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113
votes
6answers
33k views

Differences among -たら、なら、-んだったら、-えば, etc

The Japanese language has a lot of patterns for "if" clauses. What are the differences among the following patterns and how do we choose to use one over the others?: 行くと 行ったら 行くなら 行けば 行くんだったら 行くのなら ...
9
votes
2answers
295 views

About cutting the sentences short

I've been told during my Japanese classes, and I've also observed in anime and Japanese dramas & movies, that sometimes when talking Japanese people tend to stop halfway and omit the end of ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Difference between 行ったから and 行ってから and 行くから

What is the difference in usage between 行ったから and 行ってから and 行くから? Is there a sense of sequence implied in one and not the other? In the following examples where would i be buying the book and where ...
28
votes
2answers
5k views

ありがとうございます vs. ありがとうございました

When thanking someone, what is the rule for using ありがとうございます vs. ありがとうございました? My sensei taught us to use ありがとうございました when the action you're thanking someone for occurred in the past, but I've heard ...
14
votes
2answers
6k views

About 「同{おな}じ」 and 「同{おな}じく」

As far as I know, 「[同じ]{おなじ}」 is not a 形容詞{けいようし} (-i adjective) so how does it become 「[同じく]{おなじく}」? Or does 「同じく」 not come from 「同じ」? Also, are there any other non i-adjectives that have -ku ...
61
votes
1answer
30k views

Why are the particles “は” (ha⇒wa), “へ” (he⇒e), and “を” (wo⇒o) not spelled phonetically?

As far as I know only three words (or particles) have irregular, non-phonetic spelling in Japanese: "は" - The topic particle is pronounced "wa" but the kana is otherwise pronounced "ha" "へ" - The ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

In which dialects have the sounds “ゐ” (wi) and “ゑ” (we) been preserved, and are their kana still occasionally seen?

In Nate Glenn's answer to bdonlan's qestion "Why were ゐ and ゑ eliminated?" he states: "Wi" and "we" are still in some dialects, but standard Japanese does not have those sounds. My question is ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the difference between 「はじめてのX」 {hajimete no X} and 「はじめのX」 {hajime no X}?

There is a song with title {hajimete no asa} and another song with title {hajime no hi}. There is also a manga title {hajimete no aku}, and not to forget the popular boxing manga {hajime no ippo}. So ...
32
votes
2answers
35k views

When Japanese say KY on the Internet, what does it mean exactly?

This comment can be seen very often on Japanese message boards.
24
votes
4answers
7k views

What are the main differences between 京都弁(Kyoto-ben) and 大阪弁(Osaka-ben)

These two dialects will sound very similar to an untrained ear. Can anyone highlight the main differences between these two dialects?
24
votes
3answers
116k views

What are the differences/characteristics between katakana, kanji and hiragana?

I know that romaji is the conversion from those to the roman alphabet, but what are the differences or characteristics between katakana, kanji, and hiragana? Are they used on a different context? Is ...
14
votes
8answers
4k views

What are the advantages/disadvantages of writing in romaji instead of in kanji and kana?

Romaji is somewhat of a conversion from kanji and kana to the Roman alphabet. What are the disadvantages of learning only or mostly romaji aside from being unable to read/write in kanji? I don't ...
36
votes
2answers
8k views

Why is は pronounced as わ when used as a topic particle?

The particle は is pronounced similarly to わ (unlike the rest of the ハ行 kana) when used as a particle; why is this? What historical shifts went on to cause this irregularity?
32
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the origins of ヶ?

The ヶ in e.g. 一ヶ月 is a bit of an odd character - it looks a lot like a small version of the katakana ケ, but is it derived from that katakana originally? Or is it a normal kanji? Or is it something ...
9
votes
1answer
842 views

What are the most prominent features of Yamagata-ben?

I'll be visiting Yamagata City soon and would like to ask: as an armchair linguist what features of the local dialect to look out for? what are some common words, phrases, pronunciation differences ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

What's the difference between ね and な as tag questions?

What's the difference between ね and な as tag questions? For example: そうですね vs そうだな Is there any difference in level of politeness? Does one sound more masculine than the other? Edit: The examples ...
23
votes
4answers
39k views

What's the difference between ようこそ and いらっしゃいませ?

Both "ようこそ" (y­ōkoso) and "いらっしゃいませ" (irasshaimase) seem to mean "welcome" but what are the precise circumstances under which each should be used? "いらっしゃいませ" (irasshaimase) is uttered in unison by ...
25
votes
5answers
4k views

Are there any old loanwords from Korean, especially any not written in katakana?

Given the close proximity and long history of interaction of various kinds within East Asia, the great influence of Chinese in both Japanese and Korean, and the similar structures of Japanese and ...
23
votes
2answers
3k views

Passive-transitive-verb vs. Intransitive-verb (他動詞の受け身 vs. 自動詞)

I think I know the answer to this, but it still creeps up in my mind all the time; something I'd like to research more. I want to know technical differences as well as common usage. When do you use ...
49
votes
4answers
63k views

How to choose between “よん” (yon) vs “し” (shi) for “四” (4) and “しち” (shichi) vs “なな” (nana) for “七” (7)?

Two numbers in Japanese have two pronunciation alternatives. 四 / 4 can be pronounced either "よん" (yon) or "し" (shi) 七 / 7 can be pronounced either "しち" (shichi) or "なな" (nana) I know that "し" (shi) ...
10
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
715 views

What is the difference between these four forms of “to do”?

There are at least four verbs that mean "to do" in Japanese: する, なさる, いたす, and やる. What is the purpose of each, and when is it appropriate to use them?
49
votes
5answers
46k views

Usage of すみません (sumimasen) versus ごめんなさい (gomen'nasai)

There are several situations in which one of these words (phrases?) should be used but there's not usually a 1:1 mapping between any two languages. Get somebody's permission. English: "excuse me", "I ...
8
votes
2answers
525 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, ...
6
votes
3answers
482 views

When learning new verbs, is it best to memorize both the transitive and intransitive versions up front?

How do you handle learning new verbs that have both transitive and intransitive forms? Is it best to immediately memorize both forms?
22
votes
6answers
4k views

Is the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) a good measure of my Japanese language ability?

Given that there has been discussion by the Japanese government to use the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) as one of the measures by which permanent residences or citizenship might be ...
14
votes
2answers
507 views

What is the meaning and root of 意味くじピーマン?

Recently a friend of mine threw the term 意味くじピーマン (imi kuji pi-man) into a story she was telling, and it totally threw me off. At first I thought, because I wasn't sure how to parse the くじ part, it ...
31
votes
4answers
25k views

What is 「々」 and how does it affect meaning and pronunciation?

I've seen this symbol in various places, such as 「日々」, 「色々」, and 「人々」. What is it, and how does it affect the meaning and pronunciation of the word?
6
votes
3answers
31k views

How to write hiragana and katakana in Windows? [closed]

How to write hiragana and katakana in Windows (XP/Vista/7)? My current locale is Swedish and I have a hard time writing hiragana and katakana characters. Usually I have a txt-file open in notepad and ...
16
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the significance of の in 「鳥の詩」?

I've seen it used in many places, and sometimes it feels like a connection between words. For example in 「鳥の詩」 (tori no uta), it looks as if the の is connecting 鳥 (tori) and 詩 (uta), and I would like ...
18
votes
2answers
13k views

How to use へ (-e), に (-ni), まで (made) and の方 (no-hō) with destination and direction?

It is common to ask the difference between just "へ" (-e) and "に" (-ni) but it seems to get even more complicated when you also mix in "まで" (made) and even "の方" (no-hō). When Japanese people ask me ...
11
votes
4answers
15k views

How can I say “Right now”, or “At that exact moment”?

Saying "now" is easy, with 今, but in my experience that doesn't express so much "right now, this instant" as it does "currently". I am looking for structure that translates these examples well: I ...
20
votes
3answers
7k views

Why is 「昨夜」 pronounced as 「ゆうべ」 {yuube} and 「今日」 as 「きょう」 {kyou}?

「ゆう」 is neither the kun'yomi nor on'yomi of 「昨」 and 「べ」 is not a pronunciation of 「夜」 either. The same can be said about the pronunciation 「きょう」 for 「今日」. So how come the pronunciations of the two ...
69
votes
5answers
109k views

When to use ください (kudasai) or お願いします (onegaishimasu) in requests?

When asking for something I seem to hear sentences end in both ください (kudasai) and お願いします (onegaishimasu). Is there a difference and how do I know when to use which?
15
votes
1answer
12k views

Is there a difference between ほんとう (hontō) and ほんとうに (hontō-ni) when used alone as interjection or question?

As the equivalent of Enlgish "Oh really?" / "Yes really." as lone utterances I seem to hear both "本当" (hontō) and "本当に" (hontō-ni) in Japanese - is there a difference? It seems that hontō is a noun ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the fundamental differences between the ~と一緒に and the ~とともに fragments?

I'm accustomed to saying together with using the ~ to issho ni fragment, but I've been noticing that some people I talk to phrase this using ~ totomo ni instead. i.e. 彼女と一緒に日本へ来た。 Kanojo to issho ni ...
20
votes
2answers
25k views

Differences between くれます, もらいます and いただきます

I have been taught that they are used when receiving something (or a favor) from someone. But how exactly do they differ? I've searched the web for an answer and One site suggests that くれます is ...
7
votes
1answer
593 views

Archaic words used in haiku

My teacher who practices haiku told me that in haiku they still use the traditional names for months. I was wondering which other words are still used in haiku.
18
votes
1answer
7k views

わ usage at the end of sentences

What is the difference between the "わ" sentence ender used by women in general and the one that is used by both Males and females in the Kansai area? I've asked my Japanese co-workers about it ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

Can 「XければXほどY」 clause pattern be shortened to 「XほどY」?

There is a clause pattern 「XければXほどY」. For example, 「近【ちか】ければ近【ちか】いほど便【べん】利【り】」 which means something like "the nearer it is, the more convenient it will be". Can I shorten the clause to 「近【ちか】いほど便【べん】...
25
votes
7answers
3k views

Does anyone have advice on how to get over/through/around the intermediate language plateau? (Self-learner) [closed]

How do you get through this? Especially in regards to reading. How do you practice reading at beyond the beginner level (No little black sambo's or whatever other children's books like I found in the ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

Use of 厨 on the Internet

If you visit ニコニコ動画 or any Japanese message boards often you are bound to see comments like ニコ厨 or 東方厨. Does anyone have good idea how did this originate and what do they mean?
60
votes
7answers
17k views

What is the difference between the negative forms -ず and -ぬ?

-ず and -ぬ are two alternatives to the negative form -ない / -ません. But I noticed that depending on the word, it's either -ず or -ぬ, although it seems like some words can take both suffixes. Some examples ...
8
votes
2answers
219 views

What is the difference between 指摘される and 突っ込まれる?

I always get this two whenever I make a mistake. I think that more or less they are similar but kind of have the feeling that 突っ込まれる has a bit stronger meaning than 指摘される, is this correct? For ...
9
votes
4answers
405 views

What's the difference between はずがない, わけがない, and しょうがない?

A slight expansion of the existing thread What is the difference between 「はずがない」 and 「わけがない」?, but what is the difference or use cases for when to use はずがない, わけがない, しょうがない?
13
votes
4answers
531 views

Pronunciation of 閾値 : いきち or しきいち?

Last week I saw the word 閾値 and when looking it up in Gjiten I see two pronunciations, both marked as "popular": 閾値 (いきち) (n) threshold (amount, dose, etc.); (P); 閾値 (しきいち) (n) threshold (amount, ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

アニメと漫画で日本語を勉強することについて (On learning Japanese from anime/manga) [closed]

最近、漫画好きな外国人が増えたので、日本のアニメや漫画で日本語を勉強する外国人も多くなっています。アニメの日本語が日常の会話であまり使わないので、アニメで日本語を勉強することで日本語をちゃんと学べると思いますか。 (Many foreigners have been learning Japanese through manga and anime due to its popularity ...
22
votes
7answers
2k views

What is the real difference between the proper use of the words さむい and つめたい?

In English it seems that cold is just always cold just as warm and hot regardless of whether the word describes a person's experience or the actual physical state of an object. In Japanese however ...
31
votes
3answers
3k views

Stroke order for left and right

Why are the stroke orders for 右 and 左 different? 右 starts with the vertical stroke, and 左 starts with the horizontal one.
28
votes
6answers
2k views

Why are some lyrics' words written in kanji whose usual reading is not how it is sung?

Some song lyrics in the official lyric book that accompanies the CD is sung as another word. Usually, the way it is sung is given as a furigana on the kanji: Written: 君が希望に変わってゆく          (...

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