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Is there any difference between 学習する and 習う?

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Yes, of course there is a difference. Have you read through our other questions with 学習 and 習う, e.g. japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/13786/… and japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/1732/… ? – Earthliŋ Mar 21 '14 at 22:52
学習する/学ぶ/勉強する - active, learn from books. 習う/先生に就いて(tsuite)学習する/先生の下で(motode)学習する - passive, directed under the teacher. – noel_lapin Mar 22 '14 at 0:07
私は日本語を学習しています I study/learn Japanese actively with textbooks, the net, or the teacher. 私は日本語を習っています I study/learn Japanese at some school directed by someone. – noel_lapin Mar 22 '14 at 0:36
学習科目(kamoku) studying subject. 習い事(naraigoto) hobby, usually piano, soccer, swimming. – noel_lapin Mar 22 '14 at 0:49
up vote 5 down vote accepted

These are similar words with subtle differences.

学習 has a bit more formal sound than 習う, and the difference in their meanings derive from that.

For example, 学習 tends to refer to "at desk" formal studies you do at schools and institutions. Mathmatics, science, English, that sort of things. In contrast, 習う often refers to lessons and extra-school activities such as karate, piano, cooking, and so on (see Worthy7's answer for sentences.)

The border line is blurry, though.

For example, take Worthy7's sentence "向こうの大学じゃ、習ってなかったし" as an example. This refers to a study in an university. But in this case 習う is used because the form of speech is informal.

Likewise, 学習 can be used even if it doesn't involve studying at formal institutions, when a rigid sounding noun form is needed. For example, 生涯学習センター (life-long learning center) is normally just a community center that has short programs, but you don't want to call it 生涯習い事センター because it lacks dignitiy.

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学習する appears to be "It is learning" in the following examples:


It means, it's learning. (Evangelion)


Is it okay? Putting that stuff in? It'll learn strange stuff or something... (Ghost in the Shell)

In both cases it is someone talking about something else learning and acquiring knowledge.

Other examples:


And 習う seems to be a more normal learning:

体が大きく 空手を習っていた私は

A big body, I was learning karate... (Daily life of high school boys)


I've been learning cello but... nothing became of it. (Evangelion)


Right. I can't remember kanji at all, then at college I didn't study it. (Evangelion)

In these 3 cases the speaker is talking about themselves learning something.

Other examples


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I am totally anticipating a random downvote. – Worthy7 Apr 5 '14 at 17:59
You probably win the award of earning the most downvotes in the shortest period of time. But in a sense, many of your answer are asking for downvotes. Here, saying that one is "it is learning" and the other is "normal learning" is too vague to be useful. – Earthliŋ Apr 6 '14 at 22:37
A few more negative-score answers, I'll be tempted to give you a +1, just for not giving up. – Earthliŋ Apr 6 '14 at 22:41
Hopefully it is a place where anybody with a genuine interest in the language of any level (as long as they at least showing some effort to learn) can participate but the site will only be as good as its participants. There is a bit of peer pressure to keep up the standard (have a look at some the freq questions) but it is meant with the best of intentions. There are also pages that explain better than I can: japanese.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-answer – Tim Apr 7 '14 at 6:49
Ok, I'll just trying to make better answers I guess. Prepare for a mass of real world examples in future! – Worthy7 Apr 7 '14 at 6:55

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