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「日本語{にほんご}を習得{しゅうとく}する」means "to acquire the ability to use Japanese", right?
「日本語を勉強{べんきょう}する」means "to study Japanese", right?

So, in what ways are 「日本語を習得している」 different from「日本語を勉強している」?

Might a nuance be that 「習得している」 is optimistic? In English, something like "I am on the path to mastering Japanese."「勉強している」 is simply "I am studying Japanese."

Surely, 「日本語を習得した」 is completely different from「日本語を勉強した」. The former meaning "I learned (mastered?) Japanese." The latter "I studied Japanese.", right?

I assume that the comparison applies to 「習得していた」 and 「勉強していた」 in the same way.

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Yes, 習得 is much different from 勉強, and your understanding is correct.

勉強 means to study, to put effort to learn something. It may imply that they have actually acquired the ability, but that's not important.

習得 means to actually master/acquire the ability to do something. Whether you have put effort is not important.

5年日本語を勉強してきたが、まだ習得できていない。
I have studied Japanese for five years, but I haven't mastered it yet.

It's possible to say:

I am on the path to mastering Japanese.
(私は)日本語を習得している途中です。

But it would be more natural to say 「日本語はまだ勉強中です。 I'm still learning Japanese.」

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