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"I learn Japanese."


June 9, 2017





someone had mentioned how the learn kanji looked like a tired face.


It's the Feather radical over the white Kanji isn't it?


Yes, because learning gives you wings. (That's the actual origin.) It's not "white," though; it just coincidentally looks like it.


If that's not the radical for white, then what is it?


If you're learning, who's teaching me?


Why not use benkyou o shimasu here?


benkyou o shimasu means "studying". So while they're incredibly similar and may as well mean the same thing, "learn" is better translated as naraimasu.


Because 勉強 (べんきょう) is a chinese word it does not need を between it and する to turn it into a verb. 勉強する - to study.

This is the same rule for katakana loan words. ドライブする - to drive.


Not manabimasu?


It's unspecified whether they are learning alone (often manabu) or from a teacher (often narau) so probably both are ok.


Good point, that could/should be possible as well.


習う [narau]: (P, v5u, vt) to take lessons in, to be taught, to learn (from a teacher), to study (under a teacher), to get training in

習います polite form of the above.


Why is 日本語はならいます wrong? The only difference is the は particle.


習う→習います is a transitive verb which means it takes a direct object which precedes を which is the direct object particle marker. The direct object is the thing that a verb of action happens to.


But if the object is the topic, surely it takes は instead of を, doesn't it? "As for Japanese, I learn it." Not as common as the non-topic version, for sure, but possible when talking about different languages. (I suppose one might argue that such a sentence would have been said differently in English, though, and that we therefore can tell that it isn't supposed to be the topic.)


I think only "ga" and "wo" can be used for the actual topic. Using "ga" is for new situations and for things not yet mentioned in a conversation, and is also used for emphasis on words. At least, that's what this video says: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9-e_3GHrzw


The comments give valid points, special mention to Terry here, but in this case its because 私は is omitted at the start of the sentence. You can argue the semantics all you want but the translation uses 'I' indicating the common omitting practice of Japanese when it comea to assumed topics. Again, I understand it's contextual, but you're getting mired in simple assumptions, it gets much worse...


Wa follows the subject and the subject here is 'I'


No, wa follows the topic, which may or may not be the subject. But it is always hard to identify the topic without context, since it depends on what was said before.


にほんごをならいます。 Nihongo wo narai masu.


I highly suggest that, as soon as possible, you stop using romanization. It will affect your pronunciation.

Just a handy tip from a teacher who does not let her students romanize, even from the beginning! I know Duolingo starts that way, and I wish they wouldn't.


I understand and agree that it's better not to use romaji, but some people need extra help, and isn't what this comment section is for? Duolingo only uses romaji in exercises for learning the characters, and all sentence questions are only in kanji and kana. The person has to get the question wrong before they can even access this sentence discussion, so they're forced to at least try and read it on their on. For beginners who aren't quite used to the sounds of Japanese, find the speed of the audio intimidating, or haven't perfectly remembered how to read every single kana, I think romaji can be helpful for them. It's also extremely beneficial for those who type their own answers using a QWERTY keyboard. I use romaji every day of my life to type, and it doesn't affect my pronunciation.

I teach English to Japanese children, and I always emphasize to them that katakana is not English and that they won't be understood if they speak Katakana English. Some of my students just cannot read, though, and in that case I do let them take notes in katakana to help them participate in class. I would rather they write the interview question we're doing out in katakana than just sit there and not do the interview because they feel embarrassed about not being able to read like the rest of their classmates. I often find that even though they've written it in katakana, their pronunciation is actually pretty good and they just need the katakana hints to remind them what the words are. People have different learning styles. Some people are not good at listening. Some people have learning disabilities like dyslexia that make reading difficult. I absolutely agree that it's important to encourage students to transition to the target alphabet or syllabary, but I hope we also don't discourage students from using tools that help them learn even if that tool might not be what's best for everyone.


"The person has to get the question wrong before they can even access this sentence discussion " I can access the discussion even if I get the question right - just click underneath after the "check" but before continue


I meant that you have to attempt to answer the question (whether you get it right or wrong) before you can open the sentence discussion, and usually those who have gotten the question wrong are the one’s accessing the discussion for help.


Can someone tell me why jlearn has 習い defined as "as is habit, the way life normally is"?


That's the verbal noun. For many Japanese verbs, (one of) the conjugative stem(s, namely the; renyoukei), can be used as a noun. E.g.:

学ぶ(まなぶ)= to learn (v)

学び = [the act of] learning (n)

教える(おしえる)= to teach (v)

教え = teachings / a lesson (n)


That sounds like an adjective, ending in -i. Note that the verb is either 習う (informal) or 習います (polite), so it doesn't end in -i.

(If your question was rather about the semantics of the word, I would guess it has gone through something like "what I've learned to do" > "what I'm used to do", but that is just a guess.)


I do not understand the use of time. Here : 日本語を習います is translated by : "I learn Japanese". And previously : 英語を習います was translated by : "I am going to learn English". They look the same, but the tense is different, can someone please explain ?


Excellent question! There is no future tense in Japanese. So 日本語を習います can mean "I learn Japanese," "I will learn Japanese," and "I am going to learn Japanese." It's all context. Hit the report button if one of those wasn't accepted.

Hope this helps!


MadameSensei, is this translation really correct?

Two Japanese speakers on HiNative say:

「日本語を習います。」は、まだ日本語を習っていなくて、これから日本語を習うという意味になります。It means you just not learn Japanese, but you will try to learn it from now.

「日本語を習っています」は、もう日本語を学んでいるという意味になります。It means you already learning Japanese.


日本語を習います。means "I will learn Japanese." talking about your will for the future.

日本語を習っています。means "I am learning Japanese." talking about what you are doing or you have already started.


私も同感ですよ。I agree, but we also say this to talk about generalities.


Could you give me an example of when it would be used as a generality? I think if we added a time frame like 毎日日本語を習います, maybe we could understand it as a habit, but I feel like the sentence as it is now would only be interpreted as a future plan by a native speaker.


Why 勉強します is wrong?



benkyou o shimasu means "studying". So while they're incredibly similar and may as well mean the same thing, "learn" is better translated as naraimasu.


勉強 (study) has a slightly different meaning to 習い (learn) and so they aren't interchangeable.


I left off ます and it was rejected, if that's not the casual form, what is? Any info is appreciated, thank you : )


The casual form would be the unconjugated/dictionary form 習う


Why is '日本語を勉強する' wrong?


勉強 (study) has a slightly different meaning to 習い (learn) and so they aren't interchangeable.


Again.. another English sentence that doesn't make sense, as it lacks a helping verb. Either "i am learning", "i am going to learn" or "i will learn". These broken sentences stresses me out


It wouldn't mean I am learning, that would be 日本語を習いています. And yes it does "make sense" although there are two possible meanings; the future simple: "I will learn Japanese", and the present simple: "I learn Japanese". So just relax and use which ever option fits the situation.


I'm not sure why this has so many down-votes. I came here to say the same thing.

"I learn Japanese." is not a good English sentence. It's the kind of sentence toddlers produce, or ESL students whose teachers didn't explain the weird way English treats present tense verbs.

Learning Japanese is not something you do over and over habitually, it's a long-term process, so you can't use the simple present for it. You can say "I will learn Japanese." or "I'm learning Japanese."

Exception: Imagine a science fiction story about a prisoner sentenced to study Japanese all day every day until he's finally mastered it, then to have all that knowledge erased from his head, so he has to start back at the beginning and learn it all again. Such a character, when asked about his punishment could correctly say, "I learn Japanese." (And he could feel grateful that at least he didn't have to learn English with all its craziness.)

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