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question about tachi (in regards to rosetta stone)

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question about tachi (in regards to rosetta stone)

Postby sasquatch » Tue 09.22.2009 11:58 am

Hi guys,

I'm returning to my Japanese studies using a variety of different methods, text book, audio, and Rosetta stone. As you probably know, Rosetta stone states a sentence, either spoken or written (or both) in which you select the correct answer out of four possible answers.

Now for one of the questions they presented 男の子たちは本をよんでいます and the correct answer had a picture of three boys reading three individual books. During the next exercise a question presented 男の人たちはしんぶんをよんでいます and the correct answer had three men reading ONE newspaper.

So this obviously got me thinking that using this phrase you would not able to be understand whether the group of people are reading individual items or sharing one. How would you go about being more specific about it, or do you leave it up to the context? Or can you "pluralize" the object? E.g. 男の子たちは本たちをよんでいます or does that sound strange?

Thanks for your help.
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Re: question about tachi (in regards to rosetta stone)

Postby NileCat » Tue 09.22.2009 12:17 pm

Hi sasquatch,

As you guessed, we don't say 本たち. It sounds strange.
When you need to make it clear, there are some ways to describe it.

男の子たちは、それぞれ本をよんでいます。(each) "それぞれの本を" is also fine.
男の人たちは、一つのしんぶんをみんなでよんでいます。(one newspaper, together)

Hope it helps.
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Re: question about tachi (in regards to rosetta stone)

Postby furrykef » Tue 09.22.2009 12:33 pm

To be more specific: たち is generally used only with people. It roughly corresponds to the English construction "and company": 太郎たち means "Tarō and company", "Tarō and his friends", "Tarō and his family", etc. -- any group of people in which Tarō is acting as a representative member.
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Re: question about tachi (in regards to rosetta stone)

Postby Sairana » Tue 09.22.2009 8:27 pm

furrykef wrote:To be more specific: たち is generally used only with people. It roughly corresponds to the English construction "and company": 太郎たち means "Tarō and company", "Tarō and his friends", "Tarō and his family", etc. -- any group of people in which Tarō is acting as a representative member.


How about I confuse the matter and throw in the idea that たち can be used poetically to personify inanimate things. (The intro song to some anime that I can't recall at the moment uses 星たち for stars, but the stars were laughing or smiling or some other such "human" action. :)
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Re: question about tachi (in regards to rosetta stone)

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 09.22.2009 8:29 pm

Although with ☆, it's kind of a cliche by this point so it's used a lot even when it's not particularly poetic.
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Re: question about tachi (in regards to rosetta stone)

Postby sasquatch » Tue 09.22.2009 8:33 pm

Thanks guys for your help!

Edit: Just so I can get used to the use of それぞれ and Japanese grammar all together, can somebody check if this is correct? Thanks!

あなたたちはそれぞれおちゃをのんでいますか.

Intended meaning is, "Would any of you like to drink some tea?"
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Re: question about tachi (in regards to rosetta stone)

Postby furrykef » Tue 09.22.2009 11:05 pm

Sairana wrote:How about I confuse the matter and throw in the idea that たち can be used poetically to personify inanimate things.


That's why I said "generally". Didn't want to make stuff more confusing than necessary. :lol:

sasquatch wrote:あなたたちはそれぞれおちゃをのんでいますか.

Intended meaning is, "Would any of you like to drink some tea?"


Well, first off "のんでいます" means "is drinking", so it would be, "Are any of you drinking at tea at the moment?" (or maybe "Are any of you habitually drinking tea lately?"). I think you want のみませんか, which is the way to make an invitation.

I'm not terribly familiar with それぞれ (I hadn't encountered it until this discussion), but if you're using it to try to translate the "some" in "some tea", I don't think it works like that. It'd be best not to translate "some" at all. If on the other hand you're using it to translate the "any" of "any of you", that seems to make more sense to me, but it still seems unnecessary and probably a bit odd ("Would each of you like some tea?" sounds a bit odd in English, at least).

The use of あなたたち is fine, though, although keep in mind that you shouldn't overuse pronouns in Japanese.

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Re: question about tachi (in regards to rosetta stone)

Postby NileCat » Wed 09.23.2009 4:20 am

sasquatch wrote:Thanks guys for your help!

Edit: Just so I can get used to the use of それぞれ and Japanese grammar all together, can somebody check if this is correct? Thanks!

あなたたちはそれぞれおちゃをのんでいますか.

Intended meaning is, "Would any of you like to drink some tea?"

Good try, sasquatch!

It reminded me of my own experience when I started studying English years ago. (I know it's still bad though)
When I saw the sentence going "would any of you like to drink some tea?" for the first time, I thought like this.

would = will
any of you = one person among you"s"
like = get to love
to drink = because you are thirsty
some = a couple of
tea = Japanese tea, of course

Then, my translation was like this:
"Is it possible that one of you(s) will become thirsty in the future and get to love to own a couple of cups of tea(s)?"

Making a lot of mistakes is the only way to improve ourselves, I believe. :wink:
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Re: question about tachi (in regards to rosetta stone)

Postby sasquatch » Wed 09.23.2009 8:06 am

Haha I can see that I made a mess of the entire sentence... I can see that I didn't realise that のんでいます was (im not really good with grammatical explinations) "current"-present tense. Oh well I'll keep learning and try not to stray too far away from the set phrases (before being given necessary examples).

Thanks for your help everyone.
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Re: question about tachi (in regards to rosetta stone)

Postby Kodama_30 » Fri 10.02.2009 5:28 pm

furrykef wrote:Well, first off "のんでいます" means "is drinking", so it would be, "Are any of you drinking at tea at the moment?" (or maybe "Are any of you habitually drinking tea lately?"). I think you want のみませんか, which is the way to make an invitation.


Although I may be very wrong on this, seeing as I'm still a relative newbie at Japanese (and a bit rusty to boot) but I thought that the enduring state (~ている) denotes an action that is currently in progress and not the future tense which the plain and polite imperfective can rather confusingly do.
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Re: question about tachi (in regards to rosetta stone)

Postby furrykef » Fri 10.02.2009 5:43 pm

That sounds about right... how does that differ from what I said?
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Re: question about tachi (in regards to rosetta stone)

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 10.02.2009 8:49 pm

Kodama_30 wrote:
furrykef wrote:Well, first off "のんでいます" means "is drinking", so it would be, "Are any of you drinking at tea at the moment?" (or maybe "Are any of you habitually drinking tea lately?"). I think you want のみませんか, which is the way to make an invitation.


Although I may be very wrong on this, seeing as I'm still a relative newbie at Japanese (and a bit rusty to boot) but I thought that the enduring state (~ている) denotes an action that is currently in progress and not the future tense which the plain and polite imperfective can rather confusingly do.


Although it's worth pointing out that ている, being an imperfective itself, can also refer to something in the future -- that is, 飲んでいます can mean "I will be drinking" or "I will have drunk" in addition to "I am drinking" or "I have drunk".
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Re: question about tachi (in regards to rosetta stone)

Postby tōkai devotee » Fri 10.02.2009 10:51 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
Although it's worth pointing out that ている, being an imperfective itself, can also refer to something in the future -- that is, 飲んでいます can mean "I will be drinking" or "I will have drunk" in addition to "I am drinking" or "I have drunk".


Thanks Yudan for adding even more confusion :?
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Re: question about tachi (in regards to rosetta stone)

Postby Kodama_30 » Sat 10.03.2009 4:18 pm

Ah, I mis-read your explanation kef and have proceeded to make a fool of myself :P My thanks to Yudan for allowing me to save some face, by very cleverly pretending that nothing was wrong :wink:
But in all seriousness, thanks Yudan for explaining what I was trying to get at - that the 「~ている」 Form can indeed mean a future action.
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