In spanish, the subject is "a syntactic function, the element of the sentence that matchs in number and gender with the verb". In japanese, verbs arent affected by the subject (in number or gender) . As a spanish speaker, I really dont like the spanish definition because it doesnt help to understand the language at all, moreover, it seems to justify some sentence constructions that after comparing them with other languages you start to find odd and in some senses non-sensicals, and that over-complicate the language. When we were in primary school, we were introduced to another , now obsolete or perhaps always considered wrong definition of subject that made more sense and helped to understand languages. So my question is, what's the definition of subject in japanese? I would like to see if it is something more congruent with the idea most people have of what's the subject of the sentence and not something like our official spanish definition

  • Does this help?
    – siikamiika
    Apr 9 '17 at 0:33
  • @siikamiika I have to read it several times and patiently, but first question that arises is, in which cases "a verb is not an action that can be performed, it is a word that may or may not represent an action" . I can open another question if you want
    – Pablo
    Apr 9 '17 at 0:38
  • You can probably skim the English subject part; I havent read the whole answer but I think it's there just for comparison. Not sure if that quote applies to Japanese
    – siikamiika
    Apr 9 '17 at 0:45

In Japanese, the subject is something that precedes the subject-marker particle が, and is the thing or person described by the predicate. However, the subject is not the most important part of a sentence. Japanese is a topic-prominent language, and the topic, marked by は, is often what we really care about; this is also why sometimes が and は are interchangeable (i.e. when the topic is the subject).

  • "is the thing or person described by the predicate". I'm not complaining with that definition at all, but is it official? Because many definitions seem to follow the idea that the subject is a syntactic function, something that seems to fit more with the first part of your definition "is something that precedes the subject-marker particle が"
    – Pablo
    Apr 9 '17 at 0:40
  • 2
    @Pablo Well, this is the usual definition given to a subject in the study of syntax (across languages), and is intended to be quite vague.
    – xuq01
    Apr 9 '17 at 0:46
  • chu.benesse.co.jp/qat/335_j.html    This link may help. Also, Subject 主語 is defined in the Japanese dictionary as 文法上、述語に対し、それが表す動作・作用を持つものを表した語。例、「花が咲く」の「咲く」に対して「花」…
    – rgolden
    Apr 9 '17 at 8:06

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