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26 votes
6 answers
4k 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          (pardon the ...
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  • 19.2k
9 votes
6 answers
6k views

Meaning and level of 死ねばいいのに

I have been hearing 死ねばいいのに twice last week, including once in a context where a bit of formality was required. What does it mean? Is it as violent as it sounds to me? I am not looking for a word-by-...
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41 votes
6 answers
26k views

Pronouncing が as 'nga'

I'm a beginner and am learning from CD (Pimsleur). There are two native speakers going through the dialogue. One, the man, pronounces が as I would expect - 'ga'. The other (female) pronounces it as '...
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  • 513
6 votes
3 answers
404 views

Does 前提に mean "to require"?

I recently came across the expression 前提に: feature1はfeature2と同じく各コンテンツに分類用の識別子を埋め込む機能ですが、統制を重視したユースケースを前提に設計されているため柔軟さに欠けます。 'feature1, just like feature2, is a way to embed classification into ...
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16 votes
1 answer
661 views

About ご[馳走]{ちそう}: two “runs” would give you “a feast”?

ご[馳走様]{ちそうさま}でした is the greeting that people say after being offered a meal while ご馳走 by itself means “a feast”. I looked up this word in the dictionary to learn more about the kanji characters. It ...
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  • 19.2k
23 votes
6 answers
8k views

What is the difference between 「はずがない」 and 「わけがない」?

I know the following two sentences give implication that "not expecting me to understand (it)" but I have a feeling that they give different nuances that I just can't put my finger on: それは分{...
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  • 19.2k
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Which part of speech is the 「ぞ」 in 「神のみぞ知るセカイ」?

「神{かみ}のみぞ知{し}るセカイ」 is the title of a manga/anime series but I'm not asking about the anime. I'm just curious about the 「ぞ」 part in the title. I know there is a ぞ particle that is similar to よ, such ...
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  • 19.2k
13 votes
3 answers
1k views

Are there any situations where かしら is considered appropriate/normal for males to use?

かしら is generally considered to be a question particle for use by females; are there any situations or dialects in which it is usable by males? I'm aware that historically, it was used by both male and ...
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  • 3,179
5 votes
3 answers
204 views

Does "させ" comes from the verb 刺す or just する ?

Recently I came across this sentence in a computing-related technical document: some software と連携させ、 some feature のカスタマイズを作成します。 I get the meaning (after having integrated some product, we will ...
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31 votes
5 answers
53k views

What is the meaning of all those "w"s in email and SNSs?

You see a lot of w and ww and even www in Twitter and casual chat. What does it mean? I've always thought it was わいわい but never found out. How is it pronounced? Here's an example from Twitter ...
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  • 6,958
19 votes
4 answers
2k views

Where does なう on Twitter come from?

If you follow any Japanese speakers on Twitter, you'll almost certainly see them use なう at the end of a sentence, to say "I am in this place/doing this thing now". Where does this use come from? Who ...
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  • 6,958
20 votes
6 answers
50k views

Which is correct: こんばんわ or こんばんは?

I've seen both こんばんわ and こんばんは used; which is correct here? If we interpret the は as the topic particle, は would seem correct, but it seems that わ is used quite frequently anyway...
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  • 3,179
7 votes
5 answers
416 views

Is there a general rule for deriving xasu→xaseru intransitives such as 死なせる from 死なす?

There are a number of verbs where there is a 〜xasu → xaseru transformation to produce an transitive verb from an intransitive, eg: 死なす→死なせる 生かす→生かせる 飲ます→飲ませる Is this some kind of generalized rule? (...
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  • 3,179
19 votes
5 answers
28k views

What is the correct usage of 承知しました, 了解です and かしこまりました, the more formal forms of 分かる?

At work, it is wrong to simply say 分かる to say that you understand something. In what situation should I opt to use one of the previously mentioned forms?
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  • 2,794
14 votes
4 answers
2k views

外来語 (gairaigo) replaced by Japanese word?

Are there cases where gairaigo used in every day speech (パン, アイスクリーム, etc...) have been ousted by native Japanese words?
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  • 792
12 votes
5 answers
6k views

Chinese words in Japanese

I have heard that Japanese has the largest number of words of any language because every Chinese word can also be a Japanese word. Is there any truth to this statement?
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  • 792
39 votes
5 answers
7k views

When do you use 下さい as opposed to ください

I've noticed that there seems to be different usage for 下さい and ください. Is this purely a personal preferences or is there an actual difference their usage? This was actually a question the Japanese ...
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  • 6,861
56 votes
7 answers
17k views

What is the difference between 〜となる and 〜になる?

Is it a nuance difference? Is it formality? EDIT For example: 請求書のお支払いは現金のみとなりますので、ご了承くださいませ。 請求書のお支払いは現金のみになりますので、ご了承くださいませ。 I just made that example up, but for some reason, my gut tells me it's ...
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  • 3,955
-1 votes
3 answers
971 views

Do machine transliteration websites exist? [closed]

Are there web sites that transliterate Japanese text (katakana, hiragana and kanji) into romaji characters without translating the words into the English language? (Note to moderators: I'm merely ...
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35 votes
4 answers
6k views

What differences should I look out for between male vs female speech?

I was told a story where a male westerner learnt Japanese from his girlfriend and ended up speaking more like a female. The storyteller thought this was hilarious. What important differences should I ...
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  • 461
9 votes
3 answers
2k views

How rude is it to say 寝ぼけてるんじゃねぇよ!

I've heard this used (also as 寝ぼけんじゃねぇよ!) in informal situations with nothing but smiles all around. But when I tried to use it in an informal situation with a colleague, I got the distinct feeling I'...
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  • 1,218
29 votes
2 answers
5k views

What's the difference between the kanji forms for わかる?

The verb わかる can be written using either 分かる, 判る, or 解る - what's the semantic difference between these forms, if any?
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  • 3,179
64 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why were ゐ and ゑ eliminated?

Sometime in the early 20th century, usage of the now-historical kana ゐ and ゑ (and their katakana equivalents) dropped off, being replaced with い and え in modern Japanese. What exactly happened here ...
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  • 3,179
20 votes
3 answers
26k views

What does よろしくおねがいします mean when departing?

When on business in Japan last year, a Japanese colleague said よろしくおねがいします to me as the group were leaving after dinner. I'm aware of its usage in initial greetings, as is usually taught in textbooks,...
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  • 1,486
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

At work, when is it not ok to finish an email with どうぞよろしくお願いします?

Whenever I communicate with my Japanese coworkers, I always finish my emails with どうぞよろしくお願いします。I guess in the context of an email in English it could be akin to saying "Cheers" "Regards", so I unless ...
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  • 2,794
65 votes
8 answers
26k views

When going somewhere, is there any difference between e (へ) and ni (に)?

Can you use へ and に interchangeably, as in: 北海道へ行く and 北海道に行く ? Are there any subtle differences in the use of these two?
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  • 6,958
28 votes
6 answers
7k views

How should I select what first-person pronoun to use?

I've always had trouble choosing which first person pronoun to use - 私 (watashi), 僕 (boku), or 俺 (おれ). What kind of factors should I keep in mind when choosing between these? Is it common to vary one'...
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  • 3,179
16 votes
2 answers
5k views

What is the difference in nuance and usage of the two kanji forms for なおす (naosu), 直す and 治す?

Stolen directly from Grigory M's question in the definition phase: http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/7526?phase=definition
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  • 632
37 votes
2 answers
6k views

Why is 二十歳 pronounced はたち?

二十歳 is a (to me) bizarre exception to the usual number+さい rule for discussing age. Is this rooted in 20 being the Japanese age of majority? Added: To be more specific: why isn't it pronounced にじゅうさい ...
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  • 2,074
24 votes
4 answers
5k views

Questions with ~か or without: how to choose?

Studying Japanese on my own, I've learned that in order to make a question, you usually add the particle "~か", like this: 今何時ですか。 It's also true that a question can be asked without it, using the ...
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  • 3,039
61 votes
8 answers
28k views

Particles: に vs. で

I have progressed pretty far in Japanese, but when I construct Japanese sentences, I still get these two particles mixed up. For example, when talking about being inside something, I don't know when ...
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11 votes
5 answers
2k views

Can 何で mean "how"?

Looking at this, it seems that when the word 何 is used with the で particle, it roughly translates into "by means of what" or "in what context." Personally, that sounds like asking "how". Is this ...
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  • 2,378
16 votes
7 answers
3k views

When should one add さん at the end of a name?

I've heard some names pronounced with 〜さん added to them (such as 佐々木さん) and some without it. I believe it is related to respect or the age of the person named. What would be the guidelines or general ...
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  • 313
42 votes
4 answers
14k views

What does -komu (~込む) at the end of a word mean?

There are loads of words in Japanese which end in 込{こ}む, like 吸{す}い込む, 読{よ}み込む, 入{はい}り込む, 打{う}ち込む, 売{う}り込む, 送{おく}り込む, 押{お}し込む. How does adding ~込む change the meaning? What is the meaning that links ...
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  • 6,958
19 votes
1 answer
2k views

What's the proper way to use 先 versus 前に or 以前?

I'm trying to understand why 先 is not the best choice to use in these sentences. Is it wrong to use it in this way? × 先、学校で何かが起こった。 ○ 以前、学校で何かが起こった。 × 先の書いた本から十年間が過ぎました。 ○ 前に書いた本から十年間が過ぎました。
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  • 5,125
50 votes
6 answers
15k views

What does っす at the end of a sentence mean?

I saw a sentence like: 「それ使{つか}ってるっす。」 and none of my dictionaries have an entry for just "っす". Is it a verb form, gobi, or something else?
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  • 2,074
9 votes
4 answers
839 views

What should I look for in a dictionary to help me study? [closed]

As per the title, what should I look for in a dictionary to help me study Japanese? Are there certain things that I should look for in the dictionary or are they all pretty much the same? To ...
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5 votes
2 answers
2k views

List of Japanese counter words [closed]

What are the essential Japanese counter words? For example -dai for machines, -mai for papers and stuff like that. What else to expect/know? Thank you
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  • 407
29 votes
1 answer
2k views

Origin of the circle in ぬ, ね, and る

When looking at the hiragana ぬ (nu), ね (ne), and る (ru) one notices a small circle in the symbols. In fact that circle is the only difference when comparing them with the hiragana め (me), れ (re) and ろ ...
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  • 481
191 votes
5 answers
40k views

What's the difference between wa (は) and ga (が)?

When is it correct to use は but not が, and when is it correct to use が but not は? Are there any times when you can use either without changing the meaning of the sentence? How does switching change ...
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  • 6,958
13 votes
1 answer
961 views

Japanese/Chinese numbers usage timeline

Japanese uses both native and Chinese numbering numbering systems, the Sino-Japanese pronunciations being いち, に, さん, etc. and the native being ひと, ふた, み, etc. For the most part they are used for ...
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  • 3,979
24 votes
4 answers
4k views

Is there an easily accessible list of terms in the Japanese grammar written both in Japanese and English?

I am a native Japanese speaker with a casual interest in languages. I sometimes have trouble explaining the Japanese grammar in English because I do not know the established English translation of ...
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  • 28.3k
5 votes
4 answers
5k views

What's the best utility for identifying kanji? [closed]

I often run into kanji that I don't recognize and need some way to translate them into kana, so that I'm able to look up the meaning. What's the most useful utility (in any form, web-based, ...
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16 votes
9 answers
4k views

What are other language equivalents to Japanese particles?

When a person is learning は and が in terms of particles, what are the best way to relate them to English equivalents? The closest I can come to explaining them to others is "the" and "a" but I'm not ...
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22 votes
4 answers
4k views

Commonness of casual phrases like "あたし" and "ちっちゃい"

I came across a Japanese girl in Germany who talked using words like あたし instead of わたし, or ちっちゃい instead of ちいさい. When I asked her, she said that these words or usages of words are more common in ...
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  • 407
15 votes
2 answers
6k views

What are good sources for streaming Japanese language television? [closed]

While learning Japanese I'd like to watch some Japanese television, whether it is children's programming, drama, or news. I've found a few places online that allowed me to stream snippets, but ...
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