Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

View topic - 日本語が分かりますか vs 日本語を分かりますか

日本語が分かりますか vs 日本語を分かりますか

Have a Question about some Grammar point? Share it with the world!

日本語が分かりますか vs 日本語を分かりますか

Postby phreadom » Mon 10.25.2010 4:12 pm

A couple users in the TJP chat were discussing which way was the correct way to ask "do you understand Japanese?"

「日本語が分かりますか」 or 「日本語を分かりますか」 ?

While as far as I know が is the proper one, and the translators and google seem to agree, I can't really explain why and was hoping someone here could enlighten all of us as to why there does appear to be some usage of the を form (and is it correct?).

Thank you! :bow:
猿も木から落ちる
User avatar
phreadom
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1762
Joined: Sun 01.29.2006 8:43 pm
Location: Michigan, USA
Native language: U.S. English (米語)
Gender: Male

Re: 日本語が分かりますか vs 日本語を分かりますか

Postby Dustin » Mon 10.25.2010 4:43 pm

わかる - The main meaning of わかる is often listed in dictionaries as 'to understand', yet a more literal translation is 'to be clear/understandable'. This means that the thing being understood takes a subject particle (が/は ) instead of an object particle (を ).


I can't comment on を actually being used in certain circumstances because my knowledge is too limited but hopefully this helps to clear up why we use が :D

......................*edit*................


AHA

Did some more looking in a book of mine, and it was as I expected but didn't want to write without knowing for sure


わかる normally takes が to indicate the object of comprehension, HOWEVER it must take を when "non-spontaneous comprehension" is involved, as in causative sentences or sentences where the speaker makes a conscious effort to understand something.

Examples listed are as follows.

親の死を小さい子供に分からせるのは難しい。

It is hard to make a small child comprehend the death of a parent.



ダスティンはフリダームの気持ちを分かろうとしない。

Dustin does not try to understand Phreadom's feelings.
User avatar
Dustin
 
Posts: 589
Joined: Sun 07.13.2008 9:41 pm
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Re: 日本語が分かりますか vs 日本語を分かりますか

Postby ss » Tue 10.26.2010 3:32 am

We know particle を is used to indicate the object of an action, that's why we say 「日本語を話す/話します」 (Speak Japanese). I remember sensei once said, native Japanese don't usually ask 「日本語を話しますか。」 (Speak Japanese?)

Instead they say 「日本語が分かりますか。」 (Understand Japanese?)
As we already know, が is used because we are referring to this specific language --- "Japanese".

While both sentences make sense, maybe by adding something to the sentence, you might be able to see the difference:
日本語の新聞を[読んだ後で]分かりますか。 Do you understand after reading the Japanese newspaper?
日本語の聞き取りを[聞いて]分かりますか。 Do you understand the listening comprehension?

In daily casual conversation, often, things a bit here and there tend to leave unsaid, yet it still makes sense.

Just stick to 「日本語が分かりますか。」
User avatar
ss
 
Posts: 1656
Joined: Fri 11.18.2005 10:07 am
Native language: English speaking family

Re: 日本語が分かりますか vs 日本語を分かりますか

Postby Setaceau » Tue 10.26.2010 11:10 am

Hi, Hellow,

Japanese use below. You can choose as you like.
日本語を話せますか? (はなせますか)Can you speak Japanese?
日本語が分かりますか? (わかりますか)Do you understand Japanese?
日本語を御存知ですか? (ごぞんじですか)Do you know Japanese?
If you ask 日本語を知っていますか? , it might sound little bit rude
and 御存知ですか? is polite.
日本語を分かる人は居られませんか? Is there someone who can understand Japanese?
(おられませんか? is polite than いませんか?)
In this case, I realized 日本語が分かる人は居られませんか? is also natural. Both OK.
日本語を話せる人は居られませんか? and 日本語が話せる人は居られませんか? both OK.

Anyway, 日本語を分かりますか? is almost OK but sounds strange.

Setaceau
Setaceau
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun 06.06.2010 7:35 am
Native language: Japanese

Re: 日本語が分かりますか vs 日本語を分かりますか

Postby phreadom » Wed 10.27.2010 12:17 am

Thank you very much everyone for the explanations. :)

本当にありがとうございます。 :bow:
猿も木から落ちる
User avatar
phreadom
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1762
Joined: Sun 01.29.2006 8:43 pm
Location: Michigan, USA
Native language: U.S. English (米語)
Gender: Male


Return to Grammar Questions and Problems

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests