you look ...

Do you have a translation question?
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Wanwo
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you look ...

Post by Wanwo » Sun 08.26.2007 10:55 am

pretty きれいね
cute    かわいいね
etc.

Easy enough. What about 'you look intelligent'

あたまがいいね

Doesn't this translate as 'You are intelligent'.

I want to use it in this context:

'You look intelligent. Help me out. What's the reading of this kanji?'

So how can I best say, 'You look intelligent.' Or is it best to say あたまがいいね and it will be understood by context?

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Yudan Taiteki
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RE: you look ...

Post by Yudan Taiteki » Sun 08.26.2007 11:12 am

I think it would be best not to try to translate English phrases into Japanese. Just say ちょっとお聞きしたいんですけど、この漢字はどう読みますか。 If this is a friend, just say ちょっといい?この漢字はどう読むの?

In general, it's better to stick to normal Japanese patterns rather than try to translate from English -- if you are a non-native speaker, a Japanese person already has to work hard to understand your accent and intonation, and if your Japanese is not something that they expect to hear in the context, that makes it even harder to figure out what you're saying.
Last edited by Yudan Taiteki on Sun 08.26.2007 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Mike Cash
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RE: you look ...

Post by Mike Cash » Sun 08.26.2007 11:18 am

What Chris said.

But the grammar structure you ask about is very useful and not particularly difficult, so we may as well lay it out for you.

You're looking for the adjective suffix ~そう.

頭がよさそう

If you've bumped up against one of the things we express with an adjective in English but which gets expressed with verbs in Japanese, then ように見える comes in handy.

疲れているように見える
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Yudan Taiteki
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RE: you look ...

Post by Yudan Taiteki » Sun 08.26.2007 11:21 am

As a side note, in general the そう gets attached to the i-adjective minus the i (i.e. たかそう, おもしろそう). いい is an exception in that the more formal version よい is used (よさそう); this is the same as the negative being よくない and such.
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NocturnalOcean
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RE: you look ...

Post by NocturnalOcean » Sun 08.26.2007 11:32 am

Also note that kirei ne, and kawaii ne isn't the same.
Kawaii is an i-adjective, and kirei is a na-adjective. kirei da ne would be somewhat equal to kawaii ne. Though female speech tend to use the da-less version.
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Wanwo
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RE: you look ...

Post by Wanwo » Sun 08.26.2007 12:41 pm

ちょっとお聞きしたいんですけど、この漢字はどう読みますか

This looks good but I don't know what this word means or how to say it's kanji.

お聞きしたいん

NocturnalOcean
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RE: you look ...

Post by NocturnalOcean » Sun 08.26.2007 12:58 pm

it is read "chotto okikishitain desu kedo, kono kanji ha dou yomimasu ka"

However okikishitai is not really necessary, kikitain desu is enough.
And I also think the shortversioned けど is improper to use with such a formal expression as okikishitai, so maybe use the full version keredomo, or ga. I think maybe ga is more used in these kinds of expressions. Not entirely sure about that.
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Wanwo
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RE: you look ...

Post by Wanwo » Sun 08.26.2007 1:50 pm

chotto kikiitain desu kedo,...

It's a bit like 'Excuse me, but ...' isn't it.

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Yudan Taiteki
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RE: you look ...

Post by Yudan Taiteki » Sun 08.26.2007 9:31 pm

Personally I don't think there's anything wrong with "o-kiki sitai" and "kedo" together, but certainly you can use "ga" there if you feel like it. (o-kiki sitai isn't really "formal", it's polite -- IMO there's a difference between formality and politeness.)

"chotto kikitai n desu kedo" literally means something like "There's just a little something I want to ask you, but...[is it OK?]"
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witega
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RE: you look ...

Post by witega » Sun 08.26.2007 10:31 pm

きれいね does not mean 'you look good'. It means '(something--exactly what depends on the context of the conversation since its implied not stated) is pretty, isn't it?'. Because the ね is seeking confirmation from the hearer, you wouldn't use it in a compliment because the other person can't very well answer, はい、私はきれいですよ ("Yes I am pretty"). The same applies to かわいいね

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Yudan Taiteki
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RE: you look ...

Post by Yudan Taiteki » Sun 08.26.2007 10:45 pm

I don't know if I agree that you cannot use ね in giving complements. 日本語お上手ですね is the classic; I don't think the ね is literally looking for agreement (はい、上手ですよ) or confirmation, it's just connecting with the listener.

(I would agree that きれいだね might not be understood as "you look pretty", but I'm not sure.)
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NocturnalOcean
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RE: you look ...

Post by NocturnalOcean » Mon 08.27.2007 12:16 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
Personally I don't think there's anything wrong with "o-kiki sitai" and "kedo" together, but certainly you can use "ga" there if you feel like it.
I just remember when I had a conversation with my teacher this last semester, I remember I said kedo. And she commented that I should not use kedo when speaking politely, because kedo is a shortened form and thus not so polite, and she said using the fullversion would be more appropriate. That is my only source for this so. I just based it on that.
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Yudan Taiteki
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RE: you look ...

Post by Yudan Taiteki » Mon 08.27.2007 8:40 am

She may be right, I can have as many "personally" feelings as I want but I'm not a native speaker. :)
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