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What is the correct way to say: "I am a beginner in Japanese".

Google Translate shows the translation is:

私は日本語初心者です

However, Google search shows:

私は日本語初心者です

has a lot more hits.

Which one of these is correct?

  • Do you know any Japanese, or are you just second-guessing from the search results? Do you know the difference between で and の? – Earthliŋ Dec 18 '14 at 17:23
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    I am learning Japanese. I roughly understand difference between で and の, but not exactly clear in this context. I understand で is used when referring language, e.g. Thank youは 日本語で 何ですか。However, in this context, 日本語 looks like an adjective to 初心者, so I am not entirely sure. Please let me know the answer. Thanks. – Kevin Dec 18 '14 at 18:15
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The right way to say it is:

私は日本語の初心者です。

I'm a beginner of Japanese language.

However, if you use the other variant, you'll still be understood, of course. After all, you are a beginner. :)

Still, it's kind of difficult to say this. Why not say something simple, like:

私【わたし】は日本語【にほんご】を勉強【べんきょう】します。まだ上手【じょうず】じゃありません。

I study Japanese. I'm not skilled yet.

You'll likely be saying the first thing in any case, and the second part is what you're looking for.

Edit: as pointed out by Shizuma_Hanazono, it's better still to say:

私【わたし】は日本語【にほんご】を勉強【べんきょう】しています

This means you are currently studying Japanese. The 〜ている form (progressive tense) is used to indicate ongoing actions. The earlier sentence I gave you is simplified, and if you're a beginner you're probably only familiar with the 〜ます form.

  • Many thanks for your answer. I think your suggestion is good and is more clear. – Kevin Dec 18 '14 at 21:08
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    勉強しています instead of 勉強します is better. The construction ~ている states that you are currently studying Japanese, and ~ている should generally be used to express ongoing actions. – Shizuma_Hanazono Dec 18 '14 at 21:45
  • I agree @Shizuma_Hanazono, that would be better. I assumed the poster is not familiar with the 〜ている construction yet, so that's why I went with the simpler one. But it's best to add this in as well, so I'll edit my post. – msikma Dec 19 '14 at 10:30
  • Thanks all. Indeed, I don't know the usage of ている before. Thanks for letting me know this. – Kevin Dec 19 '14 at 17:45

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