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Japanese - what the texbooks don't tell you - the movie!

#26
(2017-05-21, 11:40 am)FooSoft Wrote:
  • Your voice is fine (don’t have problems understanding), but your microphone is not and there is a lot of noise and popping in the background. I know you said that you are on a budget, but getting a nicely reviewed microphone from Amazon for $10-15 should not be that big of a deal considering your time investment in this project.

After that, you can fix some of the issues with a pop filter and audacity's noise removal filter.



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#27
@CureDolly, I have a question for you, I don't know if you have any familiarity with any of the major Romance languages other than French, such as Portuguese, Spanish or Italian, my native language is Portuguese and in those languages we have something called omitted pronoum which is an inheritance from Latin. Basically we don't always need to use the pronoums like in formal English grammar because we can guess which person we're talking about based on the verb form(which is defined by grammatical person).

Example from Portuguese:

First possibility:

Eu comprei um lápis ontem.
I bought a pencil yesterday.

Second possibility:

Comprei um lápis ontem.
I bought a pencil yesterday.

Conjugation of the verb "comprar"(to buy) past tense:

Eu comprei   (I)
Tu compraste  (thou)
Ele/ela comprou  (he/she/it)
Nós compramos    (we)
Vós Comprastes     (ye/you)
Eles/elas compraram   (they)

See? There is no way to counfound the person we're referring to because the conjugation for the first person is different than that of all the others.

Now I know that the case of Japanese is not the same, there is no conjugation for person like in Romance languages, only for tense, but I wonder, why isn't the case of the zero pronoum one of an omitted pronoum instead/as well?

Let's think this through(using the example from your video):

Watashi wa unagi desu.
I want eel.

Watashi wa  ∅ ga  unagi desu.
I want eel(with zero pronoum highlighted).

Why not:

Watashi wa (watashi ga) unagi desu.

Other example, in a context of a discussion about soccer:

Person A: Watashi wa soccer ga suki.-Anata wa?
Person B: (Watashi wa) Suki.

With omitted particle:

Person A: Watashi wa soccer ga suki. -Anata wa?
Person B: (Watashi wa) (watashi ga) suki.

So my question to you is: If the zero pronoum is defined by context, why not think about it as an omitted pronoum, such as in Romance languages, instead of a zero(null) pronoum?
Edited: 2017-05-21, 1:31 pm
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#28
Thank you so much for your detailed response.

I have a (very) little familiarity with Spanish, and indeed have used the Spanish way of saying "I like ○○" to show how Japanese is not in fact unique in having the liked-thing as the grammatical subject of the sentence.

The problem with treating the zero pronoun simply as an omitted pronoun is that it does not allow for the fact - and indeed tends to conceal the fact - that there is not only a non-visible pronoun but also a non-visible particle.

So I am using the ∅ to illustrate what is really going on in the sentence.

In fact (please forgive me for saying this) you are giving a very good example of the confusion that treating the zero particle merely as an omitted particle can lead to.

You write:

>Watashi wa ∅ ga unagi desu.
I want eel(with zero pronoum highlighted).

Why not:

Watashi wa (watashi ga) unagi desu.


But that is precisely what it does not mean.

It means

As for me it is an eel

it
= the thing I am going to eat.

There is no satisfactory way of writing this in Japanese. We would have to use a mongrel sentence like.

watashi wa it ga unagi desu


The point of using ∅ is to make it clear not only that

1: There always a ga-marked shugo (grammatical subject) which can be the zero pronoun (therefore taking zero-ga)

But also that

2: While a zero ga-marked subject is often defined by the visible wa-marked topic (where present), it is also often not

watashi wa nihonjin desu
=watashi wa ∅ ga nihonjin desu
∅= watashi - defined by wa-marked topic

watashi wa unagi desu
= watashi wa ∅ ga unagi desu
∅= it (the thing I will eat) - not defined by wa-marked topic

The use of ∅ is not of course obligatory but I think it helps to make things much clearer.

And clearly it is a pedagogical device. I don't expect people to be thinking in terms of ∅ for life! But it is useful to help grasp the principles in the first place. And as with other grammatical terminology, something one may return to occasionally in complex cases later on.
Edited: 2017-05-21, 1:45 pm
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#29
Thanks for your explanation, I made a serious mistake with the first of those examples, re-reading it I don't know how that slipped through Dodgy

Anyway, I guess that the best "pronoum" to fit that example would be "sore" as in: Watashi wa sore ga unagi desu.

But then I was thinking, I guess it will help to try to think about how the sentence goes through the native speaker head when they are uttering it, as in how are they thoughts processed. Obviously I can't know for sure but I think that the case of Japanese isn't that of, for example, a native Portuguese speaker. When we think "Comprei um lápis.", we are automatically thinking about the pronoum because it(the pronoum) is embedded in the verb by means of conjugation, so when we think "Comprei um lápis" we are actually  thinking something of the sort of  "Eu comprei um lápis."Same thing.

In the case of Japanese, I can't know for sure, but I suspect that when they think "(Watashi wa) unagi desu", they aren't thinking "sore" at all, even if logically it would seem that way, in that case they are actually thinking, or rather "not thinking", about a zero pronoum exactly! It "just works", magically, lol.

I think this is a great discussion that you have brought up CureDolly and it has certainly opened up my eyes to the truth about wa/ga, until yesterday I was still blind about when to use each and what they really meant, I was wondering if you ever thought about making a whole Japanese course like Tae Kim? Anyway, I'm definitely going to get your book for sure in the near future.
Edited: 2017-05-21, 1:56 pm
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#30
I am sure you are right about that.

Actually when I said "there is no satisfactory way of saying that in Japanese" I did consider that

watashi ha sore ga unagi desu

was just about possible. But it sounds very unnatural and really is not in the mind of a Japanese speaker I am 99% certain! Sore is not really used in quite that way.

In European languages even when pronoun omission is regular it is still omission. In Japanese it is not even omission. The ∅ is the pronoun. That is another reason I use it.

I don't think I could do a better job, or even half as good a job, as someone like Tae Kim-sensei.

For the most part, the standard texts (Tae Kim, Genki etc.) do a good job. There are certain gaps that they leave essentially not through their own fault but because European-language-based "Japanese grammar" has never developed fully adequate models for describing Japanese.

I am humbly trying to rectify some of the flaws, and I hope some day this work will be reflected in the standard grammar texts.

However I do have plans for the KawaJapa channel beyond this series of grammar classes.
Edited: 2017-05-21, 2:08 pm
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#31
Yep, I guess we just have something here that we quite don't have in the European languages. This is one of the things that makes Japanese such a joy to study, it's a journey to a complete unknown shore of grammar. Big Grin
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#32
(2017-05-21, 10:46 am)CureDolly Wrote: Other questions that surround this whole problem are thing like "keeki ga suki desu" which may be loosely translated as "(I) like cake" but cannot literally mean that. Thinking that it does mean that, as the textbooks tell us, completely confuses us over the ga particle and thus over the very basis of grammar structure.

To see if I've understood your post: is that why 好き actually means "liking"? Would the correct translation be: the cake is my liking?
When looking into jisho.org ( http://jisho.org/search/%E5%A5%BD%E3%81%8D ) I wondered why 好き doesn't mean "to like", but "liking". If my above statement is correct, I think I may begin to understand the logic you are trying to explain. This is actually very interesting, and makes sense Smile .
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#33
Perhaps the most natural rendering would be

watashi wa keeki ga suki desu

in relation to me, the cake is pleasing

(still not natural English, though almost identical to the Spanish in this particular case)
Edited: 2017-05-21, 2:36 pm
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#34
(2017-05-21, 2:33 pm)CureDolly Wrote: Perhaps the most natural rendering would be

watashi wa keeki ga suki desu

in relation to me, the cake is pleasing

(still not natural English, though almost identical to the Spanish in this particular case)

This is very interesting Smile .
Btw, I like the video character Wink . Maybe you can try to improve the facial expressions: she goes from smiling to angry very quickly, in a weird way. But I think she's cute.
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#35
As for "watashi ha (sore ga) unagi desu", I wouldn't have chosen "sore" but something like "watashi no hosii mono", e.g. 「私は (私の欲しい物が)鰻です」, which is perfectly omissible in Spanish and Portuguese (and Galician, most likely Catalan and I'd bet Italian too -from my ignorance-); as for English or French, I think it's perfectly replaceable by "it" in English ("As for me, (the thing I'd like)->[it] is eel") and "ça" or similar in French.

So, for the time being, I think Iori's point still holds, but I'm looking forward to your next videos to see if the null pronoun can live up to our explanatory expectations ;-).



@Meriden: If you want a true literal translation, given that 「好き」 is a (な-)adjective, your best bet would be an English adjective: "likable, lovely, pleasant" (or even a verb's participle working as and adjective: "loved", "liked"):

「(私は)鰻が好きです」 → "(As for me,) Eel is liked / Eel is pleasant" (yeah, literal translations sound forced almost always).

You probably know that's a common pattern in Japanese: express likings or feelings through adjectives (both -い or -な):

「Xが怖い(です)」 → "I'm scared by X" (Literally: "X is scary / creepy")
「Xが嫌い(です)」 → "I hate / don't like X" (Literally: "X is hateful / unlikable")
...and so on.

Actually, as a L1 Spanish speaker I don't think Spanish is that similar to Japanese. It's true that the usual way to express likings in Spanish is quite special, and puts X as the subject: "Me gusta X" or "Me encanta X" ("I like / love X"; we could make a more literal translation to English by using the passive form as "X *is liked / loved* by me"). But that's where the similitudes end: "gustar" is a verb, while 「好き」 is and adjective. But maybe it's because I can't be very objective here ;-).
(On a side note, when kids learn Spanish grammar in school, this is one of the most shocking kind of phrases: they tend to mark "Me" as the subject and "X" as the direct object, which is wrong; it's also interesting to note that, while Spanish gives a lot of freedom in respect to grammatical elements' ordering, putting the subject after the verb in this formalism is much much more common, while the norm most of the time is the opposite)

You could still use other alternative forms like "(Yo) adoro X", "(Yo) disfruto de X", "(Yo) gusto de X". But all of them are pretty unusual in daily conversation (the last one -similar to Portuguese-, while totally correct, is unusual to the point of even get you some winces in return from most L1 speakers).
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#36
Faneka-san wrote:
As for "watashi ha (sore ga) unagi desu", I wouldn't have chosen "sore" but something like "watashi no hosii mono", e.g. 「私は (私の欲しい物が)鰻です」,

○○ga watashi no hosii mono

is a way of rephrasing

watashi wa ○○ga suki desu

Not identical but in the same general area. Saying "I like" isn't quite the same as saying "I want" in Japanese or English.

The sore ga was not intended to restate the sentiment in natural Japanese but to put that particular instance of ∅ga into some kind of sensible Japanese.

As I noted, it doesn't really work, which is (one reason) why ∅ is necessary to explain what is happening in these sentences.


>(On a side note, when kids learn Spanish grammar in school, this is one of the most shocking kind of phrases: they tend to mark "Me" as the subject and "X" as the direct object, which is wrong;

Exactly, exactly!

And it isn't the children's fault. It is the way it is taught. Precisely equivalent to Japanese in this case. Rather than learning how it really works they are taught non-literal paraphrases like "I like ○○" which mess up the grammar completely in their minds. And then people wonder why they are so confused.

PS I agree that Spanish is not on the whole very close to Japanese. In this particular case it is close, on the whole not. Spanish pronunciation is closer to Japanese than that of most European languages though, mostly because it has pure vowels like Japanese and fairly similar consonants. Also, like hiragana, Spanish orthography actually tells us how a word is pronounced, unlike the crazy mess that is English spelling!



@Meriden-san Yay! A vote for the video character.

I like her too. She has a personality of her own and it wasn't quite what I expected!

Unfortunately in technical CGI terms she does have problems, and the ones you note aren't currently solvable without expert help.

If I had that help it might (depending on the capabilities of the expert) be a good idea to redesign her while we were about it. I would like something closer to my own doll-image but still keeping something of the current look, both for continuity's sake and because I have grown to like her.
Edited: 2017-05-21, 4:21 pm
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#37
I decided to erase my post because there was a lot of holes in my logic, sorry about that!

Now I think that it is not very clear to me whether the pronoum is implicit or null, but again, by analyzing the thought process of the native speakers I think we will get to the thruth, and I'm pending more towards that of the null pronoum.
Edited: 2017-05-21, 5:38 pm
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#38
Iuri_ Wrote:Now I think that it is not very clear to me whether the pronoum is implicit or null, but again, by analyzing the thought process of the native speakers I think we will get to the thruth, and I'm pending more towards that of the null pronoum.


Hmm, you think so? I feel more like the zero pronoun is a linguistic concept that can help make a comprehensive theory, but does that mean native speakers think about it that way? Does "they are not thinking about it" mean they do? I wonder. I mean if someone tells you "It's cold outside" do you start wondering what "it" stands for? I guess "the weather" works just fine, but mostly it's just... "it" and it works. (So many "it"!)
If I look up zero-marking in English, what pops up first is the zero article for indefinite plural ("I have ∅ cups in my cupboard"). But do you think about it that way? "There always has to be an article, nouns only EVER work with articles, and here you can see the ∅ article. It doesn't work without."? And if you don't think about an article being there, that means you think about it as the zero article? hummmmm.... I mean now that I read up on it I feel like I've heard that before, but does it really work that way in my mind? Hmmm That's a bit how it feels to me, when I hear "all sentences NEED a subject marked with 'ga'. It's the center of every Japanese sentence! And if you can't see it, it's the zero pronoun/zero particle"
I think it's a pretty great theory to describe what is happening or might be happening unconsciously. But once it's getting prescriptive ("it has to be that way!") I guess I'm starting to doubt *hmmm* Haven't fully made up my mind yet I guess.

P.S. If I'm in a restaurant and someone wanted me to absolutely have a subject for the sentence "Watashi wa (∅ ga) unagi desu." I'd probably go for "Watashi wa chuumon ga unagi desu.", As for me, (my) order is eel.
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#39
@susum-san (and everyone who has offered help and criticism)

This is actually in relation to your earlier post. I thought I had posted it at the time but I just found it in my clipboard manager and realized I hadn't!

Thank you for your feedback. No, I am not offended. I am grateful for your helping me to pinpoint things that need improvement. To address them a little.

Character movement. Yes it's a problem. I really can't do anything about that without some more expert help. I wonder if anyone here is an artist familiar with cubism (the modeling tool, not the historical art movement). I would love develop the character properly.

Oddly enough, the limited range of movement (and the visual personality of the stock figure) fed strangely into the whole development, and Dolly Sensei (as opposed to me, regular Dolly) turned out much more majime and kibishii than I had imagined her. Her opening line "Hello pretty peoples" is a kind of relic of the character I thought she was going to be.

But she really is a hard model to work with and I am aware of the problems you mention. Just unable to do much about them at presesnt.

The voice problem may well be largely the lack of a decent mic. I am hoping this can be fixed but unfortunately it won't be immediate. I may try a little voice processing but I am not at all experienced in that rather confusing area so don't expect too much. The mic is likely to help to a fairly large extent eventually with things like extraneous noises funny vibrations strange tones etc. At least I imagine so.

Just to express a little of my own nayami. I do have an artistic vision for this channel. I see it as a relatively long-term project (it is planned to go beyond this initial grammar series into the Dolly approach to kanji and other things eventually). I like the character of Dolly Sensei, even though it surprised me. I would like to develop her.

From the comments here I could take the impression that she is a hopeless mess. I don't believe she is, even though I am aware of the many flaws - more aware than I was before thanks to you all, for which I am grateful. They are mostly not so much her flaws as the flaws of what we have to work with at this stage.

Because her personality is based on mine (though it isn't exactly mine) , even if/when all flaws are fixed, she will undoubtedly come across as rather odd to many humans because I come across as rather odd to many humans. In fact she is probably less odd than I am. But I still think she has value.

Actually I may make recruiting-style post later. If anyone does have the necessary artistic/animation skills I would love to collaborate. I don't have money but I will be happy to credit you on every video's description and on KawaJapa. if Dolly Sensei becomes a popular character (and since I think we are offering content that really helps people and doesn't exist anywhere else, I think she may - especially if we can iron out the audio visual clunkeries - it will be great (and maybe useful) to be her acknowledged "creator".

PS - I think Iuri-san's deleted comment was actually about whether there is a null pronoun in the Hispanic languages. In the end I would say the question is not whether there "is" or "isn't" a null pronoun, but whether it is a helpful concept for getting to grips with how the language is structured. Grammar is not actually a set of "rules" by which we speak. It is an attempt to describe ex post facto how we do speak.
Edited: 2017-05-22, 11:49 am
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#40
(2017-05-22, 7:21 am)sumsum Wrote:
Iuri_ Wrote:Now I think that it is not very clear to me whether the pronoum is implicit or null, but again, by analyzing the thought process of the native speakers I think we will get to the thruth, and I'm pending more towards that of the null pronoum.


Hmm, you think so? I feel more like the zero pronoun is a linguistic concept that can help make a comprehensive theory, but does that mean native speakers think about it that way? Does "they are not thinking about it" mean they do? I wonder. I mean if someone tells you "It's cold outside" do you start wondering what "it" stands for? I guess "the weather" works just fine, but mostly it's just... "it" and it works. (So many "it"!)
If I look up zero-marking in English, what pops up first is the zero article for indefinite plural ("I have ∅ cups in my cupboard"). But do you think about it that way? "There always has to be an article, nouns only EVER work with articles, and here you can see the ∅ article. It doesn't work without."? And if you don't think about an article being there, that means you think about it as the zero article? hummmmm.... I mean now that I read up on it I feel like I've heard that before, but does it really work that way in my mind? Hmmm That's a bit how it feels to me, when I hear "all sentences NEED a subject marked with 'ga'. It's the center of every Japanese sentence! And if you can't see it, it's the zero pronoun/zero particle"
I think it's a pretty great theory to describe what is happening or might be happening unconsciously. But once it's getting prescriptive ("it has to be that way!") I guess I'm starting to doubt *hmmm* Haven't fully made up my mind yet I guess.

P.S. If I'm in a restaurant and someone wanted me to absolutely have a subject for the sentence "Watashi wa (∅ ga) unagi desu." I'd probably go for "Watashi wa chuumon ga unagi desu.", As for me, (my) order is eel.

My thoughts and yours aren't in disagreement I believe, I just didn't explain well my point, I also believe the native speakers, getting back to Japanese, aren't thinking about any "null" pronoum consciously, in fact they should not be thinking about any pronoum, maybe the null pronoum is a grammatical requirement and a logical conclusion of the way the sentence is structured, in the context of the whole of the Japanese language. Please take my comment with a grain of salt.

(2017-05-22, 11:17 am)CureDolly Wrote: PS - I think Iuri-san's deleted comment was actually about whether there is a null pronoun in the Hispanic languages. In the end I would say the question is not whether there "is" or "isn't" a null pronoun, but whether it is a helpful concept for getting to grips with how the language is structured. Grammar is not actually a set of "rules" by which we speak. It is an attempt to describe ex post facto how we do speak.

It was about the fact that just because Japanese may share the null pronoum with Hispanic languages, that doesn't mean they share the implicit pronoum as well.

About what you said, exactly and the null pronoum "grammar rule" would be an attempt to explain something that is just a logical consequence of the way the language is structured, not something thought of consciously by the native speaker,if I got you right.
Edited: 2017-05-22, 12:39 pm
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#41
>About what you said, exactly and the null pronoum "grammar rule" would be an attempt to explain something that is just a logical consequence of the way the language is structured, not something thought of consciously by the native speaker,if I got you right.


Yes, exactly. Japanese academic linguists may write about the zero or null pronoun, but the average native speaker has probably never even heard of it. They don't need the concept because they have grasped that level of the structure of Japanese intuitively before they even started school.

For our purposes (as non-linguists) is simply a concept that helps foreign adult/teenage learners to grasp the structure of Japanese at a level that current textbook grammar hasn't so far managed to convey.
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#42
"Watashi wa unagi desu" can be explained without introducing the zero particle.
Sorry to say that but after reading the posts, it seems a convoluted way to explain something not so complicated.

While it's good to point out that は is not a subject particle.
The meaning of です should also be explained.

The reason why that sentence is confusing is because when people see 私は they automatically think about 'subject'.
But also because most people translate です as "be".
Linguists call that a copula, but frankly speaking I don't even know what it means.
I just know it is something that doesn't exist in my language, and that is doesn't necessarily mean "be".
In fact, です can mean almost anything.
-私はまぐろが好きです。
-私は鰻です。(As for me, I like eel)

-私はまぐろを釣りました。
-私は鰻です。(As for me, I fished an eel)

-私はまぐろにします。
-私は鰻です。(As for me, I'm going for eel)

-私はまぐろに扮装してる。
-私は鰻です。(As for me, I'm disguised as an eel)

-私はバスで行きました。
-私は電車です。(As for me, I went by train)

Looking at those exemples you can clearly see two things:
First, if you don't translate です as "be", the confusion between subject, topic and particles is not much of a problem.
Second, "Watashi wa unagi desu" cannot be a standalone sentence.
It must be part of a conversation and it can mean anything depending on the situation.
It doesn't necessarily have to take place at a restaurant, though the word unagi makes you think so.
You cannot go alone at a restaurant and say "Watashi wa unagi desu" without sounding very (laughably) awkward.
And this is not a specificity of the japanese language, it sounds equally wrong in english (or at least in french since I don't know about every nuances in english).
The reason 私は is allowed here is because you're not alone, or else you have to drop it from the sentence because it's obvious you're talking about your order (you wouldn't say "as for me" if you're alone at a restaurant, right?).
And the reason you can say です here is because someone already said something before you.
So in that case です stands for what has been said earlier and suddenly the sentence sounds completely natural.
If you're the first taking order you'd have to use にします, you cannot say です unless someone asked about what you want to order.


Without any context, as a standalone sentence, です would mean "be", but the whole sentence wouldn't have much meaning (as for me, this is an eel???? still sound awkward if you want to say something like 'I think this is an eel'>うなぎだと思う ), but again it cannot be used that way so there is no need to bother.
What makes that sentence confusing is to have taken it out of its context in the first place, and then trying to explain it that way, making the japanese language more confusing than it really is, hence the need for obscure grammatical rules.
Within context everything should fall into place naturally and accurately.
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#43
It seems to me to overcomplicate things unnecessarily to say that だ/です can mean all kinds of different things.

だ/です in fact, on the simplest and generally-accepted model has one meaning and one meaning only.

It is the copula.

And it really is worth learning what that means. The word is unfortunate because it a lot of people don't know what it means and a friend of mine who is pretty advanced in Japanese would misinterpret some sentences precisely because of not fully understanding the copula (and that is because, like a lot of people, she didn't know the word, so a lot of textbook explanation was useless to her).

What copula means is in fact very simple. it is the = in A = B.

In English it is the "is" in "a robin is a bird" or "that tree is tall".

Unlike "is" which has various meanings in addition to working as the copula, だ/です only works as the copula, the grammatical equals-sign.

This is in fact very useful because unlike "is" we can always know exactly what it means and exactly what it is doing.

So all in your sentences with です, it has exactly the same meaning. Just as it always does.

-私はまぐろが好きです。
-私は鰻です。(As for me, I like eel)
As for me, ∅it (what I like) = eel

-私はまぐろを釣りました。
-私は鰻です。(As for me, I fished an eel)
As for me ∅it (what I fished) = eel


-私はまぐろにします。
-私は鰻です。(As for me, I'm going for eel)
As for me ∅it (where I am going) = eel

-私はまぐろに扮装してる。
-私は鰻です。(As for me, I'm disguised as an eel)
As for me ∅it (what I am disguised as) = eel

-私はバスで行きました。
-私は電車です。(As for me, I went by train)
As for me ∅it (my means of transportation) = train

What ∅ means is determined by context, exactly the same as "it" in English.

This is a great deal easier to understand than imagining that だ/です changes its meaning with the wind.
Edited: 2017-05-22, 1:27 pm
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#44
I'm not imagining things, that's how some japanese explains です.
It has many meanings. And really it has.
But if that explanation doesn't suits you, then that's fine. There's not only one way to Rome.

The only thing that makes me cringe a bit, (and you're not at fault, I know you're here to help and I respect your effort, so I hope you won't take it personally), are those textbooks (rubin i'm looking at you) who takes bit of informations out of context and start by saying japanese language is weird and is at fault...do that with your own language and you could end up with equally confusing explanations.
Edited: 2017-05-22, 1:34 pm
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#45
No I agree. We are simply dealing in models here and things can be modeled differently.

However, native speakers are not necessarily the best at explaining what is happening in their own language because they know it by instinct, not by analysis.

For example why do we always say " the big brown dog" and not "the brown big dog"? There is a reason - a "rule" if you like. But how many English speakers know it?

They don't know it because they don't need it, and if you ask most English speakers to tell you what is the correct order to stack English adjectives you won't get much of a useful answer. They know it by instinct without knowing the rule. And that's best. Second best is knowing the rule. Worst is not knowing either!

I believe the model I present makes things easier and more understandable, but if people want to use a different model - please go ahead. If it works for you, that's what matters.


PS Elsewhere today I advised someone to ask something of Japanese speakers and now I am saying that that is a dangerous and uncertain thing. So I think I should clarify the apparent contradiction.

I am talking about two levels and two kinds of discourse here.

The person I recommended Japanese speakers to was at N1 level. At this level you can go to places where (somewhat geeky) native speakers are talking to other native speakers - a bit like Stack Exchange in tone. These people will be careful and generally knowledgeable in their answers and if they aren't someone else will probably gently correct the false impression in a separate answer.

On the other hand at places like Lang8 there is a vast amount of misinformation (just look what some native English speakers confidently tell foreign learners about English).

The problem is that most people don't know how their language works other than by instinct, and when they are asked, they don't even really know that they don't know. They just make something up that seems right to them or misreport something they once heard somewhere. They are genuinely trying to be helpful I am sure. But one should really exercise caution.
Edited: 2017-05-22, 2:03 pm
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#46
Quote:No I agree. We are simply dealing in models here and things can be modeled differently.
Yup, that's it i think, I'm less suited for the grammatical rule model.
I personally don't think everything need to follow a rule to be understood.
But I also don't believe everything has a rule to begin with. Some of them sounds so convoluted that it seems artificial...like the difference between wa and ga.

Quote:For example why do we always say " the big brown dog" and not "the brown big dog"? There is a reason - a "rule" if you like. But how many English speakers know it?
I don't know if there is a rule for that....but just knowing that it sounds better/more natural is enough for me to say it one way than the other.
Edited: 2017-05-22, 1:57 pm
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#47
(2017-05-22, 1:56 pm)pied2porc Wrote:
Quote:For example why do we always say " the big brown dog" and not "the brown big dog"? There is a reason - a "rule" if you like. But how many English speakers know it?
I don't know if there is a rule for that....but just knowing that it sounds better/more natural is enough for me to say it one way than the other.

There is a rule, but if you know it by instinct you don't need it.

If you can get to the stage of knowing Japanese by instinct without any help from analysis then I salute you. That is the best way. By far.

I just write and make videos for people who need a little help.
Edited: 2017-05-22, 2:02 pm
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#48
Quote:The problem is that most people don't know how their language works other than by instinct, and when they are asked, they don't even really know that they don't know. They just make something up that seems right to them or misreport something they once heard somewhere. They are genuinely trying to be helpful I am sure. But one should really exercise caution.
I totally agree with that.
And I always take everything with a pinch of salt, even if it comes from a native speaker. Makes me sounds like a jerk maybe but that's reality. That's why teaching a language is a true skill. Being native is not enough.

Quote:If you can get to the stage of knowing Japanese by instinct without any help from analysis then I salute you. That is the best way. By far.
I reassure you, I do need rules and don't think there is such things as a best way.
I just don't need rules for everything, or it could make the language a bit stiff.
Exemple: I learnt 全然 is used with negative sentences, but it's not true anymore.
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#49
>Exemple: I learnt 全然 is used with negative sentences, but it's not true anymore.

Though it might be worth knowing that using 全然 with a positive sentence is still not standard Japanese and will give a somewhat slangy flavor to what you say.

Interestingly, I believe that 全然 used to be used with positive sentences in older Japanese. The recent revival however has a certain flavor of "deliberate incorrectness" rather like saying in English "I'm totally going to do that".
Edited: 2017-05-22, 2:24 pm
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#50
Quote:Interestingly, I believe that 全然 used to be used with positive sentences in older Japanese. The recent revival however has a certain flavor of "deliberate incorrectness" rather like saying in English "I'm totally going to do that".
Yeah, I also heard about that. Don't know if it's true, anway it doesn't change the fact about how it is used nowaday.
Even if it sounds slangish it is not considered a mistake to use it that way in a casual conversation.
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