Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

View topic - Infinitives?

Infinitives?

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

Infinitives?

Postby Sachi » Thu 02.02.2006 9:55 pm

I think that's the right word, anyways ^^; Back to subject: In my Spanish class, we were learning the verb "to like" and infinitives. Such as:

A mi me gusta jugar. (I like to play)

(Note that I can't figure out accent marks, Spanish-speaking people, but besides the point.) I'm assuming there are infinitives in Japanese, or something similar? I'm probably way in over my head here, but I just thought, "Hey, how would I say something like 'I like to write" in Japanese?"

I'm making a wild guess here, but would

私はすきかく。

make any sense? Considering "suki" is not a verb, ne?

Edit: Typo in the Japanese ^^;
Last edited by Sachi on Fri 02.03.2006 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Sachi
 
Posts: 640
Joined: Tue 10.18.2005 4:12 pm

RE: Infinitives?

Postby richvh » Thu 02.02.2006 11:00 pm

There aren't infinitives in Japanese. "I like to write" would be something like 私は書くことが好きです。 or 私は書くのが好きです。 I think.
Richard VanHouten
ゆきの物語
richvh
 
Posts: 6451
Joined: Thu 09.29.2005 10:35 pm

RE: Infinitives?

Postby Seijiro Hiko » Thu 02.02.2006 11:17 pm

Actually when I first started learning Japanese about two years ago, I had the same problem because I based alot of my learning japanese by what I had learned through about 2 years of High School spanish.

You can't really associate verbs in japanese as you would to spanish they're just not the same.
Obviously, verb conjugation is different and tense forming is different but due to the structure of the two languages, verbs can't be used in the same manner as richvh demonstrated.
I suppose you could say that the present tense alone constitutes an infinitive such as: kaku - to write
however it does not translate directly into the sentence as: "to write"

Oh, and "I like to play" is "me gusto jugar" yo creo...

Would you mind me asking what year in spanish your in? (Just Curious really)
Seijiro Hiko
 
Posts: 147
Joined: Sat 09.17.2005 11:23 pm

RE: Infinitives?

Postby IkimashoZ » Fri 02.03.2006 12:28 am

You can't really associate verbs in japanese as you would to spanish they're just not the same.


I agree with Seijiro Hiko on this point. However, if you're going to talk strictly about function, that is, finding the 'base form' of the verb, which, as already demonstrated, is the informal, present/future, positive tense. A lot of teachers, in order to avoid calling this the 'infinitive' have resorted to the term 'dictionary' form, but I find both pieces of terminology silly for different reasons and would prefer just to talk about the possible functions of informal, present/future, positive tense verbs, one of which is the 'base' form of the verb that is used to classify and identify distinct verbs outside of grammatical functionality within the sentence.

I think you've probably already read this Sachi, but I wrote some stuff about Japanese sentence formation here.
Ist das einen Kanji, dass ich gefunden habe??
User avatar
IkimashoZ
 
Posts: 155
Joined: Fri 10.28.2005 2:00 am

RE: Infinitives?

Postby natemb » Fri 02.03.2006 1:21 am

As others have already said, there is not exacly an infinitive form in Japanese, but there is a good equivalent for the type of sentence you wrote. In Spanish, the infinitive is usually used to turn a verb (or verb clause) into a noun. In English, we can also do that with the infinitive (to play) or -ing (playing).

So if you have a sentence like "Me gusta el anime" (I like anime), you can replace a noun (el anime) with an infinitive verb (jugar) to get "Me gusta jugar" (I like to play).

When the infinitive is being used this way, the equivalent in Japanese is the "dictionary form" + koto. Just like in Spanish (or English) you can look at a sentence with a noun "(私は) アニメ が すき です。" and replace the noun (アニメ) with a verb + koto (かくこと), so you get "(私は) かくこと が すき です。" (as richvh said)

Note: This will not work for some uses of the infinitive, like "Debo jugar" (I should play). But notice that you cannot replace "jugar" with a noun in this sentence "Debo el anime" (I should anime) is not a correct sentence. Also, in this case, English does not use the infinitive or -ing, but instead uses a special construction with a helping verb. So in Japanese you also use a special (and somewhat complicated) construction: -なければ ならない instead of using -koto.

Seijiro Hiko wrote:
Oh, and "I like to play" is "me gusto jugar" yo creo...


Sachi's Spanish sentence was correct. The verb is "gusta" and not "gusto" because in Spanish (like in Japanese) the thing being liked (in this case "jugar") is actually the subject of the sentence. So "I like cats" would be "Me gustan los gatos", "I like you" would be "Me gustas", etc.
Last edited by natemb on Fri 02.03.2006 1:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
natemb
 
Posts: 127
Joined: Thu 04.21.2005 12:13 am

RE: Infinitives?

Postby mandolin » Fri 02.03.2006 4:25 am

That.... is probably the best grammar post EVER. I've secretly been confused about the function of -koto- in conjunction with a verb, but I figured I would muddle my way through it eventually... now I won't need to.

Thank you, Natemb! :D
User avatar
mandolin
 
Posts: 497
Joined: Mon 06.20.2005 3:44 am

RE: Infinitives?

Postby Sachi » Fri 02.03.2006 9:11 pm

Thanks so much, everyone =) I learned a lot here, and am finally un-confused ;)

Seijiro Hiko: About my Spanish year, I don't really have a good answer. I took Spanish in elementary school and 6th grade for 4 years. This is the first year we really have any grammar, though (our elementary teacher was horrible). I'm in 7th grade now, so this is basically my first REAL year.
User avatar
Sachi
 
Posts: 640
Joined: Tue 10.18.2005 4:12 pm

RE: Infinitives?

Postby IkimashoZ » Fri 02.03.2006 9:56 pm

BTW, there are two ways to nominalize (ie. make a noun out of) a verb in Japanese. One way is to add こと, the other is to add の. In the example of liking, I think it sounds better to say ゲームをするのが好き than ゲームをすることが好き. They'd both be understood, but I'm pretty sure in this case the の sounds more natural. I'm not entirely sure, but I think こと does more than nominalize the verb. I think it actually sounds more like "matters concerning ~" than just "~ing".
Ist das einen Kanji, dass ich gefunden habe??
User avatar
IkimashoZ
 
Posts: 155
Joined: Fri 10.28.2005 2:00 am

RE: Infinitives?

Postby BleedingSoul » Fri 02.03.2006 10:11 pm

Actually it is gusta not gusto
User avatar
BleedingSoul
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed 01.11.2006 10:36 pm

RE: Infinitives?

Postby mandolin » Sat 02.04.2006 5:45 am

IkimashoZ wrote:
BTW, there are two ways to nominalize (ie. make a noun out of) a verb in Japanese. One way is to add こと, the other is to add の. In the example of liking, I think it sounds better to say ゲームをするのが好き than ゲームをすることが好き. They'd both be understood, but I'm pretty sure in this case the の sounds more natural. I'm not entirely sure, but I think こと does more than nominalize the verb. I think it actually sounds more like "matters concerning ~" than just "~ing".


As I understood it, that noun + の + こと achieves the "matters concerning <noun>" meaning.

Similarly, creating a noun with の I believed was to create a "noun phrase", to treat a phrase as a single entity within the whole of the sentence.

These were two concepts that I believed I understood rather well, given my resources. However, verb + こと never seemed to quite make sense given the "matters concerning" or "things about.." meanings, nor does it use the の between as a noun does, nor are we creating a noun phrase, we are changing the function of the verb, right?

I'd really like to understand this, I believe Natemb's post made a lot of sense, but now I'm back to square one.
User avatar
mandolin
 
Posts: 497
Joined: Mon 06.20.2005 3:44 am

RE: Infinitives?

Postby natemb » Sat 02.04.2006 7:24 am

I think the reason this is so confusing is that the word の can by used in two very different ways. The first use most people learn is the possessive particle (e.g. 私のねこ - my cat). This is also the の that is used in noun + の + こと.

The second use of の is to nominalize a verb. To use it this way you put it directly after the dictionary form of the verb, just like you do with verb + こと. In this function, の and こと are grammatically equivalent, but, as IkimashoZ said, they have slightly different feelings to them. I wouldn't worry too much about the difference between these two until you've come across them enough in context to have a feeling of when to use which. I was taught to use こと first in my textbook (Japanese for Busy People), but I hear の a lot more in spoken Japanese...

As for こと, it can go either after a verb (making it a noun) or after noun + (possessive) の, giving the "matters concerning" meaning.
natemb
 
Posts: 127
Joined: Thu 04.21.2005 12:13 am

RE: Infinitives?

Postby zengargoyle » Sat 02.04.2006 3:20 pm

i think of it this way, こと、もの、の don't so much nounify verbs as they are nouns themselves. nouns can be modified by adjectives placed in front of them, by other nouns placed in front of them (with the help of the particle の), and they can also be modified by verb phrases of any complexity. so 書くこと isn't so much "writing (the noun)" as it is the abstract general noun こと (thing,matter,event,situation) being modified by the verb 書く (i write), so it's the "i write thing/matter", which is sorta hard to describe in English other than "writing".

こと、もの are full-fleged nouns and can stand alone:

ことは私たちが卵zしていたよりも順調に進んでいる。
The affair ran more smoothly than we expected.

and こと is for more abstract, intangible things/situations/... while もの is generally more concrete, tangible things. but there's a wide area of overlap where both will work.

の as a generic noun must be modified by something, it can't stand alone, so it may be a bit more of a "nounifier".
User avatar
zengargoyle
 
Posts: 1200
Joined: Sun 05.29.2005 10:16 pm

RE: Infinitives?

Postby Sachi » Mon 02.06.2006 7:01 pm

I think I get it... Like I thought, I'm way in over my head for the moment, but this really helps a lot. Thanks again for clarifying, everyone. I *think* I have it, as best as my tiny grammar knowledge can grasp it ^^;
User avatar
Sachi
 
Posts: 640
Joined: Tue 10.18.2005 4:12 pm

RE: Infinitives?

Postby Sachi » Mon 02.13.2006 9:51 pm

Sorry to come back to this topic again, but I just want to see if I understand what I learned from everyone’s posts…

Would
「ことの日本語は説くことがむずかしいですね。」
Come out to
“The situation is hard to explain in Japanese.” ?

Please correct me, and thanks again, everyone!
User avatar
Sachi
 
Posts: 640
Joined: Tue 10.18.2005 4:12 pm

RE: Infinitives?

Postby richvh » Tue 02.14.2006 9:38 am

I think 「こと日本語説くことがむずかしいですね。」would be closer to “The situation is hard to explain in Japanese.” Your sentence would be closer to "The situation's Japanese is difficult to explain", shich doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
Richard VanHouten
ゆきの物語
richvh
 
Posts: 6451
Joined: Thu 09.29.2005 10:35 pm

Next

Return to Grammar Questions and Problems

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests