standard mapping. For ...
4
votes
1answer
221 views

Ending letters with ~~よりご多幸を祈って

This phrase showed up in one my phrase books with the translation of "Best Wishes" but I'm curious if it can be used to sign off letters and emails with the same casual politeness that the phrase ...
4
votes
2answers
201 views

What is the difference between 限る and 限定する?

I'm pretty sure that there's a lot more you can do with 限る than there is with 限定する, (When I looked up 限る, I saw a lot of different usages, such as it meaning "is the best," or "nothing is better than,"...
4
votes
1answer
121 views

Appropriate polite language when referencing yourself in a letter written on behalf of others?

Maybe this is a bit too hypothetical, but I thought it was an interesting question nonetheless. I was writing a business email in Japanese, using pretty formal language, on behalf of someone who ...
4
votes
1answer
134 views

How to express action (in plays, and online)

So in most languages we can either put text in italics or between asterisks to indicate what the speaker is doing. For instance: Looking up It will be raining soon Or on the Internet: *chewing your ...
4
votes
1answer
113 views

Are です and あります/います ever interchangeable?

I feel like (私は)彼の前です。 means the same thing as (私は)彼の前にいます。 (I am in front of him.) Also 本はどこですか。and 本はどこにありますか。 (Where is the book?) Correct me if I'm wrong, but is there a rule for determining ...
4
votes
1answer
146 views

What is the nuance between 内に and 間に in these sentences?

This will be a long question. I referred to the other questions that were already answered, Difference between 前に and うちに When describing time span, are 間 {あいだ} and 内 {うち} interchangeable? What'...

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