2

I learnt that how are you is “genki” or “o genki des ka”, but there is no anata, so how do you know that that’s not “Am I well?”. In other words how do you distinguish 1., 2., and 3. person when no pronoun is written?

  • 1
    It is difficult to think of a situation where you ask yourself "Am I well?", even in English. I mean, if you were not well, you would notice it right away, no need to question yourself. – jarmanso7 Oct 19 at 22:08
  • Thanks for your answer. Now I understand. – Siro Caruso Oct 21 at 4:15
4

As with many things in Japanese (informal language in particular), this is based on context. If you meet someone for the first time in a while, it would make sense to ask them if they are well, rather than asking them if they think you look well.

  • Pronouns are often dropped when it is obvious who is being refereed to.
  • Unlike many other languages there is no grammatical requirement to include the subject in a sentence.
  • You may also choose to omit pronouns if you are unsure which ones are appropriate to address yourself or others, especially as a beginner of Japanese.

In British English, the greeting 'Are you alright?' can be shortened to 'Alright?' and most people can understand from context without specifying a pronoun.

  • Thanks for your answer. Now I understand. – Siro Caruso Oct 21 at 4:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.