And kanji with manga
Monday, August 28, 2017

uso 嘘

In Japanese, uso means a "lie," an "untruth," although it's often translated in other ways.

It's also spelled uso うそ and uso ウソ.

ウソだーーっ!!!! どーん わっはっはっはっはっはっはっはっはっは!!!
Character: Usopp ウソップ
Manga: One Piece (Chapter 23, 〝キャプテン・ウソップ登場〟)

Meaning

Literally, uso 嘘 refers to a "lie." Grammatically, it's a noun.

  • sore wa uso da
    それは嘘
    That is a lie.

In Japanese, the subject of a sentence, like the word "that," sore それ, above, is often the topic marked by the wa は particle. This topic can be omitted in certain situations, which is how you get:

  • uso da!
    嘘だ!
    [It] is a lie!

Note that there's no word for the dummy pronoun "it" in Japanese. English needs the "it" because just "is a lie" would be syntactically wrong as a sentence, but Japanese has no such requirement, so it's common to have sentences with just the predicate alone like above.

Antonym

The antonym of uso 嘘 is hontou 本当, a "truth."

  • hontou da!
    本当だ!
    [It] is a truth!
    [It] is true!

Other words like shinjitsu 真実, "reality," honki 本気, "actual feelings," maji まじ, "for real (slang)" are often used, too.

Translation

Usually, uso da 嘘だ isn't translated to "it is a lie," because that sounds weird in English. A decent translator will translate it differently, to something more natural, like:

  • That's a lie!
  • No way!
  • You're lying to me!
  • I can't believe it!

The last one would become this in Japanese:

  • shinjirarenai
    信じられない
    [I] can't believe [it].
え?嘘・・・実話なの!?超怖いっ!!
Manga: Asobi Asobase あそびあそばせ (Chapter 16, 尻遊び)
  • Context: a very scary story turns out to be true, leaving characters stupefied with hair strands sticking out.
  • e? uso...
    え?・・・
    Eh? [No way]...
  • jitsuwa nano!?
    実話なの!?
    [It] is a true story?
  • chou kowai'!!
    超怖いっ!!
    [That] is super scary!!

Since uso da 嘘だ just says something is a "lie," sometimes it's used by party being lied to, but other times it's used by the party doing the lying, in which case it's translated to:

  • Sorry, that was a lie.
  • Got you.
  • Gotcha.
  • It was joke.

The last one being, in Japanese:

  • joudan
    冗談
    [It is] a joke.
ウソだーーっ!!!! どーん わっはっはっはっはっはっはっはっはっは!!!
Character: Usopp ウソップ
Manga: One Piece (Chapter 23, 〝キャプテン・ウソップ登場〟)
  • uso da--'!!!!
    ウソーー!!!!
    [I lied]!!!!
  • doon
    どーん
    (sound effect used when something suddenly comes to front on screen, in this case Usopp's face.)
  • wa'ha'ha'ha'ha'ha'ha'ha'ha'ha!!!
    わっはっはっはっはっはっはっはっはっは!!!
    *laugh*

Usage

The word uso 嘘 is a noun, so it's accompanied by the copula da だ. This copula can be inflected. For example:

  • uso desu
    嘘です
    [It] is a lie. (polite form.)
    • uso de aru
      嘘である
      [It] is a lie. (literary form.)
  • uso datta
    嘘だった
    [It] was a lie.
    [He lied to me].
    [I lied to you].
    • uso deshita
      嘘でした
      (same meaning, polite form.)
    • zenbu uso datta
      全部嘘だった
      [It] was all a lie.
      [Everything was a lie].
  • uso daro?
    嘘だろ?
    [It] is a lie, right?
    [You're joking, right?]
    [Surely that can't be true?]
    • uso desho?
      嘘でしょ?
      (same meaning, polite form.)
  • uso janai!
    うそじゃない!
    [It] isn't a lie!
    [It is true! I'm not lying!]
    • uso de wa nai
      嘘ではない
      (same meaning, not a contraction.)
    • uso ja arimasen
      嘘じゃありません
      (same meaning, polite form.)
    • uso de wa arimasen
      嘘ではありません
      (same meaning, polite form, not a contraction.)

In questions:

  • uso ka?
    嘘か?
    [It] is a lie?
    [It isn't true?]
    [You lied to me?]
    • uso desu ka?
      嘘ですか?
      (same meaning, polite form.)

Like other nouns, uso 嘘 can be used as no-adjective.

  • {uso no} jouhou
    嘘の情報
    Information [that] {is a lie}.
    False information.
  • {uso no} uwasa
    嘘の噂
    Rumors [that] {are lies}.
    False rumors.
  • {uso no} sekai
    嘘の世界
    A world [that] {is a lie}.
    A false world.
  • uso no kazoku
    嘘の家族
    A family [that] {is a lie}.
    A fake family.
  • {uso no} you ni
    嘘のように
    Like [it] was a lie.
    • uso ka no you ni
      嘘かのように
      (same meaning, but with the ka か particle in the middle.)
  • {{uso no} you na}, {hontou no} hanashi
    嘘のような本当の話
    A story [that] {is true}, [that] {looks like a lie}.
    A true story that seems false.
    A story that sounds like a lie, but is true.

Other basic phrases:

  • uso mitai
    嘘みたい
    It appears [it] is a lie.
    That sounds like a lie. That looks like a lie.
  • uso rashii
    らしい
    I heard that [it] is a lie.

"To Lie" in Japanese

To say "to lie" in Japanese, you would say:

  • uso wo tsuku
    嘘をつく
    To blow lies.
    To lie.
おまえ・・・・・・つまんないウソつくね
Manga: World Trigger, ワールドトリガー (Chapter 6, 嵐山隊)
  • Context: Kuga Yuuma 空閑遊真 knows your habits.
  • omae...... tsuman'nai uso φ tsuku ne
    おまえ・・・・・・つまんないウソ つく
    You...... tell boring lies, [don't you]?
    (generic sentence.)
    • tsuman'nai is a contraction of tsumaranai つまらない.

The verb tsuku 吐く means to put something out of your mouth, in this case, a lie, but it can also be used to say other things, like "to sigh."

This verb is sometimes used in the imperative form meireikei 命令形 to criticize something for lying:

  • uso wo tsuke!
    嘘をつけ!
    Lie! (literally, it would be an order)
    [Stop lying!] (what it normally means.)

Other conjugations:

  • uso wo tsuita
    嘘をついた
    Lied.
  • uso wo tsuite-iru
    嘘をついている
    To be lying.
    To have lied.
  • uso wo tsuite-inai
    嘘をついていない
    To not be lying.
    To not have lied.
  • {uso wo tsukanai} hito wa inai
    嘘をつかない人はいない
    A person [who] {doesn't lie} doesn't exist.

Some similar words include:

  • gomakasu
    誤魔化す
    To fool. To trick. To swindle.
  • gomakashita
    誤魔化した
    To have fooled. To have tricked. To have swindled.
  • damasu
    騙す
    To deceive. To trick.
  • damashita
    騙した
    To have deceived. To have tricked.

"Liar" in Japanese

A liar is someone who lies. Since "to lie" is uso wo tsuku, then a "liar" is:

  • uso-tsuki
    嘘つき
    A liar.
    • tsuki is the noun form of the verb tsuku, and "liar" is a noun.

Do note that sometimes "liar" is translated in place of other phrases. Notably:

この味は! ・・・・・・・・・ ウソをついてる『味』だぜ・・・・・・ ジョルノ・ジョバァーナ!
Manga: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - Part 5: Golden Wind, JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Ougon no Kaze ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 黄金の風 (Chapter ブチャラティが来るその①)
  • peron'
    ペロンッ
    *lick* (phenomime)
  • kono aji wa!
    この味は!
    This taste [is]!
  • .........
  • {uso wo tsuiteru} "aji" daze......
    ウソをついてる味』だぜ・・・・・・
    A "taste" of {blowing lies}......
    A "taste" of {lying}......
    The taste of a liar......
  • Joruno Jobaana!
    ジョルノジョバァーナ!
    Giorno Giovanna!

3 comments:

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  1. Though it was noting knew, since I started studying Japanese. I find your articles so entertaining and easy to understand. I just discoverd them and have already read like 5 of them, just because they are so fun to read! Thank you so much for writing them

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Also there's no word for 'it' in Japanese, that is assume too."

    What about "それ" (sore)? Like many things in Japanese, it's not an EXACT translation and depends on context (for instance, it can also be "that" depending on the sentence), but it is the Japanese equivalent in how it's used as far as I can tell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In English, the word "it" is often added to sentences because of syntactic requirements. The grammar syntax needs you to explicitly say the subject and the object, and "it" is the closest thing to implicit you can have. In Japanese, there's no such grammar syntax requirement, so you can omit the subject and the object, so there's no need in Japanese for this use of "it" to exist, thus, it doesn't exist.

      The gender-neutral "it" or "they" doesn't exist either. You can say sore それ, soitsu そいつ for things, sono hito その人 for people, but those words are closer to "that" than to "it". E.g.: that thing, that one, that person, and so on.

      So I don't think there a word for "it" in Japanese.

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