Senpai's Blog

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To not train is not good

posted May 4, 2017, 9:04 AM by John Aughey   [ updated May 4, 2017, 9:04 AM ]

The tl;dr version is, the phrase "I have to train" or "I must train" spoken in Japanese is said, "to not train is not good."  Think about that.  The phrase has the same meaning, but a very different connotation.

Conjugating Japanese verbs is relatively easy.

to go - iku いく
to go (polite) - ikimasu いきます
to not go - ikimasen いきません

then suddenly...

have to go - ikanakutewaikemasen  いかなくてはいけません

Boy, that escalated quickly!  I had to consult with Japanese speakers to decipher that one.  What this translates to literally is, "to not go is not good" or "if I do not go it is not good".  This double negative becomes an affirmative providing a sense of urgency to the mandate.

So to conjugate a word for to train or to practice becomes

to train - keikosuru けいこする
to train (polite) - keikoimasu けいこ します
to not train - keikoimasen けいこ しまん
must train - keikoshinakutewaikemasen けいこしなくてはいけません

Or literally, "to not train is not good." 稽古しなくてはいけません

I'll end this with a few questions.  How does this change the underlying feeling of the statement?  Does saying "I must X" imply reward-if-I-do or payback-for-having-done? 


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