Presentation of verbs


#1

Between WK and KW I’m realising that I need to concentrate on some of the verbs, particularly the transitive/intransitive versions. To that end I’m going through and making some notes in my book and I’ve noticed something in the way that the verbs are presented.

If I search for “replace” it brings up both かわる and かえる as you’d expect, but the primary meaning for both is just “to replace”. Would it not make more sense to have “To X something” for the transitive verbs as the primary meaning to make the difference clearer?

Mind you, this might be a single instance that I’m just seeing because of leech related bias. :smiley:


#2

変わる (kawaru) means “to change” more than “to replace”.

変える (kaeru) still means “to change” but can sometimes be used to say “to return”, “to reform” more correctly, which is close to “to replace”.

What you’re searching for is probably 換える (kaeru) that means “to replace”, “to exchange”.

These verbs are quite similar in pronunciation and meaning, but very different in the way they’re used.
That said KW isn’t directly related WaniKani, but the author @Tadgh11 participates in this forum.


#3

Interesting! I should have put the full search results in because we’re talking about different verbs. I was getting results for 代わる (“To replace”) and 代える (also “To replace”). Oddly enough, I found them by searching for “substitute”.

Your comment about use is helpful, as it confirms that I really need to start doing more reading and listening to pick up on usage outside of learning vocabulary. I wish this bloomin’ day job didn’t get in the way!


#4

This is more a grammar issue, since 代わる can be used in different in different contexts (を代わる, に代わる). So WK isn’t exactly incorrect showing weird English translations (to x, and to be x’d).

[Edit: oops, didn’t meant to reply to you directly @marknep]


#5

Another +1 for extra reading and grammar studying. I’ve got “Japanese for Busy People” (actually, I think I’ve had it for nearly nearly half of my life (scary)) so I’m going to get started on that. Might need to divide up available evenings into WK, KW, textbook, reading, etc.

There was also a good comment somewhere else about not always trying to think in terms of literal translation to English as the languages are very different.


#6

This is a good idea. I almost always need to look at the details in order for me to know wether the verb is transitive or intransitive. this is just soo important. I wouldn’t mind having to type in “something”, maybe just “sth”, because that’s also the way I learned the english verbs.

to change sth vs. sth changes - they are actually both very different in meaning, even though they look the same. This is also a major hiccup for learners of my native language, German, because there are some verbs which look the same at first glance but conjugate completely differently because one of them is transitive and the other intransitive. for example, the verb “hängen” (which means to hang sth or something hangs) changes in the past tense to “hing” (for the intransitive version), but to “hängte” for the transitive one.

And it is also one of the major things I “dislike” about wanikani - transitive/intransitive pairs too often appear too similar (to change vs. to be changed - that’s not really the difference)


#7

At the moment I’m also planning on picking up a book on English grammar. It’s my native language but the concept of transitive and intransitive verbs was new to me. I’m not sure we ever got such in-depth teaching at school, I only remember having to plow through “classic” texts to determine the symbolism.