The quick or short Language Questions Thread (not grammar)


How does it relate to one being the Go-On, the other Kan-On? Do the Chinese distinguish it like that with different readings nowadays? Did they do that two thousand years ago? Did the Japanese really import one kind of interpretation first, and then the other :thinking:


Given the number of exceptions, I think any correlation between meaning and pronunciation is coincidental.


Aha, I see. Can you post an image (or a link?) of the original source?


There’s been a lot of debate, and my content is mainly conjecture based on of experience (and what has worked for me, at least in my head), but many solid arguments have been made, so here’s a translated excerpt from a post from the Japanese Language Center here to provide input from a native speaker. If anyone finds any issues with my interpretation, please do elaborate. I’ll be starting from point 2, as the beginning content is anecdotal and ひと is fairly straightforward.

“When a word expressing the actions (behaviors, movements; see 動作) of a person precedes 人, it is said as 「にん」.”

Several examples are listed, but the scheme seems to be that most nouns capable of being する verbs or that conjugate directly into a verb using kun’yomi result in the 「にん」reading.

"When a word describing the attributes or condition (status, state; see 状態 of a person precedes 人, it is said as 「じん」.

Examples include nationality (日本人) and adjectives (美人 from 美しい人 and 老人 from 老い人。

The writer also emphasizes that there are exceptions, but states that having general idea where to start is better than simply trying to memorize every instance of the kanji.

I can screenshot it after work. I’ll likely edit it into this post. Pretty sure it’s 飴色, but I’d hate if I not only misunderstood but also missed a potential kanji to learn. :no_mouth:


Really! I had no idea.
I got into the Japanese fan club through anime ^_~
Thank you!


I’d like to ask something silly if possible.

For a younger sibling referring to their older sister, what is the difference between ねえさん and おねえちゃん?

I recently learned about お金 and お茶 and the description given in WK was that adding an お is used to elevate something and show respect for it. But as far as I can understand, the difference between さん and ちゃん is that the former is more respectful and the latter tends to be to show familiarity. So, what differentiates the two of these from each other?

Maybe I’m thinking of this too logically, but still.


Personal preference?

What people end up calling their family members is something that develops over time and with regard to the personal quirks of everyone involved.

In other words, you can’t assume anything about a particular relationship just because in one family the younger sibling calls the older sister おねえさん and in another family the younger sibling uses おねえちゃん, or doesn’t use the お or any possible combination of them.


Can you make assumptions if they call the older sister 姉貴?
(Mostly kidding, but kind of not)


I got a comment on my Instagram post saying “オシャレですね”. Jisho provides the translation “smartly dressed, stylish” for オシャレ, but it was a pic of my study space and not my outfit or something, so… What could it mean in this context? What could I reply to it?


It’s not just used for clothes. The main definition is based on the idea of a stylish dresser, but it extends to anything that evokes the same feeling. I’ve seen people use it for restaurants, parts of towns, etc.


Can someone explain 決裂 to me?

WaniKani and Jisho say it means “breakdown” or “rupture”. But I don’t really understand the usage in the example sentence:

That guy must have eagerly waited out their breakdown from behind bars.

Looking at two Japanese dictionaries ([1], [2]), it looks like an example of how it might be used is a breakdown in negotiations. But it’s still not entirely clear to me, so any clarifications or examples would help.


In the 広辞苑, that’s the second definition (the one about negotiations). And the first is 切り裂けること。切り裂くこと。

In other words, “to be torn apart.” I’m assuming it means for that group to kind of fall apart from something like internal conflict, or maybe someone actively destroyed the group, who knows what was imagined, but it means more than just the failed negotiation meaning.

EDIT: My girlfriend woke up, and I asked her showed her the sentence, and asked her “concretely, what happened to the 奴ら” and she said “別れた”.


I don’t see anything about 別れた in the English translation. I wonder if it’s not a good translation.


Wasn’t really looking at the English. Yeah, breakdown seems more appropriate for the negotiation meaning.


One small thing that’s been bugging me for a fair while (which may be more cultural than language), but why on Earth do numbered lists in (formal?) Japanese go 一、一、一?



How should I practice writing? Would it be better to write the kanji every time it pops up in a review or make an Anki deck? Also, should I bother writing the reading and meaning for the kanji/vocab under it?


This isn’t just for writing, but it does help with that.


Ahh that looks interesting! Thanks!

Did I understand/translate this correctly?

I’m reading a manga and there’s a couple sentences in a row with 相 and I can’t figure out what it’s supposed to mean in this context. Character 1 is telling character 2’s fortune, and then character 3 comments on it offhand.

Character 1: 「片思い中でしかもまったく相手に通じないがある…」
Character 3: 「障害だらけのね」

I’m not even sure if it’s supposed to be the same meaning of 相 in each sentence. The first could mean “seem/appear”, as one definition given by jisho (read as そう) is “a ‘seeming’ that fortune-tellers relate to one’s fortune”. But this definition doesn’t make as much sense for the second one. Maybe that’s the reading さが, meaning “one’s nature” or “one’s destiny”? Any help would be appreciated.