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93

は and が are a bit complex because they have several meanings, and some of the shades of meaning of wa and ga are a bit hard to distinguish casually. The best coverage of this that I have read is "The Structure of the Japanese Language" by Susumu Kuno(written in English). I'm going to attempt to synthesize some of that here, but Kuno's explanation is much ...


19

Here's the English equivalents for the IPA: [ɡ] = the 'g' in 'get' [ŋ] = the 'ng' in 'sing' The main difference is that [ŋ] is a nasal consonant, whereas [ɡ] is not. If you try plugging your nose and pronouncing [ŋ], you'll realize that it's not possible. That's because air must flow through the nasal passage, but not the oral passage, for [ŋ]. The ...


18

There is a class of Japanese verbs (and more generally, predicates) whose subjects and objects take が.[1] For example: あの学生がその本が要る。(Ano gakusei ga sono hon ga iru. "That student needs your book.") 猫が魚が好きだ。(Neko ga sakana ga suki da. "Cats like fish.") 私が日本語が分かる。 (Watashi ga nihongo ga wakaru. "I understand Japanese.") (Of couse, these がs can be replaced ...


16

If you already speak a little Japanese, compare these: Aiko-chan ga suki desu I like (love) Aiko. Aiko-chan wa suki desu Aiko likes it. I read a lot about this, theory about subjects and objects, but for some reason, this simple example (heard once I'd had a few months in Japan) most helped me to "get it".


14

In the が + potential construction, the focus is on the noun. 新聞が読める (what I am able to read is newspapers [as opposed to other written media]) ここで切符が買えますか (is this where tickets [as opposed to other items for sale] can be bought?) In the を + potential construction, the focus is on the entire phrase. 新聞を読める (what I am able to do is read ...


12

In my opinion, it is a bit of a mistake to think of は as being in opposition to が. There are times where は marks things that have nothing to do with the subject of the sentence. There are times where you have to choose between は and を for example. 今はどうしようかな? = What should I do now? Sometimes the は will be left off, but が could never be used here because it'...


11

I think you probably meant to write: 私は日本語が悪いです。(Lit. As for me, Japanese is bad.) 私の日本語は悪いです。(Lit. My Japanese is bad.) The word 悪い is a literal translation of the English 'bad'. In Japanese, you don't use 悪い to say you're not good at something. Instead, I recommend saying: 私は日本語が[下手]{へた}です。(Lit. As for me, Japanese is poor/unskillful.) 私は日本語が[...


10

Because 分かる is an intransitive verb meaning "to be understood". If you wanted to keep the structure as close as possible to the original, you could literally translate 私は日本語がわかります as "regarding me, Japanese is understood". But, as you may have noticed, English and Japanese seldom share the same sentence structure; in English the same concept is expressed by ...


10

Yes, your reasoning is correct. は/が is used to describe when the action happens to the thing itself. を is used to emphasize the (usually negative) effect of the action on the subject, optionally indicating the agent of the action with に. 弟にケーキを食べられた → My cake was eaten by my little brother (anger/aggravation implied). カバンを取られてしまった → My bag was ...


10

When you use "say" or "言う", the content of the speech is the most important. The existence of the physical sound/voice is not usually important, nor necessary. Dictionaries say so. 彼はブログで、そう言っていた。(≒彼のブログに、そう書いてあった。) On the other hand, when we use "声が出る" (intransitive) or "声を出す" (transitive), the existence of the physical sound is the most ...


9

I think this is how: Consider first Clause1: 家賃が安い. The structure is Subject1+が+Predicate1. Subject1: 家賃 Predicate1: 安い Now consider Clause2: (都心より)郊外のほうが家賃が安い. The structure is Subject2+が+Predicate2, where Predicate2 is Clause1. Subject2: 郊外のほう Predicate2: 家賃が安い Predicate: The part of a sentence or clause saying something about the subject


9

As @Flaw flawlessly explains, Japanese sentences can have clausal predicates. This is what causes what is commonly known as double-subject constructions, although I believe "clausal predicates" really illustrates the structure better. I assume you have heard constructions like 彼は髪が長い He has long hair Some teachers/textbooks might explain this away by ...


9

Yes. 見える (divalent) A が B に見える "A is visible to B". 大切なものは目に見えない。 What is essential is invisible to the eye. (divalent) A が B に見える "A looks (like) B". 「でつ」がスヌーピーの顔に見える。 "でつ" looks like Snoopy's face. (monovalent) A が見える "A can see things". [吸血鬼]{きゅう・けつ・き}は夜でも見える。 Vampires have night vision.


9

In this case, the particle で denotes method/means ('by means of', 'with', 'using', etc.) The difference is 'speak in Japanese' vs 'speak Japanese'. 日本語で上手に話せます。 One can (speak / talk with someone / say something) well in Japanese. 日本語が上手に話せます。 One can speak Japanese well. (= One is a good Japanese speaker). When someone says 日本語で話す, it ...


8

後ろに山が has been coordinated with 前に海が: 町の [ 後ろに 山が、 ]    [ 前に  海が  ] あって、素敵な町です。 One possible way to describe it is like this: Start with the following: [ 町の後ろに 山があって、 ]    [ 町の前に  海があって、 ]     素敵な町です。 Pull out 町の from the left side: 町の [ __後ろに 山があって、 ]    [ __前に  海があって、 ]     素敵な町です。 Pull out あって from the right side:...


8

(Here I'm trying to show why 四方を海に囲まれる is not direct passive. Please see this as an appendix to broccoliforest's answer and reply to KentaroTomono's comment.) First, OP's second sentence 四方が海に囲まれる is direct passive. Wikipedia defines「直接受身は、能動文における直接目的語または間接目的語を主語にするものである。」(source). Following this definition, a direct passive sentence is formed this way:...


7

I mostly agree with YOU in that it is personal preference and perhaps more of a broad preference that may be more prevalent in different parts of Japan. I've also noticed that the "nga" pronunciation seems more common when が is spoken in places such as ですが where it often sounds something like desu-nga. In terms of a slightly more formal reference the English ...


7

"Ga" and "Nga" are same in Japanese, just a personal difference. Some used to say that old Japanese people used "Nga" more frequently than "Ga"


7

A late answer, but I thought I'd throw it in anyway. As the others have said, they are allophones and mostly interchangeable. When I moved to Tokyo, I immediately noticed this sound. The strange thing was that getting other Japanese people to hear the difference was very difficult and it took some effort to find out what was going on. Apparently most are ...


7

It depends not only on the verb, but on the form of the verb. The general rule is that static verbs and adjectives take "ga" and "action verbs" take "o" on the direct object. piano-o hiku play the piano piano-ga hikeru can play the piano Here, playing the piano is an action, thus "o" is used. Being able to play the piano is a state, thus "ga" ...


7

This is not as much of a newbie question as you might think. dainichi gave a good general rule-of-thumb, but at the risk of confusing you, I'd like to point out that there are many cases when を and が are actually interchangeable. For example, the sentence "I can play the piano" can be written either ピアノが弾【ひ】ける piano ga hikeru or ピアノを弾【ひ】ける ...


7

Particles have multiple uses or meanings. が can be used to mark the subject. However 好き【すき】 is an adjective not a verb. In this case が marks the target of 好き【すき】 which is cats. 1) 私は猫が好き 2) 猫は私が好き The pattern of these sentences is: Topic は target of adjective が adjective I(topic) like(adjective) cats(target of adjective). Cats(topic) like(...


7

There are two basic argument structures for the predicate 好{す}き(だ):  Aが Bが 好き(だ)  ←  Traditional form  Aが Bを 好き(だ)  ←  Innovative form    A = subject    B = object† Of course, you won't often see sentences in this exact form: It's possible to omit one or both arguments. In a matrix clause, unless you have a good reason to use ...


6

する does not actually mean "do". It's much more generic than that. "to do" is just one way it parses into English. For your sentence あなたも血のにおいがするな. It would mean "I smell blood on you too" する in this sense takes on the meaning "to perceive non-visually" Summarising from nihongoresources: The kanji form of する is 為る. And the kanji 為 represents some ...


6

This is a great question, and one of which I'm not sure I fully understand the nuances. But here goes: What I learned in my first Japanese class was the は/が for basic things like this: あの人は日本語がわかる → That guy understands Japanese. 友達は子供が3人います → My friend has 3 children. だれがこれが出来るか → Who can do this? Then I heard some people start using に and ...


6

Perhaps part of the solution is the dropping of words assumed from context? 明日は雨だ → 明日(の天気)は雨だ You could consider this as a type of sentence known as "ウナギ文". http://www.sf.airnet.ne.jp/~ts/language/unagi.html - has a nice explanation (in Japanese), exemplified by the exchange (ordering in a restaurant): 甲: 僕は天丼にするよ。 乙: 僕はうなぎだ。 Here the second speaker ...


6

が simply marks a subject of a sentence, but your question is not really about the use of が. Note that 決定する has two usages: 〈人〉が〈事〉を決定する (transitive) and 〈事〉が決定する (intransitive). The former usage is similar to 決める, whereas the latter usage is similar to 決まる. When we say something was decided without a focus on who did it, it is more natural to use 決定する ...


6

Flaw's answer is of course correct, but here's another way to look at it. Start with a simple sentence like this: 犬{いぬ}が好{す}きだ。 "I like dogs." Since the predicate is a na-adjective, 好きだ, the object (犬) needs to be marked by が. (Your second sentence is ungrammatical for this reason, btw.) Then, if you want to say something like "I like running.", ...



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