It’s your Friendly Neighbourhood Gaijin here! So, I’ve been learning Japanese formally in school for 4 years, and then practiced to try remember everything in my head after that for 2. Unfortunately, I’m not a genius like my Korean friend who picked up Japanese like a Light bulb and sporadically gained Japanese Proficiency, but there are many lessons that I’ve learned. So I think I’m going to start a sub-set of blog called Language Learning Ventures. Also, today my topic will having one word that you use to describe multiple things in English, but the language you’re learning has so many other words to describe it.
So for today’s example, I would like to discuss the word – Calm. Now in English we have one way to see the word calm when it comes to a person and it generally means tranquil or not excited. However, while I was studying my N2 JLPT vocabulary I looked up the word “穏やかな” and found the wold “Calm,” then I saw a word “冷静,” that also had the world “Calm” in the dictionary. I’m extremely lucky that I live in Japanese and ask someone to explain the difference, but for us learners sometimes these things are extremely frustrating.
The difference between the two words is that “冷静” is what we describe in English as “cool, calm and collected” – almost cold in a way.
While “穏やかな” is a calm that has a more gentle and warm manner. They’re both adjectives which have the same English meaning, but these types of difference take us learners a long time to understand how to use them properly. If you still don’t get what I mean, try explaining the difference between the words – nice, gentle and kind to someone who doesn’t know English. Even to a native English speaker knowing the actual difference between these words is difficult, but what we do know is the situation to use each one.
I hope this gives you a little insight of what it’s like learning Japanese. When I was in Canada, I really didn’t have a lot of time to practice my Japanese, but now that I’m here – I learn new things every day. Have you had the same experiences with other words? Please drop a message in the comments, I’d really like to hear other examples.