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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.
    ...............
    EDIT/ADD:

    Quote Originally Posted by cmertb
    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.
    見 【けん, ken】 is often used as a compound noun such as 初見 (shoken, seeing/viewing for the first time) not by itself. EDiT/ADD:
    Example of "view; outlook" --> 見解(けんかい, an opinion, a view, an outlook )

    見 (み, mi)is the verb's rentai-kei conjugated form in 見に行く. Rentai-kei conjugated form often works "as" or "like" a noun, but some grammarians like T. Nishio does not consider 見 as 連体形名詞 (rentai-kei noun) when it is used along with に行く(to go).

    見る(みる, miru): (Verb) see
    見:上一段活用(jouichidan-katsuyou conjugation)動詞(verb)の"連体形" (rentai-kei conjugated form)
    見に行く: go to see

    Similar eg.
    走る:(Verb) run
    走り:五段活用 (godan-katsuyou conjugation) 動詞(verb)の"連体形" (rentai-kei conjugated form)
    走りに行く:go jogging

    Reference of a verb's conjugated form of 見 with に行く  
    Quote:
    『動詞連用形の種々な用法の中で、「(試験を)受けに行く(来る)・受けは(も・さえ等)する(しない)・お受けになる」などの〈受け〉のような用法は、連用修飾語をとることができ、多くの動詞に普遍的にみられる」用法であり、連用形名詞とは考えない。』

    * T. Nishio, 西尾寅弥(1961-02-05) 「動詞連用形の名詞化に関する一考察」(A Study on the Substantivation of the Renyôkei of the Verbs)『国語学』 (link)

    Sometimes verb's Rentai-kei are considered as 連体形名詞(Rentai-kei noun), so I would say the "noun" definition in dictionaries may include actual "noun" and verb's "noun-like" form.
    Last edited by mikkih; June 28, 2014 at 06:32 AM. Reason: Edit:/Add

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  4. #3
    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.

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    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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