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

Google Translate shows the translation is:


However, Google search shows:


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
  • 2
    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

The right way to say it is:


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:


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:


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
  • 9
    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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.