I have learned that verbs говорить, читать and писать are used with an adverbial form of the language (e.g., “я говорю по-японски”). On the other hand, it seems to me that the verb слушать is rarely used with the adverbial one. But I wonder whether слушать may be used with the adverbial one in a few situations.

For example, in a situation where I am listening to the radio news by selecting the Japanese language in sound multiplex broadcasting, is it possible to say “я слушаю новости радио по-японски”?

8 Answers 8


You can say

Я слушаю по радио новости по-японски.

Я слушаю радионовости по-японски.

In these sentences по-японски refers to новости.

Your phrase

Я слушаю новости радио по-японски.

means actually "I am listening the news about radio in Japanese", possibly not something you wanted to say.


I think the adverbial form implies some kind of ability. It makes little sense to be used with слушать


Если нужно сказать "новости на японском языке, я их слушаю и понимаю", то это будет примерно так: "я слушаю новости на японском".


To me it seems that the adverbial form a language attaches itself to a verb that represents active use of a language: говорить / читать / писать is equivalent to [I can] speak / read / write по-японски. Слушать (to listen) has a passive connotation: you wouldn't say "I can listen Japanese", but you could say "I can listen someone speak Japanese" (Я слушаю, как некто говорит по-японски).

You could look at it this way: "по-японски" means "in a Japanese manner", so you could speak or write "in a Japanese manner", but you would not listen "in a Japanese manner".


Я говорю/пишу по-японски is literally translated as "I speak/write in Japanese manner". This is historical phrase building.

You wouldn't say "I listen/read in Japanese manner", and likewise you wouldn't say "Я слушаю/читаю по-японски". Although this isn't a rude mistake. Most people wouldn't even notice if you said that in everyday life or interview. This is only important for books, publications etc.

The perfectly correct way is: Я слушаю/читаю (what?) новости/журналы/передачи на японском языке.

This is also correct: Я читаю сидя/лежа. Я слушаю [музыку/плеер/радио] находу. Why - because again, this describes in which manner you are doing things. You read (in which manner?) while you are running.


Although the spelling suggests that "по-русски" is a whole word yet it still sounds for us like two words that is "like Russian", "Russian way" etc.

So when I say "Я говорю по-русски" deeply in my mind I think both "I do speak Russian" and "I can speak like Russians".

Thus saying "Я слушаю по-русски" seems to be a nonsense as there's no way to listen "like Russians do".


Нельзя сказать "я слушаю новости радио по-японски". Это неправильно. Нужно сказать "я слушаю по радио новости на японском языке". You cannot say "я слушаю новости радио по-японски". This is wrong. You can say "я слушаю по радио новости на японском языке".

  • Языке is unnecessary. A real person would most likely just say на японском. Jul 11, 2015 at 13:09
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    Да, конечно. Я дал правильный литературный вариант. "Слушаю новости на японском" это уже разговорный вариант, поскольку слово "языке" выброшено. Jul 11, 2015 at 13:18
  • Да, конечно. Я дал правильный литературный вариант. "Слушаю по радио новости на японском" это разговорный вариант, так как слово "язык" выбрасывается. Jul 11, 2015 at 13:23

Everything below is on a very weak, nuanced level. Don't treat that as a strong rule.

"по-X" often means "X-like" or "like-X do".

"читаю по-японски", "понимаю по-японски" imply some action on your part to perform. You're doing something that Japanese do. You're acting like Japanese do.

"Я слушаю по-японски" in its simplest meaning is more passive. "Слушаю" does not 100% imply "понимаю". It's perfectly fine to say "Слушаю, но ничего не понимаю.". So, you're not doing anything specifically Japanese. Anyone can listen to Japanese [language|music].

Now, if there was some particular way, the Japanese are perceived to do the listening, you could use "слушаю по-японски". That would relate your action to the Japanese culture, but not to the Japanese language per se.

Example: "Я слушаю по-японски - внимательно и не перебивая."

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