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Desu and ja arimasen

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Desu and ja arimasen

Postby Diggity » Thu 04.07.2005 11:01 pm

Ok, maybe someone can elaborate on this one for me.

Where does the verb desu come from? I know how to use it but where does it come from?

Watashi wa amerikajin desu.

To say I am not american I replace "desu" with "ja arimasen".

Arimasen comes from the verb "aru." Aru is for defining where inatimate objects are at/taking place/that I own.

The verb "iru" is for people to say where someone is at or staying.

So where does "desu" come from? And how does "ja arimasen" become its negative?

Maybe this example will help:

Terebi ga arimasen - I don't have a TV.
Terebi ja arimsen - It isn't a TV.

Please if anyone can help me... I understand HOW to use them correctly, just not WHY they are the way they are. Just a curiosity to help me understand this language better.

Arigatougozaimasu!
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RE: Desu and ja arimasen

Postby Spaztick » Fri 04.08.2005 11:54 am

Diggity wrote:
Ok, maybe someone can elaborate on this one for me.

Where does the verb desu come from? I know how to use it but where does it come from?

Watashi wa amerikajin desu.

To say I am not american I replace "desu" with "ja arimasen".

Arimasen comes from the verb "aru." Aru is for defining where inatimate objects are at/taking place/that I own.

The verb "iru" is for people to say where someone is at or staying.

So where does "desu" come from? And how does "ja arimasen" become its negative?

Maybe this example will help:

Terebi ga arimasen - I don't have a TV.
Terebi ja arimsen - It isn't a TV.

Please if anyone can help me... I understand HOW to use them correctly, just not WHY they are the way they are. Just a curiosity to help me understand this language better.

Arigatougozaimasu!


A simpler and the causual way of saying "ja arimasen" is to say "ja nai." Using this makes it easier to understand.

They are used like that because you are saying that there isn't a TV there, or that you don't have a TV in your possesion. (IE There isn't a TV (there)).

Better example:

TV ga aru. - I have a TV/There is a TV. The "ga" is used as the indirect object marker, saying that you have the TV there.

TV ja nai. - There isn't a TV./It isn't a TV - this is kind of hard to explain, and im lost for words


Well, if you know how to use them, then I wouldn't worry too much on why it is how it is. Do you wonder why we say "comb" as "koum" but say "tomb" as "toom?"
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RE: Desu and ja arimasen

Postby Mukade » Fri 04.08.2005 8:47 pm

です is the modern, shortened form of でございます (Plain Form = でござる).
でござる is a very polite way of say "to be," i.e., "it exists," and is still occasionally (but only very rarely) used. Ordered according to politeness, the forms would be:
でございます
でござる
です


じゃありません comes from a shortening of ではありません (pronounced dewaarimasen).
ではありません is simply the negative of ではあります, again, "to be." ではあります is never used any more; only its negative form ではありません is still used. Again, ordered according to politeness level:
ではありません
じゃありません
じゃない

As to why one is used only in positive instances and another only in negative...well, that's just a matter of convention that's been established over a thousand+ years of the language being spoken.
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RE: Desu and ja arimasen

Postby Diggity » Sat 04.09.2005 1:11 am

Arigatou!

It is nice to know some history behind the language. I was trying to figure out what verb stem desu came from on my own and with ja arimasen as its negative I was confused and new some story had to be behind it.

Thanks!
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RE: Desu and ja arimasen

Postby InsanityRanch » Tue 04.19.2005 4:01 pm

Another take on this:

In English, the verb "to be" has two distinct but related meanings:
to exist, as in "I am here"
to express equivalence, as in "I am a doctor"

In Japanese, the first of these meanings is expressed by aru/iru. Japanese needs two verbs because it distinguishes between living, moving vs. inanimate or nonmoving things. "Watashi ha kokoni imasu". "Ki ha kokoni arimasu." (I am here uses "iru" / There are trees here uses "aru" because trees don't move, even though they are alive.)

The second use of "to be" is expressed in Japanese with "de aru". In spoken Japanese, this is usually said "da / desu" (plain or polite forms) and the negatives are (janai / jaarimasen). "Watashi ha isha desu" (I am a doctor.) "Ano ki ha yamazakura desu." (That tree is a mountain cherry.) Note that the distinction between aru and iru drops out when using "de aru".

HTH!

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RE: Desu and ja arimasen

Postby Spaztick » Tue 04.19.2005 5:14 pm

Remember, though, that da is not the polite form of desu. It is similar, but da is a declarative statement, while desu is the equvalent of "is/am/are" in English. That's one reason why you don't use "da" with a "ka" question marker, because you wouldn't declare something and at the same time ask if it's true or not.
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RE: Desu and ja arimasen

Postby InsanityRanch » Thu 04.21.2005 2:09 pm

>Remember, though, that da is not the polite form of desu. It is similar,
>but da is a declarative statement, while desu is the equvalent of
>"is/am/are" in English. That's one reason why you don't use "da" with a
>"ka" question marker, because you wouldn't declare something and at the
>same time ask if it's true or not.

??? Not sure what you mean here.

I assume the first sentence s/b "desu is not the polite form of da"?

As for using da before ka, I was confused so asked my teacher. She says Japanese *do* use it in that way, and her reibun was "kirei da ka wakaranai". (I don't know if [someone] is pretty.) Now sometimes she will tell me that *she* uses forms that my books tell me are ungrammatical--just as I sometimes say things that English textbooks warn against--so I checked a second source.

In the Kodansha particle dictionary, I found this sentence. (I am reproducing it from memory, so hope it is 100% correct:)

kono kawa ha, mitadakede, kawa nan da ka, umi nan da ka wakaranai hodo ookii. (That river is so big that you can't tell from looking at it if it's a river or an ocean.)

So, it seems that, even in ultra-correct Japanese, ka can come after da. Granted, all 3 reibun represent "transitional" ka -- that is, it could be translated as "whether" -- rather than the final, untranslatable ka...

There are differences that I know of between desu and da, but the way I understood it, it is more that "da" is normal and "desu" is a special case. So, desu (but not da) can be added after certain final forms (such as -i adjectives and verb forms like -tai), not to complete the sentence, which is already complete, but simply to raise the politeness level.

However, truth to tell, this is not a subject I thoroughly understand, so I'm interested in whatever else you have to offer on it!

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RE: Desu and ja arimasen

Postby Spaztick » Thu 04.21.2005 6:07 pm

well now you got me confused O_o

Yea, I meant desu isn't the polite form of da.
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