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Tackling て来る

The7thSamurai

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て行く and て来る have bugged me for a while. I just can't seem to understand when to use them. I'm not talking about motion verbs like 持っていく or 連れてくる, I'm talking about when you suppose to describe a process starting or ending.

I'll start with て来る. A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar defines it as 'an auxiliary verb which indicates the beginning of some process or continuation of some action up to a certain point of time'.

I think I understand the first funtion (begining of a process), but the second one stumps me. It gives the example sentence, 私はいろいろな日本の歴史書を読んできた, meaning 'up to now, I've been reading various Japanese history books'. But my question is, why would you need or want to slap てきた on the end? Wouldn't ~を読んでいる suffice? I can see how this relates to the above definition (continutation of some action) but I thought ている did just that? So what exactly is the difference between:

私はいろいろな日本の歴史書を読んできた, and
私はいろいろな日本の歴史書を読んでいる?

To the first funtion of てくる - indicating the beginning of a process, it gives the example sentence あの子はこの頃ずいぶんきれいになってきたね, and gives the English translation as 'that girl has become very pretty lately, hasn't she?'. This translation seems to contradict the definition they've given, in that the girl has become pretty (action completed). I would have thought a more accurate translation would be 'that girl has started to become very pretty lately, hasn't she', as this gives the impression that the girl will become even more pretty.

Another things that I've found strange is that in every example sentence both in my grammar book, and in my text book, this form is only ever found in the past tense (i.e. てきた or てきました). Wonder why that is?

In my text post I'll talk about て行く
 
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て行く and て来る have bugged me for a while. I just can't seem to understand when to use them. I'm not talking about motion verbs like 持っていく or 連れてくる, I'm talking about when you suppose to describe a process starting or ending.

I'll start with て来る. A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar defines it as 'an auxiliary verb which indicates the beginning of some process or continuation of some action up to a certain point of time'.

I think I understand the first funtion (begining of a process), but the second one stumps me. It gives the example sentence, 私はいろいろな日本の歴史書を読んできた, meaning 'up to now, I've been reading various Japanese history books'. But my question is, why would you need or want to slap てきた on the end? Wouldn't ~を読んでいる suffice? I can see how this relates to the above definition (continutation of some action) but I thought ている did just that? So what exactly is the difference between:

私はいろいろな日本の歴史書を読んできた, and
私はいろいろな日本の歴史書を読んでいる?

To the first funtion of てくる - indicating the beginning of a process, it gives the example sentence あの子はこの頃ずいぶんきれいになってきたね, and gives the English translation as 'that girl has become very pretty lately, hasn't she?'. This translation seems to contradict the definition they've given, in that the girl has become pretty (action completed). I would have thought a more accurate translation would be 'that girl has started to become very pretty lately, hasn't she', as this gives the impression that the girl will become even more pretty.

Another things that I've found strange is that in every example sentence both in my grammar book, and in my text book, this form is only ever found in the past tense (i.e. てきた or てきました). Wonder why that is?

In my text post I'll talk about て行く
More accurate not really, certainly not more natural. It's the completion of the process of a period of change. The beginning of her condition as fully and obviously "pretty" is probably what they had in mind with this example.

There's nothing to guarantee continuation in the same way at the beginning of winter instead of "samukute natta" "samuku natte kimashita" is more logical. In the middle of winter, if it becomes suddenly cold again after a warm spell you would say "samuku natta." Either way, doesn't mean it is necessarily going to turn out to be a cold rest of the winter.

The reading example with "have been reading" gives me the sense of a recent change in reading material either way. There's hardly any difference between yonde iru and 'yonde kita" I think in Japanese.
Anyway, there are tons of past threads covering exactly these nuances of modal verbs and grammar structures.
 

The7thSamurai

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Anyway, there are tons of past threads covering exactly these nuances of modal verbs and grammar structures.
Something must be wrong with the way I search then, because nothing comes up when I put in the keyword て来る, not even my thread!
 
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Something must be wrong with the way I search then, because nothing comes up when I put in the keyword て来る, not even my thread!
It doesn't search Japanese characters is the short explanation. A few have started to trickle back into mind, though, I'll see if I can't look them up more this afternoon.
 
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So what exactly is the difference between:
私はいろいろな日本の歴史書を読んできた, and
私はいろいろな日本の歴史書を読んでいる?
I think,
読んできた
It expresses accumulation. more emphasis your experience.
読んでいる
It only explains what you are doing.
 
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I think,
読んできた
It expresses accumulation. more emphasis your experience.
読んでいる
It only explains what you are doing.
This was more or less my understanding. Using 読んできた meant "had come to read" as in a progression from not reading at all before to reading now.

Another example would be like (pardon the lack of kana as I'm at work)
"Nihonshu ga suki ni natte kita"
I've come to like sake (whereas in the past I didn't).
 
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This was more or less my understanding. Using 読んできた meant "had come to read" as in a progression from not reading at all before to reading now.

Another example would be like (pardon the lack of kana as I'm at work)
"Nihonshu ga suki ni natte kita"
I've come to like sake (whereas in the past I didn't).
Yonde iru is also "have been reading," which implies you didn't at the point immediately previous...
 

Buntaro

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Bucko,

Here are two examples which may help.

(1) て来る can mean go and do something. Just remember in English we go and do something, while in Japanese we do something and then come back to the point where the trip started. For example, in English, we say to go buy a newspaper. In Japanese, we say shimbun o katte kuru.

(2) One example of て行く is the weird phenomenon of "Where is the listener?" For example, speaker A is standing on a balcony on the second floor, while listener B is standing in the street at ground level. B has requested A to bring something down to B. A says "Motte ikimasu," meaning "I'll bring it right down." Here, in English the verb is "bring", while in Japanese it is "take".

By the way, I have found that most Japanese people studying English have no clue as to the difference between bring something (here) and take something (over there). They ALWAYS want to say bring something over there (while the two of us are standing together "here"), and they are shocked and confused when I them it is a mistake. (This also gets into Japanese people saying "come back" when they mean "go home".)
 
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Yonde iru is also "have been reading," which implies you didn't at the point immediately previous...
I'm certainly not an expert, but I always thought there was a difference in what was implied between -te iru and -te kuru. I always thought the latter was more of a passive sense, more of a general statement, whereas te iru was more active.

EX. If I were asked what I was doing recently I could say:
I've started reading books (hon wo yondekita)
or
I'm reading a book. (hon wo yondeiru)

Is this inaccurate?
 

undrentide

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EX. If I were asked what I was doing recently I could say:
I've started reading books (hon wo yondekita)
or
I'm reading a book. (hon wo yondeiru)

Is this inaccurate?
To a question asking what you are doing recently, you can say "hon wo yonde iru" I'm (currently) reading a book.
but you cannot say "hon wo yonde kita" as the latter sounds like "I've read a book before coming here".

~ de kita means either
- having been doing something up to now (past event viewing from "now")
- having done something before I came here (did something, then came here)
 
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The7thSamurai

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Bucko,
Bucko,
Here are two examples which may help.
(1) て来る can mean go and do something. Just remember in English we go and do something, while in Japanese we do something and then come back to the point where the trip started. For example, in English, we say to go buy a newspaper. In Japanese, we say shimbun o katte kuru.
(2) One example of て行く is the wierd phenomenon of "Where is the listener?" For example, speaker A is standing on a balcony on the second floor, while listener B is standing in the street at ground level. B has requested A to bring something down to B. A says "Motte ikimasu," meaning "I'll bring it right down." Here, in English the verb is "bring", while in Japanese it is "take".
By the way, I have found that most Japanese people studying English have no clue as to the difference between bring something (here) and take something (over there). They ALWAYS want to say bring something over there (while the two of us are standing together "here"), and they are shocked and confused when I them it is a mistake. (This also gets into Japanese people saying "come back" when they mean "go home".)
Hey Buntaro, I think we're discussing a different grammatical point here. Have you learnt of the "progress" tekuru? And the continuative teiku?
 

Buntaro

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Bucko,

Sorry, I have not heard of that. Can you give me an example? The only thing I can think of is "yonde kuru" meaning go and read something. I have never heard English present perfect continuous (have been ~ing) rendered into Japanese that way.
 
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To a question asking what you are doing recently, you can say "hon wo yonde iru" I'm (currently) reading a book.
but you cannot say "hon wo yonde kita" as the latter sounds like "I've read a book before coming here".
~ de kita means either
- having been doing something up to now (past event viewing from "now")
- having done something before I came here (did something, then came here)
If I were asked what I had been doing recently I might reply either with

(Saikin) Nihongo no hon bakari yonde imasu.
(Saikin) Nihongo no hon bakari yonde kimashita.

The same pattern applied to Bucko's example and I still don't see the difference in terms of continuation or progressiveness. Certainly not in their English translations.
 

Glenn

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Still I feel a difference in nuance in that the kimashita version implies "up til now," while the iru version implies no such thing, and just means "I've been reading nothing but Japanese books."
 
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Still I feel a difference in nuance in that the kimashita version implies "up til now," while the iru version implies no such thing, and just means "I've been reading nothing but Japanese books."
ここが違う」とはっきりしたものでなく、感覚的なのものかもしれません。:p

英語では、up until nowという表現を入れるとまったく違った意味になるでしょう。
それは、I'm not going to be reading them anymore, I will not be reading them exclusively anymore に近い 感じがしますね。 「読んできた」は 「only very recently started the habit/process of reading just Japanese books 」という意味でも使えるかな。。。

外国人には使い方はとても難しいです。  
たいてい「読んでいる」が一般的で無難でしょう。:embarrased:
 

undrentide

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ここが違う」とはっきりしたものでなく、感覚的なのものかもしれません。:p
英語では、up until nowという表現を入れるとまったく違った意味になるでしょう。
それは、I'm not going to be reading them anymore, I will not be reading them exclusively anymore に近い 感じがしますね。 「読んできた」は 「only very recently started the habit/process of reading just Japanese books 」という意味でも使えるかな。。。
外国人には使い方はとても難しいです。  
たいてい「読んでいる」が一般的で無難でしょう。
私も「読んでいる/読んでいます」が無難だし、ふつうだと思います。
:thumbsup:
「読んできた」というと「今まではずっと読んできたけれど、これからは違う」とか
「今までずっと読んできたけど、こんな本には出会ったことがなかった」というように
「今まで(過去)」と「今(現在)」または「これから(未来)」で何かdrastic changeがあるような印象を受けます。
ちなみに「読んできた」は「最近になって読み始めた」「読むようになった」という意味には使えません。
上で説明したような「変化」について以外では「ここに来る前に読んできた」、つまり「すでに読んでおいた」という意味になるかと思います。
この意味だと「最近何をしていますか」の答えには使えませんけどね。
:)
説明していて感じたのですが、「~てきた」というのは過去を振り返って言う場合によく使うんじゃないでしょうか。
Glennさんの言う up until nowに通じるところがあるかな。
 

The7thSamurai

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Hmm, it's still quite confusing. Although it may not give me full use, I think I'll think of tekita in the following way:

- if it's a "process" verb, like naru, futoru, wakaru, or furu, I'll think of 'tekita' as 'started to', or 'began to'.
- for other verbs I'll think of it as "up until now, have been ~, and may continue to". Have to slap on the "may continue to" for the reason Elizabeth stated above.
 

undrentide

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Hmm, it's still quite confusing. Although it may not give me full use, I think I'll think of tekita in the following way:

- if it's a "process" verb, like naru, futoru, wakaru, or furu, I'll think of 'tekita' as 'started to', or 'began to'.
- for other verbs I'll think of it as "up until now, have been ~, and may continue to". Have to slap on the "may continue to" for the reason Elizabeth stated above.
Compared with "~teiku", I think that "~tekuru" focus on something is in process "up to now". It does not imply when it started (i.e. when something is in process, it has already started), or whether it will continue or not (i.e. just it has been so).
 
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Hmm, it's still quite confusing. Although it may not give me full use, I think I'll think of tekita in the following way:
- if it's a "process" verb, like naru, futoru, wakaru, or furu, I'll think of 'tekita' as 'started to', or 'began to'.
- for other verbs I'll think of it as "up until now, have been ~, and may continue to". Have to slap on the "may continue to" for the reason Elizabeth stated above.
If you think about it, there isn't a logical break point in English either between "started to" and "has been that way." Normally English speakers will not comfortably use "up to now" without the expectation of some discontuinity in the process, even a very slight change. Unless what they really mean is "up to this point..." "It has reached the point that..." which to me is a more objective and analytical way to talk about what has accumulated so far.

Perhaps it's just another difference in cultures, though. What's the point in mentioning anything that is "just as it is, "just that way ?" Dig deeply enough and behind the feeling, there always has to be a valid reason....:eek: :p

たとえば、日々日々に暖かくなる、日々日々に暖かくなっている、
>日々日々に暖かくなってきている、日々日々に暖かくなてきた。。。
>全ての例文は、英語の It's getting colder day by day みたいなもので、
大体意味にはあんまり違いがないと思うけど「強さ、主観的な感じ、冬(温暖前線)がもう近づいているかどうか、先日ほど暖かくなかった日なのか」などに差があるような感じがしますね。

人それぞれでしょうか。。。人は寒さがひどくこたえるものかも。。。(笑い)
:embarrased:
 
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Hmm, it's still quite confusing. Although it may not give me full use, I think I'll think of tekita in the following way:
- if it's a "process" verb, like naru, futoru, wakaru, or furu, I'll think of 'tekita' as 'started to', or 'began to'..
If it is with a 'momentary verb,' meaning a change in action or transition from one state to another is imminent, I think you can safely think of as "tekita" for beginning or started to happen. These bottom examples are only a few I found in the book "Basic Connections : Making Your Japanese Flow" plus a few of my own. Try also searching on momentary verbs. There's bound to be a more comprehensive list somewhere.

With verbs like 成る、分かる、増える、減る、太る which indicate movement across time, きた suggests/emphasizes the action as having come from a point in the past (きた), is still in the process of coming (きている) or will come (くる)。

知る
壊れる
死ぬ
入る
閉じる
咲く
開く
降る
散る
倒れる
立つ
落ちる
着く
届く
触れる
濡れる
 
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Elizabeth, may I assk about the verbs you've listed?
I guess it has something to do with "tekuru" but some of them can be used with it, some cannot, so I wonder...
Yes, the book that I drew it from didn't commit to saying you use it for all of them...and I wasn't totally sure either except for common examples like 知る、立つ、降る、濡れる。。。:embarrased::

Anyway, I hope this is a list we can start adding to in the future and that this thread has been to some help to Bucko.:thumbsup: Although I think the feeling of difference you get between てきた、てきている and the regular verb ending is something very subtle and maybe impossible to fully explain in English
:embarrased:
 
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