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

(2017-11-22, 10:37 pm)CureDolly Wrote: Of course not everyone is going to like my work or who I am. That's just life. There's no need to be so hostile. Though if being hostile is what floats your boat I guess that's ok too.

"Floats your boat"? That sounds like something a 58 year old man in a bar would say.
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Heehee. I'm afraid I'm not that au fait with slang.

I probably shouldn't try to use it.

It does come off some of the time doesn't it? Or do I always sound weird when I don't talk formally? Not denying that I probably also sound weird when I do talk formally of course.
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(2017-11-24, 12:40 am)CureDolly Wrote: I probably shouldn't try to use it.

"Floats your boat" is hardly a phrase restricted to middle aged men; you shouldn't have any reservations about using it.
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Oh thank you. That's relieving.

I'm not sure I've ever used it before, but it's nice to know it can stay on my list of possibles.

After all, a floating boat can be just the thing you need in certain emergenciesʕ•ᴥ•ʔ
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Quote:Jesus christ
sorry, but who's that guy again?
I mean really, can you explain me who he is? what he does in life?

Anyway that's an aweful way to express your opinion, no matter how you disagree with someone.


Quote:That sounds like something a 58 year old man in a bar would say.
maybe because YOU interpreted it like a 58yo man in a bar...Wink
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The "suffering passive" is one of the weirder concepts thrown up by western textbook version of "Japanese grammar".

I suppose everyone must ask herself "why do the Japanese lapse into the passive voice in order to complain about something? What sense does that make?"

The answer is that it makes no sense - but then it doesn't actually happen. It is an example of how tangled things get once one makes certain initial wrong assumptions - such as the assumption that the Japanese receptive form is passive in the same sense that the English passive voice is passive.

What really happens in the "nuisance receptive" (迷惑受け身) as the Japanese more accurately call it, is in fact pretty simple and closely equivalent to  something that goes on in English all the time.

I hope I've managed to explain it in this short video.

https://youtu.be/gKNGbZvxgzM
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CureDolly,

 If you're so good at telling us "what the textbooks don't tell us" about Japanese, maybe you could tell us what the textbooks don't tell us about how to pass the 聴解 part of the JLPT!  That would be much appreciated.
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Eheheh, well I try only to pipe up when I think I have something really useful and new (or at least too-little-known) to contribute. I don't think I have much here, I'm afraid.

A friend of mine who took the test in Chicago a few days ago tells me she was greatly helped by a program of watching three half-hour anime or dorama every day for some weeks in advance without J-subs (obviously without E-subs either), one of which had to be new - in addition to doing the boring ol' Kanzen Master exercises.

Another thing I always recommend (regardless of any exams) is having Japanese talk on your iPod (or whatever) as much as possible - fairy tales, anime soundtracks, anything you can mostly understand (with as much or as little advance preparation as you need) and have it on in the background when you are doing things that don't require "verbal attention". It's a good idea to use material you like because you'll find your attention being drawn by it. If it's boring you'll just shut it out.

In summary, if at all possible (and if you want to), make Japanese spoken language a part of your life, and try to get the sound and rhythm of the language into your blood.


Nothing new or revolutionary here, I'm afraid, but it's all I've got.
Edited: 2017-12-05, 8:34 pm
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(2017-12-05, 8:33 pm)CureDolly Wrote: Eheheh, well I try only to pipe up when I think I have something really useful and new (or at least too-little-known) to contribute. I don't think I have much here, I'm afraid.

A friend of mine who took the test in Chicago a few days ago tells me she was greatly helped by a program of watching three half-hour anime or dorama every day for some weeks in advance without J-subs (obviously without E-subs either), one of which had to be new - in addition to doing the boring ol' Kanzen Master exercises.

Another thing I always recommend (regardless of any exams) is having Japanese talk on your iPod (or whatever) as much as possible - fairy tales, anime soundtracks, anything you can mostly understand (with as much or as little advance preparation as you need) and have it on in the background when you are doing things that don't require "verbal attention". It's a good idea to use material you like because you'll find your attention being drawn by it. If it's boring you'll just shut it out.

In summary, if at all possible (and if you want to), make Japanese spoken language a part of your life, and try to get the sound and rhythm of the language into your blood.


Nothing new or revolutionary here, I'm afraid, but it's all I've got.

Thanks, this is helpful.

As I thought, it's not enough to just do JLPT listening practice exercises.
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This week I am dealing with i and na adjectives.

https://youtu.be/yJ2EhSPLQsk

I called it "Adjectives: what I wish I'd been taught" because that is what it really is. In fact the original article this is based on came very near the beginning of my investigations into the whole area of the inadequacies of standard textbook teaching and how it could be remedied. In a way, it may even have been the start of it.

I remember how astonished I was in the early days that most texts on Japanese grammar just don't tell you things like what the "na" in a "na-adjective" actually is or how i-adjectives really function.

This isn't "secret information" (like, say the fact that "koohii ga suki desu" just doesn't grammatically mean "I like coffee" which really seems to be a closely-guarded secretʕ•ᴥ•ʔ). Most of the things I say can probably be found individually, mentioned in passing in one textbook or another.

What I really haven't seen is anyone bringing it together so that people can understand that Japanese adjectives aren't governed by a set of arbitrary and unconnected "rules", but in fact form a very logical and easily-understandable system.

When I realized how Japanese adjectives really work my first thought was "But why doesn't anyone explain this?"

So I set down to create the explanation I wished I'd had from the start. That was almost three years ago. This is the video of that explanation.
Edited: 2017-12-09, 2:22 pm
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Cure Dolly, your videos have helped me understand quite a few things that were puzzling to me, so thank you very much for that! One other thing I've noticed after reading your posts here, watching your videos, and reading on your website, is that now, whenever I pick up a grammar book or text book, it's so obvious that they almost always start by explaining English grammar, and then try to shoehorn Japanese into that explanation. And it rarely works without adding a lot of exceptions to the rules. It really makes me wonder why they keep doing it. Must be very frustrating for them to try to come up with reasons why Japanese doesn't work like English.  Tongue  When it should be obvious that it's simply because Japanese is not English. LOL Should be easier for them to just use Japanese as a starting point. Anyway, thank you, and keep up the good work!
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First of all, this week's new video. It's on desu/da. One of the earliest and simplest things we learn.

However, I have seen people at N3 level and beyond getting into trouble with more complex sentences simply because they have never learned what da/desu really does.

So here is what it actually does

https://youtu.be/iV5rjLeFIXo

This is part of a mini-series or "story arc" (heh heh) because part of the confusion is intertwined with the way i and na-adjectives aren't properly explained (my last week's video), and will lead on to a discussion of "na no desu" and related constructions in videos to come.

@ Whisper-san

Thank you so much. Yes it is really weird isn't it? I can't imagine why really intelligent people put so much energy into making pseudo-English constructions of Japanese that only confuse and misinform.

I think a large part of it is because of a few basic Eurocentric errors (such as the idea that Japanese verbs "conjugate") which are so firmly fixed that they are regarded as invariables, like the speed of light.

If you get the speed of light wrong, you have to falsify the rest of the universe to fit it.

I don't want to go off on a rant but...

I found this amazing, really near-unbelievable thing yesterday. The concept of Japanese consonant and vowel verbs:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_c...ng_in_-iru


I don't think this is widely taught at textbook level (thank Heaven). And please, please, if you follow the link treat it with extreme caution. This stuff is, for your understanding of Japanese, what cyanide is for your body.

What they are essentially doing is constructing a whole elaborate, academic theory of Japanese grammar that only works in a foreign alphabet.

I am strongly tempted to write a whole article or make a video analysing this in depth and showing how wrong-headed and harmful it is (not to mention how Eurocentric and arrogant).

However, I don't think this theory has infected the textbooks too much in its raw form (although the trickle-down from it is probably responsible for a great deal of the bad teaching).

So it probably wouldn't be a good use of the time. Better to concentrate on the "pop" version that people are actually getting from the textbooks.

But really, really. These are intelligent people. Leaders in the linguistic field. It just goes to prove:

No matter how much firepower you have, it doesn't do much good if you aim it at your foot.
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(2017-12-16, 12:35 pm)CureDolly Wrote: What they are essentially doing is constructing a whole elaborate, academic theory of Japanese grammar that only works in a foreign alphabet.

Oh yes, "vowel stem" and "consonant stem". A month ago or so someone asked a question on reddit using these terms and it took me way too long to realize what he was even talking about. My textbook called them "Type I" and "Type II" verbs - yay?! Don't ask me which one was which, because I have absolutely no idea... And I think Genki says u- and ru-verbs or something, which to be honest I don't really like as a classification either (I guess it's the same as "vowel stem" and "consonant stem" but looking from the other side... which might be even worse and more inconsistent because not all verbs ending in ru are "ru-verb"...) I guess they did that so you can make a somewhat educated guess which one it might be just from the naming but I find it more irritating than anything.

I have no idea if it is what they use in Japanese school or not but I really like the 五段 and 一段 naming and I don't understand why it isn't used more widely in textbooks :/ Just because you learn the forms over time so you can't immediately see the 五段? or why?
Edited: 2017-12-16, 8:52 pm
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I don't like the u-verb and ru-verb terminology partly because it is silly even in its own terms (a lot of "u verbs" end in ru and all "ru verbs" end in u if you insist in thinking in romaji).

But that is only a minor objection. The real objection is that it trains people to think in romaji when they should be being trained to think in kana - not just for some purist reason but because a lot of what happens in Japanese is kana-based and doesn't make sense in romaji (thus necessitating all sorts of apparently random rules and exceptions to explain something that barely needs explaining if you look at it in the correct terms).

People are taught to think "ah, all these end in u". They don't. They end in う、す、む、く、つ etc. There is no "u" in Japanese.

If you look at my explanation of the Japanese so-called "conjugations" (why they aren't conjugations and how simply and logically they actually work):

https://youtu.be/FhyrskGBKHE

You can see:

1. Why it is absolutely necessary to see them in kana and not romaji terms because otherwise you end up with nonsense like "consonant stems" and all the irregularities and randomness that is thrown up by that initial misconception.

2. Exactly why they are called 一段 and 五段 and why these terms make perfect sense. Which is because:


食べ (一段) remains constant whether you attach る for the dictionary form or anything else.  In other words it only has one form (belongs to one row)


歩く (五段) has five forms depending on what you are going to attach (including nothing). In other words it can end with the any of other four row equivalents of its initial う-row dictionary form.

Interestingly it also has five ways of forming the て-form while 一段 verbs still have only one.

 
“Consonant stems” are an absurdity. There is only one “consonant” in Japanese, and that is ん. I don’t like the term u-verb for exactly the same reason – that it also implies cutting kana in half by means of romaji.
 
If you believe in “consonant stems” you have actually abolished the 五段 nature of the verb. It’s imaginary “consonant stem” is just as 一段 as an 一段 verb (which is perhaps why so many Western explanations avoid the 一段 五段 terminology). Unfortunately, because it is a fiction that does not correspond to what is actually happening in Japanese, it throws up confusing complications and apparent irregularities that poor foreign students "just have to learn".
 
Interestingly Japanese school grammars draw quite a strong distinction between 一段 verbs with an い-row kana before the る and those with an え-row kana before it. I don’t think this is necessary or particularly helpful for foreign learners, but it shows how they are thought of rather differently from 五段 verbs – as having a “detachable” る ending as opposed to a “transformable” う-row ending.
Edited: 2017-12-16, 10:14 pm
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Kana are just a writing system, verb inflections are a property of the spoken language (as are consonants and vowels: 'k' is still a consonant in Japanese even if it is not written with its own separate symbol). Thinking about 'consonant stems' foregrounds the essential similarity of all the 五段 verbs, whereas if you insist on analysing them purely by kana you have a whole lot of different types where you can't explain the similarity very easily. (I think you could probably make a good argument that traditional Japanese analysis of the language in terms of kana (ie moras) is sometimes actually unhelpful because it obscures the underlying phonology, which deals in vowels and consonants.) In the end all of this is just post-hoc analytical explanations, so I think learners should feel free to go with whatever description of verb inflections makes the most sense to them personally. It all falls away fairly quickly as you actually learn to use the language naturally anyway.
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The idea that there is an "underlying phonology that deals in vowels and consonants" is highly debatable. There is a phonology (in no meaningful way "underlying") that can be rather roughly analysed into western-style vowels and consonants by people who are culturally inclined to do so. There is nothing universal about this - it is imposing one phonology on another.

Japanese people pronounce the so-called "consonant" element in つ、ち、and た differently precisely because they perceive them as inseparable from the so-called "vowel" element, so the mouth is formed for the "vowel" at the time it is saying the "consonant". In other words it is a whole sound, not two separable sounds. The idea that it is separable comes from the western habit of imposing its own phonological models and assuming them to be "universal".

Equally the idea that the phonology is somehow "underlying" and therefore separable from the living language (which is a symbiosis of the written and spoken forms evolved over centuries) is to say the least debatable.


Thinking about 'consonant stems' foregrounds the essential similarity of all the 五段 verbs, whereas if you insist on analysing them purely by kana you have a whole lot of different types where you can't explain the similarity very easily.


Did you watch my video on the subject? You can explain them very, very easily so long as you aren't thinking in Romaji. The whole system actually makes sense in kana. Imposing artificial concepts based on foreign alphabets causes one misconception after another.

They are also called 一段 and 五段 for a reason. They are indeed essentially similar because they all change form in exactly the same way by shifting to a different row of the kana chart into one of five stem-forms (hence 五段). This is absolutely consistent. They can then attach helper verbs (like れる/られる), adjectives (like ない)  and nouns (as in 飲み物). And the entire system is based on that. Introducing fantasies based on foreign phonological concepts does violence to the fundamental logic of the system.

Treating the sound-shifts as if they were taking place in romaji (and the types of phonology romaji was built to express) and then imposing on a part of this structure the Western notion of "conjugation" turns it into a strange hybrid that is not very easy to learn.

I think learners should feel free to go with whatever description of verb inflections makes the most sense to them personally.

I agree. If people really find that constructs like "consonant stems" help them to learn Japanese I would not want them to stop using them for some theoretical reason. My argument is that everything is much simpler and more logical if you look at Japanese as if it were Japanese rather than imposing European concepts on it.

For me this has been a journey of discovery as I've found one thing after another that looked complex and like a bundle of random and unconnected "points" to be learned actually turns out to be seamlessly logical and surprisingly simple if you just look at it as it is rather than through Europeanizing spectacles.

Some people may not find this. Specifically I suspect that some people will find the divorce from the universalist western perspective so difficult that they are better off accepting the extra complications it involves rather than trying to discard it. And I would not try to "convert" such people, since going strongly against one's own "grain" is not a good way to learn.

However for a number of people the organic Japanese-as-Japanese approach is coming as a revelation and making simple and graspable what used to be obscure and confusing.

I think it depends somewhat how one's mind works. I believe that for most people this approach will work better. I believe that it is inherently clearer, cleaner and simpler, once one has made the (very modest) initial effort of putting aside Europeanizing preconceptions.

Of course this has not been put to any kind of test. I know a number of people are finding it not just helpful but exponentially helpful. I can't know whether they are a minority of exceptional people with an unusual mindset. I am inclined to think not but I could of course be wrong.

I also believe that many people aren't starting out with those Europeanized preconceptions anyway (partly because grammar is so less thoroughly taught than it used to be), so they are in fact having to learn them in order to learn Japanese.

Which is rather as if an older generation had used table knives to unscrew screws because they had lots of them already available and no screwdrivers. And they then proceed to teach a younger generation, which has neither tool, to make table knives in order to unscrew screws because that is the tool that they and their parents used.

If you're starting from scratch anyway you are better off making a screwdriver.


PS - Please note that I am not (analogically) denigrating table knives. They are excellent for the job they were made for. And if you really can't find anything else they will unscrew screws as well!
Edited: 2017-12-17, 7:38 pm
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(2017-12-17, 6:35 pm)pm215 Wrote: Kana are just a writing system, verb inflections are a property of the spoken language (as are consonants and vowels: 'k' is still a consonant in Japanese even if it is not written with its own separate symbol). Thinking about 'consonant stems' foregrounds the essential similarity of all the 五段 verbs, whereas if you insist on analysing them purely by kana you have a whole lot of different types where you can't explain the similarity very easily. (I think you could probably make a good argument that traditional Japanese analysis of the language in terms of kana (ie moras) is sometimes actually unhelpful because it obscures the underlying phonology, which deals in vowels and consonants.) In the end all of this is just post-hoc analytical explanations, so I think learners should feel free to go with whatever description of verb inflections makes the most sense to them personally. It all falls away fairly quickly as you actually learn to use the language naturally anyway.

Personally I prefer to analyze Japanese verb stems and endings using romaji.  Using romaji really simplifies everything.

As Miller wrote,

"The traditional Japanese approach has limited itself to statements about syllables which can be written in the kana writing system, which allows no forms with syllable-final consonants other than the [mora] nasal.  Hence it has been unable to arrive at a scientifically acceptable description of the language, which would require statements involving forms with final consonants."

(Miller, R.A., The Japanese Language, University of Chicago Press, p 314).

So to properly analyze "kaku" (to write), you need to take the position that the stem ends in the consonant "k", i.e., the stem is kak- and the endings are:

-u
-anai
-areru

etc.
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(2017-12-17, 7:33 pm)phil321 Wrote: As Miller wrote,

"The traditional Japanese approach has limited itself to statements about syllables which can be written in the kana writing system, which allows no forms with syllable-final consonants other than the [mora] nasal.  Hence it has been unable to arrive at a scientifically acceptable description of the language, which would require statements involving forms with final consonants."

(Miller, R.A., The Japanese Language, University of Chicago Press, p 314).

Emphasis mine.

What an extraordinary statement. This is demonstrably untrue. The system can be explained absolutely satisfactorily in kana.

I have done it right here:

https://youtu.be/FhyrskGBKHE

I am sure it can be done much better than my poor attempt. But even with a dopey doll explaining it, can you point to one thing that would be improved by romanization?

To properly analyze かく you have merely to state that:

to form the い-stem you shift くto the い-row.

To form the あ-stem you shift く to the あ-row

and so on.

And so, mutatis mutandis for every 五段 verb.

What is in any way difficult about this?

And what is "unscientific" about it, unless by "scientific" you mean "Western"?

The "endings", or more properly the helper-words, are れる/られる, ない etc., just as the Japanese dictionaries, grammars etc. say.

Japanese grammarians do have some idea of how Japanese works.


EDIT: it is worth noting here how one misconception dovetails with another. If you split kana in half then you are more or less forced to regard Japanese helper words as "endings" and so to force the European model of "conjugation" onto the language.

Even then it doesn't really work:

So to properly analyze "kaku" (to write), you need to take the position that the stem ends in the consonant "k", i.e., the stem is kak- and the endings are:

-u
-anai
-areru

etc.


So do we take it that the "ending" of 書き方 kakitata is -ikata?
Edited: 2017-12-17, 8:10 pm
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I don't have access to my reference right now but unless I'm mistakenly remembering, the author I've read said that Japanese doesn't really have "conjugations" as in the sense of proto indo european languages, I could have understood wrong but what I understood from the book is that actually the Japanese verbs have these many kinds of helper verbs that follow the stem verb, these verbs change form yes but not because of tense but by following other rules. In the end the "conjugation" that we have that more or less follows the proto indo european is all a big coincidence really-but again I could have understood it wrong. I can quote some parts of the book here if anyone if interested.

Funnily though this author thought that romaji was a much better way of explaining the structure of the Japanese language than the native kana, even though the author was Japanese himself.

I think that in the past in classical Japanese the "conjugated" verbs were actually two distinct verbs that merged with time, but I will leave that to someone knowleadgeable of Classical Japanese to talk about.

EDIT: It has been a whilw since I've read that book so my memory is a bit fuzzy, I'll have a read at it again tomorrow to confirm the things I've wrote.
Edited: 2017-12-17, 9:27 pm
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(2017-12-17, 7:50 pm)CureDolly Wrote:
(2017-12-17, 7:33 pm)phil321 Wrote: As Miller wrote,

"The traditional Japanese approach has limited itself to statements about syllables which can be written in the kana writing system, which allows no forms with syllable-final consonants other than the [mora] nasal.  Hence it has been unable to arrive at a scientifically acceptable description of the language, which would require statements involving forms with final consonants."

(Miller, R.A., The Japanese Language, University of Chicago Press, p 314).

Emphasis mine.

What an extraordinary statement. This is demonstrably untrue. The system can be explained absolutely satisfactorily in kana.

I have done it right here:

https://youtu.be/FhyrskGBKHE

I am sure it can be done much better than my poor attempt. But even with a dopey doll explaining it, can you point to one thing that would be improved by romanization?

To properly analyze かく you have merely to state that:

to form the い-stem you shift くto the い-row.

To form the あ-stem you shift く to the あ-row

and so on.

And so, mutatis mutandis for every 五段 verb.

What is in any way difficult about this?

And what is "unscientific" about it, unless by "scientific" you mean "Western"?

The "endings", or more properly the helper-words, are れる/られる, ない etc., just as the Japanese dictionaries, grammars etc. say.

Japanese grammarians do have some idea of how Japanese works.


EDIT: it is worth noting here how one misconception dovetails with another. If you split kana in half then you are more or less forced to regard Japanese helper words as "endings" and so to force the European model of "conjugation" onto the language.

Even then it doesn't really work:

So to properly analyze "kaku" (to write), you need to take the position that the stem ends in the consonant "k", i.e., the stem is kak- and the endings are:

-u
-anai
-areru

etc.


So do we take it that the "ending" of 書き方 kakitata is -ikata?

No, there is a different rule for endings like -tai, -nagara and -kata:  you chop off the -masu from the -masu form of the verb and then add the ending:  kakimasu->kaki+nagara = kakinagara.  Same for kakikata.

(2017-12-17, 8:58 pm)Iuri_ Wrote: Funnily though this author thought that romaji was a much better way of explaining the structure of the Japanese language than the native kana, even though the author was Japanese himself.

Exactly.
Edited: 2017-12-17, 10:10 pm
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@phil321

   No, there is a different rule for endings like -tai, -nagara and -kata:  you chop off the -masu from the -masu form of the verb and then add the ending:  kakimasu->kaki+nagara = kakinagara.  Same for kakikata.


This is just what I am saying.

In order to make romanized "Japanese grammar" work they have to start inventing all these "different rules" to cobble the system.

All the stems and helper words work in exactly the same way so long as you look at them as they actually are and not in romaji.

Then you get into all these complications like "chopping off the masu from the -masu form of the verb and then adding the ending".

What does that even mean? You add ます to the い-stem (as always) and then take it off again in order to put something else on?

Auxiliary nouns attach to the 連用形, the い-stem, and so does the ます formalizing verb, as well as several other auxiliary words including たい、そう and ながら。

This is what Japanese (for Japanese) grammar textbooks and dictionaries tell us and I think one would need pretty strong grounds to claim that they were wrong about their own language.

What we get are not strong grounds at all, but a strange situation where special "different rules" have to be claimed for a process that is absolutely regular if we see it in kana and accept the Japanese explanation of what is going on.

We also make the situation much easier for ourselves if we accept the Japanese view precisely because it is so regular and logical and not full of extra odd rules and random exceptions that had to be made up to shoehorn Japanese into romaji, Western notions of "conjugation" etc.

Now I will say that if people have learned in the Western way and are happy with it I am not trying to change that. If you've gotten all the screws out with the table-knife it would be silly to go back and do the job again with a screwdriver!

And if you are half-way there and getting on fine, well, don't let me interrupt you.

I am really addressing my work to people who haven't gotten the screws out yet or have gotten them all bent and want to straighten things out a bit.

Because the screwdriver does exist




@Iuri_

Yes your Japanese author is saying the same thing I am.

I think that in the past in classical Japanese the "conjugated" verbs were actually two distinct verbs that merged with time, but I will leave that to someone knowleadgeable of Classical Japanese to talk about.

Not just in the past. If you read Japanese grammar books for Japanese children you will see that the helper verbs and adjectives that make the so-called "conjugations" are still treated as entities in themselves.

So do native Japanese dictionaries. For example here is the entry on せる (what Western texts refer to as the "ending" of the causative "conjugation"):

せる

[助動] . . . 五段動詞の未然形、. . . に付く。

1 相手が自分の思うようにするよう。. . .

This reads:

Seru

[Auxiliary verb] . . . attached to the あ-stem of godan verbs...

1. (To) make it so that someone (lit "the person with whom one is interacting) acts according to one's own will.


(the parts I cut are just extra forms and a bit about suru-verbs that would clutter the explanation here, and of course the rest of the definition, because the first bit is sufficient to make the point). You can read the full entry here:

https://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/jn/125352/meaning/m0u/

So what I am saying is that the concept of these helper or auxiliary words as "words" in their own right rather than "conjugative endings" is not a historical thing. It is how modern Japanese grammar still views them. They are still two distinct words. In some cases they can still be used independently, but even when they can't they are recognized as entities in their own right that are added to one of the verb-stems.

And when they are verbs they then become the head-verb of the sentence just as the last verb of a sentence always is.

So in

鞄が盗まれた
kaban ga nusumareta
(my) bag got stolen
(i.e received the action of being stolen)

The core sentence is

鞄がれた
kaban ga reta
(my) bag got/received

The other part of the sentence - the あ-stem of 盗む - works as a modifier to れた telling us what the bag received (the action of being stolen). I explain all this in greater detail here.

This makes the ridiculously convoluted so-called "passive" presented by Western "Japanese grammar" very simple and understandable.

Why your author preferred romaji, I of course don't know without context, but since he is teaching foreign students he would have to be pretty radical to go against the entire romaji-explanation establishment that is dominant in Western teaching.
Edited: 2017-12-18, 12:43 am
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(2017-12-17, 10:50 pm)CureDolly Wrote: Why your author preferred romaji, I of course don't know without context, but since he is teaching foreign students he would have to be pretty radical to go against the entire romaji-explanation establishment that is dominant in Western teaching.

Maybe this author prefers analyzing Japanese grammar using romaji in his own private study, who knows?  We can't tell from the above post.

Anyway, I always say, use whatever works for the student.  If students (e.g., in the West) find it easier to learn how to conjugate Japanese verbs by incorporating into their analysis syllables ending in consonants other than "n", well, why not?
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I agree about the usual analysis of auxiliary verbs as just being verb inflections as being potentially misleading; my favourite example that demonstrates that they're really auxiliaries is that you can put modifiers like ばかり in the middle of them, like 遊んでばかりいる. On the other hand when I was learning I found that thinking of them as just verb inflections helped in producing them without stopping halfway through.

(I have an academic Western romaji-using analysis of Japanese grammar here which happily analyses these as auxiliaries. I think the dividing line used is that if the auxiliary itself inflects then it's an auxiliary, but if it always has only one form it's just an inflection of the verb (a "flective"). They give an example that modern Japanese 'ta' past tense is a flective, but in Early Modern Japanese it was an auxiliary because it had the form 'taru' at sentence-end and 'tari' as a noun-modifier.)
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Quote:If students (e.g., in the West) find it easier to learn how to conjugate Japanese verbs by incorporating into their analysis syllables ending in consonants other than "n", well, why not
Hm but that's not even where the syllable ends. I guess they are trying to say, that's where the part that carries most of the meaning ends or so.

IMO saying Japanese disregards consonants and vowels completely is wrong as well. I mean they are obviously aware of such with the kana table being organized the way it is, having rows and columns. I think that's probably also why the Japanese author that was cited here might have liked the romanization? It's pretty nice to see in an romanization how the vowels are the same in every column (and depending on the romanization the consonants used for each row might be the same as well). I can see some beauty with that. (And the sound changes of ち つ し aren't per se a problem. We have plenty of that in roman languages as well) An yes "shifts to the a-column" is very easy to see in an romanization so I can see why he might like that for grammar explanations.

But... it's just not how we encounter most of Japanese.  And skipping back and forth between romanization and not, just seems more complicated to me as I have to juggle multiple systems in my head, one of which isn't really encountered in the wild. I probably would also have a problem with ち つ し because I'm not used to ti/tu/si romanizations. Like.. yes, if I only learned in Rômaji I think there's no problem with learning eventually that "ti" is always pronounced the way it is. But I don't learn only in Rômaji and converting back and forth and back just seems a bit "urgh" to me. So thinking まつ is t-stem, for masu-form I add -imasu so it's matimasu which is まちます... works (and in reality it would be much faster and skipping steps) but I still find it a bit cumbersome... Which is probably half of what the topic in discussion is about Wink
Edited: 2017-12-18, 6:25 am
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I don't have much time now but later today I'll quote the author here, is there any way to add screenshots to the post? This book is so old that I think there wouldn't be any problem in attaching about twenty pages to the post.

EDIT: Just to make it clear about my own layman's personal opinion, even though I absolutely love this author and his book I am with Cure Dolly when she says that the kana are the best way to explain and work with the Japanese language, I also think that the way the Japanese produce the mora is not exactly the same way as the way us indo european speakers produce the syllabs, a good example of that is that the Japanese have a lot of trouble emulating foreign languages sounds whereas speakers of European languages don't seem to have that same degree of difficulty, it's like the Japanese tongues are blueprinted to just speak those sounds that particular way(unless of course that person is bilingual from birth).

I believe though that I have a position contrary to that of CureDolly and most of the rest when I say that romaji can be useful for some people for learning the basics of the Japanese language, which means all of the basic grammar and a few thousand words(about 2000?), that is how I learned basic Japanese and that's what has worked for me. That is one of the reasons I love that book, it not only uses romaji to teach basic Japanese grammar but also a "demi-Japanese" language in order to do so, this would make most of purist Japanese learners roll their eyes but it has worked wonders for me, after I've finished that book I went on to learn proper basic Japanese grammar from another source and it was a breeze. I have reviewed that book here if anyone is interested: https://forum.koohii.com/thread-14234.html
Edited: 2017-12-18, 7:57 am
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