Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

View topic - 一人 and 独り

一人 and 独り

Have a Question about some Grammar point? Share it with the world!

一人 and 独り

Postby agathe » Tue 02.16.2010 8:49 am

Hi!

I often get confused when words can be written with different kanji. Are there any differences between 独り and 一人?

I assume when counting people (一人, 二人, 三人) 一人 is used and 独り can not be used. But I think that if I want to say that I am studying alone both can be used. 私は一人で勉強します or 私は独りで勉強します. But are they exactly the same?

Thanks for your help.
agathe
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat 07.18.2009 5:10 am

Re: 一人 and 独り

Postby spin13 » Tue 02.16.2010 10:25 am

The generic 一人 focuses on the number. You use this when you want to say, "one friend visited me" or "one by one they walked away."

独り focuses on independence, isolation, or solitude. It has more emotional nuances. You use this when you want to say "I'm better off alone" or "he talks to himself (独り言を言う)."
You're probably not as smart as you think.
Unskilled and Unaware
spin13
 
Posts: 481
Joined: Wed 04.06.2005 9:38 pm
Location: Tokyo
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Re: 一人 and 独り

Postby agathe » Tue 02.16.2010 12:53 pm

Thanks for a good explanation!
agathe
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat 07.18.2009 5:10 am

Re: 一人 and 独り

Postby AJBryant » Wed 02.17.2010 6:59 pm

Interesting side note on 独り -- if you've ever read Tolkien's The Hobbit, in the Japanese translation, the Dwarves' stronghold, "the Lonely Mountain," is called 独り山.
User avatar
AJBryant
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5313
Joined: Sun 10.09.2005 11:29 am
Location: Indiana
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Re: 一人 and 独り

Postby agathe » Thu 02.18.2010 4:19 pm

Thanks, that is interesting. I don't think am quite up to reading Tolkien in Japanese yet, but I'll put the Hobbit on my shopping list for Christmas. I recently thought about rereading it so reading it in Japanese would be perfect.
agathe
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat 07.18.2009 5:10 am

Re: 一人 and 独り

Postby AJBryant » Fri 02.19.2010 4:35 am

I'm a big fan of reading English lit in Japanese as part of one's learning process. If you already know the story, it helps you to "guess" at things you don't know, and allows you to read faster (glossing over the uncertain parts) than you would if you were reading new material.
User avatar
AJBryant
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5313
Joined: Sun 10.09.2005 11:29 am
Location: Indiana
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Re: 一人 and 独り

Postby furrykef » Fri 02.19.2010 6:02 am

What's the quality usually like, though? I try it with Spanish and sometimes the translations are so horrible that even I can spot the mistakes.

Though I suspect this problem might be so common because English and Spanish are similar enough that people think they're better at translating between them than they really are, or employers might not be choosy enough in selecting a translator for the same reason.
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Re: 一人 and 独り

Postby Harisenbon » Fri 02.19.2010 6:14 am

I find translated books (and games) to be almost unbearable.
While grammatically correct, they usually try to keep the "feeling" of the English sentences, which means picking obscure words or phrasing that aren't really used in standard Japanese speech.

Reading a book translated into Japanese is a much different experience than reading a native Japanese book.

Harry Potter I think was one of the few exceptions to this rule.

-- Currently playing through Assassin's Creed 1 in Japanese and understanding MAYBE 40% of the story... I swear it's like they chose 漢語 over 和語 at any and every opportunity.
Want to learn Japanese the right way? How about for free?
Ippatsu // Japanesetesting.com
User avatar
Harisenbon
 
Posts: 2964
Joined: Tue 06.14.2005 3:24 am
Location: Gifu, Japan
Native language: (poor) English

Re: 一人 and 独り

Postby AJBryant » Sun 02.21.2010 1:23 am

You have to find the right translations. Some translators are really choku-yaku kinda folks, and tend to stick too closely to the genbun, even when it's inappropriate. Translating is an art, and for many (even in the literary world) it's a job.
User avatar
AJBryant
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5313
Joined: Sun 10.09.2005 11:29 am
Location: Indiana
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Re: 一人 and 独り

Postby agathe » Sun 02.21.2010 9:26 am

In an ideal world I would read any book in it's original language. But since my Japanese reading skills lack quite a lot reading books I already know well in English is useful. Knowing the story makes it possible for me to extrapolate across the huge amount of passages that I don't quite understand. Eventually I hope to be able to do these extrapolations without knowing the story in advance. I don't mind it when they keep some of the English words. In Harry Potter they kept all the magic words and names and I am quite happy that I don't have to relearn those. But too much of anything is rarely good so I guess I have been lucky with the choice of reading material so far.
agathe
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat 07.18.2009 5:10 am


Return to Grammar Questions and Problems

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 8 guests