To learn or to learn?

So, I’ve learned two ways of saying to learn, namely, 学ぶ and 習う.

Looking through the context sentences, I couldn’t see any meaningful differences in meaning.

Are they basically interchangeable? Any thoughts?

学ぶ is a more general, but fairly stiff way to express the concept of learning. You would normally just say 勉強する or something in conversation.

習う is not particularly stiff, so you can use it in casual conversation, but it’s primarily when you are being taught something by someone else. You don’t use 習う when are studying alone or you taught yourself an ability.


Oh, I see… I haven’t learned that third one yet.

So I could say something like:

Leeboさんは私を習った ?

To mean I learned from Leebo? Maybe I’m messing up the particles here.

The word marked by を is the thing you are learning. The word marked by に is the person you are learning from.

I learned judo from my father

That’s a sentence I got from a thesaurus entry.

You mean 勉強する? That’s the most basic word for learning or studying. But because of the kanji it’s taught in level 12, yeah.


Right, most of what I know so far is just from Wanikani, and I’m level 10, so that’s why.

Thanks for the example/explanation… makes perfect sense now!

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No problem. And just a reminder, you don’t have to mention who you are learning from, but just remember that it’s implied.


Both of those sentences mean “I want to learn calligraphy,” and they are perfectly natural to say in isolation like that. But in the case of the first one, no one knows exactly what you plan to do. While in the second one, it’s implied that you’ll go to a calligraphy class or something.


To learn (Japanese) or to learn (Japanese)?
That is the question. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I’m always pleased to see my references (contrived as they might be) not go to waste!

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Let’s vote with a POLL. POLLs answer questions around these parts:

  • To learn (Japanese)
  • To learn (Japanese)

0 voters

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