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<description> <person's name> desu.

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<description> <person's name> desu.

Postby sampaguita » Sat 02.16.2013 9:20 am

I've been hearing this pattern while watching documentaries:

<something describing the person> <person's name> desu/deshita.

ex. 4さいからスケートをはじめた羽生。

Literally, this would mean something like "(This is) Hanyu, who started skating when he was 4 years old." Is there any difference in nuance between the above sentence and

羽生は4さいからスケートをはじめた。
Hanyu started skating when he was 4 years old.

The literal English translations are obviously different, but I'd like to know if there's any REAL difference in terms of what the sentences convey, because sometimes I hear this grammar pattern in a row and the literal English translation is kinda irritating, haha. Thanks in advance!
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Re: <description> <person's name> desu.

Postby furrykef » Sat 02.16.2013 11:51 am

I think this is a case of a phenomenon called "taigendome" (体言止め). For reasons I haven't yet managed to fathom, sometimes when a narrator introduces something or someone, they put the subject at the end of the sentence.
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Re: <description> <person's name> desu.

Postby sampaguita » Sat 02.16.2013 7:14 pm

furrykef wrote:I think this is a case of a phenomenon called "taigendome" (体言止め). For reasons I haven't yet managed to fathom, sometimes when a narrator introduces something or someone, they put the subject at the end of the sentence.


Thanks for this furrykef. Just read more about 体言止め from http://kazahanamirai.com/writing-rule5.html. What I get from this is that it's more of a style issue, supposedly ungrammatical but can be used for expressive power or impact.

体言止め is defined though as ending the sentence with a noun or pronoun. If there's a です at the end, that's a different construction, right?
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Re: <description> <person's name> desu.

Postby jimbreen » Sat 02.16.2013 10:43 pm

furrykef wrote:I think this is a case of a phenomenon called "taigendome" (体言止め). For reasons I haven't yet managed to fathom, sometimes when a narrator introduces something or someone, they put the subject at the end of the sentence.


Actually, I don't think it's a case of 体言止め. sampaguita said:

sampaguita wrote:<something describing the person> <person's name> desu/deshita.


That "desu/deshita" means it's not 体言止め; it's just regular Japanese relative-clause construction.

sampaguita wrote: 体言止め is defined though as ending the sentence with a noun or pronoun. If there's a です at the end, that's a different construction, right?


Absolutely.

As for how it differs from your "羽生は4さいからスケートをはじめた", that means something like "As for Hanayu, he/she started skating at 4". The other would mean "(This is) Hanayu, who started skating at 4." It all depends on the context. (Getting familiar with constructing relative clauses in Japanese is an essential part of producing sentences which don't sound like literal translations of English.)

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Re: <description> <person's name> desu.

Postby Ongakuka » Sat 02.16.2013 11:59 pm

The literal English translations are obviously different, but I'd like to know if there's any REAL difference in terms of what the sentences convey, because sometimes I hear this grammar pattern in a row and the literal English translation is kinda irritating, haha. Thanks in advance!


4さいからスケートをはじめた羽生。


This one is giving 羽生 a kind of introduction because the fact that he started skating at age 4 is considered to be something special. It has the same effect as when you say in English ('He started skating at the age of four...') to build up to his title (name.)

So this construction might be suitable for an msn news article or TV documentary or something. The other, straightforward 羽生は・・・ construction is neutral and something you'd find in a wikipedia article or something meant to be purely factual and non-emotive (I know wikipedia does not always live up to that :p)
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Re: <description> <person's name> desu.

Postby sampaguita » Sun 02.17.2013 6:03 am

jimbreen wrote:As for how it differs from your "羽生は4さいからスケートをはじめた", that means something like "As for Hanayu, he/she started skating at 4". The other would mean "(This is) Hanayu, who started skating at 4." It all depends on the context. (Getting familiar with constructing relative clauses in Japanese is an essential part of producing sentences which don't sound like literal translations of English.)

Cheers

Jim


After furrykef said something about "taigendome", I realized that I'm actually asking here about two sentences, one about sentences ending with nouns (as in my example -- I thought all the while that the です there had been omitted for style), and another about sentences ending with <description><noun>です. :D I think furrykef is right about the example being "taigendome", but if the noun were described by a relative clause, it would not be the case. Thanks for clarifying, Jim!

Ongakuka wrote:So this construction might be suitable for an msn news article or TV documentary or something.


Yup, this came straight from a documentary! Thanks Ongakuka!
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