Example sentence for "Vacuum Cleaner"

JapanesePod101’s word of the day is 掃除機をかける (v. to vacuum)
So I decided to look it up on Wanikani and found 掃除機 (n. vacuum cleaner)

But the example sentence seems to imply that outer space is a vacuum cleaner and not a vacuum (which from what I can tell is 真空) so the wordplay seems to break down in Japanese.

Is there something I’m missing? Does the “vacuum/vacuum cleaner” wordplay actually survive the language barrier?


So… No one answered this one? :thinking:

Yeah, let’s get an answer!

To save people clicks, the vocabulary sample sentence is as follows:

There does seem to be the word 真空, which seems to better describe what space typically is – an empty void. This certainly seems to be more associated with physics’ definition of a vacuum, e.g. experiments conducted in a vacuum.

Unsurprisingly, 掃除機 overwhelmingly spurs results with the dust cleaner device.

I don’t think the word itself necessarily translates over to wordplay as it does in English, but some stretches of the imagination between what space may do (i.e. be supposedly like a vacuum cleaner) can somewhat pass a similar meaning.

The other thing that gets me is when the Kanji for machine (機) is taken out, the word is “cleaning”.

The literal translation “cleaning machine” has no mention of vacuum at all.
So it seems in Japanese, the focus is on what it does, rather than how it does it, as in English.

Maybe it’s supposed to be a joke and we’re not getting it? :thinking:

Like a pun, but without the bit that makes it a pun?

Not sure… I’d guess we need to ask staff members, but I don’t know who exactly:DD Considering no one else came and answered

Aside from the Feedback forum, there’s also contacting Wanikani staff.

I’m kind of in belief that:

  • The speaker is thinking how space is like a vacuum cleaner conceptually anyway, being misunderstood that “space is a vacuum” isn’t “space is a 真空”, but “space is a 掃除機”. Some searches for 真空 do yield suction articles, and 真空パック exists as vacuum sealed bags, so the two words still do have tangential meanings with each other.
  • This sentence wants to be cute and memorable by trying to do a pun, but when translating it some words were lost in… 宇宙. :^)

WK gives the vocab 並列 the meaning of “in a row” (no synonyms).

The example sentence for 並列 is:

If my boyfriend was bad at reverse parallel parking I’d be disappointed in him.

After that, WK gives the vocab 平行 the meaning of “parallel” (also no synonyms).

The example sentence for 平行 is:

I heard that studying multiple languages at the same time is more efficient than only studying one.

Now wouldn’t it be better to give 並列 the synonym of “parallel” (because it’s used in the Japanese word for parallel parking) and then give 平行 the synonym of “concurrent” (because you learn multiple languages concurrently)?

1 Like

Looking through my account, I didn’t add any synonyms for 並列. I don’t remember, but it’s possible I didn’t add “parallel” so I wouldn’t use that answer for both words and get them mixed up.

For 並行 I added “concurrent” and “at the same time” as synonyms. Those two are probably worth recommending WaniKani add as built in synonyms, and to me “concurrent” feels better as the primary meaning for 並行.

Either the example sentence or the main meaning of 収める should be rewritten.

For 収める, the main meaning given is “to store”, but the example sentence uses the meaning of “to finish”:

What I should do to finish the fight?

収める is, unfortunately, one of those Japanese words that cannot be translated to one English word, and this is fine. It’s not WK’s job to explain every subtle nuances in a word’s meaning. However, confusing the users with example sentences that don’t sync with the main meaning is also counterproductive.

This is made even more urgent for 収める because of its homophone, 納める (which we will learn on level 33). Not to mention 治める and 修める (both of which are not on WK but marked as “common word” on Jisho.org)

They give “to finish” in the alternative meanings. At some point they’ll add more sentences and it’ll just be one of several, some of which will probably use other meanings as well. That seems like the way to resolve it.

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.