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A few questions

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A few questions

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Wed 07.22.2009 7:45 pm

I finished going through the chapter 3 exercises the other day, but I had to skip a few things because I didn't quite understand.

It seems the verb する is more flexible than I would have thought. For example, I wouldn't have expected スポーツをします to mean "I play sports." Anyway, at one point (I-E for those who have the book) there is a table where the first column is a list of verbs and then each verb has a row of "items," as the book says, that you have to ask about using said verb.

The last row has the following:

~をします | date | study | telephone | tennis

I'm not really sure how to use the verb with most of these. I could make the following questions:

デートをしませんか。
でんわをしませんか。
テニスをしませんか。

The last one makes sense to me. The others don't. As for study, I know the verb 勉強する, but I don't know a noun that I could use to create a question similar to the ones above.

Ok, that's my first inquiry. The other two are shorter. First:

朝、何をしますか。

I can understand what the question is asking, but why separate 朝 with a comma instead of making it the topic of the sentence using -は?

Finally, I looked ahead to chapter 5 today and saw that 聞く means "to ask," as well meaning "to listen," which I learned in chapter 3.

I just want to clarify a couple things. Am I correct about the following meanings:

音楽を聞きました。 ⇒ I listened to music. (I don't really have doubts about this one)
あなた聞きました。 ⇒ I listened to you.
あなたききました。 ⇒ I asked you.

Sorry for the long post. Thanks in advance!
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Re: A few questions

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 07.22.2009 8:31 pm

lonelytraveler8 wrote:I finished going through the chapter 3 exercises the other day, but I had to skip a few things because I didn't quite understand.

It seems the verb する is more flexible than I would have thought. For example, I wouldn't have expected スポーツをします to mean "I play sports." Anyway, at one point (I-E for those who have the book) there is a table where the first column is a list of verbs and then each verb has a row of "items," as the book says, that you have to ask about using said verb.

The last row has the following:

~をします | date | study | telephone | tennis

I'm not really sure how to use the verb with most of these. I could make the following questions:

デートをしませんか。
でんわをしませんか。
テニスをしませんか。

The last one makes sense to me. The others don't. As for study, I know the verb 勉強する, but I don't know a noun that I could use to create a question similar to the ones above.


In general, noun + する has a very wide range of uses. As you mention, it's flexible.

I guess they want 勉強をしませんか? My feeling is that 勉強する is more common than 勉強をする, but they're both possible. They don't really have different meanings.

朝、何をしますか。

I can understand what the question is asking, but why separate 朝 with a comma instead of making it the topic of the sentence using -は?


That is an option, but it's not necessary. The comma just indicates a pause in speech.

音楽を聞きました。 ⇒ I listened to music. (I don't really have doubts about this one)
あなた聞きました。 ⇒ I listened to you.
あなたききました。 ⇒ I asked you.


I think that's right.
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Re: A few questions

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Wed 07.22.2009 10:29 pm

Thanks for the reply. It was very helpful having all that cleared up.

I just realized that I wrote all my questions in my first post wrong. They're fine as they are, I suppose, but I meant to use ~ますか rather than ~ませんか.

Yudan Taiteki wrote:I guess they want 勉強をしませんか? My feeling is that 勉強する is more common than 勉強をする, but they're both possible. They don't really have different meanings.


That's odd. I can only assume that 勉強 is a noun that means study without looking it up. It was taught as a verb, and I don't have any knowledge of converting a verb into a noun. I also don't see why one would use 勉強をする instead of 勉強する, but for some reason I feel a little comforted knowing that such an alternative exists.
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Re: A few questions

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 07.22.2009 10:58 pm

lonelytraveler8 wrote:That's odd. I can only assume that 勉強 is a noun that means study without looking it up. It was taught as a verb, and I don't have any knowledge of converting a verb into a noun.


It's really the other way around; you make a noun into a verb by adding する.

I also don't see why one would use 勉強をする instead of 勉強する, but for some reason I feel a little comforted knowing that such an alternative exists.


Actually the issue of nounをする vs. nounする is extremely complicated and is not fully understood even by linguists, so it's not something you need to worry greatly about. The difference, if one exists, is very small.

The only thing you do have to know is that you cannot have two を in one sentence, so you can say 日本語(にほんご)を勉強する but not *日本語を勉強をする.
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Re: A few questions

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Wed 07.22.2009 11:21 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:It's really the other way around; you make a noun into a verb by adding する.


That makes sense, but it's not generally such a simple matter to get a verb, is it? That's a poorly phrased question, so no need to really answer it.

Yudan Taiteki wrote:The only thing you do have to know is that you cannot have two を in one sentence, so you can say 日本語(にほんご)を勉強する but not *日本語を勉強をする.


Actually, that makes sense to me. I understand を as a means to denote the direct object of the sentence. To have more than one would contradict the point of a direct object.

I have another quick question. What does 日本語を勉強する mean? I'm not familiar with the use of a non-conjugated verb.
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Re: A few questions

Postby Sairana » Wed 07.22.2009 11:33 pm

lonelytraveler8 wrote:I have another quick question. What does 日本語を勉強する mean? I'm not familiar with the use of a non-conjugated verb.


From your first post:
lonelytraveler8 wrote:It seems the verb する is more flexible than I would have thought. For example, I wouldn't have expected スポーツをします to mean "I play sports."


I can safely assume you already know する = します?

Is it easier if it reads: 日本語を勉強します?
日本語 にほんご
勉強  べんきょう
する・します
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Re: A few questions

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Thu 07.23.2009 12:03 am

Well. Yes...

I just didn't know if 勉強する should be used differently than 勉強します. It seems to be it would be pretty pointless to have the conjugation if they meant the same thing...
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Re: A few questions

Postby becki_kanou » Thu 07.23.2009 2:24 am

The difference between する and します is one of politeness/formality rather than tense/etc. They mean the same thing, but which you use depends on the situation and on your relationship with the person you're speaking to.
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Re: A few questions

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Thu 07.23.2009 2:34 am

Oh! That makes sense. Thank you very much!
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Re: A few questions

Postby Sairana » Thu 07.23.2009 3:26 am

*skims Genki through Chapter 3*
*boggles*

I never even noticed that it doesn't bother to tell you the difference between dictionary form and ~masu/desu speech. What an annoying omission. It's one of the first things students encounter. Fail on the part of an otherwise excellent resource. Maybe they figure the teacher in a class would fill in that info?
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Re: A few questions

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Thu 07.23.2009 3:29 am

Is there any chance you could expand on that point a little bit or maybe link me to a resource on it. I'm not entirely sure what I might be missing, so I'd be flying blind in a search.
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Re: A few questions

Postby phreadom » Thu 07.23.2009 4:35 am

Sairana wrote:*skims Genki through Chapter 3*
*boggles*

I never even noticed that it doesn't bother to tell you the difference between dictionary form and ~masu/desu speech. What an annoying omission. It's one of the first things students encounter. Fail on the part of an otherwise excellent resource. Maybe they figure the teacher in a class would fill in that info?


Then I think you skimmed a little too quickly... ;)

In the second sentence of Chapter 3, it reads: "In this lesson, we learn three forms: (1) the "dictionary forms," (2) the present tense affirmative forms, and (3) the present tense negative forms.1"

If you notice the little 1 at the end pointing you to the footnote and follow that down to the bottom of the page, you notice the footnote that reads:
1The use of the term "dictionary forms" is by no means restricted to listings in a dictionary. They also appear in various constructions in actual sentences. We will learn their uses in later chapters. Don't be misled by the names given to the long forms too; the "present tense" in Japanese can indicate both the "present" and the "future." We will return to this issue in Section 2 below. For the moment, we will concentrate on the forms, not the meaning of these verbs.


Now as I'm currently stuck in Chapter 6, I don't think I've gotten to the point where they cover this more in-depth. I could be mistaken though as I know I've about this and heard about this other places... so it wasn't as important to me as I already knew it... but I just wanted to point out that they do note that there is a difference and that they will get around to covering it in more detail. :)

Expression Notes (9) on page 160 covers ~する a bit more as it relates to nouns and irregular verbs.

As a matter of fact, starting on page 154 of Chapter 8, we actually dig into these forms directly, as Chapter 8 is specifically about "short forms", which the footnote clarifies as:

1Various names have been given to this paradigm. They include "plain forms," "informal forms," and "direct style." Long forms, on the other hand, are often called "polite forms," "formal forms," and "distal style."


I think they cover it in a slightly more nuanced way than to simply drop it early on as something like "dictionary forms can be used informally" and choose rather to hold off for a bit until they can cover it more accurately and thoroughly in a later chapter. :)

I ♥ my Genki book! :D I felt the need to defend it a little. ;) hehe
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Re: A few questions

Postby Sairana » Thu 07.23.2009 5:19 am

Well, I always support Genki as the first choice for a student (as long as they get the audio, too!)

So I'm not really bashing on the textbook itself. I just would have expected it to just say in some form early on "the ~masu conjugation is for polite speech. We will cover how to speak informally later" or some such. Instead it just leads you to believe ~masu is the present and/or habitual state conjugation, which... I don't know. That just seems like they went too far to the simple side there.

I never noticed it because it's just one of those things I picked up long before I got my hands on Genki.

@lonelytraveler
The elaboration is pretty simple, becki actually already did it for you. ~masu/desu is standard polite speech... the kind of speech you'd use with someone you just met, with your teacher, etc. Speaking plainly involves not conjugating into ~masu form or using desu at the ends of sentences. This is mostly used among friends, family members, etc. Aside from the politeness level, as Becki said, it's meaning remains unchanged.

Genki WILL cover both. ^_^
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Re: A few questions

Postby phreadom » Thu 07.23.2009 5:40 am

I'm glad to have the main Genki I book, the answer book (which covers both I and II), and the workbook and audio disk for I. :) I haven't really used the workbook or the audio disk. :( I really should, but I tend to hear a lot of audio in the J-dramas I watch, and I can't bring myself to write in the workbook. :P Maybe if I had a photocopier... :mrgreen:

I think the plain/polite thing was also something I just sort of picked up in my general learning... but you're right in that it would probably be nice to have it put a little more clearly early on, at least as a side note. :)
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