7

I was reading the following example sentence:

お父さんが医者の学生は三人います。

My first instinct was to parse this as:

{お父さんが[医者の学生]}は三人います。

But this led to a slightly non-sensical translation along the lines of 'There are three fathers who are students of doctors.'

Since the true translation was 'There are three students whose fathers are doctors', I assume the sentence must be parsed as:

{[お父さんが医者]の学生}は三人います。

Does this mean I am wrong to automatically separate NのN constructions as having a 'priority' over other types of constructions (such as NがN)? Is it best to assume no 'stronger' relationship and to just parse a sentence into whatever makes the most contextual sense?

Or is it parsed as the second way because of the relative clause, thus making this NのN equivalent to NがN to make:

{[お父さんが医者が]学生}は三人います。

marked as duplicate by l'électeur grammar Jul 19 '17 at 17:07

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 2
  • 2
    I find the point of the two threads are different: the other one is about の vs である only. This OP is having trouble parsing the sentence. – karlalou Jul 19 '17 at 17:17
  • @Noktis > parse a sentence into whatever makes the most contextual sense? I say that is a good start to see a sentence. We can't generalize anything just looking at a few sentences. I don't know what you mean by NがN. が is another topic marker, which does not necessarily to indicate the action maker but can be to indicate the object of the verb, but so, anyway it's always expected to be followed by a verb. I think I naturally expect the words before は to be the subject of います, and... anyway you can't switch this の to が here, because -- it doesn't have a verb for it. 医者が here doesn't work. – karlalou Jul 19 '17 at 19:03
  • 2
    This page says that the particle の can be used as if it were an attributive form of the copula だ. This probably explains why "AがBのC" is possible and means the same thing as "AがBであるC" even though の is not a verb. – naruto Jul 19 '17 at 19:30

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.