I met the following sentence :

I think your mother doesn't like me.

As far I can tell, あなたのお母さん is the subject or topic marker of the sentence. But at the end of the sentence, there comes 思います, which means "to think".

Based on the subject and the verb at the end, I'm confused with the translation since it says "I think your mother [...]".

Isn't it supposed to be "Your mother thinks [...]" since the verb 思います refers to the subject あなたのお母さん? Where did the "I" subject come from? Or is there an invisible subject "I" in the sentence ?

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    Please try to avoid answering questions in the comments section. – user1478 Mar 4 '18 at 14:32

In declarative statements, と思う almost always refers to the speaker. Japanese doesn't usually presume to know the thoughts of someone else (in fact, it often doesn't even assume to know the speaker's thoughts completely! Hence you find constructions like 何々したいと思う when referring to what you intend to do). Also, it's more typical to quote someone else's statements with 言う or そう.

Here the speaker is not the "subject." Since this is a quotative statement (indicated by と), the subject of interest is within the quotation (i.e. the mother).

Also, because と思う is outside of the quotation, it leaves us without an explicit subject for the overall statement. In general, when there is no explicit subject in Japanese, the sentence is usually referring to the speaker or listener (more often the speaker), unless context makes it very clear otherwise.

For what it's worth, there is a 私 in your sentence anyway.


TOPIC(subject-predicate) + COMMENT

THEME/TOPIC: Your mother dislikes me 

        SUBJECT (Your Mother) PREDICATE (dislikes me)

COMMENT:  I feel



思います。 (私は)

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