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Nov 18, 2010 3:39 AM

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 357
Ok, so I'm a bit confused about a correct translation for the English continuous.
Imho the simple present tense is enough to portray a continuous action, but I've seen both てform+いる as well as the passive form used for it. I find the passive to be an odd choice, especially with verbs such as 眠る。
Any thought on the matter?

(question popped in my head after seeing the phrase 眠れる獅子 on some guy's tattoo.)
Nov 18, 2010 4:06 PM

Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 386
nemureru means "can sleep" as opposed to just "sleep" (nemuru) (the tense name i don't remember...) right so you're question is invalid??

you know
neru-> nereru
taberu-> taberareru

mean "can sleep, can eat, respectively

今はどんでん返しの時代ではない★너와 함께 했던 일상은
어느샌가 작은 영화속 풍경이되고 ☆
Nov 18, 2010 11:33 PM

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 357
Yes, but I've seen it used as sleeping. Aside from the guy's tat, I googled a bit and found nemureru as sleeping used in other contexts as well.
Nov 20, 2010 5:31 AM

Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 386
oh wait here:

it's a phrase... it's set in stone.

今はどんでん返しの時代ではない★너와 함께 했던 일상은
어느샌가 작은 영화속 풍경이되고 ☆
Feb 11, 2011 7:49 AM

Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 94
Or you can use a plain verb + no to make it into a noun. That's what I'm studying right now and it's really hard to get my head around. You spend months using _ wa_desu, slowly building on that pattern and then you have to start putting it into one (more complex) sentence.
Feb 14, 2011 10:51 AM

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 627
If you're interested in accurately translating English -ing form verbs or nouns into Japanese, then it could be many things. Just think of how you might translate the Japanese phrase ローズという花は薔薇と書く。 (roozu to iu hana wa bara to kaite iru). A literal translation might look something like this: Rose [quoting/defining particle] say flower [topic marker particle] "bara" (Rose) [quoting/defining particle] write. And, a few natural sounding translations: The flower called "rose" (ローズ) is written as 薔薇 (bara); As for the flower "rose", you write it as "薔薇" (bara); "We write 薔薇 for that flower you call "rose"; etc. Notice how there's no one single correct answer for conveying the meaning of that one sentence in another language? This is precisely why it isn't helpful to compare English to Japanese and Japanese to English.

It works the other way around, too, obviously. I could take the English sentence, "How do you say 'meeting' in Japanese?" and depending on the context (both social and linguistic context), you could have many many answers on how to translate that sentence. 「「meeting」ってなんていう?」「「meeting」という言葉は日本語で何と言いますか?」, etc. etc.

So, anyways, how things are translated is the job of a translator. On the other hand, if you're just looking to put thought to Japanese or whatever other language, then you need to know how Japanese works in a Japanese context.

One thing that tripped me up about て + いる was that there's two uses for it. But, one simple diagram fixed this misunderstanding for me.

食べる → 食べている → 食べた → 食べている
(eat) -> (eating) -> (ate) -> (exist having ate)

入る → 入っている → 入った → 入っている
(enter) -> (entering) -> (entered) -> (exist having been entered)

Anyways, if you're learning Japanese to be a translator, then it's probably best to first learn Japanese to be able to communicate in it, and then learn how to translate it. It'll be less confusing this way, I think. :)
Feb 20, 2011 1:54 AM

Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 570
I would have to agree with zealous there, directly translating other languages is something you can only really do after you fully understand both languages. especially when it comes to languages that are completely unrelated, and on top of that, translating to english is a pain due to the erratic nature of english in general.

on that note, the best way to learn another language is to start from scratch, throw out everything from any other language you know, its the concepts that matter, not the words, words only represent concepts, ideas are the basis of language, you can only use your original language as a basis point, to help in clarifying things, though even then, it would be insufficient in fully conveying the ideas behind words in other languages.

remember there are many ways to conjugate in japanese, but they all have their roots in the dictionary(plain) form.

one thing to note, almost all that you learn at first in japanese class will be formal polite speak, most people in japan tend to be more informal these days, you can talk to most people in informal speak and they would not mind. however, remember that whenever you write, it must be formal.
"I only have two modes... At war with something, or having sex with it! There is no middle ground." -Colbert