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上手になりたい "at" something

Julie.chan

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I believe these would be valid, correct?

秋子さんは数学は上手です。
公子さんは英語は下手です。
私は日本語は下手です。

Now, what about describing a desire to get (more) 上手 at something? For example: "I want to get better at Japanese." Would that be the same form?

(私は)日本語は上手になりたいです。
慶喜さんは科学は上手になりたがっています。

I was also wondering about this sort of construction. Would this be valid, and if so, would the meaning be any different?

日本語について上手になりたいです。
 
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Toritoribe

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は works as the contrastive marker there, thus, 日本語は上手です means I'm good at Japanese, (but not good at other subjects). が should be used if you want to avoid implying such a nuance.

上手/下手 is used basically for skills, so 数学が上手/下手です sounds awkward. 得意 and 不得意(or 苦手) is used for 数学 or 科学.

上手になりたいです is fine, but I would say 上手になりたいと思っています for other people instead of 上手になりたがっています.
 

Julie.chan

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は works as the contrastive marker there, thus, 日本語は上手です means I'm good at Japanese, (but not good at other subjects). が should be used if you want to avoid implying such a nuance.
OK, thanks.

上手/下手 is used basically for skills, so 数学が上手/下手です sounds awkward. 得意 and 不得意(or 苦手) is used for 数学 or 科学.
Ah, that's a contrast I'm not used to. So it's because math and science are subjects, not skills, then?

上手になりたいです is fine, but I would say 上手になりたいと思っています for other people instead of 上手になりたがっています.
OK, thanks. Is there any particular reason, or is this just something I'll have to kind of get used to on a case-by-case basis?

And would I say this?

日本語が上手になりたいです。
 

Toritoribe

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So it's because math and science are subjects, not skills, then?
Basically, yes.
e.g.
×美術が上手です
〇絵を描くのが上手です。
×体育が上手です。
〇バスケが上手です。

Note that 私は日本語が上手です is grammatically correct, but 上手 is not used for the speaker themselves since it sounds arrogant. You need to use 得意 in these cases.

Is there any particular reason, or is this just something I'll have to kind of get used to on a case-by-case basis?
なりたがっている works well only when it refers the result of the change (e.g. 彼はプロ野球選手になりたがっている). However, 上手になる expresses the process of the change, so 日本語が上手になりたがっている is invalid, but 日本語が上手に話せるようになりたがっている is OK. Can you see the difference?

And would I say this?

日本語が上手になりたいです。
Yes.
 

Julie.chan

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なりたがっている works well only when it refers the result of the change (e.g. 彼はプロ野球選手になりたがっている). However, 上手になる expresses the process of the change, so 日本語が上手になりたがっている is invalid, but 日本語が上手に話せるようになりたがっている is OK. Can you see the difference?
I do see a difference, but I'm not entirely sure I understand it.

Sorry, let me back up a little bit. Is this a function of ~がる or ~がっている in general, or specific to なりたがっている? Or in more general terms, what is it that makes 上手になりたい okay but not 上手になりたがっている?
 

Toritoribe

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上手になりたい is the speaker's present will. There is no problem to say it. On the other hand, に indicates third person's aim/goal they want to reach in になりたがっている, so 上手な人 is OK, but just 上手 is invalid.
 

Julie.chan

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I'm sorry, I've thought it over and re-read your post, and I still don't understand the difference.

So, I'm not clear on what the difference between "present will" and "aim/goal they want to reach" is. And I get the impression from your post that the function of に differs somehow between the two? If that's the case, then how so?
 

Toritoribe

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OK, here's another explanation from different perspective.
上手 always requires the skill you want to be good at, for instance 日本語が上手になりたい, 料理が上手になりたい or 野球が上手になりたい. Even if the skill is not mentioned, it's just omitted simply because it's obvious from the context. On the other hand, が most likely indicates the subject, not the skill, when used with ~たがっている. Probably this is one of the reasons 上手になりたがっている is not used. In fact, other expressions similar to ~が上手だ don't have the なりたがっている form as well.
e.g.
足が速い
〇足が速くなりたい
×彼は足が速くなりたがっている

頭がいい
〇頭がよくなりたい
×彼は頭がよくなりたがっている

And I get the impression from your post that the function of に differs somehow between the two?
As you can see 速く or よく in the above examples, 上手に can be considered the adverbial form of the na-adjective 上手だ. However, に is the particle that indicates the result of change in プロ野球選手になりたがっている or (~が)上手な人になりたがっている.
 

Julie.chan

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I'm sorry, I'm still rather confused.

Are there other words besides なる that this distinction applies to? Or is this specific to なる itself?
 

Toritoribe

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Hmm, I can't think of any examples other than なる at least right now.
 

Julie.chan

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I'm sorry I wasn't able to understand what you were trying to explain to me.

I suppose for now, I'll just note this for なりたがっている and if it comes up again with other words, hopefully I'll finally understand that time.

In the meantime, let's check to see if I have the nuance right for なりたがっている specifically, even if I don't really understand it:

彼は先生になりたがっています。
彼女は綺麗になりたいと思います。
彼は飛行士になりたがっています。
彼は強くなりたいと思います。
彼はお金持ちになりたがっています。
彼は下手になりたくないと思います。

Do I at least have that pattern down?
 

Toritoribe

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Yes, all those examles are correct.
 
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