Easy Peasy Japaneasy -「I don't know」=「知りません」?
Easy Peasy Japaneasy

Let me share with you some real stories happening to students –
how much do you know about Japanese language and its culture?
「I don't know」=「知りません」?
それを聞いていた担当の先生は慌てて「分かりません」でしょう? と修正をしましたが、 「I don't know = 知りません。I don't understand = 分かりません」と勉強してきたロニー君は、大混乱でした…。
「知りません」→誰も情報をくれないから 「分かりません」→自分が理解できてないから
「I don't know」=「Shirimasen」?
Ronny is taking private lessons with us. "Ronny, are you coming to Japaneasy at the same time next week?" I asked one day. He replied, "Hmmm, Shirimasen (I don't know)."
His teacher who listened to our conversation said to him that he had better say, "Wakarimasen" not "Shirimasen". Ronny seemed very confused as he had learnt that "Shirimasen=I don't know" and "Wakarimasen = I don't understand.”
Let's take a look at the real meanings of those two words.
Shirimasen- I don't know because I don’t have the information.
Wakarimasen- I don't know because I don't understand.
These words give the listener the following impression: (N.B. "Oya no namae" means parents' name)
"Oya no namae wa SHIRIMASEN.”
The speaker implies because he was abandoned or he wasn't told by his parents → Someone's fault?
"Oya no namae wa WAKARIMASEN"
The speaker implies because he has forgotten → his own fault?
This is why "SHIRIMASEN" sounds a bit rude in reply. In addition, you cannot use "SHIRIMASEN" when you are asked about yourself.
Since then everytime we ask Ronny what he is going to do after his lesson, he is able to answer "WAKARIMASEN". We wish we could know his real schedule soon...
Japaneasy logo Japaneasy 日本語学校Mr. MouriMs. Fujita
M: 0422-266-308
W: www.japaneasy.com.au
Level 1, 152 Little Lonsdale St. Melbourne
Japaneasy日本語教師養成講座420時間コース 受付中!