7

They are not "vague" from the Japanese standpoint. Seen from the opposite side, I must say English is equally confusing. How do you distinguish 胃 and 腹 when they are both "stomach" in English? How do you distinguish 恋 and 愛 when both are "love" in English? How about 兄/弟 ("brother"), 胡椒/唐辛子 ("pepper"), ごはん/米/稲 ("rice"), 水/湯 ("water"), 絵/写真 ("picture"), 便所/風呂 (...


7

By accent. See: Is there any difference when pronouncing 橋 and 箸? はし【HL】(箸)、はし【LH】(端)、かき【HL】(牡蠣)、かき【LH】(柿) By context. すいせいですか、きんせいですか? → 水星ですか、金星ですか? すいせいですか、ゆせいですか? → 水性ですか、油性ですか? すいせいですか、りくせいですか? → 水棲ですか、陸棲ですか? ぎんせいですか、きんせいですか? → 銀製ですか、金製ですか? By actually changing the reading for known confusing pairs. See: How to Pronounce 化学 "Chemistry"? 化学【...


6

Keywords: MC, Middle Chinese; OC, Old Chinese: MJ: Middle Japanese; OJ, Old Japanese; 呉, Go'on; 漢, Kan'on; 唐, Tō-on; /(absence of superscript)/ or 平, level tone; /X/ or 上, rising tone; /H/ or 去, departing tone; /p̚/, /t̚/, /k̚/, or 入, entering or checked tone* On'yomi homophones are numerous, but the loss of syllable distinction comes from multiple ...


5

~(の)如し is used as a predicate. (sounds archaic rather than simply literary) ~(の)如き modifies a noun (i.e., adjectivally). ~(の)如く modifies a verb (i.e., adverbially). その動きは蝶の如し。 His movement is like a butterfly. 光陰矢の如し。 Time flies. (lit. "Days and nights are like arrows.") 蝶の如き動きを見せた。 He showed a butterfly-like movement. 蝶の如く動いた。 He moved like a ...


4

The most homophones that I know of are the various words pronounced きかん (ordered by frequency in Japanese) 機関 jīguān 機關・机关 engine/institution 期間 qī​jiān 期间 time interval/period 器官 qì​guān organ 基幹 jīgàn mainstay/nucleus 帰還 guīhuán 歸還・归还 repatriation/return 気管 ​qìguǎn 氣管・气管 trachea 旗艦 qí​jiàn 旗舰 flagship 季刊 jì​kān quarterly (e.g. magazine) 奇観 ...


4

Yes 薔薇 implied gay several decades ago, and I believe most Japanese adults were more or less aware of this in those days. It's no longer a common metaphor. Note that 薔薇 was argot for real gay relationship, if I understand correctly. Fictional male-male romance enjoyed by female audience (still known as yaoi outside of Japan) has not been referred to as 薔薇. ...


4

Why in the world Denshi Jisho has both of those options, I don't know. If it was anywhere else, I'd just say that the katakana version is someone writing 男の子 somewhat creatively. In any case, they mean the same thing. However, の here is -not- possessive, it's a kind of adnominal thing (though it is a particle) - the phrase means 'male child' or 'boy'. You ...


4

I hear かわよさそう used frequently as a substitute for かわいそう, and sometimes its altered companion, かわよい. I presume it's very slangy and I feel perhaps a bit feminine, but it does exist nonetheless. Another workaround might be to use 可愛{かわい}らしい, which while technically different, at least approaches the intended meaning. As for when it's used, I don't think it ...


4

No, they are different in pitch accent. [いつか]{HLL}日本に行きます。 someday [いつか]{LHH}日本に行きます。 on the 5th You can check Google Translate's synthesized voice, which sounds fine enough to me.


3

Would you be able to consistently tell the difference by particle used? The short answer is no. Sometimes it is impossible to tell the correct reading without thinking of the context. 開く/開ける is exceptionally complex, but there are some other confusing kanji which has more than one kun-reading, for example, 辛い(からい・つらい), 汚れる(よごれる・けがれる), 怒る(おこる・いかる), 弾く(ひく・はじく)...


3

もらいたい・いただきたい's usage is waving these days. It originally takes dative に for the marker of the agent, but people have started to use nominative as well, as a result, the situation is being more or less confusing. i.e. 父母や教師達には…考えていただきたいものだ → 父母や教師達は…考えていただきたいものだ


3

について is a fixed expression meaning "regarding, concerning, ..." (here "about" also works) and derives from 就く or 付く, although it is usually written in かな.


3

These are all different forms of the helping verb ごとし. They are used differently this way: 如し ⇒ のようだ (used as a verb) 如く ⇒ のように、のようで (used like an adverb) 如き ⇒ のような (used as an adjective) 目差しは炎の如し ⇒ 目差しは炎のようだ (his) gaze was as a flaming fire 海の如く広い草原を渡る ⇒ 海のように広い草原を渡る (we) cross a plain wide as the sea 馬の如き速さで走る ⇒ 馬のような速さで走る to run with ...


3

In all your five example sentences, どうこう is this どうこう meaning "this and that", "something", "blah-blah", etc. It's used to contract the unimportant part of the sentence. It's interchangeable with どうのこうの. どうこう can work as an adverb, "(like) this or that": 今すぐどうこうするって話でもないけど。 That does not mean I'll do something (about the problem) right away. ...


3

Hiragana is a phonogram, meaning each letter has a distinct sound. There are a few notable exceptions like は pronounced as わ in certain contexts, but mostly I expect the size of homophonic groups to be quite large. If you include 漢字, this gets even larger, though there are plenty of kanjis that share the same pronunciation. The only hiragana that I can think ...


3

If I encounter unprefixed 市立大学, I would probably read it as いちりつだいがく to avoid any confusion. But when I read 市立 as part of a longer proper noun including the city name, I would use しりつ. 横浜市立大学 よこはましりつだいがく 川崎市立川崎高等学校 かわさきしりつかわさきこうとうがっこう Private schools never have the word 私立 as part of their proper school names. So whenever you hear Xしりつ, it ...


3

しりつ is the "proper" reading, but because there is ample opportunity for misunderstanding, say, 市立大学, "municipal university" as 私立大学, "private university", people often say いちりつ for the sake of clarity. In the same way, because situations often arise in which かがく could be either 科学, "science" or 化学, "chemistry", people often pronounce 化学 as ばけがく. A similar ...


2

Yes, they are homophones, and this is why kanji is important. [買]{か}う → to buy [飼]{か}う → to keep/raise I guess it could technically be used to say "I'm buying a cat", but no one would ever think that if they heard you say it. If you really wanted to convey the fact that the action you're currently doing is buying a cat, you'd be better off using [購入]{こう・...


1

I haven't watched the whole video, but it is unlikely to happen. 結構です sounds rather distinctly from 欠航/決行です In the context of talking about the ship's operation, 平常運行です/{平常通り,予定通り}運行します will be used instead of 決行する, to mean that they function normally. 決行, as explained in the related question in the comment, is used about events. The most timely example ...


1

どうこう, just like どうのこうの are adverbs. When used in negative sentences, they mean "anything". Examples: 私がどうこう言える問題ではない。 This is a problem I can't say anything. そのことについてどうこう言える立場ではない I am not in a position to say anything on the matter. どうこうするうちに事態は悪化した In the meantime, the situation grew more serious. どうこう【如何斯う】 [副]《副詞「どう」に副詞「こう」の付いた語》 多く否定表現に用いて、特にそれと定めず、...


1

I think that good answers were already given, so I was initially writing a comment but it got long hence I decided to post it as an answer. It might be a good reference for every one after all. I wanted also to say that probably by accent and context is the main way. In this regard, I wanted to add that not long ago I found this interesting EDX class on ...


1

(This is supplementary to Chocolate's answer.) If you put everything together then we get: I would like parents and teachers to think much more about their childrens' education. Note that: いただきたい makes the sentence from the viewpoint of the writer. Parents and teachers are the topic (marked by は): that is to say, the focus of the speaker/writers ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible