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Describing things in Japanese

Yamatoblue

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I've always found Japanese to be a tough language, but when I looked at the Japanese version of the Harry Potter books, I was astounded by the amount of kanji! :p
But, anyways, i was wondering is Japanese as rich a language as English when it comes to describing things? In English we have so many synonyms and such, that we can always change words around for variety.

My question is, how does on describe things in Japanese?
The red-haired short girl?
Akagami de se ga hikui shoujo?

Japanese is a flexible language but how does one describe things in detail? Can someone please give me some examples of detailed descriptions and how one would say that in Japanese.

Thanks.
 

Elizabeth

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My question is, how does on describe things in Japanese?
The red-haired short girl?
Akagami de se ga hikui shoujo?
Red-haired is "akage" (赤毛)

Japanese is a flexible language but how does one describe things in detail? Can someone please give me some examples of detailed descriptions and how one would say that in Japanese.
Thanks.
Physical descriptions are completely translatable I think. But that is different from a language rich in synonyms, which Japanese definitely has it's just that a lot of rarer words are not used as naturally in everyday life as in English. So I guess I'm not clear on exactly what you're asking.

たとえばどんな文ですか?例文を書いてください。
 

Yamatoblue

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OK, sorry I'm not being very clear. I want to know how to describe objects and people in Japanese...what the sentence structure would be,etc.
For example, how would you say, "The mountain was shining in a mix of blue and purple." yama wa shikon(blue-purple) ni kagayaita? ni suru? how do u say it?

or
"The tall, wide-nosed youngster was playing by himself"

Im trying to find out how to describe things in Japanese.
Just to say "he has a long nose and short legs "(kare wa nagai hanai wo shite chiisai ashi ga suru." Would you say it like that? Is it grammatically correct?
 

Elizabeth

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Yamatoblue said:
OK, sorry I'm not being very clear. I want to know how to describe objects and people in Japanese...what the sentence structure would be,etc.
For example, how would you say, "The mountain was shining in a mix of blue and purple." yama wa shikon(blue-purple) ni kagayaita? ni suru? how do u say it?
or
"The tall, wide-nosed youngster was playing by himself"
Se ga takakute, haba no hiroi hana no shounen wa hitori de asonde imashita.


Im trying to find out how to describe things in Japanese.
Just to say "he has a long nose and short legs "(kare wa nagai hanai wo shite chiisai ashi ga suru." Would you say it like that? Is it grammatically correct?
Kare wa nagai hana wo shite ite, mijikai ashi desu.
or Kare wa hana ga nagaku, ashi ga mijikai desu.
or Kare ha nagai hana de mijikai ashi wo shite (or motte?) imasu.


I'm not completely positive, but it should be close to one of these (or each)....I'll try to ask and make sure.
 
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Glenn

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You could also place a comma between modifiers, like this:

「祖父」と呼ばれるのが大嫌いな、俳句を作るのが好きなおかまのハナさんです。

Or not, like this:

家出した若い女性のみゆきです。

I think doing it this way more directly modifies the head noun. Probably you'll want to use commas the longer the modifying clauses get, as in the first example. This isn't to say that the way you're doing it is wrong, of course -- I'm just introducing an alternate way to do it.
 

Elizabeth

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I've usually seen physical descriptions with just the commas as well, such as

彼女は長い、きれいな脚をしています。

In spoken sentences with more than one noun being modified the connector "de" is often replaced with a pause as well, but even in semiformal writing I would advice leaving it in -- at least while you're still learning. 😅

yama wa shikon(blue-purple) ni kagayaita? ni suru?
Yama wa (or ga) shikon ni kagayaiteiru.
 
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Elizabeth

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Kare wa nagai hana wo shite ite, mijikai ashi desu.
or Kare wa hana ga nagaku, ashi ga mijikai desu.
or Kare ha nagai hana de mijikai ashi wo shite (or motte?) imasu.


By the way I did ask and any of the above are fine ('de' being the most casual), although "nagai hana" apparently has the feel of an elephant's trunk in Japanese -- not sure if that is a veiled reference to foreign noses or not, but you may want to use with caution nonetheless. :p
 

Yamatoblue

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----
Elizabeth: You said nagai ashi and then added kirei...so you don't need connectors(nagakute, or "kirei de"). Or you said shiteite, nagai ashi desu.
so you dont say ...shiteite ,nagai ashi shiteiru (or something like that?)
No connectors? Sorry Im making this so confusing, but I'm confused 😌



Ok,thanks!
I was just using those as an example.
Have you guys read American novels or books that have been translated in Japanese?
I always wonder whether the tsuuyakusha is able to translate the descriptions and such.
For example, I'm reading a novel in English called "The Eye of the World," by Robert Jordan.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it does seem like japanese has a shortage of adjectives compared to English, right?
Here's a sentence from that book, see if you could put this in Japanese:
"The broad, milk-white arch that gave the town its name dominated Whitebridge as much close up as it did from afar, but once Rand was in the streets he realized that the town was every bit as big as Baerlon, though not so crowded with people."

Another question is how to say in Japanese as something is happening...in my Japan 202 class we learned "aida." Sakubun o kaiteita aida ni anshinshitekita. <--this is probably not correct, so can someone please correct it? We learned aida but I dont think Im using it correctly, I meant to say "as I was writing the essay I started to feel more at ease."(because I was closer to finishing it).
Thanks!
 

Elizabeth

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Yamatoblue said:
----
Elizabeth: You said nagai ashi and then added kirei...so you don't need connectors(nagakute, or "kirei de"). Or you said shiteite, nagai ashi desu.
so you dont say ...shiteite ,nagai ashi shiteiru (or something like that?)
No connectors? Sorry Im making this so confusing, but I'm confused 😌
You can replace connecting words with commas in writing, I just think for speech it is clearer to have them -- nagai hana de mijikai ashi.

I'm not sure how 'shiteite ,nagai ashi shiteiru' comes across but I suppose
it's like in English "She has a long nose and has short legs" is unnecessary since the 'have' in short legs again is understood. Although keeping the verb at the end is probably least confusing for a Japanese audience as well, so do whatever it takes to make it easiest on you both. 😌
 
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