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Grammar problem...x_x

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Grammar problem...x_x

Postby kaywala » Fri 01.20.2006 9:47 pm

Ok...well I feel really dumb cuz I'm on my first grammar lesson and I don't understand it *cries* xD I'm doing the Genki course so here's a quote from the part I'm having problems with:

"Yamashita san wa sensee desu. Mr. Yamashita is a teacher

Mearii san wa amerikajin desu Mary is an American

Note also that nouns like gakusee and sensee in the above examples stand alone, unlike their English translations "student" and "teacher," which are preceded by "a." In Japanese, there is no item that corresponds to "a," nor is there any item that corresponds to the plural "-s" at the end of a noun. Without background situations, a sentence like gakusee desu is therefore ambiguous between the singular and the plural interpretations; it may mean "We are/you are/ they are students," as well as "I am/you are/she is as student,"" 15, Genki.

Ok, well I underlined the last part because that's really what I'm trying to figure out x_x Any help would be much appreciated ^^
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RE: Grammar problem...x_x

Postby IkimashoZ » Fri 01.20.2006 10:08 pm

Japanese has pronouns, but you do not use them in real, spoken Japanese unless you need to be ÜBER-specific about who or what is involved. And, as mentioned there are no articles.

メーリさんは学生(がくせい)です。
Mary [topic marker] student [noun conjugation marker].
As for Mary, Student.
REAL ENGLISH: "Mary is a student."

The topic marker は is used to clear things up and make the sentence understandable. Since Japanese doesn't use pronouns very often and because there are no plurals or articles (a, the), a sentence can mean many things without the topic marker. So, let's throw Mary out of the sentence.

学生(がくせい)です。
student [noun conjugation marker].
Student.
REAL ENGLISH:
"I am a student."
"I am the student."
"You are a student."
"You are the student."
"He is a student."
"He is the student."
"She is a student."
"She is the student."
"We are students."
"We are the students."
"They are students."
"They are the students."


That one sentence can mean all those things, which is what your book is telling you. Since there's no natural way to say "I, you, he, she, it, we or they" or even "am, is, or are", Japanese falls back on specificying a topic everytime you need one, to clarify what it is you're talking about.
Last edited by IkimashoZ on Fri 01.20.2006 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ist das einen Kanji, dass ich gefunden habe??
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RE: Grammar problem...x_x

Postby richvh » Fri 01.20.2006 10:12 pm

Seems pretty clear to me. You can't tell from the noun or verb if you are talking about one or several students, and you can't tell from the verb if the subject is the speaker (first person, I/we), the person addressed (second person, you), or someone else (third person, he/she/it/they.) A pronoun or noun would clarify this, but is usually omitted if the subject is clear from context. For instance:
Mearii san wa amerikajin desu. Gakusei desu.
Mary is an American. She is a student.

Or:
Watashi wa 16 sai desu. Gakusei desu.
I am 16 years old. I am a student.
Richard VanHouten
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RE: Grammar problem...x_x

Postby kaywala » Sat 01.21.2006 12:11 am

Arigatou gozaimasu!!!! That sounds easier to comprehend. I'm sorry, sometimes things don't come to me at all....I suck at grammar even in my native language x_x
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