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Did I get it right?

Do you have a translation question?

Did I get it right?

Postby espen180 » Sun 11.29.2009 2:13 pm

Sentence to translate:
How long will she stay today?

My attempt:
今日は彼女が何時までにここでいますか。

Alternatively:
今日は彼女がいつまでにここでいますか。
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Re: Did I get it right?

Postby magamo » Sun 11.29.2009 5:46 pm

espen180 wrote:Sentence to translate:
How long will she stay today?

My attempt:
今日は彼女が何時までにここでいますか。

Alternatively:
今日は彼女がいつまでにここでいますか。

Grammatically speaking, 今日は彼女が何時までここにいますか。or 今日は彼女がいつまでここにいますか。is much better (までに -> まで and ここで -> ここに). These sentences are often used when you imply "I don't want her to be here today," "I want her to be here longer than usual," "Yesterday she left very early. I wonder how long she will stay here today," and so on.

If you want to make it more neutral, you can say 今日彼女は何時までここにいますか。or 今日彼女はいつまでここにいますか。As you can see, は and が are important when it comes to meaning, nuance, connotation, and implication.

今日彼女いつまでいるかな?, 今日彼女何時までいる? etc. are casual versions of the neutral alternatives in spoken language.

The English sentence "How long will she stay today? " can have various nuances/implications depending on context and your tone of voice. So its translation can vary depending on what you mean by the sentence.
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Re: Did I get it right?

Postby espen180 » Sun 11.29.2009 5:57 pm

分かりました。

What then is the difference between the で and に particle? It seems to me that they both specify location/time of an action, though with more freedom when using the で particle.

For example, which of these is more correct, or do they have different meanings?
(1) ここで待ってください。
(2) ここに待ってください。
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Re: Did I get it right?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 11.29.2009 6:20 pm

で indicates an action done at a location.
に generally indicates static location (or movement to a place, etc.)

There are some exceptions but that's a good general rule. 待つ is a little tricky because native speakers use both に and で; probably because whether 待つ indicates an action or a marking of a static location like いる is a grey area.
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Re: Did I get it right?

Postby magamo » Sun 11.29.2009 7:27 pm

espen180 wrote:分かりました。

What then is the difference between the で and に particle? It seems to me that they both specify location/time of an action, though with more freedom when using the で particle.

For example, which of these is more correct, or do they have different meanings?
(1) ここで待ってください。
(2) ここに待ってください。

Your Japanese teacher would say (2) is wrong.

There are too many usages and meanings of て and に, so it's impossible to list them here. I don't think it would help understand them either, so I'll only explain the difference in the examples you gave and focus on similar cases.

ここで待つ is much more common, and you can always say it this way. If you say ここに待つ, it sounds like ここ is very important and implies the speaker's stronger will. You could sound pretentious too. This is a tricky usage, and probably it'd be considered an error in standardized tests like JLPT. Since ってください doesn't match this pretentious tone, it's quite unusual to say ここに待ってください.

In general, this kind of に with the (place)に(verb) structure gives the impression that you're mentally focusing on the place and that the place has a deep relation to the action of the verb.

I think Yudan's rule is a good simple explanation that works in many cases. But it seems that what's actually happening in native speakers' minds is that this kind of に evokes a stronger sense of relation/association between the place and the verb.

Here are some examples of ここに and ここで:

ここに野球場をつくる. (build a baseball stadium here) -> you use に because "here" and "build a stadium" has a deep relation in the sense that the place becomes the stadium, which people will refer to when asked what the place is like.

ここで野球をする (play baseball here) -> you use で because the place is just a temporal place where you play baseball. It's not particularly for baseball in general.

野球をする場所をここにする (decide that we play baseball here) -> you use に because the place is important and is considered to be "THE" place where you play baseball. It's your personal place for baseball. It might be temporal, but it's the personal place for baseball at least this time.

ここに眠る (rest in peace) -> you use に because "here" is someone's final resting place. His body has been, is, and will be here forever.

ここで眠る (sleep here) -> Usually this 眠る is taken as the usual "sleep" like "go to bed," "fall asleep," and so on.

ここで死ぬ (die here) -> you use で because it's just a simple statement that you die here.

ここに死ぬ ("die here" with emphasis on the place/situation where you die) -> you use に for obvious reasons. As is the case with ここに待つ, it could sound pretentious and exaggerated. But someone's death is usually kind of extreme, so unlike ここに待つ, your teacher might say it's correct.

As I said earlier, there is much more than this when it comes to に and で. So don't think this is the only rule governing their usages. You can never ever speak or write natural Japanese if you rely on grammar and/or explanations. This kind of thing is useful only when you're trying to get the gist of what native speakers are saying.
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Re: Did I get it right?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 11.29.2009 7:52 pm

magamo wrote:ここに野球場をつくる. (build a baseball stadium here) -> you use に because "here" and "build a stadium" has a deep relation in the sense that the place becomes the stadium, which people will refer to when asked what the place is like.


I think this can also be viewed as the static location に, in a sense.

野球をする場所をここにする (decide that we play baseball here) -> you use に because the place is important and is considered to be "THE" place where you play baseball. It's your personal place for baseball. It might be temporal, but it's the personal place for baseball at least this time.


This is a different に, isn't it? This is like the すしにする or 火曜日にする.

You can never ever speak or write natural Japanese if you rely on grammar and/or explanations. This kind of thing is useful only when you're trying to get the gist of what native speakers are saying.


In my experience that is not true at all; the rules are also useful for making sense of fine distinctions that you otherwise might not pick up on just from observation, provided the rules are well-written.
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Re: Did I get it right?

Postby magamo » Sun 11.29.2009 9:49 pm

@Yudan

Yep. It's just another explanation from another perspective. Actually different dictionaries/grammar books classify usages of the selfsame word in different ways. I'm not saying you're wrong or anything. It's a very versatile rule, I think. But if you want a general explanation why the verbs in ここで眠る and ここに眠る are usually taken in a different way or what kind of difference there is between ここで死ぬ and ここに死ぬ, it seems that you need more than the simple static vs. action rule. Obviously an accurate grammatical explanation should be based on all the standard usages of で and に as particles (more precisely as 格助詞), but one of my J-J dictionaries list 43 usages for で as 格助詞. And It doesn't seem to be helpful to give a detailed answer based on full-fledged Japanese grammar. My explanation is just one of general rules that work for a certain kind of case.

As for the usefulness of grammar, I agree that it's great to make sense of certain distinctions. But I think professional writers/novelists/whatever are better at taking advantage of finer points in language than linguists with astounding knowledge of grammar. Like I said, it helps you understand the target language to an extent. But it doesn't seem to me that grammar is for output. I think it's for input and editing work. Professional writers still need language editors, who know grammar and stuff better. But they're better at exploiting "fine distinctions" than editors, I think.

To me it seems what you said only means it's good for input. It doesn't seem you proved it's directly beneficial to output:
Yudan Taiteki wrote:the rules are also useful for making sense of fine distinctions that you otherwise might not pick up on just from observation, provided the rules are well-written.


I'm not sure what kind of subtlety you mean by "fine distinction," but I think grammar and explanations are similar to a dictionary and thesaurus. I'm of the opinion that if you need a thesaurus to use a word, it means you don't have a very firm grasp of it. Your dictionary teaches you what a word means, but it's just a verbalized rough approximation. Of course, grammatical explanations teach you how a language works to some extent. It's a great learning tool, and I also think you need them to refine your skills. But it seems to me that it's a stepping stone at best.

If your definition of "fine distinction" means something you can learn from definitions of words in authoritative dictionaries and grammar books, then I think grammar is very useful to make sense of "fine distinctions." But I believe natural human language has much more than that. But then again, some people say translation/writing using grammar can produce not only grammatically correct speech/text, but also natural prose and whatnot. Maybe rough "fine distinctions" are enough. Obviously it depends on what the OP really want to do too. I think its use is very limited when it comes to output though.
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Re: Did I get it right?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 11.29.2009 11:55 pm

I don't think it's a matter of either/or. You need explanations/rules + exposure. Most learners are not perceptive enough to learn native speaker usage completely just by reading or listening.
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Re: Did I get it right?

Postby magamo » Mon 11.30.2009 12:04 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:I don't think it's a matter of either/or. You need explanations/rules + exposure. Most learners are not perceptive enough to learn native speaker usage completely just by reading or listening.

I didn't say you don't need grammar though. I said I don't think it works well if you use it to speak and write. Did I sound like I meant either/or? If so, that's not what I was trying to say.
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Re: Did I get it right?

Postby Harisenbon » Mon 11.30.2009 12:36 am

magamo wrote:You can never ever speak or write natural Japanese if you rely on grammar and/or explanations. This kind of thing is useful only when you're trying to get the gist of what native speakers are saying.


magamo wrote:I didn't say you don't need grammar though. I said I don't think it works well if you use it to speak and write. Did I sound like I meant either/or? If so, that's not what I was trying to say.


That sounds pretty much like what you said. =)

How does grammar not work well for speaking and writing?
I find that recommending to new learners not to rely on grammatical rules because "you'll never be able to speak natural Japanese like that" is a rather dangerous position to take...
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Re: Did I get it right?

Postby magamo » Mon 11.30.2009 12:54 am

I see. I thought my intention was clear because this thread is about "English to Japanese translation" and it seems what the OP is doing is using grammar rules to form an equivalent sentence in a foreign language, which I don't think would produce natural-sounding language in general. The following sentence is to mean explanations like I just posted have some benefit if you use it properly to improve reading and listening skills, which would indirectly improve speaking and writing skills.

Sorry for my poor wording.
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Re: Did I get it right?

Postby espen180 » Wed 12.02.2009 6:21 pm

Thank you for your replies. I learned a lot from your posts. :)
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