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Verb modifies Noun

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Verb modifies Noun

Postby ヴェンリメル » Mon 11.09.2009 4:10 pm

「このノートに名前を書かれた人間は死ぬ。」

I don't quite understand why this wouldn't be 「人間は書かれた名前を」. As I understand, 「見た花」 translates to "the flower previously seen"...

「このノートに人間は書かれた名前を死ぬ。」
This seems to read: In this book, the person with [their] name written will die.

As I understand the structure, at this point, "human written" doesn't make as much sense as "name written". Is it just one of those things where the wording makes sense, but the speakers aren't likely to say one of them? (Such as in English: "What do you say?" not "You say what?", typically.)

It occurs to me this might actually be cleared up by particles, but now my head's all clouded. It feels like the way I mention is just the wrong way to say it, but I'm lacking the ability to understand just why.

「人間は書ければ名前を」?
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Re: Verb modifies Noun

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 11.09.2009 4:27 pm

ヴェンリメル wrote:「このノートに名前を書かれた人間は死ぬ。」

I don't quite understand why this wouldn't be 「人間は書かれた名前を」. As I understand, 「見た花」 translates to "the flower previously seen"...


Because that would mean the name is the thing that's dying. Since it's the person, you have 人間 which is modified by このノートに名前を書かれた. The person whose name is written in the book.

「このノートに人間は書かれた名前を死ぬ。」
This seems to read: In this book, the person with [their] name written will die.


This doesn't make any sense. 死ぬ is not a transitive verb, so it can't take an object. 人間は書かれた名前 means that a human will do something to a written name.
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Re: Verb modifies Noun

Postby richvh » Mon 11.09.2009 4:34 pm

このノートに名前を書かれた人間は死ぬ。」

"The person whose name is written on this note will die."

The clause modifying the noun is a relative clause. This is the only way to make a relative clause in Japanese. I've color coded the clauses to make it clearer which are which.
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Re: Verb modifies Noun

Postby Hyperworm » Mon 11.09.2009 4:54 pm

Death Note huh.

ヴェンリメル wrote:「見た花」 translates to "the flower previously seen"...
"The flower that [I/you/he/she/etc infer from context] saw" is best.

You absolutely need to make sure you know how verb+noun works (here's another one: 「死神の目を持っている人間」) before attempting to understand the original sentence because the noun-modifying is the easy bit. It also contains a construction known as the "suffering passive" which you should look up since I won't be able to give a better explanation here than is already available elsewhere.
Basically it's the use of を with a passive form and implies that the person who is passively affected by the doing of the verb suffers misfortune as a result.

「(私が)(犯人に)財布を盗まれた」 "I was stolen a wallet by a criminal." (extremely literal)
But in English the passive goes more naturally on the wallet and not on me:
"I (to my misfortune) had my wallet stolen by a criminal."

「(私が)(月に)名前を書かれた」 "I was written down my name by Light."
"I (to my misfortune) had my name written down by Light."

「このノートに(自分のimplied)名前を書かれた人間」 combines this with the verb-noun modification.
"The person who (to their misfortune) has had (their) name written down in this notebook".
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Re: Verb modifies Noun

Postby Kodama_30 » Mon 11.09.2009 8:33 pm

Try to detach yourself from applying rules and such from English to Japanese. As obvious as it sounds; it really is another language - which has it's own set of irregularities, exceptions and idioms amongst other things seemingly designed to trip up learners. :wink:

Also, be careful with particles; I noticed you tried to shift a few elements in your original example to what you thought may have been more rational. Now, while it is true that Japanese is fairly flexible in the structure of it's sentences; there is one thing that's set in stone - verbs. Certain particles are relative to the verbs in that particular clause; so when you did switch around a few things the resulting particles didn't fit anymore.

For example:
「を」- used with transitive verbs to indicate direct objects.
「へ」- used purely with motion verbs to indicate destination.

etc.
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Re: Verb modifies Noun

Postby IceCream » Mon 11.09.2009 9:15 pm

maybe it'll help you to try to break sentences down. "japanese the manga way" is a good book that could help you learn to do this... i'l do a simplified (& kind of wrong, but good enough) version here:

Try to break the sentence into bits, like this:
このノートに名前を書かれた人間は死ぬ。
人間は死ぬ。 person to die (is)
名前を書かれた name that was written
このノートに in this note

The は marks who will get the action, in this case, it's the person whose name was written.

Now lets try it with yours:
このノートに人間は書かれた名前を死ぬ
名前を死ぬ Die the name
人間は書かれた the writing that was done to the person
このノートに in this note

doesn't make sense right?
You can try this method on other sentences, it'll work for a lot of them (some will be more complex though)...
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Re: Verb modifies Noun

Postby ヴェンリメル » Tue 11.10.2009 3:59 pm

It's kind of like trying to pull a knot of hair to where I can see it.

I know that my fingers think it's a knot, but if I can just get it to where I can see it, it'll be fine. To do that, though, I do need to sever a few of the smaller tangles, but it's hard to recognise them, even when I feel them tug.

A few typicalities for English speaking are getting in my way. This is tough, but believe me when I say I'm enjoying this, so thank you all very much for taking the time.

For my example, I think it actually is the closest translation to have: "In this note, if a name is written, that person dies." That makes sense in English, really, but it's not the more colloquial version used in the translation. In Japanese, 「このノートに名前を書かれた」, is almost a complete sentence. The verb form is conditional, so you know there's going to be more, but you've covered the important part. The name will be written. 「人間は死ぬ」 just fills you in on the rest of it.

I actually have read a bit about passive sentences and they get further broken into suffering and non-suffering.

「このサイトからポストを読まれた方法が覚える。」 And I'm going to hope the statement is true. Went from memory on that one.

Okay, no it's not conditional, it's suffering passive. The post is suffering from having been read; great. Confusing the two, for the moment. "In this note, a name written, that person dies." To make my sentence makes sense, I'll need to read up on conditional, so never mind that one. Or...

Just do this: 「このサイトからポストが読まれた方法は覚えます。」ね?

That's not conditional; it just says that when I read something on this site, it gets remembered. I'm naming things in the sentence, because I'm still not getting "something" quite right, in Japanese.
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Re: Verb modifies Noun

Postby Fillanzea » Tue 11.10.2009 4:50 pm

It is tough because it combines the "suffering passive" with a dependent clause.

* I originally typed this in romaji and ended up derailing the thread because of it. Sorry.

私はパソコンを盗まれた -- I had my computer stolen.
その人は名前を知られた -- that person had his name known (i.e., he was famous. Just a little bit famous, maybe.)
The main thing you need to know about this is that the first sentence does NOT mean "my computer was stolen." The topic is "I," not "computer." It's a statement about me: I had my computer stolen.

その人は名前を書かれた -- that person had his name written.
その人はノートに名前を書かれた -- that person had his name written in the notebook.

So, what happens when you make it into a dependent clause? You take the subject and flip it around to the end of the sentence so that the whole participle describes the subject.

ノートに名前を書かれた人 -- the person WHO had his name written in the notebook.

Similarly:
パソコンを盗まれた学生 = the student who had his computer stolen
名前を知られた作家 = the author who had his name known.
Last edited by Fillanzea on Wed 11.11.2009 12:56 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Verb modifies Noun

Postby Hyperworm » Tue 11.10.2009 5:42 pm

ヴェンリメル wrote: In Japanese, 「このノートに名前を書かれた」, is almost a complete sentence. The verb form is conditional
Either I'm misinterpreting the structure of your post, or you've misunderstood. 書かれた is not conditional but passive past tense, and that is a complete sentence, meaning "[I/He/She/etc infer from context] had [my/his/her] name written in this notebook." Nothing more is anticipated or expected, and that's the reason it is a clause, and can be used to modify a noun.
You may be confusing 書かれた with 書かれた, which is a (passive) conditional.
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Re: Verb modifies Noun

Postby AJBryant » Tue 11.10.2009 5:49 pm

My big argument about that romanization method:

There are instances where は, the kana *normally* read as /ha/, is read as /wa/.

There is *NO* instance where the roman letters ha are pronounced as /wa/.

If you must use romanization, please use a system that reflects the way things are actually pronounced -- for the sake of those who are still learning the language.
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Re: Verb modifies Noun

Postby IceCream » Tue 11.10.2009 5:55 pm

Edited out since Fillanzea edited...
Last edited by IceCream on Tue 11.10.2009 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Verb modifies Noun

Postby furrykef » Tue 11.10.2009 9:42 pm

AJBryant wrote:There are instances where は, the kana *normally* read as /ha/, is read as /wa/.

There is *NO* instance where the roman letters ha are pronounced as /wa/.


Well, there are no instances where the Roman letters 'ei' are pronounced /ee/ and the Roman letters 'ou' are pronounced /oo/ either, and many of us here use that convention anyway. ;) But I agree, I find it very distracting (though not confusing) to see particle は romanized as 'ha'. It's not the first time I've seen people here (and elsewhere) do it, though.

IceCream wrote:Here are Fillanzea's sentences in Japanese, if anyone's confused


They were already in Japanese. ;) What you did was rewrite it in the Japanese writing system. That may seem to be a pedantic distinction, but I dislike the implication that romanized Japanese is somehow not Japanese.

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Re: Verb modifies Noun

Postby IceCream » Tue 11.10.2009 10:02 pm

its as much in japanese as チョコレート is in english, i think :wink:
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Re: Verb modifies Noun

Postby Hyperworm » Tue 11.10.2009 10:17 pm

I think the grammar that you have to use to decipher a message is more important than the writing system in determining what language it is.

If two English speakers passed encrypted messages to each other I think we'd agree that they are nevertheless communicating in English because English grammar is required to interpret the messages - this is even though the messages themselves look nothing like English.
They'd still be communicating in English even if it wasn't encryption but a symbol-substitution on the letters. (A->△, B->■, ...)
And still if those symbols were katakana.
And still if it wasn't a letter substitution but a word substitution for strings of katakana.

I think you can follow the logic the other way for why romanized Japanese is still Japanese. ^^
(To be honest I kind of wanted to take the opposite position but there really isn't an argument for doing so :lol:)

I don't particularly want this to take over this thread. >_>;
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Re: Verb modifies Noun

Postby IceCream » Tue 11.10.2009 10:33 pm

interesting response... i wonder if that means that philosophical logic is also in english?
e.g. ∃x[(Kx & ∀y(Ky → y=x)) & Bx].
This is the logic for the sentence, "the king of france is bald"

anyway, seriously, there wasn't supposed to be any hidden meanings or interpretations in what i wrote, someone complained about the romaji, so i wrote in um... hiragana and kanji. :P
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