612 - ~っぽい

Have you ever noticed all of the ways that we change nouns in English in order to say that other things are "noun-like" or "noun-ish?"

For example:

water → watery
child → childish
man → manly
girl → girly

In Japanese, we can do this by attaching っぽい to words:


JLPT N2: ~っぽい (-ish; somewhat)

We'll start by diving right into an example:

You and your friend are at a department store. He (or she) picks up a backpack that he (or she) is thinking about getting and says...


A:
このリュックどう思う?
この リュック どう おもう?
What do you think of this backpack?
Literally: "this + backpack + how + think?"

You think that the backpack looks a little too childish (or girly, or manly), so you say...


B:
うーん…ちょっと子供っぽいっぽいっぽい]。
うーん… ちょっと こどもっぽい [おんなっぽい ・ おとこっぽい]。
Mmm... it looks a bit childish [girly / manly].
Literally: "mmm... + a little bit + childish + [girly + manly]."
Note: 男っぽい is not "manly" in the sense of "a manly man." It is "manly" in the sense of "boyish" or "boy-like."

To recap:

子供(こども // child
子供っぽいこどもっぽい // childish

女(おんな // girl; woman
っぽいおんなっぽい // girly

男(おとこ // guy; man
っぽいおとこっぽい // manly; boyish

Although this is not always the case, it is common for the っぽい to be used in a negative way. In other words, the speaker often feels that the fact that something is "X-ish" is not a good thing.


You may have figured this out already, but っぽい often attaches to NOUNS:

NOUNっぽい


But it can also attach to the ます-stem of VERBS:

V ますっぽい

When attaching to the ます-stem of a verb, I've noticed that っぽい means something like "tends to be X" or "tends toward doing X" more than just "X-ish."

Here's an example of this using the verb 怒る (おこる // to get angry):


彼は退職してから、怒りっぽくなった。
かれ は たいしょく して から、 おこりっぽく なった。
He’s been really touchy ever since he retired. // After he retired, he started to get angry about things really easily.
Literally: “he + は + retirement / resignation + do (and) + から (=from), + hot-tempered / quick to take offense / touchy (=getting angry + っぽい) + became.”

Well then, ready for an onslaught of example sentences?

Yeah, I'd say that you are. ^^



お姉ちゃんが作るカレーはいつもちょっとっぽい
おねえちゃん が つくる カレー は いつも ちょっと みずっぽい。
My sister’s curry is always a bit watery.
Literally: “(older) sister-chan + が + make + curry + は + always + a little bit + water + っぽい.”


あそこに座っているっぽいコートを着ている人が、瑠璃さんの彼氏です。
あそこ に すわっている しろっぽい コート を きている ひと が、 るりさん の かれし です。
That guy sitting over there in the whitish coat is Ruri-san’s boyfriend.
Literally: “over there + に + is sitting + white + っぽい + coat + を + wearing + person + が, + Ruri-san + の + boyfriend + です.”


翔太はまだ高校生なのに、話し方が年寄りっぽい
しょうた は まだ こうこうせい なのに、 はなしかた が としよりっぽい。
Shota’s still in high school, but he talks like an old person.
Literally: “Shota + は + still + high school student + although (=なのに), + way of talking + が + old person + っぽい.”

私の短所は飽きっぽいところです。
わたし の たんしょ は あきっぽい ところ です。
My weak point is that I get tired of things too easily. // One of my faults is that I have a tendency to lose interest in things.
Literally: “I + の + weak point + は + fickle / get tired of (things) easily (=getting tired of [something] + っぽい) + point / place + です.”


Unlike some other N2 grammar points, っぽい is used very frequently in day-to-day life in Japan.

You'll want to learn this one. That way you'll be able to understand (and get sad) when someone calls your Japanese 子供っぽい.

That used to happen to me a lot... T_T

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