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Thread: Quick question regarding translations given by dictionaries

  1. #1
    Registered User 下級員 / Kakyuuin / Jr. Member Aarowaim's Avatar
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    Quick question regarding translations given by dictionaries

    I've noticed that in all my dictionaries I have, 見 and 学 are listed as nouns and have a verb form 見る and 学ぶ respectively. I'm just curious, with words such as these, due to the dictionaries only providing one word translations, if they are literally "see" and "study" as nouns, or whether they translate (in noun form) into sight and study(room in a building).

    If they are literally see and (to) study, but treated as a noun, then I have no idea how I should read them. e.g, the see is warm (which is a good fictional example of what is causing me confusion)

    For 学, I'm especially curious, because it could also be translated into education if it is a noun version of (to) study. Anyways, if you could clear this up, it would make it much easier for me to understand.

    I'm just asking because a one word dictionary translation doesn't really help me much, especially since the word study (used in dictionary) happens to be both a noun and a verb with different meanings in english.

    So basically, here's what the dictionaries say:
    見=けん=see(noun), 学=がく=study(noun)
    There is a fine line between bad and good, and an even finer line between good and great.
    Even the most impossible dreams can become possible with time.

  2. #2
    Translator/Moderator 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member
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    Re: Quick question regarding translations given by dictionaries

    「見ること」 (seeking/to see) and 「学ぶこと」 (learning/to learn) can be handled as nouns, but 見&学 by themselves are not nouns.
    Last edited by mikkih; November 02, 2011 at 03:17 PM.

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    Translator 上級員 / Jyoukuuin / Sr. Member cmertb's Avatar
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    Re: Quick question regarding translations given by dictionaries

    I have a feeling that you're approaching studying kanji in some strange non-standard way. Do you know the terms kun-yomi and on-yomi?

    Kanji on their own are not nouns or verbs, and there's no such thing as a "verb form" of a kanji. Kanji are simply stems around which words are formed. Those words can be nouns, or verbs, or any other parts of speech. There might be multiple verbs possible with a single kanji, or the same verb can be written using different kanji w/o changing meaning (or sometimes, changing only a shade of meaning). Depending on which word a kanji is a part of, its reading will be either its kun-yomi or its on-yomi. In fact, for 見 used as a noun, the kun-yomi (み) is commonly used, e.g. 映画を見に行く. There is another noun 見 (けん) in the dictionary, but it has a different meaning (見 【けん】 (n) view (of life, etc.); outlook), and I've never seen it in a real text before.

  5. #4
    Registered User 下級員 / Kakyuuin / Jr. Member Aarowaim's Avatar
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    Re: Quick question regarding translations given by dictionaries

    I have to re-study conjugations and get them to stay in my head.
    It turns out that I forgot to memorize conjugations, one of the more important pieces of understanding japanese. No wonder I'm not making fast progress in terms of vocabulary.

    >,< I guess it's time that I start practicing my google-fu a little more before I resort to my せんぱい*s here at mangahelpers.
    Thankfully, conjugations seem to be the only part of grammar that has caught me off guard when translating, so I should be able to read japanese after learning this. Of course, I've still got to gain a vocabulary, but it will be much easier with grammar mastered. Now that I have figured out how to properly make flash cards with anki, they seem to work extremely well, so I will be making a deck of conjugations for easier learning.

    * I used kana because I do not know the kanji and because it would be wrong to take advantage of the IME to embellish how much I know.

    EDIT:
    *Comes back to thread after a long time*
    Since I first posted this, I've come a long way. Back when I joined this site, I still had to make word for word translations. Now I can read grammar easily and only struggle with a word or two every page that I don't quite know. For the most part though, I'm doing much better. It's amazing how much growth has happened over this 2? years. Nowadays, I do song translations, both into and from japanese with relative ease and only a handful of small mistakes. To those of you still learning, keep at it and you'll get better.
    Last edited by Aarowaim; February 11, 2013 at 12:17 AM.

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