しばらく (Updated)

One of the recent themes of this blog has been alternate versions of basic phrases. In the past I’ve given nuanced versions, but today it’s just a straight up replacement. 久し振り (ひさしぶり, most often as 久しぶり) is the phrase that everyone knows, and it can quickly be replaced with しばらく, which literally means “a little while.” A couple of notes:

– Thinking about しばらく made me realize that leaving the です off of 久しぶり probably sounds really weird and unnatural to Japanese people. For whatever reason, 久しぶり feels like it can stand on it’s own (possibly because of that adjective-like り・い sound on the end?), whereas しばらく, to me, does not. Nice reminder not to drop your copulas.

– I think this is an old people phrase. Useful if you like to add to your 渋い aura.

– しばらく is also often used as an adverb. “Do something for a little while.” しばらく何かをする。しばらく休みましょう being a nice one. 久しぶり can also do this, but needs a にon its end. I believe both of them can act as adjectives with the assistance of の.

Update: – Matt’s comment made it clear to me that there is a slight difference between the adverbs. When used alone in the “long time no see” sense, 久しぶり implies a positive verb (久しぶりに会う。) whereas しばらく implies a negative verb (しばらく会っていない。). Very cool.

7 thoughts on “しばらく (Updated)

  1. Well, there is a slight difference in meaning — “shibaraku yasumu” you mean “rest for a while” but “hisashiburi ni yasumu” means “rest for the first time in a while”. It’s not as visible in point 1 but only because the verbs are left out. What it is!

  2. I agree that ‘shibaraku’ in this sense has an old-fashioned feel to it. Also, echoing Matt’s comment, the meaning of the two adverbs is quite different, though in this sense they boil down to much the same thing. As you surely know, -buri can be added to all kinds of temporal phrases. 二年ぶりの帰国 十年ぶりの来日 三ヶ月ぶりの水泳大会 三日ぶりのビール 等々

    I’ve watched more than a dozen old black & white flicks in the past couple weeks or so, and although I don’t remember noticing ‘hisashiburi’ much (which isn’t to say it wasn’t there), ‘shibaraku’ comes up all the time.

    If you want to sound really shibui, try saying ‘go-kigen you’ some time. The last time I tried it, I was accused of sounding like the emperor.

  3. Nice catch, Matt. I missed that. Now I see that they both are leaving out verbs, but hisashiburi leaves out a positive verb whereas shibaraku leaves out a negative verb. Cool stuff. Updated the post.

    I only recognize “go-kigen you” from this manga SOIL where the creepy neighborhood representative uses it all the time. Heh.

  4. Chou cream would refer to the French chou, or puff pastry, used for eclairs and cream puffs.

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