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I'm Jeroen, from the Netherlands and I'm currently learning Japanese.

I'm using Anki, and it's a great tool, and I came across this sentence in the Japanese Core 2000 #1 set:

彼{かれ}の日本語{にほんご}のレベルは私{わたし}と同{おな}じくらいだ。

I understand most of the sentence and vocabulary. the only new word to me is 位{くらい}. I know that the particle marker と is like "and" in English, kind of, and I understand that 彼の日本語のレベル is one part of the sentence. I also know that だ is the casual form of です.

I'm asking if somebody could break the sentence down for me, grammarwise, so I understand it and can make a sentence like it myself.

  • Wouldn't くらい be usually written in kana here? Sometimes one has to be careful with learning from free Anki lists, because the lists are usually written by learners and might not always contain good or natural Japanese. I've also seen Anki decks with sentences from Harry Potter, for example. Such decks, made from real-life Japanese sources, might be more reliable for learning natural Japanese. (Of course it doesn't hurt knowing that the adverbial particle くらい is derived from the noun 位, but it's probably good to know that they work differently.) – Earthliŋ Jul 21 '15 at 16:37
  • Yeah, Google Translate, which is pretty reliable for single nouns and verbs, also suggested so. くらい it is. – jeroen-meijer Jul 21 '15 at 17:00
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    Google Translate isn't particularly reliable. – snailplane Jul 21 '15 at 17:36
  • I'd recommend jisho.org for looking up single nouns and verbs, along with using other e-dictionaries or books to compare to see if they agree (or to find things jisho.org might not have (that being said I don't think I've seen jisho.org give out wrong information). Google Translate is already bad enough trying to translate languages that are close to each other (grammatically), using it to translate Japanese isn't reliable, as snailboat already said. – Pandacoder Jul 21 '15 at 17:43
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    Not really worth writing an answer just for this, but this is the syntax tree if it helps: [彼の日本語のレベルは][[[私と同じ]くらい]だ] – Darius Jahandarie Jul 21 '15 at 20:16
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Q. I'm asking if somebody could break the sentence down for me, grammarwise, so I understand it and can make a sentence like it myself.

A. I'll try to break this down into individual pieces to make it as understandable as possible.

「彼の日本語のレベルは私と同じくらいだ。」

  • 彼 - he
  • の - particle showing possession (i.e., 's, of)
    • 彼の - his
  • 日本語 - Japanese
  • の - particle that connects a nominal (noun) to another nominal (noun); or particle showing possession (i.e., 's, of)
  • レベル - level
    • 日本語のレベル - level of Japanese (Japanese level)
  • は - particle that marks what the (main) topic of the sentence is (the topic here being "His level of Japanese")
  • 私 - I/me ("mine" in this context)
  • と - particle used when making comparisons (meaning "as" here; this can also mean "and" as you pointed out, but not in this context)
  • 同じ - (the) same
    • 私と同じ - the same as me
  • くらい - approximately; about; around; or so; to (about) the extent that; (almost) enough that; so ... that ...; at least; as ... as ...; like; (くらい is sometimes also written/spoken as ぐらい with the same meaning. 位{くらい}, however does not have the same meaning. The character 位 means throne or rank. For example, 一{いち}位{い} - first place, 位{くらい}を譲る{ゆずる} - to hand over the thrown/crown)
  • だ - is (as you stated, it's the casual (direct) form of です)
    • 私と同じくらいだ - is about the same as mine

So the sentence holds the following meaning:

彼の日本語のレベルは私と同じくらいだ。
His level of Japanese is about the same as mine.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thank you very much! This makes it much more clear to me! ^^ – jeroen-meijer Jul 21 '15 at 19:53

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