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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Hiroko here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Japanese questions.
The question for this lesson is…What are the differences between 冷やす(hiyasu)、冷える(hieru)、冷ます(samasu) and 冷める(sameru)?
These expressions can be divided into two groups-- 冷やす(hiyasu) vs. 冷える(hieru), and 冷ます(samasu) vs. 冷める(sameru). 冷やす(hiyasu) and 冷ます(samasu) are both transitive verbs, which means they take one or more objects. 冷える(hieru) and 冷める(sameru) are both intransitive verbs, which means they do not allow any objects.
Let’s break it down together.
First, let’s start with 冷やす(hiyasu) versus 冷える(hieru). These two verbs have the meaning of an object “falling” from room temperature to cold. Therefore, it means to make something change to a state of being cold. The focus is on the cooling down. For example--
A: ビールが冷える。(Bīru ga hieru.)
B: ビールを冷やす。(Bīru o hiyasu.)
A: “Beer gets/becomes cold.”
B: “I make my beer cold.”
In sentence A, the beer goes from room temperature to cold naturally, like after you leave it in the fridge for a while. In sentence B, you purposefully make it colder in order to drink it.
With 冷ます(samasu) versus 冷める(sameru), the focus is on the temperature “falling” from hot to room temperature. As the original object has heat in it, it’s the action of that heat being released.
It’s often used for liquids, for example--
A: コーヒーが冷める。(Kōhī ga sameru.)
B: コーヒーを冷ます。(Kōhī o samasu.)
A: “Coffee gets/becomes cold/lukewarm.”
B: “(I) make (my) coffee cold/lukewarm.”
In the first sentence, your coffee becomes cold or room temperature naturally, like when you leave it out for a while. In the second sentence, you made it colder on purpose, so you’re able to drink it. In both cases, the heat is taken away.
As these all sound very similar, it may be difficult for you to remember all of their meanings. One way to remember is if you remember the verbs starting with “H” in the alphabet, hiyasu and hieru, you can associate them with the adjective hikui meaning “low” as in “lowering the temperature.” For the verbs starting with “S,” samasu and sameru, you can imagine the temperature dropping from hot to a more soothing temperature.
How was this lesson? Did you get everything? Make sure to go to JapanesePod101.com for more practice!
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
またね![mata ne!] See you!