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I was just wondering if the following sentence was correct:

日本語の話すこと

It doesn't sound wrong to me, as the whole「話すこと」part becomes a noun, but I'm not quite sure.

I think the more standard way to say it would be:

日本語を話すこと

Then the verb 「話す」is not a part of the noun「こと」

What do you think?

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    It would help to know what you want to say in English. May 24, 2023 at 14:56

1 Answer 1

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日本語を話すこと is "the act of speaking Japanese". This is a well formed, perfectly normal phrase (not sentence).

日本語の話すこと is grammatical but weird. If we treat の as the possessive particle then we have "the act of speaking which is the Japanese language". This makes no sense to me. I cannot think of a way to parse it that does make sense.

If we treat の as the subject particle (see this) then we have "the act of the Japanese language speaking". I could possibly imagine this in some poetic context but I don't think you would find it in everyday life.

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  • I'm missing my weekly does of Harry Potter a la Japanese. :-)
    – A.Ellett
    Feb 18 at 16:07
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    @A.Ellett Sorry, been too busy to read any further this week :-( Next chapter is devoted to Quidditch, so not too exciting. Feb 18 at 17:03
  • And now I notice I can't spell "dose" correctly, sigh. Well, I'll look forward to your next installment.
    – A.Ellett
    Feb 18 at 17:05
  • I love "the act of speaking which is the Japanese language"! The concept of speaking itself is the language of Japan
    – Star Peep
    Feb 19 at 1:53

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