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An example of a regular announcement on a train:

次は本町 本町 中央線 御堂筋線 お乗り換えです

My main concern here is the second は (in bold). It does not seem to be a topic marker, it does not seem to be a binding particle (係助詞) as described in the answer to this question, so what is the function of は here?

Why isn't the announcement using a destination particle に which is the usual particle used with the verb 乗り換える? Let's say something like this:

次は本町。本町は、中央線、御堂筋線 お乗り換えです。

Also: where do the sentences in the original announcement start and end? Would 「中央線、御堂筋線はお乗り換えです」 be valid without a station name before? Or is it in fact 「次は本町。本町、中央線、御堂筋線はお乗り換えです」

Or (added later) if 中央線、御堂筋線 were a subject why isn't it:

次は本町、本町。中央線、御堂筋線はお乗り換え先です。


Also I found that other train companies use the phrase:

次は大手町 大手町 丸の内線 半蔵門線 お乗り換えください

I assumed these two patterns ◯◯はお乗り換えです and ◯◯はお乗り換えください follow the same rule? Is there really a rule which would allow to freely replace ◯◯は(gerund)です with ◯◯は(imperative verb) and vice versa?

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I'm not sure if this is what's throwing you off, but お乗り換え here is used more like an adjective (“a transfer line”), not a verb (“you transfer here”). It's like saying “中央線 and 御堂筋線 are transfers” instead of saying “Please transfer for 中央線 and 御堂筋線”. The implications are the same, but the sentence is shorter. It's also a little less direct, because you can tie an action to the subject without explicitly asking the listener to act.

Phrases that feel similar to me:

  • ゴミはお持ち帰りです (instead of ゴミはお持ち帰りください)
    Trash is take-home vs. Take home your trash
  • 代金はレジでお支払いです (instead of 代金はレジでお支払いください)
    The charge is pay-at-the-register vs. Pay the charge at the register
  • チケットはお引き換えです (instead of チケットはお引き換えください)
    Tickets are exchange vs. Exchange your tickets

Above answer only covers the "A線はお乗り換えです" construct. But isn't "丸ノ内線はお乗り換えください" a much more common way of using は? 詳細はお問い合わせください, お食事はテーブルをご利用ください, 個室はご予約ください… (For the Marunouchi Line, transfer. For details, ask. For dining, use the tables. For private rooms, make a reservation.)

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    Makes much more sense to me than an analysis of what words are "omitted". – l'électeur Oct 6 '15 at 9:27
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    @macraf My answer only covers the "A線はお乗り換えです" construct. But isn't "丸ノ内線はお乗り換えください" a much more common way of using ? 詳細はお問い合わせください, お食事はテーブルをご利用ください, 個室はご予約ください… (For the Marunouchi Line, transfer. For details, ask. For dining, use the tables. For private rooms, make a reservation.) – mirka Oct 6 '15 at 11:07
  • @macraf Sentence #1 is correct and impossible to misinterpret, but I can't give a straight yes–no answer to the latter two. They might be understood in context, but I'm not sure what they're supposed to mean. (Chatroom might help for more opinions/specifics) – mirka Oct 7 '15 at 10:17
  • @mirka You have addressed my concern even though I had not phrased the question correctly at the time. I edited my question and also your answer accordingly, please review if you accept the form, as I just copied your comment. – macraf Oct 8 '15 at 12:42
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It's a topic marker and the case of 中央線 and 御堂筋線 in the sentence is the subject. It says those who use 中央線 or 御堂筋線 are to change the train.

The terminology in the link is not really correctly used. 係助詞 is a term to categorize は も こそ as a group opposed to another group such as case particles: が を に へ で から より(よ). It's a different perspective from functions like topic marker or such.

本町 called twice is just repetition.

Edit: I'm going to explain what "you can compose a sentence whose subject doesn't have logical coherence with the predicate" means.

  1. The subject of the sentence doesn't have to be the agent of active voice or the recipient of passive voice. (Therefore, so called indirect passive is possible)
  2. The predicate itself can be a whole clause. (You may be able to regard this phenomenon as double subjects)

As a result, you can write a sentence or a clause like 中央線が 乗客が 乗り換えだったら, if you need to specify the agent.

  • The subject of the sentence is 中央線 and 御堂筋線. What the sentence implies is that users of those lines should change the train. How I wrote it was bad, sorry. – user4092 Oct 3 '15 at 23:41
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    @macraf 「次は本町、本町です。中央線(か)、御堂筋線(に乗る場合)は、ここでお乗り換えです。」って感じで考えると、分かりやすいですか? – Chocolate Oct 4 '15 at 8:07
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    The problem of 乗り換え先 is that in contexts of railroad, it means a place that another train leads to. – user4092 Oct 4 '15 at 8:16
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    "I found the announcement exactly the same all over Japan", I beg to differ as each Railway Company says the announcement differently. 東京メトロ{とうきょうめとろ} says something like 次{つぎ}は「九段下{くだんした}」、「九段下{くだんした}」です。半蔵門線{はんぞうもんせん}、都営新宿線{とえいしんじゅくせん}にお乗{の}り換{か}える 客{きゃく}様{さま}はここで、お 降{お}りください。 – The Wandering Coder Oct 5 '15 at 0:59
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    I get more used to when the conductor actually speaks than to the automated massages. Not sure if it helps but here are a couple I found... Hanzomon Line (Departing Shibuya for Kuki(Tōbu Isesaki Line)) - 次は表参道、表参道です。乗換のご案内です。銀座線・千代田線はお乗換ください Tōkyū Tōyoko Line [Tokyu] - (Departing Shibuya for Motomachi Chūkagai (Minatomirai Line) - 次は中目黒、中目黒です。日比谷線ご利用お客様はお乗換です Fukutoshin Line (Shibuya for Hannō(Seibu Line)) - 次は新宿三丁目、新宿三丁目です。乗り換えのご案内です。丸ノ内線・都営新宿線はお乗り換えください – The Wandering Coder Oct 6 '15 at 2:14

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