Very puzzling phrase in Anki (from Tai Kim's guide)

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Very puzzling phrase in Anki (from Tai Kim's guide)

Post by phreadom » Tue 08.10.2010 11:44 pm

I downloaded a deck that is supposed to be for Tae Kim's Guide to Japanese Grammar and started testing it out today and after a few questions I ran across the following one... which I guessed only because nothing else seemed to make any more sense.
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Now the thing is... this doesn't really make any sense to me... and even racking my brain, the best I could come up with as an English equivalent would be something like the following exchange:

A: Whose turn is it hike up the mountain tomorrow? Jim or Dave?
B: Jim is tomorrow.
A: Not tomorrow. (He's actually the next day...)

I just looked up the relevant section of his guide, and it does say the following...
Example 2

ボブ) ジムは明日?- Jim is tomorrow?
アリス) 明日じゃない。- Not tomorrow.

Since we have no context, we don't have enough information to make any sense of this conversation. It obviously makes no sense for Jim to actually be tomorrow. Given a context, as long as the sentence has something to do with Jim and tomorrow, it can mean anything. For instance, they could be talking about when an exam is being held.
So I guess this might seem like a bit of a pointless question... or maybe it would have made more sense if I'd read all of Tae's guide before starting on this deck... but it just struck me as a really weird phrase and I was curious if anyone could expand on it a little to make it make some more sense for me. :)

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Re: Very puzzling phrase in Anki (from Tai Kim's guide)

Post by furrykef » Wed 08.11.2010 1:51 am

Basically, if you have the context, it should be obvious what the ジムは really means. This is a really bad card, in my opinion, because the card should either supply enough context or simply be a sentence that makes sense on its own. Tae Kim's sentences really weren't designed for that purpose.
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Re: Very puzzling phrase in Anki (from Tai Kim's guide)

Post by yangmuye » Thu 08.12.2010 1:05 am

It's interesting that I can understand the sentence "Jim is tomorrow?" immediately 8) , because in Chinese we also have a similar structure.
I don't know how do Japanese analysis this sentence, just to my Chinese brain, it works as this:
There are two は here.
The のは form is used to separate the useful information and unimportant information. It works like English "It's 今日 that OOOO". We use は to tell you which part is useful. The の here just means the thing before は must be nominal.
The first は has one more use. It shows that the following prediction only applies to Jim, not to someone else. So the question must be something like "How about Jim".
Since the OOOOO is usually obvious and not important, the speaker can simply omit it.

According to the Tim's example 3, The complete version is
ジムは今日試験がある。(objective description)
⇒ ジムは試験がある日・試験の日は今日。(complete answer)

You may find that many questions can be answered with "OOです", no matter OO is the subject, the object, a part of a clause, or an adverb.
B:ジムが学生= ジムです

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