CultureEducationEssayEtymologyLanguage learningUncorrected

Narau” and “Manabu” (To Learn)

  • When I read sentences written by people who learn Japanese on Lang-8, I found that “narau” is often confused with “manabu”.


    You can say just “I learn Japanese” to mean both “nihongo wo narau” and “nihongo wo manabu”, but there is a determinate difference between these Japanese sentences.

    In most cases, “narau” means to be taught something by someone.
    「日本語を習う」と「日本語を学ぶ」はどちらも “I learn Japanese” と表現できますが、日本語では決定的な違いがあります。

    On the other hand, “manabu” means to remember or study something by oneself.

    Therefore, it’s unnatural to use “narau” when teaching yourself something, and you should use “manabu” in such a case.

    By the way, it is said that “manabu” is derived from “manebu”, which means “to imitate”.

    Original sentence