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you know how...?

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you know how...?

Postby shin1ro » Sun 12.06.2009 6:39 am

皆さん、いつもお世話になっております。

私は英会話を習っていて教科書に出てきたことなのですが、
失敗をして謝る場合には、はじめに英語で
  Hi. Have you got a minute? Um, you know how you lent me your camera?
というふうに、すぐに話題を言わずに、導入部を話す、というのがありました。
ここで、you know how...? という部分のニュアンスが、よくわかりません。

もし相手に借りたことを思い出してもらうための言葉なら、「貸したことを覚えていますか」と言うと思うのですが、
なぜ、「『どうやって』私に貸したか?」 と聞いているのでしょう?

よろしくお願いいたします。

Hi all,
I go to English conversation school and I encountered a page in my textbook about an apologizing situation.
The textbook says when I made a mistake and want to apologize, don't directly enter into the topic and start speaking with an introduction such as:
  Hi. Have you got a minute? Um, you know how you lent me your camera?
And I don't know the nuance of the last part "you know how....?"

If you want to have someone remember you lent his camera, I think the appropriate expression would be "do you remember you lent me your camera?" But here, why he asks "*how* you lent me your camera?"

(I know I should have asked at the school but my question has been growing after the lesson...)

regards,

-shin1ro
英語がおかしければご指摘ください(日本語も...)。サンキュ〜 ;-)
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Re: you know how...?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 12.06.2009 10:54 am

この"you know how"は「どうやって」じゃなくて、ただトピックを紹介する表現。「カメラを貸したんですね」みたい。
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Re: you know how...?

Postby pm215 » Sun 12.06.2009 11:05 am

This is a bit hard to explain, but I'll have a go.
Firstly, this 'how' doesn't mean 「どうやって」. It's about the same meaning as "that", but "you know how" feels more natural than "you know that" in this context. As Yudantaiteki says, it's probably better just to remember 'you know how' as a phrase.

"do you remember" has a nuance that the other person might have actually forgotten about it, so you could use it if you'd borrowed the camera six months ago, but not in the more usual situation.
(for example: "Do you remember how you lent me that camera last year? Well, I found it while I was tidying up yesterday, and I wondered if you wanted it back...")

(日本語でも書いてみましたが、たぶん間違えだらけです。すみません!)

これはちょっと説明しにくいと思いますが、やってみます :)
まず、この "how" に 「どうやって」という意味がありません。"that"とだいたい同じ意味ですが、"you know how"はこの文脈で "you know that"よりもっと自然な言い方だと思います。Yudantaitekiさんのいうとおり、'you know how' をそのままで覚えたほうがいいかもしりません。

"do you remember"の方は「相手が本当に忘れたかな」というニュアンスがあるので、カメラを借りたのは半年前だったら使えますが、普通は使いません。
(たとえば: "Do you remember how you lent me that camera last year? Well, I found it while I was tidying up yesterday, and I wondered if you wanted it back...")
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Re: you know how...?

Postby Hyperworm » Sun 12.06.2009 11:09 am

Another variation is simply "you know ~", as in "You know[=remember] you lent me your camera?"

Also, this use of "how" only works in very specific sentence structures and with correct stress.

In "Do you know how you lent me your camera?", emphasis on "do", "know", or "how" breaks it and makes "how" into どうやって. Even the presence of "do" almost breaks it by itself. Emphasis on "camera" works though.
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Re: you know how...?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 12.06.2009 12:49 pm

Hyperworm wrote:Another variation is simply "you know ~", as in "You know[=remember] you lent me your camera?"


To me this is different from "you know how you lent me your camera?" or it just doesn't sound completely natural...but that could just be dialect difference.
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Re: you know how...?

Postby phreadom » Sun 12.06.2009 1:20 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
Hyperworm wrote:Another variation is simply "you know ~", as in "You know[=remember] you lent me your camera?"


To me this is different from "you know how you lent me your camera?" or it just doesn't sound completely natural...but that could just be dialect difference.


Same here. (I know that doesn't offer much to the conversation, but I just wanted to say that it also sounds completely different to me as well. I'd be tempted to record a sample of such a sentence... like "You know how you lent me your camera? Well... um... I kinda dropped it in the lake...")

As someone already said... "You know you lent me your camera?" would be like reminding the person specifically that they'd lent you their camera and forgotten. That would be pretty much the point of the sentence and it would stand alone.

"You know you lent me your camera, right? Just reminding you."

"You know how you lent me your camera?" is more specifically as an opening to lead into a further explanation... merely drawing attention to the fact that both parties are aware that you have the camera, and simply setting the subject of the sentence to follow.

"You know how you lent me your camera? Well, I kind of broke it... sorry..."

The first sentence is fine by itself. The second sentence would expect a further explanation.
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Re: you know how...?

Postby Hyperworm » Sun 12.06.2009 1:23 pm

It seems that without the "how" the sentence has wider application (reminding), but I still think it can be used the same way as the sentence containing "how".

Perhaps I should change my native language profile setting to read "British English"... ^^;
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Re: you know how...?

Postby phreadom » Sun 12.06.2009 1:28 pm

I'm not saying it couldn't be used that way. I think it has a lot to do with the tone of how actually say the sentence.

"You know you lent me your camera.. ? Well... I broke it by accident..." would probably sound fine if the tone matched the other way of saying it.

I just wouldn't expect to hear it said that way... I would hear it as a reminder, not a lead in to a further explanation like the other way of saying it. It would make sense once they continued on with the explanation... but initially I would think they were reminding me for the sake of reminding me, not because they wanted to establish that fact before moving on to a further explanation.
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Re: you know how...?

Postby IceCream » Sun 12.06.2009 2:42 pm

Hyperworm wrote:Another variation is simply "you know ~", as in "You know[=remember] you lent me your camera?"

This sounds totally natural to me too, so maybe it is a British English vs. American English thing...
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Re: you know how...?

Postby magamo » Sun 12.06.2009 4:53 pm

I learned English as a foreign language, so I can't explain it like native speakers. But I guess it might be interesting to know how a native Japanese speaker sees the "You know how..." phrase because it could reveal some fundamental difference between Japanese and English, and it might help Japanese learners in a way.

As native speakers already said, probably the "you know how" phrase is kind of a set phrase. But I guess there is a reason why "how" appears in the idiomatic expression. I kind of think people say it because the word "how" has something to do with "story," "description," "explanation," "process," and so on.

To me, the "you know how you lent me your camera" version sounds like the speaker is kind of picturing a short story in his mind and has something to add (Most likely he's going to tell what happened.). The listener thinks the speaker is thinking, for example, "I asked if you could lend me your camera. You said yes, and I took some pictures. And I'm supposed to return it today. But [Insert what happened next]."

But it seems to me that when native English speakers say the "you know you lent me your camera" version, i.e., the how-less version, they're simply stating the fact without clearly picturing the situation where they borrowed the camera.

For instance, if you're going to say sorry because you broke his camera, probably you're sort of thinking about how this happened. You want an opening that kind of implies/explains the situation where you borrowed the camera. And you explain what happened after that, then you say sorry. If my theory is right, I think "you know how..." is a good opening expression in this kind of situation because it evokes the situation in the listener's mind. Or you could say the speaker tends to use the how version because he has the situation in his mind, which sort of automatically makes him want to say "how."

But when you remind someone that he lent you his camera, you only need to state the fact. So you simply say "You know you lent me the camera." I'm guessing this sentence doesn't have the situation-evoking effect.

Actually, I think this "story in your mind" effect is the function of "how + [clause]" in general. For example, "What do you know?" is basically asking the listener about a fact or the very thing he knows. The answer should be a fact or a thing he knows unless it's a rhetorical question. But "How do you know?" is asking the listener to explain why he knows the topic (or rhetorically saying, "You don't know it."), i.e., the answer should be a short story explaining why he knows it.

"What is this?," "Who are you?" etc. are asking you to tell a fact. "How is it working?" "How are you?" etc. are asking you to give a short description.

I think "how + [clause]" evokes an abstract story, description, etc. about the [clause], and if it's a question, you reply by a verbalized version of its impression etc.

So I think the difference between "You know you lent me your camera" and "You know how you lent me your camera" is kind of similar to the slight difference between these two Japanese sentences:

彼女にカメラ貸したよね。
彼女にカメラ貸してあげたよね。

Technically the only difference is that the latter has the nuance that "It was kind of you." But this tends to imply that the speaker is kind of picturing the situation in his mind where the listener lent the camera to her while the former expression doesn't have this effect. You can use either of them when you simply want to remind the fact, so the difference isn't as big, I think. But I think the latter is more common as a opening phrase when you explain what happened after that. It's like when you give a further explanation, you're thinking about the situation. And if you think it was nice of him, you most likely choose the latter sentence without thinking about it. Of course, you wouldn't use the latter sentence even when you're clearly picturing the situation if you don't think he was kind at all.

I could be totally wrong on this one because English isn't my mother tongue, but this is what I think of the "you know how" expression.
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Re: you know how...?

Postby Infidel » Sun 12.06.2009 5:53 pm

Obviously I can't comment on British English, but.

"You know how" is asking the listener to recall not just the act, but the surrounding reasons and expectations at the time. It also indicates that some further explanation is going to follow that relates to those expectations and reasons. Even if those expectations and reasons weren't stated. For example, it is an unstated expectation that when we borrow something we know the lender expects it back in the same condition, so if we are returning something in a different condition, we might start to inform the lender of this by starting with a "You know how..." It can be good, but is bad often enough that when I hear this phrase, I start waiting for the other shoe to drop. Very rarely do you hear, "You know how you lent me the camera? Well it didn't work, so when I opened it up to find out why, I discovered that in place of the film cartridge, there was a wad of money inside."

"You know that" indicates that everything is going according to expectations. Someone lends me a camera for three weeks, then after a week asks me about the camera, so I say, "You know that you lent me the camera for three weeks right?" (i.e. stop bugging me)
Last edited by Infidel on Sun 12.06.2009 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: you know how...?

Postby IceCream » Sun 12.06.2009 5:56 pm

its a good theory, and might work well for american english, but in british english, there really is no difference between "you know" and "you know how" in this context, in my mind. They are almost totally interchangeable.

It has everything to do with tone of voice.

it kind of goes:
you know how you lent me your camera?
___---------------------------------------__
With the "you" with a low tone, and the last syllable of "camera" with a lower tone than the rest.

it is exactly the same with
"you know you leant me your camera?"
____-----------------------------------__

When you want the person to know that something bad is coming, put an extra stress on the "how" (if you've used it), and keep the "ra" going low, without the questioning rise. When i'm asking for an extension of the loan, the "ra" would have the more questioning rise. I would also use either "you know how you" or "you know you" for good situations too... "you know how you / you know you lent me your camera? Look at these photos i took!" It would be the same tone i use for an extension of the loan, with the more questioning "ra". But, if i'm saying something bad, i would say it all slightly slower than if im saying something good.

If you just want to remind someone, the tone is totally different:
You know you lent me your camera?
___-------___________________
---
with a big stress on "know". its the same intonation as it would be if you tagged "don't you?" on the end. You wouldn't use "how" in this case pretty much ever.
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Re: you know how...?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 12.06.2009 8:49 pm

I did want to point out that at least for me, "you know how..." doesn't have to lead to a negative conclusion, just an unexpected one.

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Re: you know how...?

Postby chikara » Sun 12.06.2009 10:10 pm

IceCream wrote:
Hyperworm wrote:Another variation is simply "you know ~", as in "You know[=remember] you lent me your camera?"

This sounds totally natural to me too, so maybe it is a British English vs. American English thing...

Which one is which :?

I hear both but personally I would include "how". That is probably more to do with my age than what is today considered "correct" English. A phrase I hear very commonly is "you know we said we ......" we someone is discussing something previously agreed on.
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Re: you know how...?

Postby shin1ro » Mon 12.07.2009 10:30 am

うひゃぁ...\(@x@)/ (突然くだけてますが suddenly I become casual)

ありがとう皆さん!
とてもすぐには読みきれませんけど!(笑)

Thanks guys!!!
I can't read that much soon!! LOL
But just at the first glance, the shortest Yudan's message seems very nice to me :-) Thanks!
Also pm215's Japanese is excellent (well, only one minor typo, かもしれません) and helps me thoroughly. Especially the difference between "do you remember" is very much meaningful to me!!! Thanks!

My dictionary has a phrase "..., you know." as [単に間を持たせるために用いて] ...ね, よ, さ.
I thought this seems close but maybe it's not exactly the same phrase (especially with "how" attached)...

-shin1ro
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