Hyper, mega, ultra: talking in superlatives

| Jul 28, 2013

Hyper, mega, ultra: talking in superlatives

by Peter Backhaus

One of the ultra-fascinating facets of Japanese is its super-large arsenal of intensifying prefixes that provide an otherwise neutral expression with some emphatic edge. The best-known (and least spectacular) of them is dai (大), which usually translates as “big.” When something went really well, ...

| Apr 22, 2013

Ways to 'spell' Japanese out loud

by Mark Schreiber

I dial a number and ask to speak to my literary agent, Mr. Suzuki. “Moshi-moshi. Suzuki Masatoshi-sama oraremasuka?” “Sumimasen ga, okyakusama wa?” Literally “Excuse me, as for the guest?” That is the speaker’s polite way of asking “Who should I say is calling?” “Shuraibā ...