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I am Hungry in Japanese

Can someone explain to me how this works?

Japanese: Onaka ga suki mashita. お腹 (おなか) がすきました。

English: "My stomach is empty" or "I am hungry".

Onaka is stomach but doesn't suki (すき) mean "to like", and mashita (ました) mean the past tense form of "I am"?

So wouldn't that translate to "I liked my stomach"? When does suki mashita become "It is empty"?

January 14, 2018



Did you read this thread?


There are also homophones in Japanese, the すきof Like just happens to have the same sound. If you look carefully you will notice that it is almost always followed by です, not ます, ました. It is a hint that the word is not a verb and not the word "Empty".


Ah so the difference is the characters used.

好き is "liked" and this uses a spelled out すき.

As well as Desu (like) and Masu (empty).



The full kanji sentence is "お腹が空きました" (Onaka ga sukimashita) and the troublesome part is the lack of the kanji 空. The verb stem 空く(suku) means to become empty/vacant (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E7%A9%BA%E3%81%8F#Etymology_2) and 空きました (すきました sukimashita) is "it became empty" or past tense of 空く (すくsuku) . As opposed to 好き (すき suki) which is "to like something".

The hiragana makes it unclear, because you can have the same hiragana for a word but different kanji for it.


Yup, that’s why kanji are useful, having all the sentences with kanji and furigana would be better than just kana…


お腹が空いています onaka ga suiteimasu. You can just use this instead if the other one confuses you. :)

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