うち vs. いえ?

Hi everyone! I’m almost done with Genki I and getting increasingly confused about the difference between the two words for “house/home”, うち & いえ, and whether they are interchangeable. Does anybody have an answer?

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うち is used to talk about the place you live in (maybe it is a house, maybe a department building or other). いえ is a house (the type of building that is called a house).

They both use the same kanji though: 家

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And sometimes when you see someone writing about their own 家, it can be either うち or いえ.

Edit: either うち or いえ … depending on what @SleepyOne says below me. :wink:

My understanding is that うち is closer to “home”, which encompasses the house, the environment, your family within, etc. While いえ is simply closer to “house.” There’s a couple examples here.

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Agreeing with above based on this video by japanesepod101!

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I see! Thanks a bunch guys! :slight_smile:

うち reminds me of that cute manga チーズスエートホーム in which little kitten チ loses her way home. This may help you remember which is which, too :slight_smile:

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Oh no, 可愛すぎる

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Aw, this is adorable! Is the manga readable if your level is intermediate/advanced beginner?

If anyone is suggesting that いえ can’t be used for an apartment, that’s not true. The distinction being made by that video, for instance, is just that いえ is a physical place, whereas うち can mean more than just the physical place.

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So, いえ is house where うち is home?

うち is where your 心 is.

You could understand Chi’'s Sweet Home even if you knew no Japanese.

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Yes, I think so - It’s simple enough to actually read a great deal of dialogue. Some of the pages are a bit harder, but you can pick up a lot from context and start picking up on things as you learn. I’d recommend this series because, while it is quite simple, it’s pretty endearing and enjoyable. :blush:

As @Leebo said (and as I found out the hard way coming to Japan), いえ refers to a physical residence in general, not particular type of residence that is a house. 一戸建て (いっこだて) refers to a house as opposed to an apartment. うち is the home found in the phrase “there’s no place like home.” いえ is where you live.

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迷子迷子の子猫ちゃん

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…This is fantastic, thanks for sharing! I think I recognize the melody from My Neighbours the Yamadas - it plays on their car radio when they’ve just realized they left their daughter at the mall. :grin:

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Hi,
To fully understand the Japanese language I advise you to learn Japanese culture and history as well.
In my history book there is 6 pages about the concept いえ.
I won’t write it here though :rofl:
The main point is that いえ is household but much wider than in western culture, it is formed of several generations, also the passed ones.

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What history book do you use?

We studied the only Finnish written book of Japanese history and culture. We also used a very wide English written book A History of Japan 1-3 by Sansom George

Very helpful, thanks