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xminus1

Sempai
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Hello, friends:

This question might seem a bit off the wall, but I've been wondering what the distinctions are between どう and 何. I'm not aware that my Minna textbook addresses this. At first I thought that どう was the equivalent of the English "how" and 何 was "what". I am now beginning to think that どう can also be used to mean "what".

Am I wrong about this?

Is there a rule to determine when either should be used in grammatical contexts?

Thank you!
 

Toritoribe

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The point is that words in a language are generally not (well, at least not always) in one-to-one corresponding to words in another language. The meanings are overlapping. For instance, どう often means "how", as you initially thought, so Japanese learners of English tend to mistranslate ~についてどう思いますか as "How do you think about~?" in English. Needless to say, it should be "What do you think about~?". The same goes to どういう意味? vs. "What do you mean?". I learned that it's better to remember as a combination of how/what and a verb, e.g. "what and think", in English class in school days.
 

xminus1

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Thank you! It's good to have confirmation that there can be an overlap of meaning with these two words. My understanding of the usage will get better as I continue my studies. :geek:

Thanks again.
 
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