For full context: 外国人に日本語を教える人を「日本語の先生」と言います。 日本語が母語の子どもたちが学校で習うのは「国語」です。ですから、日本の学校で日本人に教える場合は、「国語の先生」と呼ばれます。


The sentence in question: 私は、日本語を学習している外国人に日本語を教える勉強をしているので、「日本語の先生」を目指していると言うことができます

My attempt at translation: "Concerning me, because I studied (I think て-form is used because she refers to her personal past here? According to her profile, her professional education is over I think) teaching japanese to foreigners studying japanese, you can say that I aimed to become 'japanese teacher'."

In this sentence, I'm mainly confused by 日本語を教える勉強をしているので and と言うことができます.

First 日本語を教える勉強をしているので: What irritates me is 勉強. The way I translated it, it makes perfect sense grammarwise and also contentwise, however, for my translation to match reality, my interpretation of している must be correct. If it isn't, and I'm not so sure it is, then I probably misunderstood something about the meaning of 勉強. If it was "lesson" instead of "study", then I would have less doubts...^^

Second と言うことができます: Here I'm a bit hesitant to trust into my interpretation of と言う. I couldn't muster a translation where と言う is interpreted in one of the more abstract ways as described here: http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/define#The_various_uses_of (for example: 主人公が犯人だったというのが一番面白かった。 The most interesting thing was that the main character was the criminal. ) I'm really sorry that I can't give a more concise description. I'm really struggling here to describe at all what these other uses of という, which I assume aren't used here, actually are. Usually, whenever という is used, it has a meaning resembling "Y means X", like in...

A)...山田さんから電話があったのですが、約束の時間に少し遅れるということです。 => "There was a call from Mr. Yamada, he said that he will be a little late." B)...PCというのはパソコンのことです。 => "PC means 'personal Computer'".

So, I think one can safely say that there is always at least some connection to the original "say" semantics of 言う, however, this original semantics can become very weak as it seems.

In the sentence in question, I think interpreting 言う very literally in its original semantics "say" makes much more sense, but since I almost never encountered such a case where this original semantics was that strong, I am very skeptical about my interpretation ^^

I really just discovered what a mess my knowledge about this construction actually is...it was really hard for me to describe the differences in its usage, so please feel free to criticize my question if it isn't comprehensible xD

1 Answer 1

  • There is no past tense in this sentence. 勉強をしている is simply present progressive "I am studying". I don't know 'her profile' or 'reality', but generally speaking, just because she finished her occupational training does not mean she has stopped studying altogether.
  • This ~と言うことができます is simply "you can say that ..." I think your translation of this part is already perfect.

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