How to look “空いている” up in a dictionary

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Jul 31, 2011 17:19 Japanese_language
I think Japanese dictionaries are often inconvenient. I just wanted to look “空いている” (empty) up in a Japanese-English one. It is, however, not one word, so I need to use another “true” word, a vocabulary entry. However, it is less common that you find “empty” if you look “空く” up in a dictionary rather than “空いている”, because both are different parts of speech. “空いている” is a kind of adjective, while “空く” is clearly a verb.

However, there is a way that perhaps only native speakers of Japanese can use. (This kind of way is often called 裏技.) I used a word, “がらがら”, which means trains or something are empty. It is onomatopoeia. Linguists say that there are fewer adjectives in Japanese than other languages; instead, there are many kinds of onomatopoeia, which often work as adjectives.