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English help

英語を勉強している方のためのフォーラムです。練習のために英語の文章を投稿してもかまわなく、英語の文法・語彙に関する質問をしてもけっこうです。

RE: English help

Postby AJBryant » Fri 05.12.2006 3:48 pm

I think you're mistaking "proper" for "appropriate" or "contextual."


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RE: English help

Postby Sachi » Fri 05.12.2006 4:01 pm

My two cents worth:

Language is just meant to communicate with others, and thoses rules were put in place to help us learn how to use it the right way (to get our messages accross), I think. They were drew up over time to keep the order of things. So getting it down to the finest detail isn't overly needed (though I think it's better, ne?) as long as you (mostly) make sense and get your point accross to your audience.

Proper English really just means gramatically correct, right? I think coco-san IS gramatically correct in this case. Either that, or we can consider it abbreviated from "Japanese person". And even if not, we all get what she was trying to say, so I don't think it matters all that much.

Just what I believe, though.
Last edited by Sachi on Fri 05.12.2006 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: English help

Postby queshaw » Fri 05.12.2006 4:37 pm

There are different words "proper", "appropriate" and "contextual". But, saying something is proper is confused, outside of a context. I doubt there is one person in existence on the earth that knows microsecond by microsecond, all of the different dictionaries and all the different grammar studies and how they match the evolution of the language. If there was such a person, why would you decide that his opinion represents what is proper?

A more practical example is in those learning vocabulary articles. A Frenchman says "aliment a debate". It's technically correct, as in you can find the words in a dictionary, but if you are French and you say that, you are identifying yourself as someone who speaks oddly phrased English.

Unless Cocosan's point in asking about the phrase is to learn what wording will pass a test, then the point is to learn to speak in a way that is natural sounding to "an English speaker". So, the point is not to pursue the elusive "proper English", but rather to learn what will sound natural in the future situations in which the phrase is used. Those situations will likely be various.
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RE: English help

Postby coco » Fri 05.12.2006 7:17 pm

えっと…英語で厳密な阜サをすることは無理なので日本語で書きます。

Japanese に a を加えて 「日本人」という意味を持たせるのが自然か否かにかかわらず、「文法上正しい言葉遣いであっても、違和感を持つ人がいる」という現象はどこの国の言葉でも見られることだと思います。そして、たとえその違和感がさしたる根拠を持たないものであったとしても、その事実を受け入れる方が合理的です。

意思疎通の道具として言語を見た場合、違和感の少ない阜サをした方が速やかに意思疎通を図れます。自分が意思疎通を図りたいと思う人間の母国語をその道具として選択した以上、なるべく相手にとって自然な阜サを使うのが賢明な選択だと思っています。

私個人に関しては「誰と意思疎通を図るために、その言語を使うか」が、重要ですから、意思疎通をしたい人間の語感を真似る方針です。その際、文法上の正しさとは別の次元で「より自然な阜サとしてその人間の周辺で受け入れられている言葉遣い」を教わることは、大変意義深いことであろうと思います。

その一方で
1)なぜ違和感を感じるのか
2)文法上どういう説明がなされているか
の追究は、知的好奇心を満たす上で興味深いことです。

? 違和感を感じるという指摘を受け入れる
? 違和感の原因を知り、文法上の解釈を探る。
私にとっては?と?は対立するものではなく、ともに楽しめる話題だと思っています。
(学習できるかどうか、楽しめるだけの英語力があるかどうか別問題として^^;
目下の最大の疑問/興味はこれです。
In Japanese adverbs and adjectives don't stand alone as nouns.


このような問題は、日本語を学習する上でも頻繁に起こり得ます。
Last edited by coco on Sat 05.13.2006 12:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: English help

Postby Tspoonami » Sun 12.03.2006 10:59 am

With -ese ending words, which are really adjectives, the noun that follows them often gets dropped if it is implied.

英語の「-ese」の言葉は本当に形容詞です。この形容詞の後の名詞はよく言いません。

I hope that's simple enough :|

*an exception is when the -ese ending words are really nouns, such as Japanese, which is actually "The Japanese language"

日本語 --> Japanese (language)
日本の --> Japanese (adjective)
Last edited by Tspoonami on Sun 12.03.2006 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: English help

Postby chchan45 » Sun 12.03.2006 11:12 am

AJBryant wrote:
A lot of people have problems with the words. I don't know why.

As a former newspaper editor, I can tell you that there is nothing LINGISTICALLY wrong with the usage of "a Japanese" or "a Chinese."


This is very interesting as I have never thought about it before.

Are you saying that both
1. I am Japanese.
2. I am a Japanese.
are correct?

I remember somebody telling me that English is not a very "precise" language and perhaps this is one example? In French, for example, 1 - Je suis japonaise - (I added the e at the end because as I understand coco san is female) is the only correct expression. You cannot have "Je suis une japonaise" for example.
Reading 李香蘭 私の半生

Please note that:
1. English is not my first language.
2. I am not Japanese. I am prone to making mistakes so please point them out if you see any.
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RE: English help

Postby Tspoonami » Sun 12.03.2006 11:31 am

chchan45 wrote:In French, for example, 1 - Je suis japonaise - (I added the e at the end because as I understand coco san is female) is the only correct expression. You cannot have "Je suis une japonaise" for example.

'Japonaise" is an adjective, not a noun, so that makes perfect sense! :D

In English, when you say "I am a Japanese," you are actually saying "I am a Japanese (person)." The noun gets dropped, which is very common. However, it can also sound odd:

"Is that a red dog?"
"No, it's a blue" -- this sounds wierd

Dropping a noun in English only works with noun-adjectives, such as 'Japanese,' which can be both a noun and an adjective. For example:

*I think the dropping of the noun really only occurs if that noun is the word "person," and the adjective in front of it is describing nationality... I can't think of any other examples
Last edited by Tspoonami on Sun 12.03.2006 11:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: English help

Postby chchan45 » Sun 12.03.2006 1:11 pm

Tspoonami wrote:
chchan45 wrote:In French, for example, 1 - Je suis japonaise - (I added the e at the end because as I understand coco san is female) is the only correct expression. You cannot have "Je suis une japonaise" for example.

'Japonaise" is an adjective, not a noun, so that makes perfect sense! :D


Pas forcément, monsieur.

The same rule also applies to jobs. For example, the word for engineer in "je suis ingénieur" can hardly be an adjective. In any case, saying "je suis un ingénieur" is also grammatically incorrect.
Reading 李香蘭 私の半生

Please note that:
1. English is not my first language.
2. I am not Japanese. I am prone to making mistakes so please point them out if you see any.
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RE: English help

Postby AJBryant » Sun 12.03.2006 2:04 pm

We do it for many of those national identities.

A German,
a Swiss,
an Italian,
etc.

There are, of course, some differences: we say "a Spaniard" for "Spanish man" or "a cheese-eating surrender monkey" for "a French man", for example.

By and large, it's simply the adjectives. For some reason, the only ones we get "touchy" about are ones we rarely see, like "a Chinese" or "a Japanese" ("that's a Japanese movie,", "he's a Japanese man," "he's a Japanese").

Because THOSE two are so commonly thought of as adjectivals (hell, what, then, is "German?") some people think it's offensive to say "he's a Japanese."

In point of fact, it's no different than using the adjectival "American" ("that's an American movie,", "he's an American man," "he's an American").


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RE: English help

Postby paul_b » Sun 12.03.2006 2:12 pm

AJBryant wrote:
We do it for many of those national identities.

A German,
a Swiss,
an Italian,
etc.

There are, of course, some differences: we say "a Spaniard" for "Spanish man" or "a cheese-eating surrender monkey" for "a French man", for example.


Or "cheese-surrendering eating monkey" for "an American"
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RE: English help

Postby Infidel » Sun 12.03.2006 5:13 pm

Never give up! Never surrender!
なるほど。
さっぱりわからん。
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RE: English help

Postby RadiantMirage » Sun 12.03.2006 7:39 pm

I think the reason native speakers have a tendency to find using "a japanese" instead of "a japanese person" a little weird is because it sounds like there isn't enough information to make clear what is being said. If you say, "I'm a Japanese.", of course "person" is implied, but it makes native speakers double take for a split second when normally they wouldn't. It is kind of like this:

Non-native English Speaker: "I'm a Japanese."

Native English Speaker: (Thinks to himself) A Japanese? A Japanese what? Oh, she means a Japanese person.

Then, the conversation continues,etc.

All in all, this isn't a really big issue. If you want to sound more like native speakers, then it is good to know these little tricks and "rules". If that isn't really a top priority, then don't worry too much about it. People will understand you regardless of which way you choose to say it.
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RE: English help

Postby Tspoonami » Sun 12.03.2006 9:20 pm

RadiantMirage wrote:blah blah blah

Welcome to TJP! Nice first post here, by the way... :D
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RE: English help

Postby witega » Sun 12.03.2006 10:36 pm

AJBryant wrote:
By and large, it's simply the adjectives. For some reason, the only ones we get "touchy" about are ones we rarely see, like "a Chinese" or "a Japanese" ("that's a Japanese movie,", "he's a Japanese man," "he's a Japanese").


As a Japanese, I ...
As a Chinese, I ...
As a Mongolian, I ...
As a Korean, I ...
As a Vietnamese, I...

I don't think its a familiarity issue--for most English-speakers 'Chinese' (ethnicity, language, culture, etc) is far more familiar than say Albanian or Azerbaijani. It's rather that '-ese' is strongly perceived as an adjectival ending (like the -ish in Swedish and unlike -an which is both an adjectival and noun suffix). And when an ethnic adjective is used alone as a substantive (Swedish, German, Japanese, Chinese), it almost always means the relevant language.

As I think it was you noted near the top of this thread, there is nothing technically incorrect with 'a Japanese' 'a Senegalese' but it doesn't sound perfectly natural either. I think the 'natural' instinct is to add a noun to be clear when one is not referring to the language.

edit: I realized after the original post that the point could be made more exactly with ethnonyms from the same region. If anything 'Mongolian' is the rarest of those terms, but the phrases with 'X-an' sound natural to me while the ones with 'x-ese' sound at best rather stiff and at worst incomplete (as a Japanese what? Japanese speaker, Japanese scholar, etc). If the phrases with with 'x-ese' don't sound a little off to other native English speakers then I have to wonder if there's not something dialectical coming into play.
Last edited by witega on Mon 12.04.2006 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: English help

Postby HeyItsMatt » Sat 03.17.2007 7:06 pm

I don't think its a familiarity issue--for most English-speakers 'Chinese' (ethnicity, language, culture, etc) is far more familiar than say Albanian or Azerbaijani. It's rather that '-ese' is strongly perceived as an adjectival ending (like the -ish in Swedish and unlike -an which is both an adjectival and noun suffix). And when an ethnic adjective is used alone as a substantive (Swedish, German, Japanese, Chinese), it almost always means the relevant language.


wite, I think that makes sense. The phrases "I am a Russian" and "I am a Mongolian" sound more natural to me, whereas "I am a Japanese" or "I am a Portuguese" or "I am a Swedish" don't sound right (even though I would understand what the speaker was trying to say). "I am a Swedish" actually sounds the worst to me.
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