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Meaning of 動作主体

Floyd

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Hi, could someone please provide a brief description of the grammatical term ”動作主体” in relation to trans/intrans verbs or directions to a website with an English explanation. Thankyou
 

Majestic

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Hello Floyd,

This is the wikipedia entry for the grammatical term "Agency".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_(grammar)

It wasn't very illuminating to me, so I looked at the Japanese search results for 動作主体 and found this entry
http://je.at.webry.info/201201/article_11.html

Even if you don't understand Japanese, you can look at the English examples and get a sense of why this is relevant in English and Japanese comparisons. Basically it describes the tendency of objects of Japanese sentences to be "situational", while the object of English sentences tend to be "agentive". I'd never thought of things in this way before. Very interesting.
 

Majestic

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Hello again,

Having reread your original question I think I may have completely missed the point of your inquiry, and that the sites above may be too elementary. Apologies if that is the case.

Nonetheless it is an interesting subject, and people studying Japanese might find the Japanese site above (the second link) instructive.
 

Floyd

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Thank you Majestic 先輩、I didn't get anything by searching dousashutai on English sites but now understand it to mean the "Agent" of a sentence. I also didn't get anything from the first site but I'm working my way through the second. Thanks again for your help.
 

Toritoribe

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Generally, transitive verbs suggest the existence of the agent even when it's not mentioned, whereas intransitive verbs often has a nuance of "spontaneous" and the agent might not even exist.
e.g.
息を吹きかけてマッチの火を消した。
20分後にロウソクの火が消えた。

壁に叩きつけてコップを割った。
机の上にあったコップが突然割れた。

However, some intransitive verbs can imply the agent. In the following sentences, it's obvious from the context that 彼女 and 風 are the agent of 開く and 閉まる, respectively.
e.g.
急にドアが開いて、彼女が部屋に入ってきた。
強い風が吹いていた。大きな音を立ててドアが閉まった。

Here's another example.
今朝地震が起きた。
まだ暗いうちに妹が起きた。

There is no agent in the first sentence(wait, a dislocation might be the agent?), but 妹 is the subject and also the agent of the action 起きる in the second one. The first 起きる is non-volitional, whereas the second 起きる is volitional. A transitive verb 起こす implies the agent, as I wrote above, in both cases.
e.g.
核爆発が地震を起こした。
遅刻しそうなので妹を起こした。
 

Floyd

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Thank you Toritoribe, the examples help a lot.
 

Floyd

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Is there an easier way to learn the different transitive and intransitive verb forms (than one by one) and why do some verbs like the above 吹く as in "息を吹きかけてマッチの火を消した" and "強い風が吹いていた" use the same form for both transitive and intransitive?
 

Floyd

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Thanks again Majestic for the post:
It wasn't very illuminating to me, so I looked at the Japanese search results for 動作主体 and found this entry
http://je.at.webry.info/201201/article_11.html
Even if you don't understand Japanese, you can look at the English examples and get a sense of why this is relevant in English and Japanese comparisons. Basically it describes the tendency of objects of Japanese sentences to be "situational", while the object of English sentences tend to be "agentive". I'd never thought of things in this way before. Very interesting.

"日本語は状況や存在が主体、英語は動作が主体の言語です。and the example (日本語) 彼の家は素敵だ→ (英語的) 彼は素敵な家に住んでいる
△ His house is nice. → ○He lives in a nice house." this helps explain some of the differences between Japanese and English due to the different in perceptions.
 

Toritoribe

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Is there an easier way to learn the different transitive and intransitive verb forms (than one by one) and why do some verbs like the above 吹く as in "息を吹きかけてマッチの火を消した" and "強い風が吹いていた" use the same form for both transitive and intransitive?
The following thread might be somewhat helpful.
https://jref.com/forum/threads/transitivity-pairs.45530/
 
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