Jun 12, 2011

[Japanese] Laugh Your Head Off! Smile To Your Heart's Content!

Person 1: What is a verb for 'laugh' in Japanese? :3
Person 2: 笑う (warau)
Person 1: Then, what is a verb for 'smile' in Japanese? :3
Person 2: 笑う (warau)
Person 1: ...

Yup, it may sounds absurd. But the verb for smile and laugh can share the same word in Japanese. Or at least, that's what I've noticed so far.
  • 笑む/えむ (emu)
  • 微笑む/ほほえむ (hohoemu)
Those two verbs above means 'to smile'.
The verb 笑う/わらう (warau) means 'to laugh', can also mean 'to smile'.
But the verb 笑む/えむ (emu), and 微笑む/ほほえむ (hohoemu) can only mean 'to smile'.

If you want to have them into nouns, then here you go:
  • 笑い/わらい (warai -> laugh; laughter; smile)
  • 笑み/えみ (emi -> smile)
  • 微笑み/ほほえみ (hohoemi -> smile)
Just change the verbs into their Base 2 form, and they'll turn into nouns.

Examples (have them put in sentences):
  • 皆が笑ってる? (minna ga waratteru?) -> Is everyone laughing [at me]?
  • お日さまが笑いました。(o-hi-sama ga waraimashita.) -> The sun laughed.
  • 笑え!(warae!) -> Laugh!
  • 笑えば、殺すぞ!(waraeba, korosu zo!) -> If you laugh, I'll kill you!
  • 彼女は微笑みました。ほんとうに可愛かった!(kanojo wa hohoemimashita. Hontouni kawaikatta!) -> She smiled. It was really cute!
  • そのエピソードのライトの笑いはほんとうに恐かった。(sono episōdo no Raito no warai wa hontouni kowakatta.) -> Light's laughter in that episode was really frightening.

Have you noticed? From the three featured verbs above, there's a kanji '笑' (shou) in each one of them. The kanji '笑' (shou [<- On reading]) means 'laugh'.

Word Check:
  • 皆/みんな (minna -> all; everyone; everybody)
  • 御日様/おひさま (ohi-sama -> the sun)
  • 殺す/ころす (korosu -> to kill)
  • 彼女/かのじょ (kanojo -> she)
  • 本当に/ほんとうに (hontouni -> really; truly)
  • 可愛い/かわいい (kawaii -> pretty; cute; lovely; charming)
  • 其の/その (sono -> the; that)
  • エピソード  (episōdo -> episode)
  • 恐い/こわい (kowai -> scary; frightening; eerie; dreadful) 
(All the verbs and the adjectives are shown in their plain form)

Author's Note: Don't worry. All things here are correct Onion Head Emoticons 114. I asked and confirmed it from various trusted websites... I also went as far as to ask a native speaker living downstairs Onion Head Emoticons 90.
Well, the reason I wrote this lesson was because... At Lang-8 website, I read an entrie from a Japanese student learning English there. He wrote, "I don't know the difference 'laugh' and 'smile'" o_O
It was an interesting question. Here's one of the answers from one of the members:
Laugh = with noise :D HA HA HA
= quiet :)
Onion Head Emoticons 112

So, this random lesson came to mind. I thought it would be interesting to share it with you guys! The one word can share the meaning 'smile' and 'laugh' Onion Head Emoticons 14! xD

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