28

Why are there so many terms for these generic words? Most of them have different meanings. Some are used for Western royalty, some are used for Chinese royalty. 王 - (in general) King e.g. アーサー王 King Arthur 王 - (in historical China and historical Asia) One of the titles of the lords in the Imperial China, or the King of the Imperial Chinese tributary state ...


21

AFAIK, うえ・した is just "(on) top/above vs. (on) bottom/underneath". かみ・しも is usually "upper vs. lower", meaning talking about different parts of the same thing. The easiest example of this to remember is "upstream" vs. "downstream" (川上【かわかみ】 vs. 川下【かわしも】) or "upwind" vs. "downwind" (風上【かざかみ】 vs. 風下【かざしも】). Also, more generically, 上手【かみて】 (upper part) and 下手【...


20

寝{ね}る go to bed, be in bed. Does not imply you sleep, since you could be listening to the radio, watching TV… 毎日11時に寝ます。 眠{ねむ}る to sleep, not be awake. Physiological state. 毎日何時に眠っているか当然分からない!


20

未来 and 将来 are pretty similar to each other. 大辞泉 breaks down the differences under the 用法 section of 「将来」 entry (explanation translated): 将来 and 未来 can both be used in situations where you're talking about the time that will come after the present, e.g. 「将来(未来)への夢」 ("dreams for the future") and 「明るい将来(未来)」 ("a bright future"). 「未来」 cannot be used ...


18

成人 is a very specific term and refers to persons who reached the age of 20 and above. It's derived from the definition of the Japanese law, which says "年齢二十歳をもって、成年とする". You used to get drafted and taxed after this age. In today's context, it's the legal drinking/smoking age. 大人 is a more lax term and usually means persons that are older than around 18 ...


17

Most generally: Words of Chinese (On-yomi) origin take ご Words of Japanese (Kun-yomi) origin take お If I recall correctly, there are also a very few chinese-origin words which take お as they are very commonly used, but I can't think of any of these off the top of my head. Edit: One such example is お電話.


17

All what you've mentioned above are common words. Despite being synonyms, each of those words has different shades of meaning even when refers to the same object. I could roughly group them into several clusters as follows: 道具 / 器具 They lay stress on direct human manipulation, typically fulfill their purposes by (wholly or partially) being handled freely ...


15

火事 means "fire" like what you shout when a building is burning down. Or when we say "my house was lost in a fire", it's that "fire". The big kind that burns things it isn't supposed to. 火 is a more generic word for fire. It's what's on a candle or a torch or in a fireplace. For your first sentence...it depends on if the fire is burning down your room(火事),...


14

本日 is keigo. You will hear this on a train or airplane, or in a store. But you won't be saying it yourself, unless if you as a beginning student are put in the unlikely position of making an official announcement to someone. 今日 is what you would use in ordinary situations.


14

You're right that 触れる can be used metaphorically, but 触る is normally reserved for physical touch only. 触る generally indicates a stronger, more intentional kind of "touch" than 触れる. From the other perspective, 触れる is often used to convey a sense of gentle or light touching, or even "brushing against" something. Note that it's possible to use the particle を ...


14

The differences come from the fact that: 「名前{なまえ}」 is an originally Japanese word while 「名称{めいしょう}」 is a Sino-loanword. Formality: For the reason above, 「名称」 is more formal, academic and technical than 「名前」. Think about "chat" vs "conversation", "deep" vs. "profound", etc. in English. In both Japanese and English, the big words have mostly come from "...


13

Words for Adding Things Note that there are actually many more suru-verb kanji combinations that mean things similar to "adding" or "growing," so I've only covered the two mentioned here. 足す【たす】 This is used only for adding two things of the same type. Example: なべに水を足す "Add water to the pot" 加える【くわえる】 Like 足す, this is also used for adding two things ...


13

I was always taught that 将来【しょうらい】 was a more "tangible" future (like 5 years in the future, 10 years in the future, etc.), whereas 未来【みらい】 was more "intagible", "unknown", and "fantastical" (like "In the future, people will inhabit the moon"; like how people of the 50's thought life in 2000 would be). I've never heard of 行【ゆ】く末【すえ】 until now, but it seems ...


12

There is a clear difference (no pun intended) between 日本酒 and 清酒. The clue is in the kanji 「清」 = "clear". Technically speaking, 清酒 is one of the two main types of 日本酒 --- 1) 清酒 and 2) にごり[酒]{ざけ}. The former is refined and colorless and the latter, unrefined and cloudy. Informally, however, quite a few native speakers use 日本酒 and 清酒 fairly interchangeably.


11

The タ-verb (plain past) form + って pattern is most similar, if not identical, to the ~ても pattern: そんなこと言ったってしょうがない。(=そんなこと言ってもしょうがない。) It doesn't help matters to say things like that. 名前を変えたって基本的な問題はそう簡単に消えてくれない。(=名前を変えても基本的な問題はそう簡単に消えてくれない。) Even if you change the name, the fundamental problem won't disappear so easily. This construction is mostly ...


11

Here are a few: truck → トロッコ (on rails), トラック (lorry) English → イギリス (via Portuguese "Inglez"), イングリッシュ letter → レッテル ("label", via Dutch), レター (letter, e.g. love letter) gear → ギヤ (gear, mechanical), ギア (gear = equipment [and less often, mechanical gear]) chocolat(e) → ショコラ (via French), チョコレート (via English) curry → カレー, カリー


11

I was recently told about a word with three different transcriptions with three different usages, which I cannot help sharing! かるた (usually a specific kind of playing cards) < carta (Portuguese) カルテ (a medical record) < Karte (German) カード (a card; a rectangular sheet, usually of paper) < card (English)


11

They have essentially the same literal meaning: suicide by gut-cutting (even if the actual killing blow was decapitation by someone else). 切腹 /seppuku/ has Sino-Japanese pronunciation and word order (not sure if it was actually used in Chinese at the time, or if it was invented in Japanese), 腹切り /hara.kiri/ has native Japanese pronunciation and word order (...


11

You guessed it. 大辞林 has 商店 商品を売る店。 i.e. a shop selling consumer goods. E.g. a clothes shop: 売店 物を売る店。特に、病院・劇場・遊園地などの施設内の小さな店。 i.e. a stand selling things. In particular, a small stand/shop in hospitals, theatres, amusement parks or other facilities. E.g. a 売店 in a train station: In other words, a 商店's main business comes from their goods; a 売店's ...


11

クマネズミ属{ぞく} is the Rattus genus, to which all "true" rats belong, whereas Mice belong to the ハツカネズミ属, or Mus genus. These genera are both subgroups to the sub-family ネズミ亜科{あか}, or Murinae. Now, these are the scientific names, and luckily, in contrast to English, these scientific names are based on Japanese words, so they do make sense for common people. If ...


10

You've stepped on a potential land mine of debate there. Whether or not 外人{がいじん} is offensive, politically incorrect, or means something other than just "foreigner" is the topic of a lot of heated debate. Take a look here for the "gaijin is offensive side". Take a look at the Wikipidia entry for links to the "gaijin is just a word" side. Which means that ...


10

The dictionary is unfortunately vague on this matter, but some discussion elsewhere on the web lends some clues to the nuance. These discussions say that やってくる, as you suggest, places more emphasis on the act of coming, but especially that the traveler came with some particular effort or purpose, or from especially far away. From the second link: 「やって来る」...


10

The best way is to look each of these terms up individually in Japanese language dictionaries and check examples of usage, but here's a translated synopsis. Many of these meanings overlap. でも: "though that may be the case" / (though the prior statement may be true) しかし: "in contrast to the previous statement" / (lit. "unlike" the prior statement) ただし: is ...


10

An excerpt from 広辞苑's definition for 鉄拳: 堅く握りかためたこぶし。にぎりこぶし。げんこつ。 In short, こぶし means fist, while 鉄拳 means more specifically a tightly clenched fist. This should come as no surprise to you, as you've already looked it up in dictionaries which say so. It's true that it literally means "iron fist", but it isn't generally used for its literal meaning. ...


10

天気 (1-3 days): You'll hear 天気 used the most, as in 天気予報 weather forecast or 天気はいいですか Is the weather good today? You should almost always translate 天気 as "weather" in English. 天候 (2-10 days): 天候 refers to the overall state of the atmosphere between a few days to about 10 days. Its use isn't that common, however, in casual conversation it shows up in the ...


10

欲求 is a fairly objective / scientific word which is seen in psychological / sociological articles. 欲望 is kind of earthly by far, often meaning a lust toward money, fame, domination, possessions, and sexual actions. While the above two are used mostly in writings, 欲 is by much a conversational word, and has a range of various usages. 欲念 is rare. I believe ...


10

チケット: Tickets for theaters, amusement parks, sport games, etc. 切符: Tickets in general used for trains, buses, etc. 乗車券: An official term used by railway companies for a type of 切符. 乗車券 refers to a basic fare ticket whose price is calculated based on the travel distance. You may additionally need other types of 切符 such as 特急券 ("limited express train ticket"). ...


10

"What is 学校" is not an easy question; there are many definitions of it. but here's the summary: Legally speaking, "the narrow definition" of 学校 (aka 一条校), as defined in the first clause of the law called 学校教育法, includes public and private 小学校, 中学校, 高校, 大学, and so on. And it also does include kindergartens (!) but does not include so-called 大学校. Broader ...


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