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Japanese Language - Questions and Answers in 

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Are you trying to learn Japanese? Do you know some Japanese, but need some help with a translation? Do you need to be able some random thing in Japanese? Can't figure out a particular kanji?

Well, this thread is for you! If you have any questions at all related to the Japanese language, you can ask them here!

You can request a translation from Japanese to English or English to Japanese, but keep in mind the people helping you don't necessarily have a ton of time to spend on this. Try to keep your requests short.

My favorite dictionary, and the one I'd use to give you an answer when I don't know a particular word is Jim Breen's WWJDC. Check there or if you want a simple word meaning.

Your resident Japanese helpers:

If you think you know an answer, feel free to give it!

edited by Joshura on May 19, 2012 at 6:27 AM

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 8:44 PM

waitwhat me?! I'm one of the folks that usually asks questions and not answer them /o/

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 9:29 PM

If you need my help I'm free to do what I can too.

Posted on May 19, 2012 at 3:31 AM

please explain the differences between the "wa" "ga" and "wo" particles thoroughly, i think i kinda get it, but i need to be sure...

Posted on May 25, 2012 at 5:40 PM

please explain the differences between the "wa" "ga" and "wo" particles thoroughly, i think i kinda get it, but i need to be sure...

"wo" is easy. That's the "direct object marker." For any transitive verb, where you act upon another object, you mark that object by placing "wo" after it. The character is を, and it's pronounced as "o."

For example, "He threw the ball." is ボールなげた。(Booru wo nageta)
Booru is ball, nageta is the past tense of the verb "to throw." "Wo" here is vital to tell you the relationship between the verb and the noun. (He is implied by context, it could also be "I threw the ball," or some other personal pronoun)

The other part of that question is rather difficult to answer.

In short, the differences between wa and ga are very loose. Choosing to use one over the other often depends upon context, and usually you just have to learn each specific use case as you go.

Really, I've been avoiding answering this because it's hard! I will get more specific later if someone doesn't come along to save me sooner than that.

Posted on May 29, 2012 at 9:53 PM

I also haven't answered because they're tricky, and because I haven't studied grammar for like 6 years. But..

I remember the rule they told us was something like "When the focus is what comes after the particle, it's wa. When the focus is on what is before, it's ga."

That's not super specific but..
If, for example, you're saying "My name is Jonas", then the focus is on what your name is - that's the point of the sentence. Then you'd say "Ore no namae wa Jonas". ...Problem is I can't think of a sentence that shows the opposite. Josh help me out :D

And then there's that you use ga whenever introducing someone new.. Eh.

I was never very good with grammar, I generally just go by feel :p

Posted on May 30, 2012 at 10:31 AM

O.o no wonder im confused then... haha XD thanks anyway, guys. i got the wo part at least :)

Posted on May 30, 2012 at 11:50 AM

One rule that's helped me out a bit is to think of は as "As for" or "In the case of"

Sounds a bit weird, but it helps sometimes.

"As for my name, it's Casey."

Sometimes that helps since が seems kinda weird there.

I dunno, I still mess up on it all the time.

Posted on June 10, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Steel asked the question: What's guardian in Japanese?

保護者 【ほごしゃ】(hogosha) (n) guardian; protector; patron;
後見 【こうけん】(kouken) (n,vs) (1) guardianship; guardian; (2) (theatrical) assistant; prompter;

edited by Joshura on July 25, 2012 at 8:28 AM

Posted on July 25, 2012 at 8:28 AM

Was just coming here to ask again, Thanks! Kouken was the one I was trying to remember, but I like the meaning of hogosha better....

Posted on July 25, 2012 at 5:30 PM

I haz a question. Can the word Hikaru in any way mean "fireworks"? I don't see anywhere in google saying it can but there is a girl insisting on it and another one confirming it but the first seems a noob and the second is a weeaboo who started learning japanese and doesn't rly know much.

Posted on November 1, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Some quick dictionaring leads me to believe that hikaru can only be a verb. However, the verb itself means "to shine, to glitter, to be bright", which in my opinion describes pretty well what fireworks do.

I wouldn't trust anything I say about japanese as absolute, not by a long shot. But at least I don't think I'm very wrong, and I cite my sources :P

edited by Higure on November 1, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Posted on November 1, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Fireworks have a very specific word, and that's not it. Japanese isn't exactly a language known for its synonyms.

花火 (はなび)hanabi - fireworks

And of course, Higure is right!

I think you could say hanabi ga hikatteiru to mean "fireworks are going off"

edited by Joshura on November 1, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Posted on November 1, 2012 at 2:52 PM

I know what hikaru means (as I said, I googled a lot :P) but because it has some of the effects of the fireworks, it doesn't mean it's the same :P The sun is bright but you won't refer to the sun itself as Hikaru. That's what I mean :P

So Hikaru can't be called by any means fireworks, right? I knew the word was hanabi but the girl said she wanted Hikaru as her japanese name that can also mean fireworks and I know that's wrong but I prefer having someone's, well, actual knowledge than just mine xD Ok, so now I can tell her than she is wrong and that Hikaru doesn't mean fireworks!

Posted on November 1, 2012 at 3:46 PM

As a name, it's fine. I had a student with that name who used the kanji 光, to mean light.

There's also 輝 which means radiance.

There's probably enough leeway in there somewhere to call it fireworks, but nobody would think it when she tells them her name.

Posted on November 2, 2012 at 2:47 PM


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