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Whats with this word : 分かる

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Whats with this word : 分かる

Postby kentaku_sama » Thu 11.05.2009 2:51 pm

Whats with this word : 分かる It means to understand but when I try to type the past negative tense (did not understand) I get this: 沸かなかった。  Is it an exception?? Isn't (did not understand): わかなかった?
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Re: Whats with this word : 分かる

Postby magamo » Thu 11.05.2009 2:53 pm

It's 分からなかった (わからなかった). You're missing ら. Check your conjugation table if you have.
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Re: Whats with this word : 分かる

Postby furrykef » Thu 11.05.2009 3:12 pm

As magamo basically indicated, 分かる is a godan verb. All verbs that don't end in -eru or -iru are godan verbs, and even some of those verbs are godan (like 入る, which is read はいる). The negative of all godan verbs is to take the ending -u and change it to -anai, so wakar-u becomes wakar-anai (わからない).

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Re: Whats with this word : 分かる

Postby keatonatron » Thu 11.05.2009 9:53 pm

kentaku_sama wrote:Is it an exception?? Isn't (did not understand): わかなかった?


If you listen to a lot of Japanese, you might have heard わかんなかった, which is a slang (slurred?) form of the correct spelling (わからなかった).

I just say this, because when I first started out I made a lot of mistakes due to mishearing various phrases.

When I asked my friend if they had seen a movie, they replied with "見てない", but since it was a grammar form I wasn't expecting, I misheard it and thought they said "見たない". I probably used that for a while until I was corrected :lol:

Of course, maybe you just made a conjugation error and this post has nothing to do with you... :?
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Re: Whats with this word : 分かる

Postby spin13 » Fri 11.06.2009 1:13 am

keatonatron wrote:If you listen to a lot of Japanese, you might have heard わかんなかった, which is a slang (slurred?) form of the correct spelling (わからなかった).

I just say this, because when I first started out I made a lot of mistakes due to mishearing various phrases.

Though I've certainly made plenty of mistakes from using misheard phrases, I did have the displeasure of experiencing the opposite as well. Though the meaning of わかんない was abundantly clear from the context I first heard it in, it took me quite a while to find an native speaker who would explain why. One language exchange partner even refused to admit it. "Surely you heard them wrong. It's わからない." The same person also insisted that やだ was a completely improbably contraction of いやだ and again I must have been mishearing things. Unfortunately, in this case it wasn't just a bit of overzealous prescriptivism; she was just being a bitch.
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Re: Whats with this word : 分かる

Postby Eiuol » Tue 11.10.2009 9:30 pm

I'll expand on Furrykef's post a little bit.

The negative past like this is the う gets changed to an あ sound. The key is that 分かる is an ある sound at the end. For anything that is NOT える or いる, the う always becomes an あ.

The times when you want to be careful is those える and いる verbs. 食べる for instance conjugates as 食べて and 食べます. Not 食べって or 食べります. So in that case you know it is 食べなかった and not 食べらなかった. Over time you can make those connections quickly, and eventually based on just how the verb sounds phonetically.
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Re: Whats with this word : 分かる

Postby furrykef » Tue 11.10.2009 9:38 pm

One thing that both Eiuol and I forgot to mention is verbs like いう that end in the kana う (as opposed to く, す, つ, etc. -- just う). These follow a different pattern: the negative of these verbs is formed with わない, not あない, so the negative of いう is いわない, and its negative past is いわなかった.

You might know this already; I only pointed it out because earlier I said that all godan verbs simply drop the 'u' and add 'anai', when really we meant all except verbs like いう. :)

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Re: Whats with this word : 分かる

Postby kentaku_sama » Fri 02.05.2010 1:10 pm

THanks, I understand it very well now :D
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