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日本語を勉強していて、楽しい? (From Human Japanese Intermediate Ch. 24)

This is translated as "Studying Japanese, is it fun?" in the lesson which got me a bit confused. Can someone explain more about what the て-form here does for the sentence? Up until now in my studies, if I wanted to ask this, it would probably be something like 日本語を勉強するのは楽しい? or 日本語を勉強することは楽しい? 

I do know that the て-form can be used to link phrases like in 猫を助けて、家に帰ります where I'll help the cat and then go home, and this is the closest usage I can think of for this case.

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I feel the actual source of your confusion is the interpretation of this 楽しい. 楽しい in this context is closer to "are you having fun" rather than "is it fun". See my previous answer for the two possible meanings of 楽しい. A literal translation is more like this:

日本語を勉強していて、楽しい?
Studying Japanese, are you having fun?
Are you having fun while you are studying Japanese?

The te-form before this comma is functioning like "while" or "by", but I hope you already know how it works (this question is relevant). Note that the unmentioned topic is consistently "you" throughout this sentence. Of course, it is also perfectly fine to say "日本語を勉強するのは楽しい?".

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  • Thanks for pointing out the 楽しい part as you were pretty spot on with it being the source of my confusion! – balderdact Mar 5 at 11:14
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The -te form is like a causation of the following thing in this case.

日本語を勉強して疲れた。= I got tired studying Japanese (I studied Japanese and it made me tired).

風が強くて自転車に乗れなかった = the wind was very strong, so I couldn't ride my bicycle.

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