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~ながら

~ながら
~nagara
Meaning: while doing A also doing B
JLPT Level: 3
Examples

音楽を聴きながら宿題をしました。
ongaku o kikinagara shukudai o shimashita
music-(direct object marker)-listen while-homework-did
While listening to music, (I) did homework.

Comments
It is formed by taking the stem from the -masu form of a verb and adding ながら

聞く ->  聞き ます -> 聞きながら
する ->  ます -> しながら

Note that the first verb (the one with ながら has no tense (not past or present).

A useful set phrase using ながら is 残念ながら zannen nagara - That's too bad, but...:
残念ながら、ピーマンを全部食べなさい。
zannen nagara, pi-man o zenbu tabenasai.
That's too bad-green pepper-(direct object)-all-eat(command).
It's a cryin' shame, but eat all your veggies!

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聞く・聴く

In specific, 聴く is used for 'listening to' ... listening to music, to the radio, to a speech. Sometimes it's used for 'heard' or 'to hear' when you're -really- paying attention to the sound.

聞く can be used for anything 聴く can be used for just to be simpler kanji, and 聞く is preferred in all cases of 'to ask' and most cases of 'to hear'.

There's no -general- answer of when one kanji is preferred over the other when two kanji have the same reading, but most often, only one is preferred in modern usage; in other cases, they are totally different words. There are only a handful of blurry cases like きく and they have to be learned individually.

In the first example,for the

In the first example,for the word 聴きながら kanji 聞 can also be used,isn't it? So in such cases where there are more than one kanjis for the same meaning,how is it decided which one to use?

Ongakuka's picture

聞くVs聴く

聞く works in most cases (including "to ask;" but 聴く is mainly used for listening to music (as in the example above.)

A third Kanji for this verb is 訊 which means "enquire" according to the dictionary, though I have only ever come across it twice and seems quite rare.

Where there are multiple choices of Kanji for a word, they usually have (sometimes subtle) differences in nuance or meaning :)

なぜなら、おまえは・・・・・・人形だ

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