2

ている verbs can indicate either the result of something (死んでいる) or that you are in the process of doing something (食べている). However, I am having trouble differentiating between the two with certain verbs such as 言っている. For example, in the following dialogue

『もっと触れてもいい?』 『それって、髪だけのことを言ってるの?』

I am not quite sure if it would be "saying" or "what you said."

  • Does that mean you think both translations fit ? – oldergod Apr 21 '15 at 2:33
  • I'm having trouble differentiating between when 言っている means saying or said. Like, imagine something dramatic was said and the response was 何を言っている. Would it be "what are you saying" or "what did you just say?" In the example in my question I am not quite sure. – Joe Apr 21 '15 at 3:02
  • There is no answer to your question. It depends on the context, and usually only one of the both fit your context so you choose the one fitting it. – oldergod Apr 21 '15 at 4:57
5

I think an easy rule like this could apply:

  • If you can insert 「もう」 in the sentence without any problem, then it is resultive (彼には言ってる → 彼にはもう言ってる) "I already told him"

  • If you can insert 「今」 in the sentence without any problem, then it is progressive (それって、髪のことを言ってるの? → それって、髪のことを今言ってるの?) (It does get slightly weird, but it remains logically correct)

So I would think for the sentence in your example, 「言ってる」 is progressive.

0

In the specific instance you list, I read that as "by that, do you mean only the hair?" or, more literally, "are you just talking about the hair?" So present progressive.

  • Well, I had some doubts that it was present progressive because it referred to a fixed point in time, "that," which wasn't really covered in your more literal translation. – Joe Apr 21 '15 at 4:20

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