I am 6 days into learning Japanese, so I don't know if this makes sense but my problem is this, I want to say, "I would rather watch that cold dream where I died". The way I write it is

ぼく わ むしろ それ つめたい ゆめ みる どこ しんだ (boku wa mushiro sore tsumetai yume miru doko shinda)

So I translated that on Google and it didn't seem to make much sense, in particular the died part. I don't know if I need to specify again that I was the one that died, is Google Translator just bad, or is it the placement of shinda that's bad, maybe it needed to go before sore?

  • i just saw that i missed the o after yume, and now it translates it correclty, ¿but would it make sense in real life to say this if i didn't put boku wa? – Gbazs Jan 12 at 5:35
  • 3
    Protip: Never use Google Translate for Japanese. It's terrible. – istrasci Jan 12 at 6:16
  • 1
    I suppose it's your prerogative to study how you want to, but the English sentence you're trying to translate is rather poetic and advanced, no? At least, I assume that's the intent. It's going to be difficult to grasp any corrections before you have the basics down. – Leebo Jan 12 at 8:44
  • 1
    Since you are 6 days into learning Japanese, it may be too early for you to try to write a complicated (or poetic) sentence in Japanese, because at this stage you only know very few vocabularies and very basic grammar. – user31381 Jan 12 at 13:35
  • 2
    I think you should ask smaller questions about specific points you have trouble with (like the one about clauses). Stuffing the whole book in the answer won't really help anyone IMO. – Igor Skochinsky Jan 12 at 23:16

In response to the comment:

guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/clause i read this but i don't understand in my sentence i have two verbs to die and to watch can only one verb go at the end?

The basic sentence is "watch a dream" which is 夢を見る.

Next you ask yourself "what sort of dream did I watch?" And the answer is "one where I died". This is where the relative clause comes in. Let's start with a simpler example. You also wanted it to be a 'cold dream'. So I think you would be happy to agree that 夢 can be modified by putting 冷たい in front of it. You can think of 冷たい夢 as 'cold dream'/'dream which is cold'/etc. They all mean the same thing. You are probably used to nouns being modified by adjectives, but in Japanese they can be modified by whole clauses. These are called relative clauses. There are no words in Japanese for where/which/that when used in this way. "X where Y" / "X which is Y" / "X that is Y" are all simply YX. Japanese is simpler in this regard. So "dream (X) where I die (Y)" is simple 死ぬ夢. This whole thing then behaves as a single noun which is the object of 見る i.e. 死ぬ夢をみる.

  • This is plain wrong. 死ね夢 does not make sense in the Japanese language. – jogloran Jan 12 at 19:43
  • @jogloran I wasn't trying to make a full sentence, just demonstrate the idea. Presumably you're happy with 自分の死ぬその冷たい夢 from the other answer. Could you tell me what my stripped down version lacks that makes it unacceptable? Thanks – user3856370 Jan 12 at 19:47
  • @jogloran Isn't it just a typo though? 「死ね夢」->「死ぬ夢」? – Eddie Kal Jan 12 at 19:54
  • @EddieKal Ah, that's what he meant? I hadn't spotted the typo. Thanks for noticing. – user3856370 Jan 12 at 19:58
  • @user3856370 I hadn't either at first. I typo like crazy when I type Japanese (sometimes English too). I had to type 「死ね夢」in the last comment a couple times because it kept coming out as 「死ね嫁」... – Eddie Kal Jan 12 at 20:04

There are a number of issues with your translation. Number one, the topic-marking particle 'wa' is generally written as は for historical reasons. Next, それ is 'that' used similarly to a noun (like 'That is the question'); 'that' used like an adjective is その.

Relative clauses in Japanese involve moving the verb phrase ahead of the noun it modifies, not using a wh-question word after the noun.

Trying to stick close to your original phrasing, I think it would be


I think it's important to note that there isn't a one-to-one correspondence between different languages. You can't just translate each word individually, then put them back in the same order - often even between closely related languages like English and Dutch.

  • i understand now but i have another question with this, could i put the shinu part after yume to state that, in the dream i would rather watch, i died, and is the use of the word doko, to state where i died, ¿correct or maybe i should use another one?. – Gbazs Jan 12 at 17:37
  • 1
    @Gbazs No. どこ refers to location. The 'where' you are talking about here is a completely different thing and is implied precisely because 死ぬ comes before 夢. You need to research 'relative clauses'. I feel you are getting somewhat ahead of yourself if you're only six days into learning. – user3856370 Jan 12 at 17:45
  • i had already imagine i was wrong doesn't help telling me that i am wrong, would be better if someone explains why shinu goes before yume or links a page where i could learn. – Gbazs Jan 12 at 18:26
  • @Gbazs The rules of this site expect you to do your own research and ask questions when you get stuck. If you are incapable of looking up 'relative clauses' as suggested by both me and Aeon Akechi then you may as well give up now. – user3856370 Jan 12 at 18:40
  • guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/clause i read this but i don't understand in my sentence i have two verbs to die and to watch can only one verb go at the end? – Gbazs Jan 12 at 18:49

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.