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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Japanese Language tips: Confusing words.

Me first tips on learning Japanese :D

I'm going to cover some non-formal, lesser known words this first time. For people studying overseas most likely you haven't learned these or even heard of them.
The words are:
Yabai
Mechya
Maji

Japanese language is a very difficult and tricky language to learn. And it gets more tricky to understand people when this word gets spoken.
*Yabai*.
If you look up this word from a dictionary it will say something like "risky, not good"
It is written in dictionary's BUT it also has lot's of other uses that are not written.
Yabai - Can Either mean something good or something bad. For example If Shamisen says:
"Ano ko no kami no ke wa *Yabai*" (That child's hairsyle is *Yabai*).
This could either mean 1. "That child's hairstyle is Awesome" or
2. "That child's hairstyle is Awful "
So in this case Yabai comes in as either Awesome or Awful, complete opposites. To Know in which meaning is Shamisen saying Yabai you Will have to read Shamisen's face.
Another example: "Aitsu Yabai" (He/She is *Yabai*) note* Aitsu=less respective form of he/she.
This can mean 1. "He/She is Cool/awesome/smart" or
2. "He/She is Loser/stupid/dangerous"...

There have been times when kids said to me "Yabai keeki tabetai" (*Yabai* want to eat cake)
I understood this the first time as (*Oh NO* want to eat cake).
And times when they say just *Yabai* out of the red.
My understanding of this word is that depending on the situation and user's expression it can almost mean anything .So to understand you just have to FeEL the Atmosphere... smell it.
I think young people mainly use this word. At least in high schools you'll hear it everywhere.
Ok "Tsugi" (Next)

*Mechya*.
This word is not tricky at all, but no teachers will teach this I think. I heard of this word only after coming in Japan.
If you look up this word from a dictionary It'll say something like "Absurd, unreasonable."
It also is used like the English equivalent "really, very", and the more known Japanese words "totemo, hontouni". Examples below:
"Kono pan tsukutta hito wa *Mechya* Jyouzu" (The guy who made this bread is *Really* good)
Some times *Kuchya* is added after *Mechya* and becomes *Mechya Kuchya* for more power. Like below
"Kono bosu wa *Mechya Kuchya* tsuyoi" (This boss is *Really Really* strong).
Another example "Kare wa *Mechya Kuchya* hayai" (He is *Extremely* fast).
So *Mechya Kuchya* just means "Really, and Very" . And is well used between young people especially students.

*Maji*.
This word is not that difficult. Also heard for the first time after coming in Japan.
It wasn't listed in my dictionary.
It's English equivalent is "seriously?, really?,!" can be easily explained in Examples:
Shamisen said: "Watashi no namae wa Sumisu desu." (My name is Smith)
Koto said : "*Maji* de?. O_O " (*Seriously*O_O).
"*Maji* de?" is the shortened version of "*Maji* desuka?" always used in the shortened version though.
Maji also can be used like below
"Sore *Maji* kowai". (That's *REALLY* scary)

And this is it for now.

Hope this is useful and helps.
All of these information is based on my experience of being an exchange student here.

5 comments:

  1. This is pretty awesome and interesting! For those of us who love japanese, learning little bits like this is great hehe. You know english has those "known only from experience" quirks too. Lets see if I can match yabai:

    Yabai: haha, I can't think of any one word that can take opposite meanings. Maybe "damn..." can either be a positive surprise or a negative exclamation. Also, maybe "bad" as in "that dude's pretty bad" could mean hes really cool or sucks lol. Usually though "badass" is the positive version and if its just "bad" it just means bad >.>

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  2. Thanks. Tis very confusing at first but got the hang of it. But it's still confusing when someone says it behind you. you don't know what meaning its implied.

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  3. (MManiac)

    \(o_O)/ (confused)

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  4. I know it's a bit creepy that I'm posting this comment way in August but I thought I should share this... I once had a Japanese teacher who was in college at the time, and she taught me that yabai was basically the equivalent to: OH MY GOD! Makes sense, because that can be either really good, or really bad.

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  5. Wow you're right. That would've made explaining a lot easier.
    If you read this in January or so and commenting now, Then it is Strangely Abnormally Unusual.... Just kidding ^_^ haha I don't care.
    Thanks for Sharing.

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