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When is it okay to have more than one は in a sentence? I've come across a few examples where there have been more than one は, and hadn't why.

Example:

日本語は色々なスピーチスタイルがあることは知っていますね。

Thank you!

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This is a really general question. Would you like to make it more specific by adding some of these examples you've come across? –  snailboat Dec 27 '13 at 17:18
    
Sure! I understand the down voting, I should have made it more specific. I'll do that now. Thanks :) –  Sesseto Dec 28 '13 at 2:12

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think there are two ways to parse this:

日本語は[色々なスピーチスタイルがあること]は知っていますね。

and

[日本語は色々なスピーチスタイルがあること]は知っていますね。

In the first parsing, the second は is contrastive, as in "With respect to Japanese, you at least know that there are a number of different speech styles, yeah?"

In the second parsing, the first は is contrastive, as in "You know that Japanese has a number of different speech styles, but another language does not, right?"

There are two rules that I have internalized:

  • Any embedded はs are contrastive
  • The first non-embedded は is a normal topic marker, any following non-embedded はs are contrastive

I have had other people disagree with this though, so a native speaker's opinion regarding this answer is needed.

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