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Sentence order, and how important it is

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Sentence order, and how important it is

Postby Dimension » Fri 09.19.2008 3:33 pm

Okay I need some help on how important sentence order really is.

The genki book says you should say 机の上に猫がいます in this order, but wouldn't 猫が机の上にいます work just as well?

EDIT: Oops accidentally posted, I wasn't finished writing but anyways, how important is sentence order and do the Japanese strive to keep it in a certain order?
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Re: Sentence order, and how important it is

Postby NocturnalOcean » Fri 09.19.2008 4:12 pm

Both are correct. They just give a different focus on the sentence.

Think in English:

The cat is on the desk.
On the desk there is a cat.(There is a cat on the desk)
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Re: Sentence order, and how important it is

Postby Sairana » Fri 09.19.2008 4:34 pm

Yup. Reinforcing Nocturnal's answer.

In Japanese, the only -really- important word order is: VERB

^_^ As long as there's a verb at the end, it's all good. Even if it's just a verb by itself. But just like in English, some word orders are more common than others. I once saw a site that broke it down into some weird thing like, "Subject-time-location-indirect object-direct object-verb". But that's a bit overcomplicated, IMHO.
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Re: Sentence order, and how important it is

Postby becki_kanou » Fri 09.19.2008 9:32 pm

Just to reinforce what Nocturnal and Sairana have said; while there is a standard word order, it is not set in stone nearly to the degree that it is in English. Native speakers often rearrange or even completely reverse the standard word order when speaking off-the-cuff.
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Re: Sentence order, and how important it is

Postby john2 » Thu 09.25.2008 6:21 pm

look i wish you didn't have a kana order, so no complains about word order from me.
–––if you knew were i was coming from you would possible tell me to be less confused about these things,
i have a problem with the verb. it really baffles me.
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Re: Sentence order, and how important it is

Postby chikara » Thu 09.25.2008 8:53 pm

john2 wrote:look i wish you didn't have a kana order, so no complains about word order from me.
–––if you knew were i was coming from you would possible tell me to be less confused about these things,
i have a problem with the verb. it really baffles me.

:?

With respect john2-san, I haven't got a clue what you are trying to say.

What do you mean by "kana order"? If you change the "kana order", ie spelling, you change the word.
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Re: Sentence order, and how important it is

Postby john2 » Fri 09.26.2008 7:19 am

chikara wrote:
john2 wrote:look i wish you didn't have a kana order, so no complains about word order from me.
–––if you knew were i was coming from you would possible tell me to be less confused about these things,
i have a problem with the verb. it really baffles me.

:?
With respect john2-san, I haven't got a clue what you are trying to say.

What do you mean by "kana order"? If you change the "kana order", ie spelling, you change the word.

you pretty much got it.
And I'm curious wether this grammatically correct sentence makes any real sense, or if the semantics are wrong.
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Re: Sentence order, and how important it is

Postby AJBryant » Fri 09.26.2008 4:30 pm

What ARE you on?


Tony
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Re: Sentence order, and how important it is

Postby tōkai devotee » Fri 09.26.2008 7:55 pm

AJBryant wrote:What ARE you on?




Tony just expressed what we are all wondering!! Thanks Tony ! :wink:
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Re: Sentence order, and how important it is

Postby becki_kanou » Fri 09.26.2008 9:40 pm

tokai devotee wrote:
AJBryant wrote:What ARE you on?


Tony just expressed what we are all wondering!! Thanks Tony ! :wink:


Indeed. On the surface it looks like a grammatically correct English sentence, but I can't make heads or tails of it.
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Re: Sentence order, and how important it is

Postby arbalest71 » Fri 10.24.2008 2:03 pm

Just a guess- if you look things up in a kana J->E dictionary the entries are often ordered by the kana rather than alphabetically by the romaji. This means that until you learn the Japanese kana order you are just flipping through the thing looking for the section you want.

I'm good at answering this sort of thing because when people ask me what I'm on, I ask them... would you like that in alphabetical or chronological order? Or maybe by potency...

As for the verb... I have to admit that it baffles me too. It's possible that our interlocutor would like help with verb inflections in Japanese. He would probably like advice about how to look up the dictionary form of an inflected verb. But that might just be the drugs talking ;)
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Re: Sentence order, and how important it is

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 10.27.2008 10:58 am

Could John2 be speaking of the kana order of the handheld dictionaries? I remember way back in the day, that I had to memorize that order so that I could look up words quickly.. If that's not the case, I can't even imagine what our Irish friend is going on about.. Perhaps too much of the Irish cream in the coffee?
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Re: Sentence order, and how important it is

Postby john2 » Thu 10.30.2008 4:55 pm

two_heads_talking wrote:Could John2 be speaking of the kana order of the handheld dictionaries? I remember way back in the day, that I had to memorize that order so that I could look up words quickly.. If that's not the case, I can't even imagine what our Irish friend is going on about.. Perhaps too much of the Irish cream in the coffee?

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Re: Sentence order, and how important it is

Postby arbalest71 » Thu 10.30.2008 7:30 pm

john2 wrote:I have a procrastination problem, hmm I am procrastinating about procrastinating.
…… so you don't need to fear my anti linearity policy, which I am not trying to implement.


Well you're way ahead of me on this one. If I could manage to not implement my non-linearity program on a regular basis I'd probably rule a small nation carved out of the thigh of the southeastern US. I would be that productive and seditious.So keep trying.
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