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I have two sentences:

このホールで時々コンサートがある (Kono hooru de tokidoki konsaato ga aru)

このホールでコンサートが時々ある (Kono hooru de konsaato ga tokidoki aru)

The former (provided by textbook) should mean "There are sometimes concerts in this hall".

Does the latter (created by myself) mean the same thing as the fomer? Does it have a nuance to it (e.g. emphasis on it being a concert?)? Is it even grammatically correct?

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  • Does the latter (created by myself) mean the same thing as the former?
  • Is it even grammatically correct?
  • Does it have a nuance to it (e.g. emphasis on it being a concert?)?

Both of your examples are grammatically correct and describe the same event. But there is a slight difference/nuance in your examples as is shown below:

  1. このホールで時々{ときどき}コンサートがある。

  2. このホールでコンサートが時々ある。

In Japanese, word order doesn't have that impact on the meaning of a sentence that describes an event, unlike in English, but it shows the focus on a sentence. When the time word 時々{ときどき} is close to the verb ある such as #2, the time/frequency of the event is focused more.

  1. 時々、このホールでコンサートがある。

  2. コンサートがこのホールで時々ある。

  3. コンサートが時々このホールである。

  4. コンサートがこのホールで時々ある。

  5. このホールでコンサートがある、時々

  6. コンサートがこのホールである、時々

時々{ときどき} or time expression is more focused when there is a pause in the head of a sentence such as #3, when it is placed right before the verb such as #2 and 6, or when it is placed in the end of a sentence such as #7 and 8.

Verbs or predicates are the foundation of a sentence, filling the details (5W1H: who, what, when, where, why, how) with other words. Subject nouns, which are normally marked by が in Japanese, play the 2nd most important role in a sentence; therefore, the subjects are normally focused in a declarative sentence such as #4 and 5.

このホールで in #1 is focused, because it is placed in the head of the sentence where the subject コンサートが is expected to be placed.

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    @macraf Thank you for correcting my English! – nomithekid Nov 16 '15 at 7:16
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Unlike English, Japanese does not depend so much on the sequence of words in the sentence to convey meaning because particles like "de" and "ga" identify the function of the words they follow in the sentence. "Kono hooru de" tells the location. The particle "de" indicates a location where activity happens. In "konsaato ga" the "ga" tells you that "konsaato"is the subject, it's what we're talking about. "Tokidoki" means at times or from time to time. The "aru" (= to exist or to have) must come at the end of the sentence but the other phrases may be arraigned pretty much as you like. "Tokidoki konsaato ga kono hooru de arimasu." Is different from the two you quoted but works just as well and means the same thing.

In answer to the wandering coder: the difference is in the addition of the word "his".

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  • OP asked three specific questions. This answer does not even attempt to address them. – macraf Nov 15 '15 at 23:13
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    Actually, I would argue that Japanese does depend on the sequence of words almost as much as English. 時々トムは宿題をする > トムは宿題を時々する。Sometimes, Tom does homework > Tom does his homework sometimes. This could imply two different things (That Tom only sometimes has homework and does it when he gets it > That Tom doesn't do his homework all the time, only sometimes). – The Wandering Coder Nov 16 '15 at 0:23
  • @macraf It could also imply that, although I would argue it would need more context like; 時々トムは宿題する、時々セーラーは宿題する。In which case Tom and Sarah would share the same homework load. I guess in less articulated words, I was trying to say that it is somewhat open to interpretation, however the order of words is important (although there are bound to be some instances where it isn't). – The Wandering Coder Nov 16 '15 at 1:13
  • Adverbs aren't marked for case, though. – snailplane Nov 16 '15 at 2:42
  • Word order, including the placement of time expressions, is important to mark where in the event the speaker/writer focuses on, although it doesn't have that impact as it changes the event itself, because the Japanese particles play the role to indicate the relationship of the following noun phrases to the verb of a clause/sentence. – nomithekid Nov 16 '15 at 7:30

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