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分かる versus 知る for knowing.

healer

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It seems to me that 分かりました is said much more often than 知っています for conveying the meaning of knowing something.

I’m still not sure how to determine which to use. I have the following from a textbook. They are look to me equally interchangeable.

近いかどうかわかりません。
病気かどうか知りません。
 

Toritoribe

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Here are related posts.

It seems to me that 分かりました is said much more often than 知っています for conveying the meaning of knowing something.
知っています or わかっています means "I already know it", therefore it can have a confrontational or defiant nuance "I already know it (so you don't need say it to me)". That's why you don't see it so often in conversations, comparing to わかりました "I see".
 

healer

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Having read the other post of yours in the quoted thread, I gathered that 分かる basically means “understand” is only used for the meaning of knowing when some thinking process is required in order to get to know what is asked or what one wants to tell.
 

Buntaro

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Having read the other post of yours in the quoted thread, I gathered that 分かる basically means “understand” is only used for the meaning of knowing when some thinking process is required in order to get to know what is asked or what one wants to tell.

Correct. 知る means to know and 分かる means to understand. Consider these examples:

Example (1)

(1a) Do you know his name? 彼の名前は知っていますか?

(1b) Yes, I know his name. はい、 知っています。

In example (1), no ‘thinking process’ is required. The person either knows his name or doesn’t.

Example (2)

(2a) Child cries while saying: I don’t want to wear my coat in this hot train! この暑い電車でコートを着たくない!

(2b) Parent: Got it. 知った。

In example (2), the parent understands the child’s reasoning and the corresponding cause and effect. The parent cannot say 知っています unless the child has previously informed the parent of this information.

~~~

Healer, since you speak Chinese, can we make the same distinction in Chinese? Can we distinguish 我不知道 (Wǒ bù zhīdào) and 我听不懂 (Wǒ tīng bù dǒng) in the same way?
 
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bentenmusume

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Buntaro said:
Correct. 知る means to know and 分かる means to understand. Consider these examples:

Sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree with Buntaro here. This distinction may have some technical/etymological merit, but it is not necessarily made in actual usage in the modern language.

For example, 「鈴木さんの電話番号、分かりますか?」「分かりません」is a completely natural and idiomatic exchange in Japanese asking whether or not someone knows Suzuki-san's phone number, and that neither corresponds to "understand" nor "involves a thinking process."

Buntaro said:
(2b) Parent: Got it. 知った。
I doubt you will ever hear this spoken in this context in Japanese.

知った (or 知りました) is not used to mean "I got it" in the sense that 分かった/分かりました is.

Rather, you will only hear it to express "I found out" or "I learned" (「父が入院したことを、母からの電話で知った」「最近知りました」, etc.).

---

This is one of those cases where, while it would be nice if there were a simple rule by which to understand this that maps perfectly into other languages, actual usage is not quite so black-and-white, and you'll have to get used to it by exposure. (I don't speak Chinese, so I can't comment on the Chinese distinction, but the English "know"/"understand" distinction is by no means a foolproof/absolute one.)
 
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Toritoribe

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あの人の名前って、わかります?
ええ、 わかりますよ。

鈴木さんの電話番号、知ってます?
いえ、知らないです。

The conversations above are both natural. As I wrote in the thread linked above, "the meanings of the two expressions are partially overlapping, so sometimes they are interchangeable".
 

healer

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The parent cannot say 知っています unless the child has previously informed the parent of this information.
If the child had previously informed the parents of the matter, the parents should still be in the state of knowing it. I believe 知っています is appropriate. My limited exposure tells me this is more likely the right way of saying it. I haven’t come across 知った but 分かった or 分かりました in any single response.

What I wrote there is just a summary from what I could gather from what Toritoribe-san wrote in the linked post. I didn’t believe it was so straightforward though. That was why I summarised hoping for confirmation or contradiction. A lot of examples I have come cross are simply 分かりました or 分かった even though the answer might just be a no-brainer. To tell the truth I haven’t heard or seen 知った on its own.

Can we distinguish 我不知道 (Wǒ bù zhīdào) and 我听不懂 (Wǒ tīng bù dǒng) in the same way?
This is a forum of Japanese language I think we should refrain from discussing Chinese language. Simply put it, Chinese language doesn’t have such distinction in that one can say 「不知道」or 「我不知道」for “don’t know” or “I don’t know”. The second one means literally “I don’t understand what I heard.”

that neither corresponds to "understand" nor "involves a thinking process."
That was why I raised this question. I had definitely been told quite some time ago that 分かる for knowing is supposed to involve some mental process. Then again and again I came across such response for simply knowing offhandedly. Perhaps this is something that can’t be clearly and explicitly explained and has to be learnt by exposure. No textbook or teaching website I came across has attempted to explain this.

あの人の名前って、わかります?
ええ、 わかりますよ。
This exchange is definitely a no-brainer.
 

bentenmusume

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healer said:
To tell the truth I haven’t heard or seen 知った on its own.

I just want to reiterate (in case it was unclear) that you will not come across this expression used like this the way 分かった and 分かりました are used.

healer said:
Then again and again I came across such response for simply knowing offhandedly. Perhaps this is something that can’t be clearly and explicitly explained and has to be learnt by exposure.

Yes, it is used this way, which was the point of my post above (and the explanation Toritoribe-san linked to). Exposure will help, but the best thing you can do in the meantime is understand that these expressions are used, and to train yourself not to map English words like "know" and "understand" directly to Japanese words and expect them to correspond in a neat, perfect, 1-to-1 manner.

This is really true for all Japanese words and grammatical expressions (with the exception of simple concrete nouns like 飛行機 or テレビ). While we can give explanations in English and examples, at the end of the day, the only way to truly understand them is in the context of the Japanese language itself. It can be daunting when there's not a simple rule that you can latch onto, but you just need to bear with it. It's all part of the language-learning process.
 

healer

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Wǒ bù zhīdào
Buntaro-san I’m curious to know how you enter the symbols for the 4 tones. I used to do French diacritics and German umlaut in Microsoft Word, but I never need to do the Chinese phonetic symbols.
 

Buntaro

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I’m curious to know how you enter the symbols for the 4 tones.

Go to Google Translate.


Select English on the left and Chinese on the right.

Type in "I don't know." on the left.

The Chinese translation appears on the right, both in kanji (hanzi) and and pinyin with tone-marks.


You can copy and paste the pinyin with tone-marks into a word-processing document.

This is also a great way to translate Japanese-English for meaning, kanji, and pronunciation-in-hiragana.
 
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bentenmusume

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This is also a great way to translate Japanese-English for meaning, kanji, and pronunciation-in-hiragana.

I don't know enough about Chinese to be able to evaluate the accuracy of Google's C-E translation engine, but I would have a hard time describing Google Translate—no matter how you use it—as a "great way" to translate Japanese to English.
 

healer

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You can copy and paste the pinyin with tone-marks into a word-processing document.
Thanks!
The phonetic symbols are 100% correct for the Chinese words 不知道 I put in, but the pronunciations is very wrong for the word 知 in that the consonant is pronounced like English “zh”.

This is also a great way to translate Japanese-English for meaning, kanji, and pronunciation-in-hiragana.
I believe it is much worse for translating Japanese. The grammar of Japanese language is much more complicated to me. If it is much harder to be translated by human, it would be much harder by computer because computers are programmed by human as to how to do things.

Having said that I still use Google Translate for additional references and of course I need to have reservation for the translation and even the reading it provides. Many times the pronunciations it produces do not match the romaji it indicates.

as a "great way" to translate Japanese to English.
Yes I agree with you but it’s better than nothing. I often use Google Translate to get the reading of kanji and then verify them with dictionaries. To use Japanese dictionary I prefer to use reading of the words rather than the radicals and counting the number of strokes.
 

Buntaro

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I often use Google Translate to get the reading of kanji


By the way, for people who have mastered hiragana and feel comfortable with a fair number of kanji, I recommend Weblio.


I like this web dictionary because it feels like it was written by a Japanese person and gives answers that a Japanese person would give.

Here is a search for the kanji 日本

 
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