3

My question relates to which part of the information is emphasised more in Japanese, the part that comes first or in the end of a sentence for instance what would be the nuance in this type of sentence:

1)俺はご飯を食う

  1. SOV - This is the standard that appears in most "grammar books"

2)ご飯を俺は食う

  1. OSV - Here the subject 俺は is in the middle

3)ご飯を食う俺は

  1. OVS - Here the subject is in the end like an after-thought

Is there any substantial difference in the meaning of these sentences ?

PS: I have used the Indo-European S(subject), O(object) and V(verb) for simplicity I know it is not appropriate to Japanese grammar.

5

If I'm forced to guess, the following would be what is emphasized and its possible questions that prompted the sentence.

  1. 俺はご飯を食う - neutral statement
  2. ご飯を俺は食う ← 何を食べますか What do you eat?
  3. ご飯を食う俺は ← 何をしますか What do you do?

But, in my opinion, word order is not usually used for emphasizing. For 2 and 3, more natural responses would be (especially if the speaker calls himself 俺)

  1. ご飯
  2. ご飯を食う

That is, just say the information being asked.

If it is not replying and declaring I eat (meal) (though it's a bit hard to imagine such contexts), then it almost invariably translates to ご飯を食う, regardless of which part you want to emphasize. Emphasis would be put by saying the word a little louder, pronouncing each syllable (= hiragana) distinctly.


In a similar way, 俺はご飯を食う is not really natural because 俺は will be omitted even in a neutral statement. A possible context to put 俺は explicitly would be that the person being talked to is going out, and the speaker says "You go out, on the other hand I eat."

A natural question would be how to emphasize 俺, for example to answer Who eats the meal? The answer is 俺がご飯を食う = It is me that eat the meal. This emphasizing works whether or not it is a reply to a question.


BTW ご飯を食う is not really right in terms of collocation. Either ご飯を食べる or 飯(めし)を食う

3
  • Oh it not a question just a statement like "I eat food" [informal]
    – IKhan
    Sep 4 '21 at 13:05
  • 3
    I put the questions that would prompt those sentences of your questions. Not that I interpreted your sentences as questions.
    – sundowner
    Sep 4 '21 at 13:38
  • @IKhan I added some clarifications.
    – sundowner
    Sep 4 '21 at 23:47

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.