My understanding is that 「学習{がくしゅう}」 is a very interesting word. It has all of the following meanings?

(1) 「勉強{べんきょう}」. To study new material.
We learn new kanji, vocab, grammar, etc.
(2) 「練習{れんしゅう}」. To review already learned material.
We perform drills to keep already studied kanji remembered.
(3) 「研究{けんきゅう}」. To research the origins of the material being studied.
As opposed to studying how to speak/write Japanese, we research etymologies, etc.

(question #1) Can I substitute 学習 for 勉強、or for 練習、or for 研究?
(question #2): If I want to specify all of 勉強、練習、and 研究、can I just say 学習 (acting as a superset of those 3 items)?

thank you.

  • 練習 means "practice". "Review" is 復習. – istrasci Dec 19 '13 at 17:01

The word 学習 is indeed very difficult to explain despite its rather simple look and what the bilingual dictionaries would probably say that it means.

I am sure I knew the word as early as second grade but have rarely used it actively because it is a word that is much more often used by the school/teacher/Ministry of Education side, not by the learner side. The word for "study" or "learn" for the average student/parent/citizen is definitely 勉強.

You will NOT hear Japanese-speakers say things like:

「[昨日]{きのう}2[時間]{じかん}学習した。」= "I studied 2 hours yesterday." or

「[明日]{あした}はテストだから[今夜]{こんや}は学習しなきゃ。」= "I gotta study tonight 'cause we have a test tomorrow."

Question #1:

学習 indeed basically means 勉強 but as I have stated, the two words are seldom contextually interchangeable. Honestly speaking, however, I have seen so many Japanese-learners make this mistake.

練習 means "practice" or "drill". One could say it is part of 学習 but there is no interchangeability between the two words. To us native speakers, they are not even similar with each other.

Same thing with 研究 which means to study in depth or do so professionally. It may be part of 学習 but there is absolutely no interchangeability between the two words.

Question #2:

No, you cannot. That word would be [学問]{がくもん}, not 学習.


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