4

Let's say there are various fruits on a table and someone asks me which ones I'd like to eat. I want to answer with something along the lines of : "I especially want to eat the apples and bananas (but it would be nice to eat some of the other ones too if there are any left over)". In other words, my goals are :

  1. To make it clear that I want to eat the apples and bananas above all else
  2. To leave open the possibility of eating other fruits too

Which of the two particles would be better suited to connect the two nouns?

特にりんごバナナを食べたいです。

Since と is used for exhaustive lists, wouldn't this wording imply that I don't really care at all about any other fruits?

特にりんごバナナを食べたいです。

Since や is usually used to give examples within a larger list, wouldn't this suggest that I care about the apples and bananas just as much as any other fruits (or is 特に enough to counteract this)?

In a similar way, if you wanted to suggest that someone focuses their Japanese studies on grammar and kanji (without implying that the other aspects should be ignored entirely), which wording would be more natural?

文法漢字に集中したほうがいいよ。
文法漢字に集中したほうがいいよ。

1

I think that if you put 特に, then both reasonably satisfy your goals 1 and 2.

Generally, use of と sounds more of an exclusive choice. So comparing

  1. 文法と漢字に集中したほうがいいよ。
  2. 文法や漢字に集中したほうがいいよ。

1 sounds more urging to forget about things other than grammar and kanji than 2. But note that without 特に (like 文法と漢字 sentences), both do not sound particularly "open to other possibilities". (I mean, logically, A{と,や}B do not exclude other possibilities, but usually are interpreted as exclusive listing, especially AとB.)


An alternative would be to use など, which can be used with or without 特に.

  1. 特にりんごバナナを食べたいです。
  2. 特にりんごバナナを食べたいです。
  3. りんごバナナなどを食べたいです。
  4. りんごバナナなどを食べたいです。
  5. 特にりんごバナナなどを食べたいです。
  6. 特にりんごバナナなどを食べたいです。

Of these, ~と~など(3,5) sound less natural (though still acceptable to me). 4 may not satisfy your goal 1 (sounds like just listing some examples). 6 may sound more explicitly open to other possibilities due to など than 1,2.

7
  • Wouldn't the first sentence exclude other possibilities since you basically imply "I mentioned all elements that you should focus on"?
    – Simon
    Oct 5 at 12:39
  • No, using 特に makes it sound as the sentence is about what the speaker particularly wants to eat.
    – sundowner
    Oct 5 at 13:26
  • I was referring to your "But note that without 特に [...] logically, both do not exclude other possibilities [...]". I guess that last statement is a bit confusing.
    – Simon
    Oct 5 at 13:27
  • 1
    Yes I understand, this is the point I'm making in my first comment, I'm just pointing out that the way you wrote it can be interpreted like you're saying the opposite.
    – Simon
    Oct 5 at 13:42
  • 1
    I think your understanding is basically correct in that や sounds less exhaustive than と. At the same time, 文法や漢字を... does not sound (to me) as the speaker having something else in mind - that is why I put particularly in the answer (if prefixed by 特に, then it would sound explicitly non-exhaustive). I guess it depends on the context or the nature of things listed.
    – sundowner
    Oct 5 at 14:17
2

I think the confusion comes from the function of the particles. It's a little bit hard to grasp because it adds a dimension that we don't have in English. Even if they function as exhaustive and non-exhaustive, it's strictly for what is mentioned, not the point you're making. I think it's easier to understand if we translate them:

  1. 文法と漢字に集中したほうがいいよ - You should focus on grammar and kanji.
  2. 文法や漢字に集中したほうがいいよ - You should focus on grammar and kanji (and others I didn't mention).
  3. 特に文法と漢字に集中したほうがいいよ - You should especially focus on grammar and kanji.
  4. 特に文法や漢字に集中したほうがいいよ - You should especially focus on grammar and kanji (and others I didn't mention).

As you can see, the や here simply add the meaning that you didn't mention something else. Why you didn't mention them is not implied. It doesn't mean you care or don't care about them. Now you might be wondering why else omit it? We can be creative, maybe you forgot something and you know it so you use や to not exclude it. Maybe you guess there's another one that correspond to your statement but you can't quite identify it. Knowing all that, it's natural to see that, just like in English, we add something like 特に to make our point clear because that particle alone isn't enough to imply what you want.

"Since と is used for exhaustive lists, wouldn't this wording imply that I don't really care at all about any other fruits?"

For the situation of the fruits yes, but in general it only means you listed everything you wanted for your point instead of "caring". The 特に will add the meaning "especially", so the whole point you're making is changing because you're now saying "especially just those two, (implied) others also, just not especially".

"Since や is usually used to give examples within a larger list, wouldn't this suggest that I care about the apples and bananas just as much as any other fruits (or is 特に enough to counteract this)?"

No, rather than implying that you care about any other fruits, it implies that you also care as much only for the fruits you didn't mention. Likewise, with 特に, it becomes "especially focusing on grammar and kanji, plus the ones I didn't mention, (implied) and the others too but not especially".

In other words, there is three categories instead of two. The words you listed, the ones you didn't list and finally the ones that aren't related to your statement.

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