Japanese collocations

Until I watched the most excellent video by Anthony Lauder on YouTube, I had never heard of collocations in language. Turns out they are super important in language learning. Collocations are groups of words that often go together in a language. As an example, Anthony gives the phrase ‘fast food’. We, in the United States say fast food, not ‘quick food’ or ‘rapid food’. Fast food is the collocation of the words fast and food to describe food you get at a counter at a restaurant such as Wendy’s.

An English learner could describe the concept using more language than ‘fast food’, but to sound like a natural English speaker, at least in the U.S., fast food is the way to go.

Naturally, I hit the Web to search for resources on collocations in Japanese. I hit a wall right away. The only resource, and it’s EVERYWHERE, is the book Japanese Collocations by Kakuko Shoji. I could not find an extensive free resource anywhere. So I resigned myself to buying the aforementioned book. Before I did that, I looked for some reviews of the book and what I found was that many people said they could have gotten the same material from a Japanese-English dictionary. Hmmmmm…

I reached into my language bag and pulled out my trusty Random House Japanese-English/English-Japanese dictionary and perused through its pages and guess what? they were right! Here are some examples of Japanese collocations from the dictionary (in Romaji; sorry)

jitsuwa – true story
Jitsu no haha – biological mother
kono mondaijitai – the problem itself
sei sabetsu – sex discrimination
kodomo-sae – even a child
…ni seihirei shite – in direct proportion to
nomisugiru – drink to excess
mentsu o ushinau – lose face
mi ga naru – bear fruit
kusuri ni natta – (I) learned a good lesson.
hookookankaku – sense of direction
jikan ga arunai – have no time
jikan ga aru – have time
hora o fuku – tell a tall tale
tabehoodai – all you can eat
gozonji no yoo ni – as you already know
fuji no yamai – incurable disease

…and many more.

I guess I will work with the collocations in my dictionary for now.

Thank you for stopping by!


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