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I just came across this sentence:


While I do understand the meaning overall, I am confused as for why it's 話すのは instead of 話すは. If anybody could explain what のは means, that'd be really helpful!

marked as duplicate by naruto, Chocolate, l'électeur, macraf, ajsmart Jul 24 '18 at 13:52

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In this case の is a nominalizer. Basically turns the sentence it precedes into a noun equivalent.

In your example, basically the の turns the part before into "the (thing of) speaking Japanese well" and the part after is just "is difficult". The は in between is just the usual topic particle は (the topic being the whole thing of speaking Japanese well).

You can do so also with other particles, not just は. For example:


<日本語> は むずかしいです。 Japanese is difficult. <日本語を話すの>は むずかしいです。To speak Japanese is difficult.


<勉強>が好きです。 I like studying. <日本語を勉強するの> が好きです。 I like to study Japanese.


<たばこ>を やめます。 I quit smoking. <会社でたばこをすうの>を やめます。 I quit smoking in the office.

The examples above are taken from here. Also I just found a possibly related question here on this website.

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