6

My textbook has this example:

四方を海に囲まれる。

Is it the indirect passive that allows for the direct object marker to be used in that passive voice example?

This sentence matches my understanding of passive voice grammar:

四方が海に囲まれる。

Is it also correct?

4

My textbook has this example:
四方を海に囲まれる。
Is it the indirect passive that allows for the を direct object marker to be used in that passive voice example?

The answer is no. It is the direct passive voice. The reason will be explained below.

In Japanese, the passive voice takes human beings (or something which can feel emotions as the de-facto subject (before に)), as explained here,

また直接受身では、「誰々に」を「誰々によって」と言い換えることができるが、迷惑の受身では一般にこの言い換えはできない。

which translates to:

Moreover, in the case of the direct passive, 「誰々に」 can be reworded as 「誰々によって」, but, in the case of the suffering passive, such a rewording is not possible.

Your sentence

四方を海に囲まれる。

can be rephrased as

四方を海によって(より)囲まれる (I personally think より is more common.)

Now, let's take a look at here for a full definition of the Japanese direct passive voice.

The definition of Japanese direct passive voice is

①対応する能動態がある
②迷惑の意味はない
(受身文に迷惑の意味があるかどうかは、動詞自体の意味による)
③英語にある

which translates to:

  1. There is an equivalent phrase that use active voice.
  2. The sentence does not hint that you may experience an unpleasant moment.
    (You have to rely on the verb to tell whether the passive voice implies "suffering".)
  3. It can be translated in English.

You can see that your sentence matches these 3 conditions:

  1. 四方を海に囲まれる。--> 海が四方を囲む
  2. No suffering at all is implied. How 四方 would suffer???
  3. An English translation could be: "The sea encircles all directions".

While Japanese passive voice takes the de-facto subject (why I say de-facto is because when it is converted to active voice, it stands as the subject, in your case: 海), generally human beings or something which has emotions, your sentence is a case of 非情の受身 (passive voice whose subject is emotionless).

Regarding the explanation of 非情の受身 provided by the link,

主語になる物・事には、感情がないので、 非情の受身は、多くは客観的な意味を表します。 そこで、ニュース、新聞、本で多用されます。

The thing or phenomenon which stands as the subject does not have any kind of emotion, thus, this passive voice is mainly used when one wants to be objective. It is used a lot in news, newspapers or books.

Your sentence seems to describe from an objective point of view.

Thank you. Have a nice day.

  • 2
    In my humble opinion, 迷惑 shows "trouble" or "annoyance" ("suffering" may be hinted but it's not the general meaning of it). /​/ 迷惑の意味はない -- The sentence infers some kind of "suffering". I think you've forgotten the negation in your translation. /​/ Your translation of "多くは客観的な意味を表します" seems clunky 客観的 means objective (the writer doesn't tell his/her mind) not narrative (which is more about relating events the point of view used when relating events could be objective as well as subjective). /​/ Besides that, I like your post and your use of references. – 永劫回帰 Aug 20 '15 at 21:38
  • メインは一番初めのウィキの>>間接受身は間接的に影響(ふつうは主語から見て悪影響)を被るものを主語に立てる表現であり、通常、主語は人間である。さらに「迷惑(被害)の受身」、および「持主(所有)受身」などと呼ばれるものに分けられる。が理由です。 – Kentaro Aug 21 '15 at 12:52
  • 後直接受動の説明>>元の動作の主語(動作主)を表示するには「に」を用いるのが一般的だが、事物の属性を説明する場合などは「によって」が用いられる。また元の主語からの物の移動(授受)を表す場合は「から」を用いることができる。この場合の文章は四方という(土地?)が海に囲まれている属性と考えられるからです。四方が海により囲まれている。一致します。 – Kentaro Aug 21 '15 at 13:00
  • 後英語と同じ性格なら英語も言い換え可能でしょう。人の例ですが,He was hit by the teacher --> The teacher hit him. それで物が事実上の主語なので所謂一般的な事柄を表す無情になるんでしょう。 – Kentaro Aug 21 '15 at 13:09
  • 1
    「日本は、四方海に囲まれている。」の能動態は何ですか? ( 「(日本の)四方海に囲まれている」の能動態を聞いているのではありません) – Chocolate Aug 21 '15 at 14:05
9

(Here I'm trying to show why 四方海に囲まれる 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:

The active sentence 海が四方を囲む has a direct object, "四方を".
Use the 四方 as the subject in the direct passive sentence.
You get 四方海に囲まれる。

Therefore, 四方海に囲まれる is direct passive.


Now, this page says the possessor passive is something like this:

(1)私は 田中さんに パソコン こわされた。← possessor passive
cf: (2)私のパソコンが 田中さんに こわされた。← direct passive
#2 has a corresponding active voice phrase: 田中さんが 私のパソコンを こわした。
#1 doesn't have a corresponding active voice phrase.

The phrases in question can be analysed in the same way:

(1)島は 海に 四方 囲まれる。 ← possessor passive
cf: (2)島の四方が 海に 囲まれる。 ← direct passive
#2 has a corresponding active phrase: 海が島の四方を囲む。
#1 doesn't have a corresponding active phrase.

This shows that 四方海に囲まれる is possessor passive, not direct passive.


As for the quote from Wikipedia:

また直接受身では、「誰々に」を「誰々によって」と言い換えることができるが、迷惑の受身では一般にこの言い換えはできない。(source)

It says 迷惑の受身ではこの言い換えはできない(the suffering passive can't take によって), not 持主の受身ではこの言い換えはできない(the possessor passive can't take によって). For example, 私は家族を日本兵殺された, which is possessor passive not direct passive, can be rephrased as 私は家族を日本兵によって殺された. So you can't conclude that 四方海に囲まれる is direct passive just because you can rephrase it as 四方を海によって囲まれる.


The conditions of the Japanese direct passive voice are:

①対応する能動態がある
②迷惑の意味はない
③英語にある
(source)

First, does 四方海に囲まれる meet these conditions?

①It has a corresponding active phrase.
→Yes. 海が四方を囲む.
海が四方を(object)囲む。→ 四方が(subject)海に囲まれる。
②It doesn't have a meaning of suffering.
→No. The subject 四方 doesn't suffer from being surrounded by the sea.
③There is an equivalent passive phrase in English.
→Yes. "The four sides are surrounded by the sea."
(Not "The sea encircles all directions", which is active voice.)

It meets all these conditions. Therefore, 四方海に囲まれる is direct passive.

Now, does 四方海に囲まれる meet these conditions, too?

①It has a corresponding active voice phrase.
→No, it has no corresponding active voice phrase.
②It doesn't have a meaning of suffering.
→No. In 島は四方海に囲まれている, for example, the island doesn't necessarily suffer from being surrounded by the sea.
③There is an equivalent passive phrase in English.
→No, there is no equivalent passive phrase in English.

It doesn't meet ① and ③. Therefore, 四方海に囲まれる is not direct passive.

Is 四方海に囲まれる possessor passive, then? Here's the conditions of the possessor passive:

①対応する能動文がない。
②動詞によっては必ずしも迷惑を表さない。
(source)

Does 四方海に囲まれる meet these conditions?

①It doesn't have a corresponding active voice phrase.
→ No, it has no corresponding active phrase.
②It doesn't necessarily indicate suffering, depending on the verb used.
→ No. In 島は四方海に囲まれる, for example, the island doesn't necessarily suffer from being surrounded by the sea.

It meets both of these conditions, so 四方海に囲まれる is possessor passive, and not direct passive.

Hope this helps.

7

Your question actually contains multiple topics.

  1. Is 四方を海に囲まれる an indirect passive sentence?
  2. Does this type of passive allow for the を?
  3. Is 四方が海に囲まれる correct as well?

Spoiler: 1.—Maybe, 2.—Yes, 3.—Yes


Is 四方を海に囲まれる an indirect passive sentence?

Well, it depends. Japanese passive usages can be categorized into three types.

  1. Direct passive: you* are affected by something doing something to you (= English passive)
  2. "Possessor" passive: you are affected by something doing something to something you own
  3. "Third party" passive: you are affected by something doing something (towards elsewhere)

*you means the subject of the sentence here

四方を海に囲まれる "it is surrounded by sea in all directions" falls under #2. It's clear because the word 四方 "all directions" indicates relative position from the reference point, so it has to be "all directions of somewhere". Thus, the sentence requires an unpronounced subject as the "owner" of 四方.

What makes your question difficult is, some people call #3 "indirect passive" while others call #2 and #3 "indirect passive". So if you ask people whether it is an "indirect passive", you might get different opinions. But it couldn't be #1 or #3.

Does this type of passive allow for the を?

Yes, in fact, it has to. By definition (see above), #2 passives requires an object other than you (i.e. the subject of the sentence) and the object remains in を-case. Meanwhile, the type #3 doesn't have to, because the action doesn't have to be transitive. A typical example of that is 雨に降られた (lit. "I was rained") "I got caught in the rain", which describes that it was just raining irrespective of me, and the unfortunate me happened to be there too.

Is 四方が海に囲まれる correct as well?

Yes, grammatically it's an ordinary #1 passive. And in this case, Japanese grammar is so evil that this sentence has the same meaning as 四方海に囲まれる. But it's only because 四方 request for an "owner" (as said above) and Japanese can utilize the double nominative construction to fulfill it. Of course, you can't expect to paraphrase all these kind of passives using direct passive, especially when the subject is human: if you'd say 兄が彼に殺された I'd assume you were talking about your brother, but 兄を彼に殺された I'd assume the subject would be you, who had the experience that whose brother was killed by him.

  • So the "owner" is Japan.........which is not a person......could you kindly define the difference of "owning" and the "properties" as a professional? ( Not with sarcasm ) – Kentaro Aug 22 '15 at 15:16
  • No, I shouldn't have said Japan, in your case, it. While denoting the properties of it falls into the direct passive, whereas the possessive case falls into the indirect, where would you draw the line between the properties of the subject ( here, the sea might sound the properties as well, well, yes, considering, for example, EEZ ( Exclusive Economic Zone ), it will probably fall into the possession. Can you please tell me the line, kindly. – Kentaro Aug 22 '15 at 15:28
  • 3
    @KentaroTomono The "possession" as a linguistic jargon is quite hard to explain briefly in plain language. In short, you can say it's a relation connected by 's or of. Maybe I should consider the wording. – broccoli forest Aug 22 '15 at 16:10
  • 3
    @KentaroTomono No, I'm not presupposing only animate things. I think animacy itself is not required to be taken into account in this question, though there's certainly differences in animate- and inanimate-subject passives. Anyway, you is a bit of underexplanation on second thought, thank you for pointing it. – broccoli forest Aug 22 '15 at 16:19
  • 2
    @KentaroTomono I think your answer has already given a great overview on how 非情の受身 works in Japanese. Answers can be complementary for each other, although I don't much agree with you that this usage is a direct passive (at least, syntactically). – broccoli forest Aug 22 '15 at 16:30
2

Yes, the indirect passive (aka "suffering passive") allows for を to mark the object of a transitive verb.

There are, in general, three basic structures to create a passive in Japanese:

  1. [subject] が [agent] に [transitive verb]

  2. [subject] が [agent] に [object] を [transitive verb]

  3. [subject] が [agent] に [intransitive verb]

Number 1 is the regular passive that also corresponds to English passive. Numbers 2 and 3 are the indirect passive forms that you are referring to, indicating that misfortune occurred to the subject because the agent did the said verb.

The example your textbook gave has structure 2. Because of the を, we know it is indirect passive. The subject has been removed, but I will assume it is the speaker. The sentence can be translated as:

四方を海に囲まれる。
Every direction is surrounded by the sea (and that is unfortunate [for me]).

The speaker may be stuck on an island.

Now, replacing the を with が moves it to the first structure. Now the whole "misfortune" part is no longer implied.

四方が海に囲まれる。
Every direction is surrounded by the sea.

  • I would like to write the reason for downvoting. – Kentaro Aug 20 '15 at 20:37
  • @KentaroTomono I was not aware that によって changed the passive in that way. I learned a lot from your post. But is this interpretation still possible, or should I delete my answer? – Blavius Aug 20 '15 at 21:55
  • I don't know. You see we are the native speakers, so honestly speaking, if we talk each other about this, I would say sooo.....?. But since we are answering to J-learners, I always cite some source which I learned at philosophy site ( one of my favorites ).....kindly see about によって to the source after all I am also learning................................ – Kentaro Aug 20 '15 at 23:24

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