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contextual derivation of a particular phrase

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contextual derivation of a particular phrase

Postby chunk » August 12th, 2017 10:55 am



I'm less than a week into Japanese after being so heavily influenced from the anime I watch.
I had run into a phrase during an anime-watching binge - a phrase I had recognized from one of my first lessons made an appearance;


This phrase, one I thought had meant something along the lines of "nice to meet you" showed up in the title of this episode, as shown in the picture, above. The English translation of this title is "Take Care of the Counter Attack!"

The title looks to have よろしくand two kanji I could only imagine would mean "Counter Attack," so I would think よろしくin this context must mean "take care of," or something of the like.

I understand that there's still a lot of context-sensitive rules with the Japanese language, and I also recognize it's going to take a lot more than what little experience I have to wrap my head around everything, but this conundrum I had encountered brings up two questions;

Firstly, what other sorts of contexts should I know about the phrase - or term - よろしく? Would it be applicable to use this for "take care" in the future?

Secondly, and more importantly, a brief search on Google couldn't quite help me with my first question. What sort of database or dictionary could help me should I run into any sorts of confusion like this later on?

Thanks in advance,

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Re: contextual derivation of a particular phrase

Postby thegooseking » August 24th, 2017 11:23 am


よろしく is literally the adverbial form of よろしい, which in turn is the humble form of よい - 'good', so we literally translate it as 'well' or 'nicely'. However, よろしく is often used as an abbreviation of よろしくおねがいします, which you've already learned, but it's tricky because it can mean a lot of different things depending on the context. It can mean "please be nice to me", or "warmest regards", or "thanks in advance", etc. Because it's so often used in greetings, it can also just be used as a general greeting by itself, but it can also be used as kind of a signal that the pleasantries are over and it's time to get to work.

So, in this case, the speaker isn't saying what they want the other person to do about the 逆襲 (ぎゃくしゅう - "counter-attack"). I haven't seen the show so I don't know if there's any context, but I assume that the other person already knows what to do about it, and the speaker is saying "thanks in advance" for doing that thing. That doesn't really translate well into English, so it becomes "take care of..." but I'd say it has more of a sense of saying, "You know what to do". Quite often a literal translation of Japanese doesn't make much sense because context (or at least obvious context) can be omitted a lot more in Japanese than it can in English. So when we're translating into English we have to "fill in the blanks" as it were.

For "take care in future", I think a better way to say it would be お体に気を付けて(おからだ に き を つけて). If you're only a week or so in, the grammar behind that might be a bit more advanced, but generally 気を付けて means "please be careful" and お体 means 'yourself', so it's works out to "please take care of yourself". (Actually 気を付けて literally means "please attach your mind" and お体 literally means "your body", but we interpret them as "be careful" and 'yourself' respectively.)

I'm not sure of any resources that specifically cover things like this. The best advice I can give is to keep at it. The more Japanese you learn, the less reliant you'll become on trying to figure out what something means in English, and the more you'll focus on what it means in Japanese. The thing about Japanese is that, compared to other languages (especially English), and despite the omission of context, it's actually a remarkably consistent and logical language - once you've got a handle on how it works, there really are very few exceptions. However, it is also quite a unique language (linguists aren't even sure what language family it belongs to), so finding points it has in common with other languages is often difficult. You'll probably more than once hear advice to "think in Japanese". That's hard when you don't know much Japanese, and it seems nonsense to suggest that you have to be fluent in Japanese in order to learn Japanese, but that's not what it means. What it really means is that Japanese is unique enough that you really have to approach it on its own terms rather than trying to match it up to another language. What I find helpful with that is in fact the approach I used with よろしく above: just a shift in the focus of the questions I'm asking. Instead of asking, "what does this mean in English?", I ask "why did they say this?"

(Mind you, right now I'm focusing on learning kanji, and I sometimes find it difficult to give the English meaning of a kanji I've learned because that means I have to stop "thinking in Japanese". I know what it means; I just have to force myself to remember what it means in English. But I'm bad at multitasking, so maybe that's it.)

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