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healer

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For example:
壁に耳あり、障子に目あり。
負けるが勝ち。

Are あり and 勝ち above verbs or nouns?
I presume they are verbs though I am aware a pre-masu form of a verb can also be a noun.
I have learnt verbs in dictionary form and masu form.
What form is this and when to use this form?
 

Toritoribe

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The two あり are verbs in the first proverb, and 勝ち is a noun in the second one.

Actually, those あり are a classical verb, not the -masu stem(連用形) of ある. The first あり is 連用形 to continue clauses, and the second one is 終止形, i.e., it's equivalent to the dictionary form ある in modern Japanese.

壁に耳あり、障子に目あり。 = 壁に耳があり、障子に目がある。


The copula だ is omitted in the second one.

負けるが勝ち。 = 負けるのが勝ちだ。


You need to know that classical Japanese sometimes remains in proverbs or set phrases, and classical Japanese grammar is rather different from the modern one.
e.g.
急がば回れ
言わぬが仏
百聞は一見に如かず
芝生に入るべからず
義を見てせざるは勇無きなり
 

healer

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Thanks!

It looks like all these classical sayings are quite unpredictable in terms of grammar.

Is it a rule that the particle precedes verbs such as ある is optional but that before nouns such as 勝ち is not? If not, it would be hard to tell whether they are verbs and nouns.

I'm not sure of the meaning of 義を見てせざるは勇無きなり. I think I have come across 言わぬが仏 and it means "something better left unsaid" but I can't work out how the meaning comes about from these words. Does 言わぬ mean "not to say" which is not consistent with normal grammar rules?

Could you point me to some web site where I can look up how the verbs conjugate in classical forms?

Thanks again!
 

Toritoribe

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Is it a rule that the particle precedes verbs such as ある is optional but that before nouns such as 勝ち is not? If not, it would be hard to tell whether they are verbs and nouns.
The answer is no. You need to interpret it from the context.

Does 言わぬ mean "not to say" which is not consistent with normal grammar rules?
ぬ is a classical auxiliary verb for negation.

Could you point me to some web site where I can look up how the verbs conjugate in classical forms?

Actually, the point is auxiliary verbs, not verb conjugation, though.

I don't recommend learning classical Japanese for beginner learners, by the way. It's not so useful for beginner non-native English learners to learn original Chaucer's poems, isn't it?
 

healer

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I don't recommend learning classical Japanese for beginner learners, by the way. It's not so useful for beginner non-native English learners to learn original Chaucer's poems, isn't it?
I agree with you.
I won't try to remember the classical forms. Just to satisfy my curiosity if there is a chance.
 
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