nkjt
  • Member for 10 years, 5 months
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Did the Japanese have a word for surrender before WWII?
15 votes

I think this question is relevant: What do you mean, "In Japanese there are no words for "I’m suffering""? Also a little googling leads to a quote where this is clearly being used ...

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How close was the Japanese writing system from becoming abolished after World War II?
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14 votes

Undoubtedly the book Krazer suggested would make for the most thorough answer, but the Japanese wikipedia article on the 国語審議会 (the Japanese Language Council) has got some interesting details. From ...

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Why does 丈夫 and 大丈夫 mean what they mean?
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13 votes

A summary of the gogen-allguide reference for 大丈夫: 丈 refers to a measure of height; about 3m by the 尺貫法{しゃっかんほう} system (traditional Japanese standard) but less in older Chinese measures. One 丈 ...

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Why don't radicals have the same definition for all kanji?
12 votes

The choice of radicals (部首{ぶしゅ}) as in the dictionary radicals (as opposed to any other selection of components), comes from Chinese and presumably was adopted alongside the kanji themselves. The ...

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Is it possible to tell whether a word is kanji or hiragana without reading it?
12 votes

Expanding on my comment, some word types that are likely to be written in kana which haven't been covered so far: Cases where one or more kanji in the compound are considered rare/difficult (for the ...

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Can genki be pronounced as henki?
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11 votes

(Figured I should write more than two words for an answer). What you are hearing is probably 平気{へいき}. I'd say it's more 'okay' as in calm, collected, emotionally unaffected by something than in the ...

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Why are し/ち transliterated as 'shi'/'chi', and not 'si'/'ti'?
10 votes

Systems of romanisation which were originally intended to render Japanese in a way that makes it easier for foreigners to pronounce, like Hepburn, will use "shi" and "chi" because those are closer to ...

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How do you use 「どうか」 to mean please?
9 votes

You wouldn't use "どうか" standing by itself. Added to a request (like てください), I think it adds a nuance of a strong request/entirety/petition. どうか許{ゆる}してください - please forgive me どうか、息子{むすこ}を - please ...

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Why aren't マンション mansions? Or are they?
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9 votes

I have nothing to back this up, but following on from Zhen Lin's comment: It may have come from the British English "mansion block", which I think was a Victorian invention - the typical one would ...

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How did 家, 手, and 士 come to be included in the names of professions?
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9 votes

There's an interesting article about it here, starting with a discussion of the words 投手 (pitcher) and 打者 (batter). From the writers perspective, 手 indicates someone employed for some concrete ...

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Why is "Xy" pronounced as "Ki Shi" in Xylitol「キシリトール」?
9 votes

Xyl~ is the same as Xyl in Xylophone (coming from 'wood' in Greek). How it is pronounced varies between languages. You can see this by the explanation on the Japanese wiki article for Xylophone, which ...

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Evil twins and other tropes
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9 votes

The word "trope" didn't originally apply to stock characters/plot elements in the way that it is now used in TV Tropes; this is a relatively new (as in past 50 years) usage of the word. This ...

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What is the breakdown of countries where loan words originate?
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8 votes

This puts English derived words at something like 80% of foreign origin words (this would exclude 漢語{かんご}). It also has some lists of words separated by origin (leaving out English-derived words). ...

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Why is there 丼 {どんぶり} in 丼勘定 {どんぶりかんじょう}?
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8 votes

Judging by the following link, どんぶり in this phrase didn't originally refer to the bowl, but a pocket in the front of an apron, where money was kept: http://gogen-allguide.com/to/donburikanjyou.html ...

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i-adjective specific intensifiers/qualifiers? e.g. 物凄い {ものすごい}
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8 votes

複合形容詞 appears to be the generic term for a compound adjective. http://ir.lib.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/metadb/up/kiyo/AN10281005/Hiroshima-IntStudentCenter-kiyo_16_13.pdf - this article covers the various ...

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Why importing words from other languages rather than building new ones from existing kanji?
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7 votes

Here's a question: are you sure that your characterisation of the situation is accurate? Are all, or the majority, of new words in Japanese created by importation from other languages? Do you have any ...

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How did the verb 掛ける come to have many meanings?
7 votes

(This is not a full answer but I think too long for a comment): There appears to be a paper that would cover this more fully. 多義動詞「かける」と「かかる」の意味拡張に関する一考察 - 仙崎 幸子 (A discussion of the expansion ...

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How and when do Japanese children learn kanas and kanji?
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7 votes

The curriculum guidelines for grade one (see 言語事項 section イ) only state that children should be able to read and write hiragana and katakana, and use words that are written in katakana in sentences (e....

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How is Japanese regulated by the Japanese government and any other organizations?
7 votes

文化庁 also publish guidelines on okurigana, the writing of gairaigo, and the use of romaji. Those can be seen here. Other documents here include guidelines on the use of punctuation, iteration marks, ...

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Why was both katakana and hiragana created?
7 votes

As I understand the Japanese wikipedia articles: Hiragana and katakana were both developed from 万葉仮名【まんようがな】, itself a phonetic script using kanji for their readings. For hiragana, there was an ...

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What does it mean when newspapers give furigana for 常用{じょうよう} kanji?
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6 votes

Newspapers do not 100% stick to the 常用漢字 kanji. They have their own style guidelines for kanji use, and there is such a thing as the "新聞常用漢字表". This includes: Kanji not in the joyo treated as joyo: ...

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Are there any rules for choosing between おお and おう?
6 votes

It reflects old kana usage. Basically, where there's おお, the second お used to be either ほ or を。 There's some discussion here, with the example of 通り (used to be とほり、now とおり) vs 党利 (used to be たうり, now ...

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へうげもの - Hyouge Mono?
6 votes

へうげもの is old kana usage (see for example here for some tables of current/old spelling). According to the wikipedia article on this manga, the reading for へうげもの is ひょうげもの, so it is being romanised as ...

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なにかと思ったら meaning
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6 votes

~たら conditional form of verbs is not always best translated as "if". For example, it is sometimes used when the outcome is unexpected (often in this case the following phrase would be in past tense). ...

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Why are い-adjectives often used as nouns?
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6 votes

This is not a 'productive' grammar. There are certain cases (e.g. 近い・近くの、多い・多くの) where there are both noun and i-adjective forms, but you don't generally see "高くの". Where the noun form ...

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Is the difference between On and Kun readings greater than just the pronunciation of the character?
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6 votes

(1) A kanji's meaning is the same regardless of reading. Not always true, and in many cases it's hard to talk about giving a kanji a singular "meaning". Take this set of words: 着る{きる}、着物{きもの}、着く{つく}、...

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What determines whether a word gets a kanji compound or katakana?
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6 votes

You forgot the other option: abbreviations like IPアドレス, HDD, etc. This is quite common when you start getting long, unwieldy strings of katakana. I think there are multiple factors going on: People ...

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Are the meanings of 煙 and 烟 identical?
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6 votes

Just for reference, according to an online Chinese dictionary 烟 appears to be considered the simplified variant of 煙. I don't think that the right-hand components have anything to do with the ...

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Analyzing sentences like 日本がピンチだ and 明日は雨だ
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6 votes

Perhaps part of the solution is the dropping of words assumed from context? 明日は雨だ → 明日(の天気)は雨だ You could consider this as a type of sentence known as "ウナギ文". http://www.sf.airnet.ne.jp/~ts/...

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Clarification of hard to understand Japanese Mahjong rule
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6 votes

一飜縛り【いーはんしばり】: your hand must be worth one han before you can declare a win. 二ハン場、I think, is a reference to 場【ば】ゾロ which is an additional two han given when calculating the score (two han is usual, ...

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