This article will give you all of the knowledge you need on the Japanese word mada, including its Japanese definition and translation, example sentences, related expressions and more!
What does mada mean?
The Japanese word mada (未だ、まだ) means still or not yet. As a general rule, mada translates as still when the sentence is positive and as not yet when the sentence is negative.
Here is an example. The first sentence is positive and the second one is negative.
Mada isogashii desu.
I’m still busy.
Mada isogashikunai desu.
I’m not busy yet.
Below, we take a look at some more examples of both meanings of mada.
To make it easier for you, I have written each sentence in full Japanese kanji on the first line, followed by roman letters (romaji), and hiragana, with the English meaning coming last.
Mada meaning 1: Still
Mada suki da yo!
I still love you!
Yubi wa mada sugoku itai.
My finger still hurts a lot.
Itaria jin no tomodachi wa mada nihon ni iru no?
Is your Italian friend still in Japan?
Mada yoku wakarimasen.
I still don’t really understand (note: this one is an exception to the rule).
Mada meaning 2: Not yet
Sono shukudai wa mada yatteinai.
I haven’t done that homework yet.
Kanojo wa mada konai. Daijyoubu kana?
She didn’t come yet. I wonder if she’s okay.
Haru ni wa natta kedo, mada atatakaku nai desu.
It’s now spring, but it isn’t warm yet.
What does mada mada mean?
Mada mada (まだまだ) is a humble way of saying you’re not yet good at something. The classic example is for English ability:
Watashi wa eigo ga mada mada yoku hanasemasen.
I can’t speak English well yet.
As you may know, Japanese people tend to be quite modest and like to play down their own achievements. Call it a generalization if you like, but this is a cultural thing.
Mada mada is therefore a common phrase in Japanese that you will hear even when people are good at something (and know it!). I found this out to my cost when my old boss (in his 60s at the time) said he wasn’t very good at tennis!
The lesson here is that you shouldn’t always accept what Japanese people say at the surface level. Sometimes they are just being modest. Here are some more example sentences.
Boku nante mada mada desu yo.
I’m still not good at all.
Mada mada desu ga, butsurigaku no benkyou wa tanoshii desu.
I’m still not very good at it, but I do enjoy studying physics.
Watashi ni sonna koto wa mada mada dekinai.
I’m still not capable of that kind of thing.
Bearing this in mind, you may want to add mada mada (and a little modesty) to your repertoire when speaking Japanese. Have at it!
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