View topic - About a grammatical term
What do you call "gobi", such as ね, in English? A suffix? Desinence?
What is an easy-to-understand word for all level lerners?
Tae Kim’s Guide says:
「語尾」 literally means "language tail" and it simply refers to anything that comes at the end of a sentence or a word.
The 「ね」 gobi
People usually add 「ね」 to the end of their sentence when they are looking for (and expecting) agreement to what they are saying. This is equivalent to saying, "right?" or "isn't it?" in English.
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To be honest, I've never wondered what sentence-ending particles like ね or よ were called. Now that you mention the word "gobi," I think I've heard that word, but would never have come up with it on my own.
I guess to me they are just particles, like は or を or any other, except that they come at the end of a sentence.
But my Japanese, as if it weren't obvious by now, is very much at a beginner level.
EDIT: I just have to add, since you asked for corrections, that I had never heard the word "desinence" before and thought it might be wrong. In fact I thought it was a French word. It turns out that I'm only half right. I did a web search and found that it does come from French, but it is also used in English to describe what you mean, a sentence-ending word.
On further thought, if I were you, I'd just call these things "gobi" and leave it at that. Or you might say "gobi such as ね or ぞ" until we catch on. It strikes me as a word that we Japanese learners should know, if it comes that naturally to you as a native speaker. But then again, I'm one of those hated "anime literalism freaks" who want words like 兄さん simply romanized and left in the English subtitles untranslated as "niisan."
- Jack W
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The trailing ね I''ve always thought of as a "Right?" or "isn't it?" since it can usually be swapped with ですね
But then when you mentioned the other ones it's not so much question tags...
That's the best I can do with that, at least in terms that everyday Japanese learners can understand.
"Something like question tags" lol
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If there is one thing that is similar to 語尾 it is the internet slang "lol." But even then, not really. lol
Or I could be stupid and not know what I'm talking about.
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I may be a little wrong in my assumptions of Japanese language here so feel free to correct me. But Japanese textbooks, and people you talk to for help, will encourage you to say stuff like "もしもし、リベラですが 。。。 あの、この席は？” In other words they highly encourage the usage of small inflective words like が あの。。 ええと ね 。。。のよ！
In higher levels of English study (American High School level English classes and up), the opposite is generally encouraged. Most English speakers of course, use a lot of filler words and interjections in casual speech, but it sounds much better to speak a little slower and not interrupt your sentences with "like" or "um". If you give a speech for a grade in an academic setting, you will probably be marked down for using to many fillers. The opinion of English professors is generally that it sounds like you don't know what you really mean.
Teenage girls talking to each other: I like totally crashed my car yesterday.
English teacher interrupts: did you 'like' crash your car or did you "really" crash it?
People use fillers not just because they hate the sound of silence, but because they don't want to sound too correct. It is at least as common for men and women to use this speech pattern, and it is generally more common among adolescents and young adults (12-30) than other age groups. When people talk among their friends they may say "I saw this like huge spider!" instead of "I saw this huge spider!" because they think maybe it wouldn't seem that big of a deal to the other person, so they don't want to sound too right. By adding hesitation in the sentence, they create a silent disclaimer in case the other person disagrees with them. What can I say, but that Americans don't like to be wrong.
In Japanese I think if you use a variety of enders and particles to soften your sentences, you can make yourself sound more polite by hesitating a little while you speak. for example, ご覧になります is definitely a less direct way of putting it than 見る. In English, you will be considered more articulate if you actually speak in a more declarative way, direct way, which is probably considered rude in Japanese.
To me it seems the style of speaking formally in English is the opposite of Japanese. In English, in a professional setting, you try to sound clear, concise, and to-the- point (kind of like a robot), but in an informal setting, you can use more friendly and emotional language. In Japanese, the most plain forms of speaking are considered more casual, and in a business setting, it seems the longer the words you use, and the more you dodge around a subject, the better.
Sorry if this is a little hard to follow. I'm sort of making it up as I go, but what I'm typing is loosely based on opinions I heard from my own, and other, high school and college professors. This seems more of a cultural/linguistic argument than a grammar explanation. I'm not sure if it answers Nile-Cat's question. But since you already are great at writing in English (better than me at least) I figure this might be the sort of thing that would interest you. Or not...
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