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Friday, March 13, 2009

教科書に載っていない日本語

KN^4: Japanese that Ain't in the Textbook

Another weekly installment of words and phrases that we wish we had known when we got here, all to help you make your 言い回し more 日本人ぽい。

Today's post is all about messing with people, in one way or another.
誘惑
ゆうわく
yuuwaku


Seduction; Temptation; Sensual seduction
I think that the English translation isn't quite accurate in terms of the nuance of "seduction," because of it's strong sexual connotation. While 誘惑 is a word that you can apply sexually or within the boundaries of ナンパ territory, I've heard it get bantered around light-heartedly quite a bit. Persuading someone to do something by the use of temptation can be covered by 誘惑, even something as innocent as tempting someone to eat a piece of cake.

The usage is like this: 誰々に 誘惑 +する or をかける to mean "to seduce someone," or rather "to try to seduce someone."

If you're on the opposite end, you can say 「誘惑しないで!」 unless you're receptive, in which case you've 誘惑に負けた (been seduced).
迷惑
めいわく
meiwaku


annoyance; disturbance; disruption; nuisance
Also used with をかける or する、this one gets used a lot in public announcements. Cell phones at the movies or on the train = 人の迷惑になる. If you ever get into a situation at a restaurant, or your apartment, or anywhere where the people around you are doing something that is disturbing you, you can use 迷惑. When ever I need to shush my rowdy drunken friends (NIRAV) I say "ちょっと迷惑をかけないように。。。” Yeah, that's right: when Nirav's drunk, he refuses to respond to anything but Japanese. That in itself is a pretty big 迷惑.



誤魔化す
ごまかす
gomakasu


to lie; to deceive; to charm; to be evasive
Check out those AWESOME 当て字! This is one of those situations where kanji with meanings AND readings that fit the concept of 誤魔化す were specifically chosen as the 当て字、and I think it's really cool, although 95% of the time, you'll see ごまかす in hiragana.

It's another word that gets tossed around in a friendly way (I get accused of it a lot), but it can be as negative as it sounds. Here are some contextual examples.

A politican who's good at 美辞麗句を並ぶこと might be ごまかしている.
Someone who's telling white lies ("I ate before I got here") to avoid saying or revealing something unpleasant ("I hate your cooking.") might be ごまかしている.
Yuri says はぐらかしたりすること is an example of ごまかす.
Many English-to-Japanese dictionaries will list ごまかす as one of the definitions for "manipulate."


騙す
だます
damasu


trick; cheat; deceive

Last on the list for today, 騙す will come up more often in the passive form: 騙される. Again, I don't like the translations so much... along with 誘惑、it's one of those words that I just find easier to think about in Japanese, without trying to English it. I guess I'd describe 騙される as "having one put over on you." It works for being the victim of a prank, a hoax, a scam, or a lie that you bought into... When Brett and I were in India, 毎日、騙された。Like the cab drivers who would drive us to places that were not where we wanted to go, insist that there was little difference, and then ask for money.

Have you had any opportunities to use or hear 「騙された」 in your Japanese experience?

2 comments:

SashTheRed said...

Thanks for this, guys. I'm still a little unsure about "gomakasu", though. There was a place in a show, where an old ramen maker was talking to a group of girls, and everytime they asked him a question, he stopped making the ramen for them. Eventually, when one of the girls wanted to ask him something, he said "I'm doing the ramen right now", and she said, "gomakashita yo, ojisan". What can it mean here?
Thanks!

Nirav said...

I like this as an example of 誤魔化すing someone:
http://thedailyyoji.blogspot.com/2008/09/break_11.html

Sash: Not having seen the show, I can't really tell you what it was supposed to mean, but this is one way I could see it having worked out. Let's say that he wasn't really working on the ramen, but the girl just asked him a question he didn't want to answer. Rather than answering it, he might have just said it so she would go away.