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Top new questions this week:

Etymology of 宵【よい】

This is a loose follow-up of my first question here on JLSE. I tried to check gogen-allguide.com and 大辞林, but couldn't find anything definitive. Unfortunately I don't know any other resources for …

etymology  
asked by Earthliŋ 9 votes

When to use 〜す verbs or their する verb counterparts

Consider the verb pairs 表【ひょう】する and 表【ひょう】す、or 訳【やく】する and 訳【やく】す。 I realize the distinction may be academic(for example, either way the ます form is always spelled 訳します), but what is the functional …

word-choice verbs synonyms  
asked by Khakionion 8 votes

What to say at the cash register in the convenience store

I just came back from Japan, it is my first time, so I found myself in the situations, that I wasn't prepared for. At the convenience store I noticed natives tend not to say much to the staff at all, …

politeness spoken-language practical  
asked by dimadesu 8 votes
answered by virmaior 1 vote

What kind of Japanese is this?

I am looking at a Japanese map of the early 19th century. It contains a printed comment that I am trying to find translation for. It does not seem to be modern Japanese so I am wondering what kind of …

writing-identification  
asked by user5161 7 votes
answered by yhirai 12 votes

Is this seat being chased, or is the person in it being chased from it?

In my JLPT textbook, I have this sentence: 彼{かれ}は国民{こくみん}の信頼{しんらい}を裏切{うらぎ}った。それゆえに、権力{けんりょく}の座{ざ}を追{お}われることとなったのである。 I think this sentence means, "He betrayed the trust of the people. As a …

grammar  
asked by Dave M G 6 votes
answered by yhirai 8 votes

Verbing to form 五段 verbs: does it only generate ラ行 verbs?

Background: if you have a noun, the easiest way to convert it into a verb is by gluing a する onto the end of it. Examples of this abound, ranging from old Sino compounds to recent English borrowings. …

verbs  
asked by senshin 6 votes
answered by snailboat 3 votes

Is answering with simple ない grammatically correct, when saying I physically don't possess some object

In Japan I often felt いいえ or 違う is not the best choice, when asked, if I don't carry something with me. Like at the airport security lady asked me, if I there were any forbidden objects in my luggage. …

grammar word-choice  
asked by dimadesu 6 votes
answered by yhirai 2 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

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", …

word-choice nuances politeness interjections  
asked by hippietrail 25 votes
answered by Derek Schaab 30 votes

When is it appropriate to use お疲れ様 (otsukaresama)?

I know the general meaning of using お疲れ様です/でした to express gratitude for some work, but I'm a bit fuzzy about appropriate times to use it. I know it is a common saying when leaving for the day, and …

usage nuances set-phrases business-japanese  
asked by Troyen 11 votes
answered by deceze 13 votes

Can you answer these?

What do we know about the phonetic distinctions between the 甲類 and 乙類 syllables in 上代特殊仮名遣い?

上代特殊仮名遣い【じょうだいとくしゅかなづかい】 is a Nara-period practice in which two distinct versions of certain syllables (called 甲類【こうるい】 and 乙類【おつるい】, and denoted by subscript 1 and 2 in Latin script) were …

history linguistics  
asked by senshin 5 votes

How can I use できない and しまう? I'd like to apologize for not being able to do something

I'd like to apologize for not being able to do xyz. Rather than just saying 「すみません、何々ができません。」, could I say something like: 何々ができなくてしまいます。 Or is しまう always used with a positive te-form verb?

grammar negative-forms  
asked by MatthewRNYC 3 votes

Variations on sentence-ending 「〜だと!?」 (used when repeating something in surprise)

In a recent question, we talked about using sentence-ending 〜だと after a verb, quoting something you found surprising. The example given in the linked question is as follows: A「なんでもします!」 …

grammar  
asked by snailboat 3 votes
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