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学习 and 学

When do you use 学习 and when is it more appropriate to use 学? I have the feeling that 学习 is more "to study" and 学 is more "to learn", but is there a significant difference between these two verbs? Thanks!

For learning: Chinese (Mandarin)
Base language: English
Category: Other

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    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    Hi Travis, a great question!

    There is actually not much difference in *meaning* between the words, as they both mean to learn or to study. In particular, it means to "study" in the sense of acquiring new knowledge, rather than to study as in for an exam (In other words, you can't use 学习/学 to say I'm "studying" for my finals.)

    The primary difference between the two words is of "level of sophistication." It is like the difference between "to get" and "to obtain," or "to chew" and "to masticate." 学习 is more sophisticated than 学, just as "to masticate" is more sophisticated than "to chew."

    In fact, Chinese as a language loves to double its verbs/words with two ideograms meaning the same thing: Examples: 阅读,牙齿,观看,休息,学习, 房屋,respectively meaning "to read," "teeth," "watch," "rest," "study," "house," all have two separate ideograms actually meaning approximately the same thing.

    Sometimes, it is also a matter of rhythmic flow when choosing between 学习 and 学. In other words, at times it is feels "bare" to just use a monosyllabic word, so native speakers then choose a bisyllabic word to manage the flow of the language.

    Hope this was helpful.

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