Understanding and knowing

Authored by: Naomi H. McGloin , Mutsuko Endo Hudson , Fumiko Nazikian , Tomomi Kakegawa

Modern Japanese Grammar

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415571999
eBook ISBN: 9780203856628
Adobe ISBN: 9781135151393


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Japanese has two verbs which are used to express understanding and knowing but their usages do not always correspond to the ways the English verbs ‘understand’ and ‘know’ are used. Shitte iru, ‘to know,’ is generally used to indicate that one has information gained from external sources. Wakaru, ‘to understand,’ expresses the mental state that is achieved through an internal process or by figuring something out.

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