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Weird なる useages that always throw me off

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Weird なる useages that always throw me off

Postby Shiroisan » Thu 04.19.2012 6:13 pm

I often hear someone use the verb for "become" in weird ways that we would never hear in English. These useages leaving me feeling completely unsure of when it's ok and natural to use "become" and when it isn't. Here's one example of a simple useage that throws me off:

*I correct below person's English*

ありがとうございます。いい勉強になりました


いい勉強になりました?? What the hell's with that? Can someone explain how this is normal, and by extension, other ways that なる can be used that I may be unaware of?
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Re: Weird なる useages that always throw me off

Postby SomeCallMeChris » Thu 04.19.2012 6:39 pm

Does it help if you think of it as translating to 'This has been/become a good learning experience'?

You can, of course, say いい経験になった (or otherwise modify 経験). If you think of 勉強 as being the experience of learning things, perhaps the whole thing makes more sense.

経験 examples:
http://eow.alc.co.jp/search?q=%E7%B5%8C ... %9F&ref=sa

(there are probably more, I only searched one conjugation of なる)
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Re: Weird なる useages that always throw me off

Postby Shiroisan » Thu 04.19.2012 8:04 pm

SomeCallMeChris wrote:Does it help if you think of it as translating to 'This has been/become a good learning experience'?

You can, of course, say いい経験になった (or otherwise modify 経験). If you think of 勉強 as being the experience of learning things, perhaps the whole thing makes more sense.

経験 examples:
http://eow.alc.co.jp/search?q=%E7%B5%8C ... %9F&ref=sa

(there are probably more, I only searched one conjugation of なる)


Maybe that helps a bit, but it feels weird randomly adding my own vocabulary to make whatever they said make sense... For example, if it were even said as "good study SESSION" I could understand a bit better. But I just don't get using it in a way such as "This became good study". I wouldn't have brought it up here if I thought it was just a rare occurence, but generally speaking as a whole the ways that Japanese people use なる always seems to me as an ubrupt, partial, unexpected thing to say that only makes sense because I assume what I think they're theoretically trying to convey, not because I understand it.

Is there any other way I could get-accustomed-to/ get-in-the-mindset of this grammar? Is it just one of those things?
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Re: Weird なる useages that always throw me off

Postby SomeCallMeChris » Fri 04.20.2012 12:32 am

Well, なる is as common an auxiliary verb as する so it does get used in a lot of ways that 'to become' simply doesn't get used.

Maybe it's more useful to think of it in the study example as meaning 'has been' rather than 'has become'. Certainly なった often means something like 'it is' / 'it has been' / 'it was' ... usually with some sense of how something 'came about' or 'turned into' a state or situation, but なる (especially in the past tense) gets used just a little more often than 'turned into' and/or 'became' creating a bit of difference with the usual English translation for the verb.

On the other hand, I think it's also important to distinguish that 勉強 is not 'to study'; that would be '勉強する' ; also 勉強 is not 'studying' ... 'studying' is more like 勉強すること. 勉強 when used as a naked noun away from する seems to often be translated as 'lessons', so we could think of it as being 'things to learn' (which makes 勉強する = learning things, which isn't a bad approximation of 'to study'.)

'This has became a good lesson', or 'This turned out to be something good to learn' may make more sense than any attempt to force a noun form onto 'to study'. (Although 'studies' as a noun, as in 'He is putting a lot of effort into his studies' is a translation of 勉強 in some contexts. New Century's entry may be worth looking at, http://dic.yahoo.co.jp/dsearch?p=%E5%8B ... &dname=2ss )

Some of it may just be getting used to it though, I don't know. いい勉強になりました surprised me the first time I encountered it, but it's a common expression and it doesn't seem at all odd to me now. (Arguably we could say it means 'Thanks, I really learned a lot' since that's what would be said in the same situation in English... but that doesn't help understand why the grammar is what it is.)
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Re: Weird なる useages that always throw me off

Postby yangmuye » Fri 04.20.2012 12:51 am

なる is used to alternate voices. You can think なる is the 自動詞 of なす・する.

So 勉強になる means something like 勉強できる. (勉強することが達成される, “the action of learning happens”, or “You get the result of the action learning”)
いい勉強になる means something like “よく勉強できた” or “よく勉強した”, “I have learned a lot”.


対イラン制裁は、ヨーロッパ諸国の損害になる

The になる in the above sentence is more like causative rather potential form.

“agentのactionとなる” is a traditional structure to map Chinese passive expressions.

世話になる means something like 世話される or 世話してもらう(世話させる). It has features of 自動詞, but is somewhat similar to causative.

Anyway, the structure seems not so productive. お~になる is usually known as a alternative from of される to express respect. Remembering phrases like 勉強になる, 世話になる, 馳走になる, 役になる, etc. one by one might be the best choice.
Last edited by yangmuye on Fri 04.20.2012 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Weird なる useages that always throw me off

Postby Shiroisan » Fri 04.20.2012 12:57 am

Actually chris, if it really is ok to sometimes think of it like "has been", that really would help me in a good few of the contexts I've been having trouble with. Thank you!

P.S. 勉強 as "lesson" was an odd but helpful take on the word as well. I've only thought of it as the noun form of study. 日本語の勉強 being "Japanese study" and all..

@yung. Oh wow I'll try considering all that too!
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