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Postby themonk » Sat 11.27.2010 10:08 am

'A colleague is working in OKINAWA.' I cannot figure out the 'person' part.
Last edited by themonk on Wed 08.03.2011 7:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A colleague is working in Okinawa

Postby NocturnalOcean » Sat 11.27.2010 3:28 pm

I believe the sentence is "Kaisha no HITO ga Okinawa DE hataraiteimasu."
That's what I can conclude from what you wrote.

The sound "hi" in Japanese is a sounds where you use much more air, so it can be a little bit similar to "sh".

Also the reason GA is used is because GA is the subject particle.
In this situation you bring up a person from your job as the subject and you introduce him into the conversation. In these cases we use GA.
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Re: A colleague is working in Okinawa

Postby micahcowan » Sat 11.27.2010 6:39 pm

As NocturnalOcean points out, it's "hito". When it comes between two unvoiced (i.e., t versus d, z versus s), the vowels i or u are frequently whispered, or else the preceding consonant is prolonged in its place. it's basically hhhhhh-to, with your mouth framed as if you were going to say the "i", but instead you're just whispering it.

GA is used to indicate the grammatical subject of the sentence. I went to the store = "Watashi ga mise e ikimashita"... or would be, except for the following...

WA doesn't by itself indicate subject or object; since it can completely replace GA or O when it's used. Instead, it indicates the topic of the sentence (and possibly of other sentences). WA both indicates that the thing that came before it is the currennt topic of our conversation, and also that whatever comes after it is the "interesting", or "new" information. Which is why you'd probably think of "I went to the store" more typically as "Watashi WA mise e ikimashita"; the "I" is what we're talking about, and the "went to the store" is the interesting piece of information. You'd only say it the way I originally said it (with GA), if it were, say, in answer to the question "Who went to the store?", in which case the "I did" is the interesting information.

Alright, so back to the Okinawa thing. Your friend just said she's from Okinawa, and you reply that your colleague works in Okinawa. So, Okinawa has become the thing we're talking about now, and having a colleague who works there is the interesting something you want to share. Since that's the case, saying "kaisha no hito WA" would be strange, because that'd mean that "your colleague" is the subject (and Okinawa is the bit of new and interesting stuff you're saying, which it clearly isn't), so instead you just use the particle that indicates that "your colleague" is the _subject_ of the verb.

All of which is fine and dandy, but reasoning all this out in your head as you try to form sentences is obviously too time-consuming. But bear these ideas in mind as you continue to listen to Pimsleur. You might try to find a copy of Learn Japanese: New College Text; its descriptions can maybe get a bit... heady... but one thing that it does really, really, really well, is to include tons of drills and sentence construction patterns, that give you exactly the sort of practice you need to make understanding Japanese grammar second nature, without having to think much about it.

For much more about GA and WA, see this page.
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Re: A colleague is working in Okinawa

Postby spin13 » Mon 11.29.2010 4:03 am

micahcowan wrote:As NocturnalOcean points out, it's "hito".

It may be spelled ひと but where I live (東京下町) it is pronounced しと.
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Re: A colleague is working in Okinawa

Postby micahcowan » Mon 11.29.2010 4:09 pm

spin13 wrote:
micahcowan wrote:As NocturnalOcean points out, it's "hito".

It may be spelled ひと but where I live (東京下町) it is pronounced しと.


No. It only sounds very similar. There's a difference in where the tongue is located for ひ versus し (for し, it's further back). The difference is small enough that listening closely probably won't get you far for trying to distinguish it on-the-fly (you can hear the difference if you listen to them repeatedly, but they're so close that in spoken conversation you can't realistically distinguish them based just on that difference, especially since spoken Japanese tends to be more slurred than typical audio educational resources would have you believe), so you have to just recognize which it is from context (fortunately an unvoiced ひ seems to be pretty rare in general, outside of ひと), but it's still important (at least IMO) to know how to pronounce it correctly yourself.

It's a bit similar to the situation with す versus つ. Often they're distinguishable, but other times (especially in rapid speech, and depending on the speaker) you know which one it was based on the context, and not on the actual sound you heard.
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Re: A colleague is working in Okinawa

Postby NileCat » Mon 11.29.2010 4:50 pm

micahcowan wrote:
spin13 wrote:
micahcowan wrote:As NocturnalOcean points out, it's "hito".

It may be spelled ひと but where I live (東京下町) it is pronounced しと.


No. It only sounds very similar. There's a difference in where the tongue is located for ひ versus し (for し, it's further back).

Well, I think what spin13 was reffering to was strong 江戸弁 which is still used in 下町 area. There IS a big difference from the standard pronunciation. Actually, the location of the tongue itself is different. I have met few people who were not able to pronounce ひと. I mean, they cannot produce the ひ sound when they are reading the letters ひと. They pronounce it シト and they usually have no idea what is wrong. Nowadays it’s rare to see people who have such strong dialect, though.
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Re: A colleague is working in Okinawa

Postby spin13 » Tue 11.30.2010 1:49 am

NileCat wrote:Nowadays it’s rare to see people who have such strong dialect, though.

I'd guess that all the people with really strong accents are in at least their 70's or 80's. Anybody younger can usually differentiate ひ and し, even if they don't regularly.

I still remember the first time I really noticed the phenomenon outside of the word 人. I wasn't very good at Japanese at the time but I could carry on simple conversations. An old shopkeeper asked where I was from and, upon telling him I was from America, he replied 「そうか。アメリカシロいね」.

C'mon. I'm white, but I'm not that white.
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Re: A colleague is working in Okinawa

Postby themonk » Fri 12.03.2010 9:53 am

Thank you, all, for the lessons on pronunciation & grammar.

I am still digesting them.
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Re: A colleague is working in Okinawa

Postby themonk » Sat 12.04.2010 11:00 am

Dear Cowan San ~
Thank you so much for the well thought out reply.

Let me test myself to see if i understoo.
Suppose a conversation runs between SMITH and I about Suzuki san:
I: Suzuki san is going to see a movie today.
SMITH: really, and you?
I: no, i am not going.

I am guessing, if i learned from your reply, then it should be "Suzuki san ga,...."

Is that so? Please corret me if i am wrong.

Thank you for recommending the book, and the other thread, too.

micahcowan wrote:As NocturnalOcean points out, it's "hito". When it comes between two unvoiced (i.e., t versus d, z versus s), the vowels i or u are frequently whispered, or else the preceding consonant is prolonged in its place. it's basically hhhhhh-to, with your mouth framed as if you were going to say the "i", but instead you're just whispering it.

GA is used to indicate the grammatical subject of the sentence. I went to the store = "Watashi ga mise e ikimashita"... or would be, except for the following...

WA doesn't by itself indicate subject or object; since it can completely replace GA or O when it's used. Instead, it indicates the topic of the sentence (and possibly of other sentences). WA both indicates that the thing that came before it is the currennt topic of our conversation, and also that whatever comes after it is the "interesting", or "new" information. Which is why you'd probably think of "I went to the store" more typically as "Watashi WA mise e ikimashita"; the "I" is what we're talking about, and the "went to the store" is the interesting piece of information. You'd only say it the way I originally said it (with GA), if it were, say, in answer to the question "Who went to the store?", in which case the "I did" is the interesting information.

Alright, so back to the Okinawa thing. Your friend just said she's from Okinawa, and you reply that your colleague works in Okinawa. So, Okinawa has become the thing we're talking about now, and having a colleague who works there is the interesting something you want to share. Since that's the case, saying "kaisha no hito WA" would be strange, because that'd mean that "your colleague" is the subject (and Okinawa is the bit of new and interesting stuff you're saying, which it clearly isn't), so instead you just use the particle that indicates that "your colleague" is the _subject_ of the verb.

All of which is fine and dandy, but reasoning all this out in your head as you try to form sentences is obviously too time-consuming. But bear these ideas in mind as you continue to listen to Pimsleur. You might try to find a copy of Learn Japanese: New College Text; its descriptions can maybe get a bit... heady... but one thing that it does really, really, really well, is to include tons of drills and sentence construction patterns, that give you exactly the sort of practice you need to make understanding Japanese grammar second nature, without having to think much about it.

For much more about GA and WA, see this page.
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Re: A colleague is working in Okinawa

Postby micahcowan » Tue 12.07.2010 6:13 pm

oldwordstudy wrote:I am guessing, if i learned from your reply, then it should be "Suzuki san ga,...."


In that sentence, I think either ga or wa would work. Wa might be slightly more appropriate, because you're introducing that you're talking about Suzuki-san, and the interesting bit you have to say about him is really the "he's going to see a movie today" bit. It also adds a bit of a contrastive flavor to it, like: "Suzuki-san is going to see a movie, (but I'm not sure I want to)", or "(but what should we do? should we see a movie, or do something else?)".

But there's absolutely nothing wrong with ga either, AFAICT. In that case, no particular emphasis is given to either "Suzuki-san" or "what Suzuki-san is doing", and no contrastive information is hinted at.

My feeling is that no amount of descriptions of WA and GA will give you as good a sense of where to use which, as just being exposed to them a lot, and seeing how they're used (but I also think descriptions DO HELP, which is why I bother giving any ;) ).
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