I don’t think that word means what you think it means

Previously I wrote about the stereotypes in my Japanese class. But now I’d like to focus on two rather egregious mistakes that people in my class have made. Hopefully other people who are learning Japanese will gain something from this (and if you’re in my class, perhaps you’d like to stop making these mistakes. Also, how did you find this post?)

The first is the use of daisuki – 大好き. Students are taught that the word means ‘love’, and while that’s true, it’s a rather strong word and really shouldn’t be used for describing how much you like Japanese food or something like that. (Also that makes you sound like a weeaboo.) Suki (好き) is a much better word to use in most situations. It still carries the same feeling of like or love, but with somewhat less emphasis. ‘Enamored’ probably isn’t a good translation for either word listed here, but the difference between suki and daisuki is perhaps the relative difference between ‘like’ and ‘enamored’. Oh, and as a side note, aisuru (愛する)  and its more common weeaboo form aishiteru, is also on the same relative level as daisuki. Unless you’re writing a love song or a J-drama, you probably shouldn’t use it.

Second, let’s talk about the word koibito (恋人). A decent translation of the word would be “lover”, but it carries a fairly strong connotation. As such, when you’re talking to the class about what you did with your boyfriend this weekend, koibito is definitely not the right word to use. You would never say, “My lover and I went to brunch” or something like that, unless you’re a weirdo. Or maybe you’ve watched far too much anime where they use the word, so you thought that was what was natural in conversation. It isn’t. In these circumstances you would use kare (彼) for your boyfriend or kanojo (彼女) for your girlfriend.

Oh, and just as a side note, don’t pronounce the su at the end of verbs. You come off as a huge tool.

Thursday, November 11th, 2010 10:45 pm - japanese

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