Rules governing construction of phrases and sentences in a language.

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2
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2answers
222 views

When an -i form (連用形{れんようけい}) of a verb seems to be a suffix rather than a prefix?

In a previous question about コーヒー割り I learned that 割り is a form of the verb 割{わ}る "to dilute". Now I'm trying to understand the grammatical process by which this 割り form of 割る can be added to nouns ...
3
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1answer
134 views

Sentence structure and meaning

here is an extract from a manga that gives me troubles : (|| = column breaks in the manga) ただし||お前達の相手は||私一人でいい||一対一で闘い||私が勝ったら||次の者が||また 私と闘うのだ... First : can you confirm that there are 2 ...
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3answers
89 views

Syntactic rule for the “⇔” character?

The character "⇔" is used in the definitions in 国語{こくご}辞典{じてん} to specify antonyms. I have questions: (1) Is "⇔" a formal character in Japanese syntax? Or, is it sort of an ad-hoc way to specify ...
5
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1answer
349 views

あなたがこの文のおかしいと思うところは?

The structure strikes me because the underlying transformation seems to be like this: [ あなたが ] [ この文の  ~ところを ] [ おかしいと ] 思う [ あなたが ] [ この文の  _____ ] [ おかしいと ] 思う ところは~ Another similar example is: ...
6
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2answers
574 views

Sentence structure for complex sentences

I've been reading up on the uses of the particle から, particularly when it is appended to the -te form of a verb where it takes on the meaning similar to "after [verb], [sentence 2]" However, when ...
4
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3answers
206 views

Does this Japanese sentence sound right?

I'm trying to translate a line from an English song (Journey) and it goes like this: "She took a midnight train going anywhere" So far, I've ended up with this: 彼女は真夜中列車が乗りましたどこ でも行きます (Kanojo wa ...
2
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1answer
234 views

How to analyze それが元で?

I understand the meaning of this phrase, but I have a hard time understanding how it's constructed. In phrases like それで or というわけで you have a noun plus the particle で. This looks superficially ...
7
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2answers
289 views

夏目漱石‘s use of question marker かい for an open instead of closed (ie yes/no) question

Can anybody explain why かい is used in the following sentence from 第三夜 (Dream #3 - from Natsume Sōseki's Ten Nights of Dreams, 夢十夜): 自分が御前の眼はいつ潰れたのかいと聞くと、何昔からさと答えた。 "I asked [him] when [he] ...
4
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1answer
4k views

Saying something is like/not like something else

How does one say "this is like/similar to that" or "this is not like that" in Japanese in essence? An example sentence is "In this way, the English are like the Japanese" ; I have not been able to ...
6
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1answer
257 views

Can two consecutive の particles be used in the following way?

We can use の as a substitute in successive sentences for something we've already mentioned so that we don't need to keep saying what it is: どのTシャツが好き? → 赤いのが好き。 Then there is the ...
4
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1answer
238 views

Simultaneous actions with the -te form

In English you can use conjunction to express two simultaneous actions: I was standing in front of an audience and presenting a new technology. Or simply juxtapose two participles where one ...
2
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2answers
169 views

noun + の + adjective

I've seen a couple times examples of using this format of [noun] の [adjective] and I mostly see it in the form ~の高い Some specifics I'm referring to are: 人気の高い 柔軟性の高い I can't think of any more off ...
0
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1answer
194 views

Vague method of description in Japanese

I just want to ask how people get over the vagueness of description in this language. Let me explain. Today I saw my friend say "これを見た電車の中で..." and I was just wondering... how do you deal with the ...
3
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1answer
193 views

Do adverbs necessarily modify the first verb after it?

Specifically in a case like this: 私が迷っているうちに、次第に登校する生徒の数は少なくなり、予鈴が鳴った。 Does 次第に modify 登校する or 少なくなり? I thought that maybe 登校する生徒の数 is considered as one unit and thus 次第に modifies 少なくなり. Is that ...
8
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2answers
574 views

Usage of か after a clause?

Here's a sentence I found: デパートはどこにあるか、知っていますか? Do you know where the department store is? What's the purpose of the か particle in 「どこにあるか」? Under what circumstances do I use it? I'm fairly ...
2
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1answer
216 views

Do adjectives/adjective-like verb forms in informal speech need a copula?

The class I go to uses the «Minna no Nihongo» textbook, and according to it you can say the following in informal language: そのカレーライスおいしい? わたしは富士山にのぼりたい。 (See book 1, lesson 20) So I ...
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4answers
365 views

Examples of ambigious sentences

I'm looking to test some Morphological Analysis tools, which split sentences into tokens and provide part of speech and pronunciation information (specifically, providing kana when given kanji). I'm ...
2
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2answers
236 views

Does 本 work as a general purpose prefix?

The motivation for this question is the phrase 本法廷 which I recently read. Does ほん(本) work as a general purpose prefix? By this I mean can I look in the dictionary and pick any noun and put 本 in ...
0
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2answers
108 views

the use and the meaning of the verb 実感する in the given example

I would like to ask for help with translating the following sentence: 今日は、「練習していないことは嘘をつかない」という悲しいセリフを実感しました。練習も嘘をつかないんだけど、その逆も然り。 I understand parts of it for example 練習していないことは嘘をつかない 悲しい セリフ ...
1
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1answer
187 views

Can someone explain the form: xに関するどんな

I apologize in advance for the poor title. I'm really not sure how to phrase my question. I often see in Japanese sentences structures like the following: エホバに関するどんな事実を強調しましたか。 In the above, エホバに関する ...
3
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2answers
987 views

Proper use of ため to thank someone for doing x?

I know ため can be translated into English as "for" such-and-such. But is it appropriate to use it to thank some one for doing something? For example, "Thank you for your email address." Would it be ...
2
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2answers
691 views

Why are Japanese song lyrics often so seemingly ungrammatical?

For example, Natsukawa Rimi's 島唄 has this has most of the verbs in plain 連用形 with no apparent reason: でいごの花が咲き 風を呼び 嵐が来た でいごが咲き乱れ 風を呼び 嵐が来た くり返す悲しみは 島渡る波のよう ウージの森であなたと出会い ...
3
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2answers
302 views

What are the ways to conjugate “I” and “to be” (in romaji)

I think being able to to specify who you are talking about and yourself is very crucial in a language so, how do they do it? To clarify I know in French there is 6 ways to specify a person: Je (I), ...
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3answers
2k views

How to separate words in a Japanese sentence?

Unlike some languages (English, French ...) , written Japanese sentences don't have spaces between words. I know that it is the same in Chinese for example, but the fact that the Chinese language ...
7
votes
1answer
486 views

“unfinished” sentences ending in particles like を, に and が

This is something I've always wondered about, but can't find any info about. When native speakers come across a sentence that ends ...を。, ...と。 or ...が!*, how do their brains parse it? Is it just a ...
3
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2answers
857 views

Nominalization with のが、のを

I've just learned to nominalize verbs with のを but as I was looking for more info on the web I saw that this is also done with のが and こと. The question "What is the difference between the nominalizers ...
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0answers
49 views

About the relationship between 「ので」 and 「~てください」: [duplicate]

According to "A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar", ので cannot be used in sentences that contains a request in the main clause. However, in many phrases at sites or another grammar books I have ...
5
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1answer
113 views

Truncated adjective まっすぐ

I have a sentence in a book that goes like 甘い匂いのするまっきいろな花です。It is a kids book, so everything is in kana. I'm having trouble figuring out the bolded part. It talks about a dandelion in the context, so ...
2
votes
2answers
149 views

そのようにする + Recognizing a compound

そのようにしてこの巨城は、二年の長きにわたってゆっくりと攻略されてきた。 The first thing I had kind of a problem with, is そのようにして... I just have no idea how to translate it. Also, as for 巨城, 巨 doesn't have a prefix form, nor there is ...
3
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1answer
187 views

How does のは work in this sentence?

彼が持っているのは二百円です。 Supposedly this means "It is 200 yen that he has.". But I am really not familiar with this sentence construction. Therefore, I'm not sure how everything before の works with the rest of ...
2
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1answer
224 views

Is みんな being used as a “counter”?

This is from Minna no Nihongo Chapter 15. It's a description of Santa Claus. でも世界の子供はみんな私を知っています。 みんな seems like a counter of sorts (I don't know how else to describe it) for 世界の子供. I always thought ...
5
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1answer
349 views

I have no idea what this is saying. Can you have two topics in a sentence?

白い箱はカウチの上に緑のランプは机の上にあります。 This sentence looks like it has two topics in it. But when I try to translate it, it doesn't make sense (to me obviously). My direct translation is: A white box on top of ...
7
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2answers
276 views

Do we use odd day pronunciations outside of calendar ranges?

After reading @jkerian's comment in this post, I started thinking about this. Here's the comment in full: On a side note, all days ending in '4' are also irregular, and use ~よっか. So the 14th is ...
4
votes
1answer
271 views

How do I say “course duration” in Japanese?

I want to say something along the lines of "all engineering courses are four years long". Should I say something like this?: 各技術コースの専攻期間は4年くらいです。 Is there a more natural way to phrase what I'm ...
1
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1answer
90 views

How should I intepret より in this sentence

きのうは きょうより ひとが すくないです。 Is it saying: X number of people yesterday < Y number of people today? or X number of people yesterday > Y number of people today? I'm getting the ...
4
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2answers
413 views

<動詞の辞書形> + がよい ― How is this allowed?

I've come across this form many times in my Japanese Bible. The meaning is quite obvious based on context, and seems to be one of the following: ~べきです, ~ほうがいい, ~なさい, or ~ように (let it be ~). Here are ...
9
votes
2answers
602 views

Difference between sentence final ものだ and ことだ

My understanding is that ものだ is used to assert things which are mostly known to everyone. 誰かの家に招待されたときは、何か手土産をもっていくものだ 'When invited to somebody's home it's customary to bring presents'. On ...
12
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3answers
334 views

Sentence structure/element order

In the textbook Japanese for Busy People I, the order of the elements in a sentence is always the same (subject - when - with whom - by what means - to where - verb) at least as far as I have made it. ...
9
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1answer
340 views

How did やわらかい gain its い?

As we know, there is a class of adjectives that end in 〜らか: 滑【なめ】らか, 明【あき】らか, 清【きよ】らか, 安【やす】らか, etc. やわらか (柔らか or 軟らか) is also in this class of adjectives. However, it can also be written as the ...
7
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2answers
488 views

Rules governing formation of adjectival and genitive modifications for Noun-Phrase

The following was observed in sawa's answer to "Can ごとに be replaced by それぞれ in this question?":  ◯ 正月はそれぞれの家が門松を立てる。  × 木村さんはそれぞれの会う人に挨拶している。  ◯ 木村さんは会う人それぞれに挨拶している。 それぞれの会う人 is said ...
4
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1answer
150 views

What is this や in 大きすぎや?

Is this a contraction along the same lines of なければ → なきゃ? 反乱を抑えるためだけが目的だとしたらリスクが大きすぎやしないか Also, can you contract 言えば or あれば?
6
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1answer
210 views

What does ending a statement with 「っ」signify when coupled with 「・・・」?

I have seen a few sentences or exclamations that end a sentence with 「っ」. Specifically, I read the example below: ちなみに純文学について語れなんて言われても私には、無理・・・っ! The following sentence is listed below (However ...
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1answer
309 views

Unifying concept for noun-adjectives of the pattern Xかな

Consider these: ~か: 静か 愚か 厳か ~やか: 穏やか 鮮やか 賑やか ~らか: 柔らか 滑らか 明らか There are many more that I've not listed. The か/やか/らか at the end of these words ...
8
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2answers
214 views

Varying word order for stylistic effect

Sometimes, for stylistic or rhetorical effect, one wants to delay mentioning a word/concept until the end of a sentence. For example, it's often best to save the punchline for the very end: I was ...
4
votes
1answer
210 views

Can もはや also mean “or rather” or “actually”?

I heard this sentence pattern watching an anime (where A and B have similar meanings, but B is much stronger): ....[description A] いや、もはや [description B]と言っていい。 I looked up もはや expecting a ...
2
votes
3answers
326 views

Does contraction and elision affect formation of relative clause?

For example, やらなければならない can modify 時 to form やらなければならない時 and I know that the adjective い ending can simply have a noun appended after it. However when it's contracted to やらなきゃ can I simply add a ...
4
votes
3answers
373 views

Interpreting a specific Japanese sentence

In one song (lyrics link) the line "Watashitachi no kore ga precious heartbeat" ("It's our precious heartbeat") appears, and I'm not sure how best to analyze it due to one particular grammatical ...
4
votes
1answer
145 views

Difference between 「来ませんでした」and「来なかったです」 [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is じゃないです equally correct as じゃありません? Both have the same meaning ("did not come") and according to my Japanese co-workers both are acceptable while they can't define the ...
4
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1answer
107 views

Is 一緒に needed in this case?

Is 一緒に needed in this case? A: 買い物へ行きたい。 B: そう。 A: 一緒に行きましょうか? Or is it just ->> 行こう?
6
votes
1answer
153 views

Ambiguity issues with と when performing multiple roles

My understanding of と: と performs listing と indicates reciprocal action The above two uses are indivisible from each other. That is to say that this particle is special in a sense that it always ...