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Classifying ~ing forms in Japanese

bigsmile

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In English, words that end in ~ing can be classified in two ways:

A) Present participle: To denote continuous action. E.g.
He is painting.
She was eating.
I would have been leaving.


B) Gerund
This is when a verb is used like a noun E.g.
Driving too fast is dangerous.
Walking is good for you.
Your singing is lovely.


I know that imasu in Japanese is the polite from of "to be" for living things, but is often used as the equivalent of ~ing. Can it therefore be classified as "Present participle" or "Gerund"?

For example, would the following be "Present participle"
mite imasu I am watching
Nihongo o benkyou shite imasu. I am studying Japanese
Watashi wa yūchūbu de nihongo o benkyō shite imasu I am learning Japanese on YouTube
housou sarete imasu. Broadcasting


And would the following be "Gerund"?
Doko ni sunde imasu ka? Where do you live?
Karera o totemo aishite imasu. I love them so much!
Itsumo harete imasu. It is always sunny.
Shigoto wa nani o shite imasuka? As for your job, what is it that you are doing?
Ryoushin wa issho ni hataraite imasu. My parents work together.


If this isn't correct, then what is the correct way of classifying the different forms of imasu? How would they classify them in Japanese?

Thanks!
 
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nice gaijin

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hmm, I can't quite remember the order in which I learned these things, but I remember thinking about these constructs as using the "te-iru" conjugation to express ongoing action. It wasn't so much that "iru/imasu" in their normal sense were used, but they acted more like a special conjugation of the verb to act like a present participle. So if I were writing out romaji, I wouldn't even put a word break between "mite" and "imasu," it would just be "miteimasu/miteiru." I also moved away from romaji as quickly as possible, and I recommend you do the same.

Gerunds are handled differently: you nominalize the verb so you can treat it like a noun. "ing" is used for both concepts in English, but they are not interchangeable in Japanese in this way.
 

Toritoribe

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In English, words that end in ~ing can be classified in two ways:

A) Present participle: To denote continuous action. E.g.
He is painting.
She was eating.
I would have been leaving.


B) Gerund
This is when a verb is used like a noun E.g.
Driving too fast is dangerous.
Walking is good for you.
Your singing is lovely.


I know that imasu in Japanese is the polite from of "to be" for living things, but is often used as the equivalent of ~ing. Can it therefore be classified as "Present participle" or "Gerund"?

For example, would the following be "Present participle"
mite imasu I am watching
Nihongo o benkyou shite imasu. I am studying Japanese
Watashi wa yūchūbu de nihongo o benkyō shite imasu I am learning Japanese on YouTube
housou sarete imasu. Broadcasting


And would the following be "Gerund"?
Doko ni sunde imasu ka? Where do you live?
Karera o totemo aishite imasu. I love them so much!
Itsumo harete imasu. It is always sunny.
Shigoto wa nani o shite imasuka? As for your job, what is it that you are doing?
Ryoushin wa issho ni hataraite imasu. My parents work together.


If this isn't correct, then what is the correct way of classifying the different forms of imasu? How would they classify them in Japanese?

Thanks!
You need to understand a fact that grammar is different in each language. Indeed, there are verb forms that express the present progressive tense like "present participle", or that work as a noun like "gerund" also in Japanese, but unlike in English, these two forms are not the same in Japanese, as nice gaijin-san mentioned.

"The -te form + iru/imasu" expresses different aspect of verbs depending on the types of verbs, for instance, the present progressive tense for durative verbs (called "keizoku dōshi" in Japanese grammar) or the present state resulting from the past action for punctual verbs (shunkan dōshi). Thus, verbs such like "miru" or "benkyōsuru" belong to durative verbs, and "sumu" or "aisuru" are punctual verbs. (Not all verbs you listed in the second group are punctual verbs, though. In fact, the boundary is not strict, and many verbs work in both ways depending on the context.)

Incidentally, there also are other types of verbs, e.g., state verbs (jōtai dōshi) which usually don't have the -te iru form, or so-called the fourth type of verbs which are usually used only in the -te iru form. Also, the -masu stem/i-form can work as a noun like "gerund" in English.

And finally, I totally agree with nice gaijin-san. You should learn kana and start using it before thinking about these kinds of grammatical issues. My two cents.
 
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