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

#76
(2017-05-31, 2:11 pm)CureDolly Wrote: Shishi is definitely used and recognized, but raion seems to be more common.

I used it partly for that reason and partly because it seems silly to distract from the point being made with what may be new vocabulary to some people.

I'm glad that Shishi is still in use, I'm one of those people who kinda feel bothered with the increase of English loan words into Japanese and the decrease and forgetting of traditional words.
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#77
I am halfway through your book. It's an absolute gem. Thank you for writing it.
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#78
(2017-06-03, 7:11 am)tokaimoto Wrote: I am halfway through your book. It's an absolute gem. Thank you for writing it.

Thank you SOO much! And sorry for this late response. Somehow I didn't seem to get notification of your post.

The next Dolly lesson is now up, and guess what - BOTH avatars appear in it.

Actually the lesson tackles one of the thorniest problems in Japanese teaching - the primary reason Japanese structure is so confusingly taught in English and how it really works.

Since I am fighting a tough and battle-hardened dragon I thought it might be better to have two of us!

See what you think:

https://youtu.be/zSixvEmb0HU
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JapanesePod101
#79
This week's lesson is on the ni particle. I did it partly because a commenter said she had trouble understanding the various different ways this particle is used, and I do think a majority of them center around a single core concept, and understanding that concept may make it all easier.

Also I wanted to get the functions of ga and ni very clear in everyone's mind before tackling the next big dragon - the Japanese "passive" which in fact is not passive at all - and it matters, because thinking it is passive turns Japanese grammar to hash and hooey.

Anyway, the new lesson is here:

https://youtu.be/p_QWMdZhSvU
Edited: 2017-06-14, 4:15 pm
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#80
your explanation about transitive an intransitive verbs has helped me a lot :p
do you have something on causative and passive too?
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#81
So glad to have helped! The transitivity article is one of the most popular on KawaJapa and I am happy that it is because I think it can really help people through an area of Japanese that can feel unnecessarily complex. The rules for identifying pairs are simple and too little known (a couple of them I have never seen anywhere outside KawaJapa), and it is useful to understand how the term "transitivity" is yet another four-fingered Western glove that only fits Japanese up to a certain point.

The causative and receptive (so-called "passive") forms tend to get dealt with together as if they were somehow similar, though I think they each need to be considered on their own terms.

My next video will be about the Japanese ukemi, the receptive form, and how it really works (it isn't grammatically passive at all - not in the sense that the English passive voice is passive). I hope this will make it a lot clearer. There is also a chapter on this in Unlocking Japanese.

I didn't have anything planned about the causative. The reason I am dealing with the receptive form is that the common misunderstanding that it is "passive" creates a really serious roadblock in understanding how Japanese grammar is actually structured.

The causative is less problematic I think, but there are some things that might be said about it. I'd be interested to know what it is about it that you find troublesome. Kinetic RWBY-san's comment on her problems with the ni particle really helped and led to this week's lesson. I know she only said a little, but it set me on the right track of knowing what to explain.


I realized "Ah, what she wants is an explanation of how the main functions of ni are logically tied together, rather like what we did with wa" - and even though ni isn't as logically "organic" as wa, there is a thread binding most of its main functions* which does make it much easier to grasp.

So feel free to just say anything about the causative that bothers you.

___
* There is a tendency, I think, to act almost as though there are several different ni-particles and I hope I have shown that this isn't really the case. However there are some outlying functions. For example, ni can be used to mean "and", but I think this is a somewhat "literary"-toned use - and probably really is a "different ni".
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#82
you're right about causative and passive. but as you said they tend to be treated together so I did the same ahaha ._.

I haven't still watched your last video but you made me curious now!
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#83
I enjoyed your last couple videos, I'm really looking forward for a video where you explain the various nuances of "mo" as that is the particle I have the most trouble with.
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#84
The video on the Japanese "passive" is finally up! This is one of the most important videos in the series because it tackles one of the biggest misconceptions in Western "Japanese grammar".

Japanese does not have a "passive conjugation". Imagining that it does (simply because that happens to be the nearest English equivalent) sends one's understanding of Japanese grammatical structure into a tailspin.

Why is the ni-particle suddenly acting as if it were ga? What is ga actually doing in these sentences?

The answer is that they are doing exactly what they always do and the confusion is caused by treating the sentence as "passive" in the English "passive voice" sense, when in fact it is nothing of the sort.

https://youtu.be/eIoyAZwPqz0'

I hope you enjoy the video.
____

@Iuri-san I would be grateful if you would expand a little on what aspects of the mo-particle give you difficulty. There are various things to be said about it (it is a non-logical particle, like wa, for example and therefore sometimes "conceals" a logical particle just as wa does).

I have a brief section on mo in Unlocking Japanese mostly to round out the logical/non-logical particle explanation, but I would be interested to know what aspects of mo people would like help with.
Edited: 2017-06-20, 2:44 pm
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#85
Hi CureDolly, I watched your new video and I liked it but I thought that your explanation of the last sentence was a bit confusing, but maybe that is to be expected granted the difficulty of explaining that concept, I didn't understand your English equivalent to the last sentence though, Did you mean that "mizu ga inu ni nomareta" means "the water received the act of being drunk" or does it mean a completely different thing? The water is the one receiving the action of the verb "to drink" here right?


About the mo particle, I'm not sure if I'll be able to give you an example sentence right now as I've stoped reading Japanese for a while to focus on kanji, I'll get back to you about it later though if I still have the doubt then.

PS: By the way I don't know what you did but I think that your character looks much better in this newest video.
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#86
Glad to hear we're looking better - thank you so much for the compliment!

I am sorry this wasn't clear. It is a bit hard to grasp at first, mainly because it is a rather unfamiliar concept to the Western mind. But yes you are right. The water receives the action of the verb nomu.

However the important thing here is that the water does the action of the compound verb noma-reru. Reru/rareru essentially means "recieve" so when we attach it to another verb (it can't stand alone) the newly-formed compound means "receive the action of the original verb".

So the water is the one doing the verb nomareru, which means drink-receive. And understanding this is what makes the whole thing fall into place.

I hope I expressed this clearly but it is probably a good idea to watch the video a few times (and/or read the relevant chapter in Unlocking Japanese) because drink-receiving is just not a concept that exists in English (or any European language as far as I know). So it does take a little time and mind-stretching to get the idea.

In case it helps - I would say that it is tempting to say that reru/rareru modifies the verb it is attached to into meaning "receive the modified verb's action".

However, while this may clarify the matter, I would say that it is strictly incorrect because of the rule that in Japanese the modified always follows the modifier.

In other words, if we want to "deconstruct" nomareru into its two component verbs nomu and reru, then we have to say that it is nomu that modifies reru. The head-verb, the final action of the sentence is reru - receive. Ultimately nomu is the modifier (shuushokugo) of reru, which is the actual jutsugo, or action, of the sentence.

So just as in watashi wa omise ni itta "I went to the shops" the "skeleton sentence" is:

"watashi wa itta" = "I went"

and omise ni, "to the shops" is simply a modifier telling us something else about "went" (namely where I went)...

So in mizu ga nomareta (let's leave the dog out for clarity) the "skeleton sentence" is:

"mizu ga reta" = "the water received"

the noma "drink" is simply telling us more about "received" (namely what it received).

Admittedly this is somewhat theoretical since reru/rareru is never actually used on its own, but I believe this is how the sentence should be analyzed.

If it is easier to see "reru" as modifying "nomu" I don't think that does much harm. But in the end I think it may be easier to see "nomu" as modifying "reru" which I think is actually the case.
Edited: 2017-06-20, 6:05 pm
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#87
(2017-06-20, 5:59 pm)CureDolly Wrote: In other words, if we want to "deconstruct" nomareru into its two component verbs nomu and reru, then we have to say that it is nomu that modifies reru. The head-verb, the final action of the sentence is reru - receive. Ultimately nomu is the modifier (shuushokugo) of reru, which is the actual jutsugo, or action, of the sentence.

So just as in watashi wa omise ni itta "I went to the shops" the "skeleton sentence" is:

"watashi wa itta" = "I went"

and omise ni, "to the shops" is simply a modifier telling us something else about "went" (namely where I went)...

So in mizu ga nomareta (let's leave the dog out for clarity) the "skeleton sentence" is:

"mizu ga reta" = "the water received"

the noma "drink" is simply telling us more about "received" (namely what it received).

Admittedly this is somewhat theoretical since reru/rareru is never actually used on its own, but I believe this is how the sentence should be analyzed.

If it is easier to see "reru" as modifying "nomu" I don't think that does much harm. But in the end I think it may be easier to see "nomu" as modifying "reru" which I think is actually the case.

I think this is very insightful, would it work in much the same way as when we have a verb in the plain present + a noun, like for example "nomu hito"? Where the verb is modifying the noun?
If it does than I think I may have grasped the concept.

When I tried your suggestion of thinking "nomu" + "reru" that was something that came to my mind.
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#88
Little mistake in the passive/receptive video: @2:30 the panel that's shown for the next few minutes says なられた (which should be なげられた) while the ro-maji and the doll says "nagerareta" (apparently I'm good at spotting typos as long as they are not my own, haha)

I enjoyed the video, UPおつかれさま!
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#89
@susum-san Aa! Another ten-ten typo. Thank you for spotting, though annoyingly we can't do much now it's up.

ありがとうございます。

@Iuri-san Yes, it's the same principle. A plain present or past verb can be used as a modifier for a noun. One doesn't usually think of verbs as modifiers for verbs, but I think that is really what is happening in the case of auxiliary verbs like reru/rareru.

Because this concept (of reru/rareru as modified by the verb it adjoins) is a little more conjectural than the rest of what I say on this subject, I didn't stress it in the video, but I think I will put it into the accompanying article on KawaJapa because I do think it gives an extra "handle" to help grasp the whole concept.
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#90
@CureDolly I'm glad I got it right! Big Grin
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#91
CureDolly 先生 is like Miss Jean Brodie.



Thanks for sharing these videos. They are very helpful.
I am now left wondering, how might one explain the "receptive form" / "passive form" differences to a native japanese speaker learning english.

"The water was drunk by the dog"

「the水」が「the犬」によって 飲んだ
...




And what about explaining an agentless passive, to a Japanese speaker..

"Most people would feel fear if their capital were attacked. "

If the capital were attacked
場合 首都 あったこと 攻撃して
(◯で)、首都が攻撃(してあった)場合、

in receptive form..
首都が攻撃されれば
if the Capital attack-recieved.

:S
Edited: Today, 5:20 am
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#92
I am a bit concerned that you are misrepresenting how the passive works in English. In one of your early examples, you claimed in the sentence "I was hit by Mary," the subject is actually Mary. Grammatically, that is not true. The subject of the sentence is I, and I receives the action in the verb. In other words, the English passive is receptive by definition: the subject of a passive verb is not the doer of an action, but the receiver of an action - just as in Japanese. You're creating a distinction that does not exist.

I think the confusion comes from the fact that many English teachers explain the passive by saying that it reverses the subject and the object, and functionally that may be true, but grammatically it's not. Mary is not the subject of the passive sentence, she is the agent, which is a different thing.

The distinction is clearer in languages that retain clear case markers. In Latin, the subject of the passive verb is nominative (the subject case) and the agent/means is usually expressed by the ablative. This is true in English as well, but it's harder to see because English has lost so many case endings. Consider:

I hit Mary. (I = nominative)
Mary was hit by me. (me= non-nominative, in Latin this would be ablative)

Mary hit me. (me = non-nominative, in Latin this would be accusative)
I was hit by Mary. (I = nominative, subject of the verb)

Because of its clear case markers, Latin can easily incorporate sentences where the passive controls both an accusative and an agent/means, just as Japanese does; "he was hit in the head with a rock" in Latin is effectively "He was hit the head (Japanese = wo, Latin = accusative) with a rock (Japanese = ni, Latin = ablative). English, having lost its case markers, has to rely more heavily on prepositions.

It's also not very helpful to insist that -(ra)reru is a helper verb, not a conjugation. This is grammatically incorrect. Anything that is attached directly to a verb stem is a conjugation. An example of a true helper verb would be the ageru that follows a -te form. This becomes even clearer when you study classical Japanese, which is a heavily inflected language with far more conjugated forms than modern Japanese.

If your explanation helps those who have been badly educated about how the passive works in English, that's great. English grammar is very poorly taught these days, and I regularly have to teach Latin to students who have no clue what the difference between passive and active is. But it doesn't help when you insist on distinctions that don't grammatically exist. The passive voice is a receptive voice in both languages, and it is treated by grammar scholars - in Japanese as well as in English - as a conjugation, not a helper verb.

TL;DR: if you want to insist that is more useful to translate the ukemi form as "received the action of", that's fine, that is a translation issue and is helpful when teaching students to navigate the wider range of things that the Japanese ukemi form can receive. But it is not helpful to misrepresent the nature of the grammar involved; that will just cause more confusion later.
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#93
Sometimes too much analysis of grammar simply creates confusion.  I came across this myself the other day.

I found (for a dollar at a used book sale) a book about "how to read Japanese".  It said that in a sentence like:

"Sara wa hon o yomu"  (Sara is reading the book)

what the sentence is really saying is "Sara wa, [Sara ga] hon o yomu"  (As for Sara, Sara is reading the book), and the "Sara ga" part is "implied" but not stated.

I thought, if I start thinking that way [mentally inserting things that aren't there] I'll just get confused....
Edited: 8 hours ago
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#94
@m8719705030さん

I had heard the name/title Miss Jean Brodie but didn't actually know anything about her. Heehee does Dolly-sensei really come across like that. She did in fact turn out very differently (both in her older and current incarnations) than I had expected.

Of course Cure Dolly is me but Dolly-sensei is a slight symbiosis between me and the CGI character(s).

The subjectless passive is a peculiarity of English that does not (as far as I can see) exist in Japanese and I imagine that explaining it would be rather more of a task than explaining the Japanese receptive form to English speakers.

By the way, while I regard it as an oddity, I do not dislike the English passive the way many current English teachers seem to. It seems to me to have a dignified indirectness that modern English is prone to lack. People accuse Japanese of being vague at times. I would say that conversely jumping to conclusions is built into English grammar. But that is another question.

@tanaquilさん

I do not believe that I have misrepresented either English or Japanese grammar.

As I was trying to explain Japanese I probably did understress the fact that the agent and the subject are different in the English passive voice. I had considered explaining this but decided that it would add unnecessary complication in order to clarify something that was not directly relevant to the current subject of discussion.

In "The Point about the Passive" chapter of Unlocking Japanese I did take the time to clarify this. I wrote:

[in] "I was hit by Mary" the subject of the sentence is "I" but the agent - the doer of the action - is Mary."

I was explaining how the fact that the agent and the subject part company in the English passive leads to the assumption that they also do in the Japanese receptive (largely because it is miscalled "passive"), which is the cause of much confusion (I have had a person well-versed in grammar insisting that this is the case, when clearly it isn't).

>It's also not very helpful to insist that -(ra)reru is a helper verb, not a conjugation. This is grammatically incorrect. Anything that is attached directly to a verb stem is a conjugation.

This may be how Western "Japanese grammar" characterizes the situation and possibly some Japanese sources may. The kokugo (Japanese grammar for Japanese students) books I have read unequivocally state that reru/rareru is a helper verb (it would be mendokusai to find the references but I can do so if you wish).

"Anything that is attached to a verb stem is a conjugation" may be a dictum of Western Japanese grammar teaching. In my view it is a very unhelpful one for a number of reasons.

I am not saying that it is "wrong" because grammar is not a set of rules by which we speak but an ex post facto attempt to describe what is happening when we do speak. Any model that covers all the facts and does not lead to inherent contradictions could be used though some are more helpful than others.

"Conjugation" seems to me misleading for various reasons, including the fact that "conjugated" Japanese words can become entirely different kinds of word. This is not what most people understand by conjugation, and trying to fit it into the commonly understood "conjugation" box leads to misunderstanding.

You may say that the concept of conjugation is equipped to handle this, and it may be, but I am writing for the average learner who is not necessarily that well-versed in linguistics, which is why I avoid (or at least give alternatives to) grammatical terminology as far as possible.

Whether the reru/rareru "is" or "isn't" a helper verb may be open to abstruse debate (in the end a pointlessly "essentialist" debate since grammar is descriptive not prescriptive). Most Japanese people probably think it is a helper verb, because that is what the Japanese textbooks say. I also believe it is the most helpful way of looking at it.

I also believe that seeing the rareru/reru as the head-verb and the verb it is "helping" as its modifier in fact helps people to grasp the structure of this form and its close similarity to other Japanese forms. However I do not insist on this point and did not include it in the book or the video.


@phil321さん


You found a good book there!ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ I thought I was the only one who was teaching this. Just proves that common sense has no inventor!

I do agree with you. Thinking this every time would just lead to unnecessary complication and I never intended that anyone should think like this all the time. The analysis is there to help people see what is actually going on in the sentence because without that we end up with all kinds of weird and wonderful exception-darake confusion.

However the analysis should drop away like the tacking stitches from a finished piece of work or the scaffolding from a completed building. But we can also return to it temporarily at any point when we find ourselves confused about how something is working.

In making videos about grammar I have not been making the point that I have made perhaps to exhaustion elsewhere - that learning grammar, vocabulary etc. is not learning Japanese. It is learning about Japanese. You only learn Japanese by using it. A lot. All this grammar stuff is nothing more than training wheels.
Edited: 6 hours ago
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#95
(7 hours ago)CureDolly Wrote: This may be how Western "Japanese grammar" characterizes the situation and possibly some Japanese sources may. The kokugo (Japanese grammar for Japanese students) books I have read unequivocally state that reru/rareru is a helper verb (it would be mendokusai to find the references but I can do so if you wish).

I wouldn't ask you to track down references, but I would be very interested in a list of the kokugo books you've read/consulted. I am always interested in learning more about how Japanese grammar is taught in Japanese.

As for the rest, we'll have to agree to disagree, since getting into a lengthy discussion about these matters would take us into the realm of linguistic theory, which isn't particularly helpful to beginning learners. If your subscribers find your explanations helpful, then that's the most important thing.
Edited: 4 hours ago
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#96
I've read your article about transitive/intransitive verbs.
That is the best explanation I've read/heard so far.
Never thought about it that way.
The あるvsする makes sense and helps me a lot. Just wanted to say thanks!
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#97
@pied2porcさん

Thank you so much! I am very glad you found it helpful. I wish I'd had that information when I was starting. So it seemed like a good idea to share it!


@tanaquilさん

Thank you. No one approach is definitive, of course.

I'd just like to clarify (though it isn't exactly relevant) that my use of "essentialist" does not imply a "post-modern" linguistic position. I am if anything linguistically conservative.

I am anything but systematic so I don't have a list of books. I just pick up kokugo books that look interesting.

The most recent one I have been reading is 敬語と言葉の決まり 小学まとめノート it isn't nearly as keigo-centered as the title might seem to imply (I think it was put so prominently to indicate that it does include keigo whereas many such books don't). It is a run-down of the whole of shougaku grammar in preparation for the chuugaku entrance exams - thus essentially a summary of basic Japanese grammar as taught to Japanese students.

It treats reru/rareru (and various other things taught as conjugations in the West) as 助動詞 (helper verbs).

Sanseido's big one-volume dictionary, the 三省堂スーパー大辞林 starts its definition of reru with:

受け身・可能・尊敬の助動詞

Receptive・potential・honorific helper verb.

For an online source, if you look at Yahoo Jisho's reru entry the definition is very similar. Rareru is a separate entry. Both main definitions are also prefaced with the hinshi (part of speech) marker (助動) for jodoushi, helper verb.



PS - Sorry for the translations. I know you don't need them - just making it accessible to other readers.
Edited: 1 hour ago
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