The quick or short Language Questions Thread (not grammar)


Think you meant to reply to me. :wink:

I never said that しまう points only to the object of the verb; I said it focuses on it. It’s highly contextual depending on the topic of the conversation. So, in your example, it is because of the food you ate that you are full. Meanwhile, the resultant state is indicates that because you ate you are full. My wording was poor, I admit, and 食べる is kind of a weird word to use in general with this topic since “to eat” doesn’t not have the direct ability to function in a stative way. I’ll be sure to edit my previous both to change subject to topic, since those are very different things in Japanese discussion. :grinning: Depending on the subject, the phrase would either indicate you ate the food completely or are completely full, true.

Like @Leebo, my native coworkers check in with this, as well as the English textbooks my third years are using and just tested on (ている = be動詞 + 一般動詞 OR 助動詞のhave + 過去分詞).


Sorry, yes I added that to my post after readying Eirimatsu’s post about it focusing on the object of the verb.

I will say there is a difference in what we are talking about. I agree ている can mean resultant states from verbs. The problem here is that たべる is weird/ not common to use with it in this way. After looking through the paper EiriMatsu linked to, I still think たべる seems strange to use this way as the paper makes mention of durative and instantaneous verbs and 食べる would be a duration verb while 落ちる and 死ぬ would be instantaneous. They are also instransitive while 食べる is transitive.

My 国語先生 coworker read the examples you guys provided using食べる +ている as current resultive state explination and said they were weird. haha So, I don’t know.

I also want to know why you think 食べた is a recent action? why is using the 過去形 more recent to the speaking than ている in this case?? ている would be refering to the resultant state that you’re not hungry now right? so a simple past tense statment of た could mean you are hungry again and the action isn’t continuing into the present.


It only becomes more recent if we’re talking about the state. If it’s an incidence of eating it can be used for any time in the past.

Again, if this person thinks that this is strange Japanese, they’re disagreeing with other natives. I’ve been asked まだ食べていない? many times. The often cranky natives on StackExchange say things similar to the examples I gave, of course in broad discussions of ている, not necessarily this narrow of a question.


You are correct that 食べる is a durative verb and that 落ちる and 死んでいる are instantaneous verbs. That’s why 落ちる and 死ぬ were used as examples; the have to show resultant state through ている. As a durative verb, 食べる and do both. In fact, the paper uses 食べる on pages 19 and 20 to explain the difference in how they function.

Transitivity is the reason why I consider 食べる a weird word to use for this discussion, as it is both transitive and intransitive in English. The OP’s question included “I already ate,” which is the intransitive use of “to eat,” which already puts nails on the road to Japanese translation. 食べる can function syntactically as an intransitive verb, but it is grammatically and semantically a transitive verb.

Contextually, there can be a big difference between the following statements:
“I already ate.” This is what I believe @Leebo and I are mainly arguing to be 食べている.
“I already ate it.” This I think would be more natural as たべた or たべちゃった.

In the first, you’re declaring a state lacking of hunger. It doesn’t matter what or when you ate. In the second, you’re declaring that at some point, you ate something.

I won’t vouch for @Leebo, but my reasoning for assuming 食べた would be an recent action is because of its combination with “already” or もう.

Asking, “Did you eat?” 「食べたのか?」, provides no time span. But adding もう (“already”) assumes a time span; a relatively recent one, regardless of if you use 過去形 or 現在完了形. But because 過去形 indicates the time of the action, while 現在完了形 indicates the time of completion of the action, attaching もう to each pulls the time of the action itself closer (as in the time in which you were eating, not when you finished, is closer) when using 過去形 while it pulls the time of completion (not when the action occurred) when using 現在完了形.

“I ate” involves the entire process: sitting down to eat, eating, and finishing. “I have eaten” involves the point at which one finished. This is displayed by how we attach temporal phrases to these statements (as I said before, depending on your region, both may be acceptable for this, but only one is proper in formal English).

“I ate at 7” likely means I started at 7, but could also mean we were eating for the rest of the night. “I have eaten at 7” means we finished eating by 7 and did something else afterward. We have no way of knowing when they started.

Adding “already” emphasizes why “to eat,” a durative verb, cannot be in simple with a temporal adverb.

“I already ate at 7” is used in American English but is grammatically incorrect. Why? Eating is a process that takes a duration. Stating that you “already ate” indicates that, in one minute, you began eating, consumed the food, and finished eating. This is why we often say “I already finished eating” (because “finish” is an instantaneous verb when used intransitively and participles function as independent timeframes).

On the other hand, “I have already eaten at 7” states that one finished eating at 7. As completion can exist in an instant, this properly illustrates what occurred and also explains why the simple past would indicate a more recent development.

EDIT: Speaking with one of my JTEs (my previous consultants were my 国語 teachers), her first reply was that 食べている indicates when one starts eating, similar to the comment you recieved. As we talked about it using the English, she realized what I meant. The overarching problem here seems to be transitivity. Her conclusion is that 食べた is more suitable if you are using 食べる transitively while 食べている would be more suitable when you are using it intransitively (just discussing eating or meals in general). Similarly to American English (as above with the formally incorrect “I already ate”), she said 食べた is probably more common, especially with children, as its the grammatically easier to use and remember of the two.

All I can say in the midst of this: holy crap, language is difficult and interesting. :smile:


Was looking up the word for parole. I wonder which one is used the most?

仮出獄 (かりしゅつごく)
位相語 (いそうご)
仮出所 (かりしゅっしょ)
仮釈放 (かりしゃくほう)

Also, are there important nuances between these words or is any of these only used in certain situations?


位相語 (いそうご) - this one has nothing to do with jail, which you can probably see from the kanji used. It’s a definition of parole that I’m not familiar with in English that means “language / vocabulary that is specific to an individual or group” so like… much smaller than a dialect.

仮出獄 (かりしゅつごく)
仮出所 (かりしゅっしょ)
仮釈放 (かりしゃくほう)

These three all appear in the Japanese Wikipedia article for “parole” which is titled 仮釈放.

The article says 仮出獄 is not used any longer. 仮出所 and 仮釈放 are both used still, but you’re probably better off going straight to the article to parse any differences.


This doesn’t appear in that article, so I doubt it’s used much.


Thank you! :slight_smile:


apparently the word parole comes from french,
1610–20; < Middle French, short for parole d’honneur: word of honor.

two of the definitions listed on are:
-(formerly) any password given by authorized personnel in passing by a guard
-word of honor given or pledged

I’m guessing one of those is the meaning of 位相語. But i have never heard parole used that way…
位相 by itself means “phase”, or also means “register” (in the technical linguistic sense)


Sorry to double post, but what online Ja-Ja dictionary do you normally use?



Does this question ask from where the strange music is coming from?

At the moment it sounds like this for me:
I can hear strange music but, from where can I hear it?


Saw a state-ている come up.

In this World Cup recap video, at 1:41, the commentators have a back-and-forth about whether the goalkeeper touched the ball or not (since the state of the ball being touched by one team or the other matters for possession).


Clearly the touch happened in the past, and it only lasted an instant. It’s not as though the goalkeeper was rubbing the ball at any point in time, certainly not currently (at the time the statements are uttered).

I think English speakers would say “He touched it.”
It’s possible to say “He’s touching it” as if it’s present continuous, but I think only if they’re looking at a still frame.

I think most Japanese learners would have said 触った, which certainly isn’t grammatically wrong or strange, but then the focus would be on the instant of touching, and not the state of having touched it.


Yeah, I don’t really see it being possible to interpret differently. Was there some other idea you had?


Japanese allows “adverbials of moment” (“at 7 oclock”) in present perfect constructions, but english does not. The above is ungrammatical in both british and american english.


I wasn’t sure because I would ask from where the music is coming rather than from where I can hear it.


in the comic/manga/anime one-punch-man the main protagonist saitama says 趣味でヒーローをやっている者だ。([I’m] just a guy who’s a hero for fun / as a hobby).

if i wanted to say that i’m a student of japanese in the same vein (because that’s the case - i have no goal learning this language but i do it seriously), would it work if i said 趣味で日本語の学生をやっている者だ。?


Well, I mean, setting aside that you’re going to sound like manga character (which I assume you’re okay with, since you found the line in a manga), to me the only problem is that 趣味 and 学生 don’t really go together. To be a 学生 you kind of have to be fully enrolled at a school, and the main image of 学生 is of university students. So it doesn’t sound like a hobby in that case.


yeah, it’s not intended for real life use but just to put something in my profile description. good point, though, that it doesn’t go well together - but then again neither does being a hero, really. so, as an ironic statement it should work i guess?

or maybe 趣味で日本語のヒーローをやっている者だ would be better… it’s not true by any stretch but as a reference it’s much more obvious :laughing:


For train directions, is there any difference in meaning for 「行き」, [方面」, and even 「方面行き」? I noticed that they all come up frequently, but didn’t find a pattern when one or the other is used …


Quick question : should I be worried about the on reading and kun reading? I can’t get my head around it. Can I just learn the vocab pronunciation?


Some vocab uses the on reading and some use the kun reading, so even if you just learn the vocab pronunciation. You learn them both :smiley: