To tell about 語る


in level 10 we learn 語る as means to talk.
but shouldn’t it be translated as “to talk about” or “to tell” also translates it as “to talk about” or “to tell”

I got confused with 話をする what does mean “to talk”


The first listed definition for 語る in a monolingual definition (emphasis mine):

1 **話す。**特に、まとまった内容を順序だてて話して聞かせる。

Roughly translated: To talk, to speak. Particularly in the sense of describing something summarized in a sequence to someone.

So I would say “to talk” is definitely not wrong on WK’s part, it’s just not a general purpose talking, so perhaps not the greatest choice for the main listed definition.

Wanikani does list “to tell” and “to recite” as synonyms as well, which are valid translations.


The second entry for 語る in my dictionary is


“To tell a particular story”

It then gives specific examples of Japanese folktales: the tale of Genji, etc.

I gather it has the connotation of one-way speech. In the same way that the verb “to tell” does in English. 語る is often used by the sales staff at my school to promote events wherein students tell stories or give accounts of their experiences. So while 話す might be closer to “converse”, 語る would mean “tell”, “relate”, etc.


To add to the above: here are a couple of screenshots from

a collocations database. This is the entry for 語る:

Some of the top entries for 語る are 夢、思い and 体験, “to describe a dream” “to tell your thoughts” and “to describe an experience,” respectively.

Here’s the entry for 話す

The entries are more along the lines of “to speak a language” and “to say something”. だから、we could translate 話す to “say,” in the sense of “a speech-act” and 語る to “describe, relay, etc”.

Does this conform to others’ experiences?