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クリスタルが・・・・

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クリスタルが・・・・

Postby furrykef » Tue 07.01.2008 9:38 am

I was transcribing the text at the beginning of an RPG called Elnard (known in the US as The 7th Saga; horrible game, don't play it) because I was posting on another forum about its odd writing style, since the game uses both spaces and kanji, and doesn't use any commas or periods. Anyway, most of what it said was obviously beyond me without the help of a dictionary, but I can understand this much and I have a little question about it:

Elnard wrote:そこで おまえたちに
このクリスタルをさずける
クリスタルが アークの
ありかを おしえてくれるだろう


I understand this to mean, "Now I will give you these crystals. The crystals will show you the location of the arks." (The 7 arks are special plot items.) Now, while I have a fair grasp of the essential difference between "wa" and "ga", this particular instance puzzles me a little -- why not "wa" in the third line? I thought it may have something to do with explaining the use of the crystal, defining it, but I know that "wa" is often used to give a definition. (If I go to the Japanese Wikipedia, almost every entry starts out with ○○は・・・・) Beyond this, I can't really figure anything out. What's going on here?

- Kef
Last edited by furrykef on Tue 07.01.2008 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: クリスタルが・・・・

Postby richvh » Tue 07.01.2008 9:49 am

Singling out the crystals as the things that will tell you were the arks are, I think.
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Re: クリスタルが・・・・

Postby furrykef » Tue 07.01.2008 9:02 pm

Hmm... so kind of like a cleft sentence in English? "It is the crystals that will show you the arks' location"? I suppose that'd make sense... in that case, the distinction between "wa" and "ga" doesn't seem particularly important here, since the sentence makes sense either way, but it's still nice to grasp what the difference is, of course.

Incidentally, I decided to check the way the sentence was originally translated, and it says this: "I'll give each of you a crystal ball. It'll help you find the Runes." Hmm...

- Kef
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Re: クリスタルが・・・・

Postby furrykef » Thu 09.17.2009 7:22 pm

Warning: Necropost! :P

I'm still a bit curious about this sentence. I'm 90% sure I understand what's going on now, but I want to turn it into 100%, because I still think が was a slightly curious choice.

I'm guessing that in this particular sentence, both は and が would make perfect sense, although they have a different nuance (a nuance that admittedly doesn't seem important in this particular instance, but hey ;)).

Currently I view the choice between は and が as simply answering questions -- questions that are often implied rather than actually asked. (This idea is explained in detail in the book "Making Sense of Japanese" for anybody unfamiliar with it, although by the time I actually started reading that book, I'd pretty much figured the idea out already. It's nice to have it confirm my suspicions, though.) According to this theory, "ga" answers a question of the form "Nani ga...?", "Dare ga...?", etc.

So then, the sentence クリスタルが アークの ありかを おしえてくれるだろう would appear to be answering the question, 何がアークのありかを教えてくれますか? (This is pretty much what richvh said in his reply, but rephrased in the form of answering a question.)

By contrast, if the king's statement began with クリスタルは, it would be answering the question, クリスタルは何をしますか?

Both of the questions (and their answers) would make sense in the context, hence, either は or が in the "reply" to the "question" would make sense. Though it still seems a bit odd to me that the king chose to answer the second question instead of the first, considering that he's saying this after he already said "I will give each of you a crystal", which would appear to invite the question "What does the crystal do?" and not "What will tell me the location of the arks?" -- but perhaps it only sounds strange to me because of the order he said the sentences in.

Do I have the right idea here, at least? :)

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Re: クリスタルが・・・・

Postby NileCat » Thu 09.17.2009 11:08 pm

クリスタルは アークの ありかを おしえてくれるだろう

クリスタルは、「教える」。
クリスタルが アークの ありかを おしえてくれるだろう

クリスタルが」、教える。

furrykef wrote:Though it still seems a bit odd to me that the king chose to answer the second question instead of the first, considering that he's saying this after he already said "I will give each of you a crystal", which would appear to invite the question "What does the crystal do?" and not "What will tell me the location of the arks?"

When you see the context here, you could assume that some question had been stated before the line "I will give each of you a crystal", which would be "You'll need something that helps you in your quest"...or something like that. Hence, the king chose が insted of は here. It emphasizes the importance of the crystal by reiterating "the only crystal".
Does it make sense to you?
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Re: クリスタルが・・・・

Postby furrykef » Fri 09.18.2009 8:49 am

Hmm, I think that makes sense. Thanks :)
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Re: クリスタルが・・・・

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 09.18.2009 4:40 pm

This is one of those cases where you can look at the が as having a meaning like "the" in English -- as nilecat said, it's like the crystals are *the* things that will show you the locations of the Arcs (or whatever that is).

Although it doesn't work for 100% (perhaps not even for 60%) of uses of が, sometimes if you're trying to understand why が is used instead of は, try seeing if it makes sense in the context for XがY to mean "X is *the* Y", "X is the only Y", or "X is the thing that is best described by Y". (In the context, of course. If someone says 英語が分からない they won't mean that English is the only thing they don't understand, but it might mean that it's the major or most relevant thing to the current context that they don't understand.)

(As another side note, I think when が is used with a negative, it almost always has this meaning.)
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