Meaning

Primary

To Understand

Alternative

To Be Understandable

Word Type

intransitive verb, godan verb

Explanation

This word means to understand, which might surprise you if you remember that the kanji means "part" or "parts." Think of it this way: to understand something you have to break it down into its parts to see how it works.

Watch out, though, because whereas in English you understand something, in Japanese the thing you understand is the grammatical subject (it's doing the action). So, a more literal meaning for this is to be understandable. In other words, there's no object, and 分かる is intransitive, meaning it happens on its own. The かる ending is a hint, because verbs with かる as okurigana (kana added to the kanji) are usually intransitive.

Reading

わかる
Kyoko
(Tokyo accent, female)
Kenichi
(Tokyo accent, male)

Explanation

Since this word consists of a kanji with hiragana attached, you can bet that it will use the kun'yomi reading. You didn't learn that reading with this kanji, so here's a mnemonic to help you:

You scream "WAHHHHHH" () in terror and "CAAAR!!!" () as you careen down the freeway. Your dad is driving like a maniac and almost hit another car! "WAAH CAAAR!!!" (わか) you scream again. If only he understood your terror!

Context

Patterns of Use

  • 〜分かる
  • 〜が分かる

Common Word Combinations

  • よく分かる
    to understand well
    はっきり分かる
    to understand clearly
    すぐ分かる
    to understand quickly
  • いみが分かる
    to understand the meaning
    きもちが分かる
    to understand someone's feelings
    ちがいが分かる
    to understand the difference

Context Sentences

おいしいかどうか分かりません。

I don’t know if this tastes good.

分かるような、分からないような。

I kind of got it, but I am not sure if I understood all of it.

日本ごは分かりますか?

Do you understand Japanese?

Kanji Composition