What's new

Welcome to Japan Reference (JREF) - the community for all Things Japanese.

Join Today! It is fast, simple, and FREE!

Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

さっぱりした v さっぱりする

healer

Sempai
Joined
13 May 2019
Messages
634
Reaction score
8
暑い夏の日の冷えたスイカは、さっぱりしたおやつにもなるしデザートにもなる。

夏の冷えたスイカほど、さっぱりするものはない。

さっぱりしたおやつ Is found in the former sentence and さっぱりするもの in the latter. I wonder how it’s justified having past tense in one but non-past in the other. I’m thinking perhaps the one with the past tense including 冷えたスイカ referring to something that has been acted upon. However couldn’t the latter be also in the same situation? Most of the time I see verbs of past tense be used to qualify the noun immediately after. I’m not sure how the non-past ends up being used. What could possibly mean if the first sentence has 冷えるスイカ and さっぱりするおやつ instead?

冷える is an intransitive verb. If we refer to something that has been chilled by ice or by having been in the fridge, can we use the same verb? Could we say 冷やされたスイカ as well? I suppose 冷やしたスイカ is out of the question being ungrammatical. Please comment!

Thanks for help!
 

bentenmusume

やれやれ
Contributor
Joined
12 Oct 2004
Messages
1,088
Reaction score
841
With さっぱりしたおやつ and 冷えたスイカ, it is describing a thing for which the actions さっぱりする and 冷える have been completed and thus the nouns are currently in that state ("a refreshing snack", "a chilled watermelon").

さっぱりするもの is to be interpreted here as something that _you_ (the eater) will feel refreshed if you eat it. It is not talking about an action that has already been performed or a state that the もの is already in.

Yes, you can use the intransitive verb 冷える regardless of how it was chilled, just like the intransitive 開いた窓 or 開いてる窓 doesn't necessarily mean a person didn't open it, only that you're not emphasizing or describing it that way.

冷やされたスイカ with the passive is also grammatical, but probably not as common.

冷やしたスイカ is fine too, meaning a watermelon that (I/someone) chilled. Why do you think it would be ungrammatical?
 

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Moderator
Joined
22 Feb 2008
Messages
17,317
Reaction score
3,467
As bentenmusume-san explained clearly, the subjects of さっぱりした and さっぱりする are not the same in those sentences. This is also the key of your confusing, I think.

Needless to say, 冷えるスイカ doesn't work well, but さっぱりするおやつ is OK. The meaning is not the same as the original, though. Incidentally, さっぱりしたもの works well in the second sentence, but this is not the same as the original, either.

EDIT:
In addition, さっぱりした as an attributive is often quite different from さっぱりする in meaning. For instance, さっぱりする部屋 means a room where people will feel refreshed if they are in, while さっぱりした部屋 is a room where there is little furniture, not-decorative room, not-so-colorful room or like that, i.e., the nuance is closer to "simple" here.
 

healer

Sempai
Joined
13 May 2019
Messages
634
Reaction score
8
開いた窓 or 開いてる窓
The difference between them in meaning is as follows,isn’t it?
開いた窓= window that has been opened
開いてる窓= window that is open

Why do you think it would be ungrammatical?
I was guessing the intransitive verb only does the job.

So transitive verb of active and passive could do the job. I guess the passive intransitive is definitely out, isn’t it?

the subjects of さっぱりした and さっぱりする are not the same
I suppose you’re referring to the former on the noun that follows and the latter on the eater in this case thanks to Bentenmusume-san.

冷えるスイカ doesn't work well, but さっぱりするおやつ is OK
Following Bentenmusume-san’s explanations,could I say 冷えるスイカdoesn’t work because the verb is intransitive,not because the words don’t make sense in the context. And さっぱりするおやつrefers to the snack that would refresh the eater. Please comment on my understanding.

さっぱりした部屋 is a room where there is little furniture
That’s a very interesting and unusual difference in meaning for the same word or verb. I thank you very much for your input,Toritoribe-san.
 

bentenmusume

やれやれ
Contributor
Joined
12 Oct 2004
Messages
1,088
Reaction score
841
The difference between them in meaning is as follows,isn’t it?
開いた窓= window that has been opened
開いてる窓= window that is open

healer said:
冷える is an intransitive verb. If we refer to something that has been chilled by ice or by having been in the fridge, can we use the same verb?

Please read my post and the part of your post that I was replying to again. My illustration is not talking about the _difference_ between past form and -ている form, which is obviously not what we're discussing here.

I was specifically addressing your question as to whether or not the intransitive verb can still be used even if the object was "acted" upon, and the answer is yes, the same way a window that had been opened by a person could be described with the intransitive verb 開く.

healer said:
I was guessing the intransitive verb only does the job.

I don't understand what you mean by the above.

Also, the reason 冷えるスイカ doesn't work is because it would mean "a watermelon that cools off (habitually or in the future)", not because the verb is intransitive (again, 冷えたスイカ is fine), so I have no idea why you are saying that I said that.

As for the "passive intransitive" (like 冷えられたスイカ), yes, that would make no sense, for reasons that should be obvious.
 

healer

Sempai
Joined
13 May 2019
Messages
634
Reaction score
8
Please read my post and the part of your post that I was replying to again.
Thanks I believe I had understood what you said. I was only taking the opportunity to ask about the examples you gave. I’m sorry for the confusion.

Sometimes I do reword and repeat the given explanation in the hope of getting corrected if I misunderstand. I could ask questions that could be very obvious to expert simply because I want to be sure if possible.

Nevertheless I’m very grateful for what you have done.

not because the verb is intransitive
Because it is an intransitive verb, it has the meaning as you said it could cool off itself. If it is a transitive verb it could not have such meaning, could it? That was why I said what I said.

I don't understand what you mean by the above.
It was wild guess anyway. I couldn’t imagine that both intransitive verb and transitive verb would be allowed to do the same job. Obviously I was wrong.
 

bentenmusume

やれやれ
Contributor
Joined
12 Oct 2004
Messages
1,088
Reaction score
841
Likewise, my apologies if I misunderstood your post. At first I thought you were suggesting that my example was irrelevant, but I see now you were acknowledging it and confirming a secondary point.

And it's not so much that the transitive and intransitive verbs are "allowed to do the same job" so much as that the same situation/state can be described in multiple ways. A window that someone opened ([人が]開けた窓) or a watermelon that someone chilled ([人が]冷やしたスイカ) are also an "open window" (開いた窓) and a "chilled watermelon" (冷えたスイカ). The descriptions are not mutually exclusive; rather, the only difference is whether you are semantically focusing on the agent/action or the state.
 

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Moderator
Joined
22 Feb 2008
Messages
17,317
Reaction score
3,467
Because it is an intransitive verb, it has the meaning as you said it could cool off itself. If it is a transitive verb it could not have such meaning, could it?
But how do you explain by your understanding the reason why 冷えたスイカ(intransitive) is OK while 冷やすスイカ(transitive) is not?
 

healer

Sempai
Joined
13 May 2019
Messages
634
Reaction score
8
Thanks Bentenmusume-san for further clarification. I do always appreciate you and Toritoribe-san’s help. I would in no way challenge your idea. If I do ask again, I perhaps fail to understand thoroughly and need a bit more explanation or reassurance. Again it is always very kind of you both volunteering the info.
 

healer

Sempai
Joined
13 May 2019
Messages
634
Reaction score
8
As far as I’m aware there’re lots of exceptions and peculiarities in any language. There is no obvious right or wrong. Enough people say the “wrong” things, it would be alright for everyone else to do the same.

I felt a bit odd when I came across 冷えたスイカ where 冷える is an intransitive verb. Understandably the watermelon doesn’t cool itself in the hot weather. If it cools itself in the cold weather, then it wouldn’t be refreshing eating it. So logically a transitive verb is more appropriate. Nevertheless Bentenmusume-san said that the intransitive one is more common. Perhaps that is one way of making the language simpler.
As a learner one often starts with one’s intuition and what one already knows until one’s pointed out otherwise. Moreover one needs to somehow constantly form associations between words as well as words and concepts in order to understand or remember easily. When the words and grammar turn out not the way one expects, one just has to accept it as truth and change the way to remember it. How the words and grammar come about are not important as far as learning how to use the language is concerned. It might not look reasonable the way they’re, but it would definitely be natural when they came about. So put it simply, 冷えたスイカ is alright because Japnese people say so. I’m learning their language, their way of communication so I have to accept absolutely in the first place, them try to associate it with a variety of ideas in order internalise it.
Having read Bentenmusume-san’s explanation 冷やす in 冷やすスイカ would mean a watermelon that would be refreshing to people eating it. So it would not work in the given sentence but could work in different sentence different context.
Please correct my understanding if I’m wrong.
 

bentenmusume

やれやれ
Contributor
Joined
12 Oct 2004
Messages
1,088
Reaction score
841
Thank you for your clarification.
That said, I have to take issue with the way you are perceiving these things. It's not that "these things are acceptable because Japanese people say so."
It's simply that words and phrasings have certain interpretations that is understood by native and proficient speakers of a language.

There are many things that might appear illogical or unnatural to a speaker learning English as a second language.
Should the learner think "this is weird, but English natives say it's fine, and I'm learning their language so I guess I should trust them, even though it seems wrong to me"?
No, the learner should think "Oh, this is how the English language works. Let me try to understand why that is."

That said, the matter at hand is much simpler than you are making it, so I am going to try to explain this again.

healer said:
I felt a bit odd when I came across 冷えたスイカ where 冷える is an intransitive verb. Understandably the watermelon doesn’t cool itself in the hot weather. If it cools itself in the cold weather, then it wouldn’t be refreshing eating it. So logically a transitive verb is more appropriate.

What you don't seem to understand is that using an intransitive verb does not mean that no action was performed on it, simply that the action (and agent) is not being explictly described. An 開いた窓 (an "open window", using the intransitive verb 開く) could have been opened by a person, or it could have opened by itself after a gust of wind. The intransitive verb just means that it is not specifically describing an action or an agent who performed it.

冷えたスイカ, likewise, simply means "a watermelon which is in the state of having cooled". It says nothing about how it ended up in that state (i.e. it does not mean that it "cooled itself" with no outside intervention), simply that it is in that state now. Can you see now why this makes perfect sense (and can be used to describe a watermelon that, i.e. someone had put in a refrigerator), and not just "because Japanese people say so"?

healer said:
Having read Bentenmusume-san’s explanation 冷やす in 冷やすスイカ would mean a watermelon that would be refreshing to people eating it.
Another thing that you have to understand is that the grammatical relationship between a verb modifying a noun and the noun is not strictly defined.

冷やすスイカ, for example, could also mean "a watermelon that [someone] will chill", i.e. if you were working at a grocery store and you had two sets of watermelons, one set which was to be refrigerated, and another which was to be left at room temperature, you could describe the former as 冷やすスイカ and the latter as 冷やさないスイカ.

(Also, you're saying "refreshing", but you seem to be confusing 冷やす with さっぱりする here.)

As always, context is key, and I encourage you to try to understand the basic rules and guidelines as to why these relative clauses are interpreted as they are, rather than just throwing up your hands and saying "the Japanese people say so", as if there is some unified effort on the part of Japanese native speakers to confuse poor learners trying to interpret the language, or as if there are these inscrutable aspects of the Japanese language that only make sense to Japanese people.

(edited for clarity)
 
Last edited:

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Moderator
Joined
22 Feb 2008
Messages
17,317
Reaction score
3,467
As far as I’m aware there’re lots of exceptions and peculiarities in any language. There is no obvious right or wrong. Enough people say the “wrong” things, it would be alright for everyone else to do the same.

I felt a bit odd when I came across 冷えたスイカ where 冷える is an intransitive verb. Understandably the watermelon doesn’t cool itself in the hot weather. If it cools itself in the cold weather, then it wouldn’t be refreshing eating it. So logically a transitive verb is more appropriate. Nevertheless Bentenmusume-san said that the intransitive one is more common. Perhaps that is one way of making the language simpler.
As a learner one often starts with one’s intuition and what one already knows until one’s pointed out otherwise. Moreover one needs to somehow constantly form associations between words as well as words and concepts in order to understand or remember easily. When the words and grammar turn out not the way one expects, one just has to accept it as truth and change the way to remember it. How the words and grammar come about are not important as far as learning how to use the language is concerned. It might not look reasonable the way they’re, but it would definitely be natural when they came about. So put it simply, 冷えたスイカ is alright because Japnese people say so. I’m learning their language, their way of communication so I have to accept absolutely in the first place, them try to associate it with a variety of ideas in order internalise it.
Having read Bentenmusume-san’s explanation 冷やす in 冷やすスイカ would mean a watermelon that would be refreshing to people eating it. So it would not work in the given sentence but could work in different sentence different context.
Please correct my understanding if I’m wrong.
Bentenmusume-san already explained, so it's not necessary to say this but...

Well, then your explanation clearly shows that you're totally misunderstanding bentenmusume-san's explanation after all. It's not the problem of "transitive vs. intransitive". It's actually "past/perfect form vs. present/non-perfect form". That's what bentenmuusume-san explained by "With さっぱりしたおやつ and 冷えたスイカ, it is describing a thing for which the actions さっぱりする and 冷える have been completed and thus the nouns are currently in that state ("a refreshing snack", "a chilled watermelon")." in his initial reply.

The reason why both 冷えるスイカ and 冷やすスイカ don't make sense in those examples is because the present form shows that the action 冷える/冷やす is not completed now, i.e., a watermelon is not chilled yet. On the other hand, both 冷えたスイカ and 冷やしたスイカ mean "a chilled watermelon". The difference is the transitive one 冷やした suggests the existence of the agent (= the one who chilled a watermelon). 冷えたスイカ doesn't mean that a watermelon chilled automatically by itself. It's just that the agent is not important, and it's unnecessary to mention it in the context. (In other words, the agent does exist, needless to say.)

Yes, 冷やすスイカ works well in a context where a watermelon is not chilled yet, and will be chilled in the future, for instance 後で冷やすスイカを別にしておいた. However, notice that the object of 冷やす is the modified noun "a watermelon", not the eater. When the eater is the object, you need to mention it, e.g., これは特殊な品種で、食べた人を冷やすスイカです. すっきりする is an exception that the eater is always the subject even when it's not mentioned.

Hope you can realize your misunderstanding. This is a key of the Japanese tense system.
 

healer

Sempai
Joined
13 May 2019
Messages
634
Reaction score
8
Certainly I will try to understand as much as possible. I will never give up. I was just saying accept what it is and tackle the rationale later.
 

bentenmusume

やれやれ
Contributor
Joined
12 Oct 2004
Messages
1,088
Reaction score
841
Well, that's fine, of course, but I hope you understand why that sort of response can be frustrating to Toritoribe-san and me.

We are doing our best to help you break down and understand Japanese sentence structure (not telling you to just accept things because "Japanese people say so"), so when you come to a mistaken conclusion (or no conclusion) and suggest that it's somehow because these things are only understandable to the Japanese mind, it makes us feel like our efforts are pointless

If our explanations are unclear, please don't hesitate to say "I didn't understand this." We'll try to explain better.

If you just need to think about it more, say that. Some things take time, and we understand that.

But don't just say "Oh, well. I guess this only makes sense to a Japanese mind.", because that kind of invalidates all the efforts that teachers and tutors make trying to make Japanese less complicated and more logical for learners.
 

healer

Sempai
Joined
13 May 2019
Messages
634
Reaction score
8
Oh, well. I guess this only makes sense to a Japanese mind.
I certainly never mean this. I just don’t want to lose sleep over it. I’m very tenacious in learning language. I often worry I might be too slow to understand and frustrate you and Toritoribe-san. So I tend to blame myself first.
 

healer

Sempai
Joined
13 May 2019
Messages
634
Reaction score
8
It's not the problem of "transitive vs. intransitive". It's actually "past/perfect form vs. present/non-perfect form".
Thanks Toritoribe-san! Your explanation does help. I did misunderstand what Bentenmusume-san said. I got the one with the past or perfect tense, but not the other.

食べた人を冷やすスイカです
I’m not quite sure of the grammatical structure of this part of sentence. It seems to say the watermelon that would cool down the person who eats it.

すっきりする is an exception that the eater is always the subject
I suppose すっきりする and さっぱりする are the same in all senses. I do find somewhat tricky with this one. I feel I can’t treat this the same as I would with 冷える. Is it possible that you could give me an example to illustrate what you mean?

subjects of さっぱりした and さっぱりする
object of 冷やす is the modified noun "a watermelon"
Could you please define what subjects and objects here mean? Are they all referring to the noun after the verb?
 

bentenmusume

やれやれ
Contributor
Joined
12 Oct 2004
Messages
1,088
Reaction score
841
healer said:
I’m not quite sure of the grammatical structure of this part of sentence. It seems to say the watermelon that would cool down the person who eats it.
This interpretation is correct.

healer said:
I suppose すっきりする and さっぱりする are the same in all senses. I do find somewhat tricky with this one. I feel I can’t treat this the same as I would with 冷える. Is it possible that you could give me an example to illustrate what you mean?
The point is that (as I mentioned above, but perhaps should clarify) that relative clauses in Japanese do not specify the relationship between the modifying clause and the noun. In English, we would have to say things like "the book that I read" or "the person that ate [something]", which can only be interpreted as (respectively) the book being the direct object and the person being the subject of the verbs in question.

On the other hand, in Japanese, consider phrases like:
食べた人
食べたスイカ

Technically and grammatically speaking, the noun(s) could be either the subject or object of the verb 食べた, i.e. the phrases could mean "the person that [I/he/she] ate" (in a context where we were talking about cannibalism) and "the watermelon that ate [someone/something]" (in a context of a horror story about man-eating watermelons).

But absent some strange and unusual context like that, these phrases would 100% be understood to mean "the person that ate [something that is known from context]" and "the watermelon [I/he/she] ate", because those are the only interpretations that make logical sense.

すっきりする and さっぱりする are words that describe a physical/emotional feeling of "being refreshed". Feeling refreshed is a characteristic that is usually attributed to humans, not inanimate objects like watermelons, which is why the phrases would be interpreted as Toritoribe-san explains.

This is one reason why Japanese is considered a "high context" language, as interpretations of simple phrases are often highly dependent on understanding the surrounding context (or just the common-sense context).
 

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Moderator
Joined
22 Feb 2008
Messages
17,317
Reaction score
3,467
I’m not quite sure of the grammatical structure of this part of sentence. It seems to say the watermelon that would cool down the person who eats it.
Yes, that's right.
これは特殊な品種で、食べた人を冷やすスイカです
This is a special variety (of watermelon), a watermelon that makes chill/cool the one who eats it.

I suppose すっきりする and さっぱりする are the same in all senses. I do find somewhat tricky with this one. I feel I can’t treat this the same as I would with 冷える. Is it possible that you could give me an example to illustrate what you mean?
Oh, sorry, すっきりする is just my mistake. I meant さっぱりする, but yes, すっきりする and さっぱりする have a similar function.

Could you please define what subjects and objects here mean? Are they all referring to the noun after the verb?
In the phrase さっぱりしたおやつ, the subject of さっぱりした is the modified noun おやつ. The (taste of the) snack is refreshing. (This is another story, but this phrase can be rephrased as さっぱりしているおやつ.) This is the same structure as さっぱりした部屋.

On the other hand, in さっぱりするもの, the subject of さっぱりする is the eater, not the modified noun もの. As I wrote, さっぱりする is an exception. The agent (eater/doer) is always the subject even when it's not mentioned. (Benetenmusume-san explained the reason in the post above.) This is the same structure as さっぱりする部屋.
 

healer

Sempai
Joined
13 May 2019
Messages
634
Reaction score
8
Thanks Toritoribe-san.

What did you mean by “object” when you said ‘object of 冷やす is the modified noun "a watermelon"’ as compared to “subject” in “subjects of さっぱりした” ? I’m trying to work out the difference grammatically between subject and object you described.

Thanks again!
 

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Moderator
Joined
22 Feb 2008
Messages
17,317
Reaction score
3,467
Have you never learned about the terms subject and object?


冷やすスイカ means "a watermelon I/someone will chill". The modified noun スイカ is the object of 冷やす (cf. 私/誰かがスイカ冷やす。 I/someone will chill a watermelon.).

冷えたスイカ is the same structure as さっぱりしたおやつ. The modified noun スイカ is the subject of 冷えた (cf. スイカ冷えた。).
 

healer

Sempai
Joined
13 May 2019
Messages
634
Reaction score
8
Thanks Toritoribe-san.

I certainly have learnt subject and object.
I was not used to seeing nouns in this type of expressions 冷やすスイカ and 冷えたスイカ classified as object or subject especially when they can be either until the context is fully available. Anyway it is very clear now having seen your example sentences.

Thanks again for your tolerance.
 
Top Bottom