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Topic marker in context of passive sentence

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Topic marker in context of passive sentence

Postby pbj005 » Thu 01.21.2010 5:39 am

I am puzzled over the particle used in forming of passive sentence.
For example.

毎年12月に試験行われます。
Can wa be used here ?

この本よく学生に読まれています。
How come wa and not ga is used here ?

私のカメラ弟に壊されました。
Is it the same meaning if i rearranged the structure like this:
弟にカメラ壊されました。

子供が泣かれて、お母さんは困りました。
I was blown away by this sentence.
Do it means the same as:
お母さんは子供に泣かれて困りました。

I would like to know when to use wa and when to use ga ?

I understand that passive verb has a negative implication to the topic marker.
so does following sentence translates into...

雨が降られて、服がぬれてしまいました。
It rained and my clothes got wet.
I got web because it rained.
I got wet as i got rained on.

These are few of my interpretations.
Someone please correct me.
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Re: Topic marker in context of passive sentence

Postby chikara » Thu 01.21.2010 10:31 pm

pbj005 wrote:毎年12月に試験行われます。
Can wa be used here ?

No, が is not a topic marker in this sentence it is an object marker.

pbj005 wrote:この本よく学生に読まれています。
How come wa and not ga is used here ?

は is used here as the topic marker. If が was used この本 would be the subject of the sentence and the emphasis would change. With は the emphasis is on the book but with が the emphasis would be on the students reading.

Someone more knowledgeable can hopefully explain the distinction between topic and subject. :blush:

pbj005 wrote:私のカメラ弟に壊されました。
Is it the same meaning if i rearranged the structure like this:
弟にカメラ壊されました。

No, but the meaning of the first sentence is unclear to me. Where did you get this sentence?Are you trying to say "your younger brother broke your camera"?

In the original your camera (私のカメラ) is the topic while in your rearranged sentence you (私)are the topic. The rearranged sentence makes more sense.
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Re: Topic marker in context of passive sentence

Postby Harisenbon » Fri 01.22.2010 12:43 am

chikara wrote:In the original your camera (私のカメラ) is the topic while in your rearranged sentence you (私)are the topic. The rearranged sentence makes more sense.


Really? I feel the opposite. The sentence isn't saying "My brother broke my camera" He's saying "My camera was broken by my brother" 私のカメラは弟に壊された.

The re-arranged sentence is using the passive 壊された with the direct-object marker を, which doesn't work in Japanese. At least it looks really wonky to me.
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Re: Topic marker in context of passive sentence

Postby chikara » Fri 01.22.2010 12:53 am

Harisenbon wrote:Really? I feel the opposite. The sentence isn't saying "My brother broke my camera" He's saying "My camera was broken by my brother" 私のカメラは弟に壊された.

The re-arranged sentence is using the passive 壊された with the direct-object marker を, which doesn't work in Japanese. At least it looks really wonky to me.

OK, thanks. :blush:
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Re: Topic marker in context of passive sentence

Postby JaySee » Fri 01.22.2010 2:07 am

It's not at all uncommon to see 'wo' used in passive sentences. It turns the sentence into a 迷惑の受け身 (meiwaku no ukemi), and is used in contexts associated with negative feelings.

私は雨に降られた
私は泥棒に財布を盗まれた

etc.

I'm not a native speaker, but I don't particularly see anything wrong with 私は弟にカメラを壊されました.
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Re: Topic marker in context of passive sentence

Postby tōkai devotee » Fri 01.22.2010 2:39 am

JaySee wrote:I don't particularly see anything wrong with 私は弟にカメラを壊されました.


Me too!
It's been a long time since I studied the passive, and I'm feeling that 'wo' is ok in some cases. I had a look in A Dictionary of Basic Grammar, and there are a few examples where 'wo' is used.
This one is similar to the example above:

私は弟にケーキを食べられました。 
My younger brother ate my cake. (Lit. I got my cake eaten by my younger brother.)
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Re: Topic marker in context of passive sentence

Postby Ben Bullock » Fri 01.22.2010 3:00 am

JaySee wrote:It's not at all uncommon to see 'wo' used in passive sentences. It turns the sentence into a 迷惑の受け身 (meiwaku no ukemi), and is used in contexts associated with negative feelings.
...
I'm not a native speaker, but I don't particularly see anything wrong with 私は弟にカメラを壊されました.

I too don't know whether the original sentence is acceptable to a native speaker, but one name I've heard for this grammatical construction is the "suffering passive". :cry:
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Re: Topic marker in context of passive sentence

Postby pm215 » Fri 01.22.2010 5:27 am

pbj005 wrote:I would like to know when to use wa and when to use ga ?

Wouldn't we all? :-)

I believe (though I might be wrong) that the choice of wa/ga is governed by the same kind of things as it is for an active sentence -- passive sentences aren't particularly 'special' here.

雨が降られて、服がぬれてしまいました。


I was kind of expecting this to be 雨に but google certainly has a reasonable number of hits for 雨が降られて...
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Re: Topic marker in context of passive sentence

Postby Hyperworm » Fri 01.22.2010 10:30 am

pm215 wrote:
雨が降られて、服がぬれてしまいました。


I was kind of expecting this to be 雨に
This.
That sentence (and the 子供が泣かれて one) confuses me. ._.
Maybe there's something I'm not getting. :?
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Re: Topic marker in context of passive sentence

Postby pbj005 » Sat 01.23.2010 12:36 am

Hi I'm not used to the quote system.
So it may looked clumsy. please forgive me.

chikara wrote:
No, but the meaning of the first sentence is unclear to me. Where did you get this sentence?Are you trying to say "your younger brother broke your camera"?

In the original your camera (私のカメラ) is the topic while in your rearranged sentence you (私)are the topic. The rearranged sentence makes more sense.



I got these sentences from a worksheet exercise from long ago. Trying to refresh what i have learned. I think i may have got the answer "私のカメラは弟に壊された" wrong and there is no answer sheet to validate it. Is it grammatically wrong to use wa? How about ga is used instead?
I think ga is more appropriate in this case.

Ben Bullock wrote:I too don't know whether the original sentence is acceptable to a native speaker, but one name I've heard for this grammatical construction is the "suffering passive". :cry:


Ya, that was what I were told too.
は usually indicate the person who suffers.

Like what Jaysee and tokaidevotee said, i also feel that 私は弟にカメラを壊されました。
makes more sense.


Hyperworm wrote:
pm215 wrote:
雨が降られて、服がぬれてしまいました。


I was kind of expecting this to be 雨に
This.
That sentence (and the 子供が泣かれて one) confuses me. ._.
Maybe there's something I'm not getting. :?


Me too. But that was the answer i have got in my exercise.
Any translation?

Btw, thanks all for those who respond.
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Re: Topic marker in context of passive sentence

Postby ss » Tue 01.26.2010 5:17 am

Welcome to TJP, pbj005.
There are a few nakama here in TJP, we have Suhui, Hiraikotsu, Terence_hideyoshi, Carlanox, Freedom, Zapple .....
They were very active in 2007, we met quite regularly in TJP chat to discuss various topics pertaining to JLPT.


毎年12月に試験が行われます。
Can wa be used here ?

この本はよく学生に読まれています。
How come wa and not ga is used here ?


I would like to share some notes with you, but it doesn't mean that after reading these one will understand everything immediately. "wa" vs "ga" is not easy topic, even my sensei find it difficult to explain. Perhaps you have heard before,

既知(すでに知っている)・旧情報」は「は」/「未知(まだ知らない)・新情報」は「が」
For example
あの人は山田さんです。(you used "wa" because most of the listeners or your listener knows this Yamada)
あそこの人が山田さんです。(Listeners don't know who is Yamada, so you tell them, among many people, that person over THERE is Yamada)

僕はスイカを食べた。 (Listener knew speaker and speaker wanted to tell what he did, so は is used.)
僕がスイカを食べた。 (Listener didn't know speaker and speaker wanted to tell who did. so が is used. It's a new information)

Like a policeman asked you "What's your name?", You would answer with "Boku ga" as this was a new information you conveyed to someone new to you as well.

「。。。。。。試験が行われます。」 ---- Assuming not many people know such examination is held in December, you now know why "ga" is used.

check this out http://www.pantomime.org/nihongo-tusin/note.html

pbj005 wrote:
Hyperworm wrote:

pm215 wrote:
雨が降られて、服がぬれてしまいました。


I was kind of expecting this to be 雨に

This.
That sentence (and the 子供が泣かれて one) confuses me. ._.
Maybe there's something I'm not getting. :?


Me too. But that was the answer i have got in my exercise.
Any translation?


It's nothing wrong using が here, as been said, this kind of sentence is one of the 受身文 patterns.

雨が降りました。私達は困りました。 
→ 雨に降られました。私達は困りました。
Someone was caught in the rain and had a hard time of it.

But the 雨 here 雨が降られて、服がぬれてしまいました。was strange
降られて ---- caught in the rain "got wet from head to toe from the rain .... "
(by the rain, in the rain or from the rain? :think: )

雨に降られて、服がぬれてしまいました。
Since I was caught in the rain, my cloth was all wet.

雨が降って, 服がぬれてしまいました。
Since it rained, my cloth was all wet

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