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「も」 and Verbs

keshokesho

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So, I did a little searching on Google about 「も」, a particle that I almost always see with nouns in the style of 「私も猫が好きです」 or a similarly-focused use, for its presence in verbs. This isn't something I see very commonly, since I just started doing more of an effort to witness and explore Japanese in its native habitat rather than usage notes in language lessons.

The curiosity sprung up as I heard the "theme" of the arcade game, Frogger, and laughed because it was actually the childrens' song that I really like, 「いぬのおまわりさん」 which is a story about a dog policeman helping a lost kitten find her home. Realizing it now, it seems like a pretty good choice for Frogger...

Anyway, in the song there are the following lines:

まいごの まいごの こねこちゃん
あなたの おうちは どこですか
おうちを きいても わからない
なまえを きいても わからない

Later on, these lines as well:

まいごの まいごの こねこちゃん
このこの おうちは どこですか
からすに きいても わからない
すずめに きいても わからない

When I last heard this song, I might as well have been a 100% complete n00b. But now I know better and without knowing the absolute literal meaning, I understand the song to a much better degree in a way that feels much more natural, almost like just "getting" it. I don't know if this is what happens when you learn a new language, but it's interesting.

At any rate, the verb here is 「聞いて」 with kanji, it's a て-form of 「聞く」 I'm most assuming, since it's used in succession with the following verb. I could very well be wrong though.

There is some discrepancy with translating that particle. In the first two instances, people say both "even though I asked about your home, you don't know / even though I asked your name, you don't know" and "I asked about your home, but you don't know / I asked about your name, but you don't know". Some disagreement lies on the internet about whether the policeman or the kitten doesn't know, but the second instances are more clear (and so I provided the English that I did previously): "even though I asked the crow (or raven), they don't know / even though I asked the sparrow, they don't know" and "I asked the crow (or raven), but they don't know / I asked the sparrow, but they don't know".

So, I'm curious what do you JREF users think of this usage. I'm not sure about the use of "but" here since there might be a different conjunction to use? I guess the meaning might be pretty similar either way. But the specifics could lead to a better or more effective usage.

Thank you!
 

Mike Cash

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Are you asking a Japanese question or a Japanese-English translation question?
 

keshokesho

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Are you asking a Japanese question or a Japanese-English translation question?

Whoops, sorry, this might not have been clear. I'm just asking about the usage of this particle in relation to verbs but tacked on a lot of exposition for context. Not necessarily translation, more the specifics and mechanics of the way you would use this particle with a verb.
 

mdchachi

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"Even if" is the typical way to think of this usage but in this case the meaning is similar as you said, so it's really up to the translator as to how best phrase it. In English we don't typically say "even if" all the time so direct translations often sound odd. For example, consider the "may I form"
このドーナツを食べてもいいですか
would typically be translated when learning as "is it ok even if I eat this doughnut?"
but of course a proper translation would use natural English like "May I eat this doughnut" or in more natural, colloquial speech, "Can I eat this doughnut?"
 

Mike Cash

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What materials have you been using to teach yourself Japanese? This is the kind of thing that a proper textbook covers rather early.

If you understand it, don't worry about how its translated.
 

keshokesho

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"Even if" is the typical way to think of this usage but in this case the meaning is similar as you said, so it's really up to the translator as to how best phrase it. In English we don't typically say "even if" all the time so direct translations often sound odd. For example, consider the "may I form"
このドーナツを食べてもいいですか
would typically be translated when learning as "is it ok even if I eat this doughnut?"
but of course a proper translation would use natural English like "May I eat this doughnut" or in more natural, colloquial speech, "Can I eat this doughnut?"

Thank you very much! I didn't know you could mean it as in your example. The meaning is clearer now, much appreciated.

What materials have you been using to teach yourself Japanese? This is the kind of thing that a proper textbook covers rather early.

If you understand it, don't worry about how its translated.

I'd be more privy to believe that had it been covered in my (admittedly-weak) high school class and a wealth of available information. It may have been due to search syntax, though.

While not the most experienced, I can't say it's the most common thing to find information about. And I asked not specifically for translation, just a clarification on its meaning. Of course you have to use another language to describe it.
 

Mike Cash

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I guess it must be a more advanced and obscure thing than I thought....
 

keshokesho

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It wasn't my intention to talk down to someone with more experience, just trying to relay that I've had no extensive personal exposure even through searching for it (not even pages about particles were exceptionally useful). I apologize if coming off as abrasive.
 

Mike Cash

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You owe me no apologies for anything, past, present, or future.

〜ても first appears in the introductory textbook Genki in Lesson 6.

Taking Japanese in high school has the unfortunate effect of giving one the false impression they have learned much more Japanese than they actually have. High school programs are notoriously scant when it comes to teaching grammar.

Can I get a witness? @JuliMaruchan

How did I do? (ブログの2017年6月4日)
 
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mdchachi

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In any case it's worthwhile to have a good set of textbooks handy to look up these basic grammar lessons. I'm guessing the one you used in high school you probably had to give back. Or the teacher may have taught from handouts. Sometimes a good reference book can be better than Googling.
 

keshokesho

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Yeah, the class was absolutely horrendous. The teacher was very knowledgeable but hard to approach. We actually used Genki I, perhaps it slipped my mind. x) The problem is that I've lost the good things I know, including my memory of how good Genki I and II actually can be. I remember it being so childish and unhelpful but flipping through now, it's not nearly anything like how I remember it. The teenager really is one of disillusioned reasoning, if the post that was linked is any indication. Hee!

Thank you both though! I actually only recently jumpstarted my studies as of two days or so ago and I was going to check out some textbooks to use. But sometimes I stumble across some weird or peculiar things above my level and want to know more about them. I guess that's silly, haha, since it'll be covered eventually. Thank you for your replies.
 

Toritoribe

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It's better to consider ~てもいい as a set phrase rather than a variation of ~ても. Actually, there are many cases that も can be omitted, thus, も is not always essential in this expression.
e.g.
このドーナツ、食べてもいいですか = このドーナツ、食べていいですか
遅くなってもいいですから、必ず電話してください。 = 遅くなっていいですから、必ず電話してください。

~ても can be an adversative conjunctive particle as a set, that's why it's translated as "but".

−ても
2 〔… (である) けれども〕
秘密を知っていても私には教えてくれなかった
Though [Although] he knew the secret, he would not tell me. /He knew the secret, but he would not tell me what it was.
てもの英語・英訳 - goo辞書 英和和英
 

keshokesho

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Many thanks for the information. You're all a really helpful lot - thank you so very much.
 

MeshGearFox

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It's better to consider ~てもいい as a set phrase rather than a variation of ~ても. Actually, there are many cases that も can be omitted, thus, も is not always essential in this expression.

I had a question along these lines which might be relevant to what the topic starter was asking. Regarding your comments in this post: ても, is 'even if' really a perfect translation? | Japan Forum

as well as the Japanese translation of this (Bible verse?) I found on Weblio:
だれかがあなた方のところに来ても,この教えを持っていないなら,彼をあなた方の家に迎え入れてはならず,彼を歓迎してもなりません。
If anyone comes to you, and doesn’t bring this teaching, don’t receive him into your house, and don’t welcome him...

I get the impression that も can alternate with は to add emphasis, even in what would amount to set phrases where は is usually used, which can result in ても also being an emphatic version of an underlying ては?

In the Bible verse from Weblio, there's both てならず and てなりません, with the latter feeling like it has the implication of "you must not even so much as greet them" to me.

Like you noted in your comments in the other post, I feel like I've only noticed this when the thing to the right of ても is some negative event or mood.

I'm probably way off base with this, but it's been on my mind recently.
 

Toritoribe

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も means "too/also" or "either" in negative sentence, not for just emphasis there. Thus, your quote means "don't receive him into your house, and don't welcome him, either".
You can't replace は with も in the conditional ては or the set phrases ~てはいけない/ならない/だめだ without implying "too/also" or "either".
e.g.
雨が降っては(=降ったら or 降ったので)、試合は中止だ。
If it rains, the game will be called off. / Because it rains, the game is called off.

雨が降っても、試合は中止だ。
Also if it rains (as same as other condition(s) than rain), the game will be called off.
 
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