-ている vs てきている

q_006

Senior Member
US and English
He is getting married.
彼は結婚してきている。

He is married.
彼は結婚している。

From what I understand the -ている form, either shows: an action in progress or a change in state. But for instance, the sentence in english: She is thin/skinny is this in japanese: 彼女は痩せています。 However the sentence: She is losing weight, is not the same in Japanese as the previous sentence.

Would that sentence be: 彼女は痩せてきています。? What is the role of きて?
 
  • kenjoluma

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Just a simple answer aside from your example above.

    いる suggests someone's existence, presence or status at the moment. している means you are doing something at present, which has nothing to do with the past.

    来る means 'to come'. It indicates not only spatial, but also temporal distance from the past to the present. It exaggerates continuity or repetition from the past. してくる means you have done something from the past and you're still doing it now.


    Not perfectly compatible, but in English, it'd be 'be doing' vs. 'have been doing'.
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    The key to this question is to understand that most Japanese verbs mean performing an action to the very end once and for all in a short time. [Technically, it means they have perfective aspect by default but I am not going to mention the jargon again in this post.]

    If you want to express an action in the process of gradually unfolding, in repetition, or only in its remaining effects, you need to augment the verb by auxiliary elements such as -kuru, -iku, -iru and so on. I hope you will be interested to read other threads tagged tense/aspect for more information.

    He is getting married.
    :cross:彼は結婚してきている。
    The Japanese sentence is incorrect; not just in the given English sense but the construction itself is impossible.

    Why? Because the verb 結婚する (to marry someone) is supposed to take place once and for all with the same person. Affixing it with -kuru may mean that he has married a number of times in a given period time and would keep marrying, but this is not what you intended. The verb itself does not allow it to be described as an unfolding process.

    In fact, "getting married" is an unfolding process merely in the form, but the true expressed sense is future or intention. The Japanese auxiliary -kuru does not have this specialised function.

    Instead, I would say:
    彼は結婚することになった。 (future)
    彼は結婚するつもりだ。 (intention)
    etc.


    彼女は痩せています
    This is indeed, "She is skinny." First of all, you should understand that the expression is built around the verb やせる, or to get thin (or thinner). One of the functions of -iru that immediately follows the main verb is to translate an action into a state. Here, the action "getting thin" is turned into the state "be thin" by this morpheme.

    彼女は痩せてきています。
    This is "She is getting thin" or "She is losing weight." Understanding what verb means is the key to understand the whole sentence.
     
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