Specificity of Japanese Verbs 'to Wear' and 'to Play'

Girl learning to tie her shoelaces
Image Source / Getty Images

Some Japanese verbs are more specific when describing actions than English verbs. While there is only one verb used for a certain action in English, there might be several different verbs in Japanese. One of the examples is the verb "to wear." In English, it can used as, "I wear a hat," "I wear gloves," "I wear glasses" and so on. However, Japanese has different verbs depending on which part of the body it will be worn on.

Let's take a look how the Japanese describe "to wear" and "to play."

  • Boushi o kaburu. 帽子をかぶる。 --- I wear a hat.

    ("Kaburu" is used for putting on the head.)

  • Megane o kakeru. めがねをかける。 --- I wear glasses.

    ("Kakeru" also means, "to hang.")

  • Iyaringu o tsukeru. イヤリングをつける。 --- I wear earrings.

    ("Tsukeru" also means, "to attach.")

  • Nekutai o shimeru. ネクタイを締める。 --- I wear a tie.

    ("Shimeru" also means, "to tie.")

  • Sukaafu o maku. スカーフを巻く。 --- I wear scarf.

    ("Maku" also means, "to wrap around.")

  • Tebukuro o hameru. 手袋をはめる。 --- I wear gloves.

    ("Hameru" also means, "to insert.")

  • Yubiwa o hameru. 指輪をはめる。 --- I wear rings.
  • Tokei o suru. 時計をする。 --- I wear a watch.
  • Shatsu o kiru. シャツを着る。 --- I wear shirts.

    ("Kiru" is used for putting on the body.)

  • Zubon o haku. ズボンをはく。 --- I wear pants.

    ("Haku" is used for putting on the legs.)

  • Kutsu o haku. 靴を履く。 --- I wear shoes.

    ("Haku" is also used for putting on footwear.)

     

  • Omocha de asobu. おもちゃで遊ぶ。 --- I play with toys.

    ("Asobu" originally means, "to amuse oneself.")

  • Piano o hiku. ピアノを弾く。 --- I play the piano.

    ("Hiku" is used to play the musical instrument that requires the manipulation of fingers.)

  • Fue o fuku. 笛を吹く。 --- I play the flute.

    ("Fuku" is used to play the musical instrument that requires blowing.)

  • Taiko o tataku. 太鼓をたたく。 --- I play the drum.

    ("Tataku" is used to play the musical instrument that requires beating.)

  • Rekoodo o kakeru. レコードをかける。 --- I am playing a record.
  • Toranpu o suru. トランプをする。 --- I play cards.
  • Yakyuu o suru. 野球をする。 --- I play baseball.

    ("Suru" can be used for most sports.)

  • Romio o enjiru. ロミオを演じる。 --- I play the role of Romeo.
Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Abe, Namiko. "Specificity of Japanese Verbs 'to Wear' and 'to Play'." ThoughtCo, Nov. 1, 2017, thoughtco.com/specificity-of-japanese-verbs-2027857. Abe, Namiko. (2017, November 1). Specificity of Japanese Verbs 'to Wear' and 'to Play'. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/specificity-of-japanese-verbs-2027857 Abe, Namiko. "Specificity of Japanese Verbs 'to Wear' and 'to Play'." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/specificity-of-japanese-verbs-2027857 (accessed November 22, 2017).