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Wa??

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Wa??

Postby tigerstripe88 » Sat 01.31.2009 3:12 pm

Ok so Im a very basic begginer and im trying to work out why people seem to be using はas a wa instead of ゎ in sentences such as

Kore wa ringo desu
これほりんど

(I think thats right but feel free to correct)

EDIT: While Im here can anyone tell me the difference between the 2 ji's, ja's, jo's and ju's

Thanks in advance
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Re: Wa??

Postby kurisuto » Sat 01.31.2009 4:14 pm

tigerstripe88 wrote:Ok so Im a very basic begginer and im trying to work out why people seem to be using はas a wa instead of ゎ in sentences such as

Kore wa ringo desu
これほりんど

(I think thats right but feel free to correct)

EDIT: While Im here can anyone tell me the difference between the 2 ji's, ja's, jo's and ju's

Thanks in advance


That's just how it is : "wa", only when marking the theme of the sentence, is written は. Don't have to think about, really, it's just how it is (it comes from classical Japanese, but it doesn't really matter).

And Kore wa ringo desu is これ は りんご です (you wrote "kore ho rindo")

What do you mean ? Are you talking just about hiragana ? Then there are only different "ji", and in fact, different "zu". They are pronounced the same way as the regular "ji" and "zu", but you often have to use them in a word where a "ji" follows another "ji" (or "zu"/"zu"), like つづける (pronounced つずける) and ちぢむ (pronounced ちじむ), but also in other words like さかづき (it comes from classical Japanese too, where these syllables where pronounced differently from one another. It meant that the original sound was voiced, whereas today じ is not the voiced counterpart of し, but again it doesn't really matter : they're the same).
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Re: Wa??

Postby richvh » Sat 01.31.2009 4:54 pm

During the language reform carried out in the late 1940s, it was decided that 3 particles would continue to be written as they historically had, despite their pronunciation having changed. These three are the topic/contrastive particle は (pronounced wa), the directional particle へ (pronounced e) and the object particle を (pronounced o).

As for じ/ぢ and ず/づ, originally they had different pronunciations, but over the centuries they have consolidated, and are now pronounced the same. (In some dialects, there may still be a slight difference in pronunciation.) じ and ず are almost always used, save where a voiced follows the same, but unvoiced, sound (e.g., つづく、ちぢめる) or where an unvoiced つ or ち becomes voiced in a compound (e.g., 三日月(みかづき) where 月(つき) has become voiced.) Even then, if the base meaning of the kanji isn't retained in the compound, じ or ず will be substituted.

Despite these slight irregularities, spelling in kana is is immensely easier than English spelling. (Kanji is a whole 'nother keg of worms, of course.)
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Re: Wa??

Postby Morrow » Fri 02.06.2009 11:44 pm

kurisuto wrote:
tigerstripe88 wrote:Kore wa ringo desu
これほりんど


(1) これ、リンゴです/This is an apple.
(2) kore wa ringo des(u).

The simple answer is that "は" is a topic marker. Of course, you have to say "ha" but not "wa" in "春(haru)/spring." But you can safely say that you pronouce "は" as "ha" when a word begins with "は," as in "花(hana)/flower," "橋(hashi)/bridge" and "肌(hada)/skin," and that "ha" only appears at the beginnig of a word.

It is interesting to note that some Japanese people wrongly write "こんにち." Since "ha" doesn't appear at any other place than the beginning of a word, "wa" should be the right form. But historically, "こんにち" is a "short" form of something like "こんにち、よいお天気で." In other words, "は" here serves as a topic marker: Talking of today, it is a fine day.

As you expect, "は" and "わ" were differently pronouced in the old days, but nowadays, you pronouce "は" as "wa" so long as it is a marker that shows the role that a noun phrase has in a sentence.

"は" as a marker has two roles to play: topic marker and contrastive marker. This is a contrastive marker of "は."

(3) JohnもMaryも私のplanには賛成したが、Beth反対だった。
   John and Mary were for my plan but Beth was against it.

I must admit, however, that it can be difficult to distinguish a topic marker "は" and " a contrastive marker "は." Some people (or more women than men) always detect the contrastive function when the speaker intends to mean the other one. So you could, especially if you are male, risk being heard wrongly.

(4) A: 今日のカレーおいしいね。(Today's curry is good: Talking of today's curry, it is good.)
B: いつもまずいカレーで悪かったわね。(I'm sorry I always served you awful curry: What I heard is that I served you good curry today but regrettably it doesn't always happen to you.)
A: ...

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