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Ga and Wa, what the...?

TyPe-ZeRo

先輩
13 Aug 2003
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K so I recently bought "Japanese for Dummies", you know those yellow books with that well n/m ... anyway i'm reading it and i'm on page 30 a lot has gone on like it said something about Ga and Wa and i couldn't understand... anyone can help i'd really appreciate it
 
well wa and ga are particles, they give the listner understanding of what you are talking about... wa is the topic marker and ga is the subject marker..

for example The cat is black
here the topic is the cat therefore you have to make it the topic

neko wa kuroi desu
i dont know how advanced you are in your japanese but
neko = cat
kuroi = black
desu = doesnt really have a meaning, but can be given the meaning of "is"

now "I like cats"
here I am the topic and the cat is the subject
watashi wa neko ga suki desu
watashi = I
suki = like



particles might take a while to get use to, but with practice and determination you will get the hang of it..
I hope i havent confused you..
 
Originally posted by Exidez
well wa and ga are particles, they give the listner understanding of what you are talking about... wa is the topic marker and ga is the subject marker..

for example The cat is black
here the topic is the cat therefore you have to make it the topic

neko wa kuroi desu
Actually it is "kuro desu" since you are using black as a noun as opposed to an adjective in this case....
 
Originally posted by Elizabeth
Actually it is "kuro desu" since you are using black as a noun as opposed to an adjective in this case....
Hmmm, really? I've definitely seen the form of "neko ha kuroi desu", at least in the classroom. Does that mean in actual conversation, "neko ha kuro desu" is more proper?
 
Originally posted by beluga
Hmmm, really? I've definitely seen the form of "neko ha kuroi desu", at least in the classroom. Does that mean in actual conversation, "neko ha kuro desu" is more proper?
I've seen it 'wrong' a lot, too, but there was just a thread on this under "Colours" last week so you may want to search back for it.
 
Originally posted by Elizabeth
I've seen it 'wrong' a lot, too, but there was just a thread on this under "Colours" last week so you may want to search back for it.

I just checked with my Japanese colleague. She said that "neko ha kuro desu" means to make the cat black. Now this is even more confusing...
 
Originally posted by beluga
I just checked with my Japanese colleague. She said that "neko ha kuro desu" means to make the cat black. Now this is even more confusing...
Did you ask her exactly how to make a cat black?
It is confusing -- I've come across the adjectival version more after "ga" and before "ne" but not sure if there'a a pattern there or not.
 
Originally posted by Elizabeth
Did you ask her exactly how to make a cat black?
It is confusing -- I've come across the adjectival version more after "ga" and before "ne" but not sure if there's a pattern there or not.

This is her exact reply:

これから猫を黒にする場合、「猫は黒です」と指示します。
実際に黒いねこを見て根拠がある場合は、「猫は黒いです」
 
Hello, I am a beginner that has many doubts himself... but I think I could help.

I have a book edited in 1963: "Essential Japanese Grammar" by Everett F. Bleiler...

His explanation of "wa" y "ga", seems condensed and clarifying...

Fist than anything, you have to forgo to try to translate these particles to anything that exists in the Indo-European Languages. Then, with a mind open, let's follow Bleiler:

The three most important signposts within a sentense, are "wa", "ga" and "wo".

- "ga" usually indicates the grammatical subject of the sentence or clause in which it appears. You must understand that the Japanese grammatical subject is very often NOT the logical subject of an English translation. "ga" indicates that the immediatly preceding noun or pronoun is the subject.

Ame ga harete, hi ga tette imasu
(It has stopped raining, and the sun is shining).

- "wa" indicates that the material which it immediatly follows is to be SET APART from the grammatical basis of the Japanese sentence.

Bokku wa ashita ongakkai ni yukimasu
(As for me, tomorrow I shall go to the concert).

You may be puzzled about when you should use "ga" to indicate the subject, and when you should use "wa". Actually, this involves a very subtle distinction in Japanese thought, and is very difficult for a foreigner to master.

We can say, however, that "wa" on the whole, is best translated by placing emphasis on the PREDICATE of the sentence, and ga by placing emphasis on the SUBJECT.

Now, my comment... "wa" stablish a theme that is somehow "hanged" outside the sentence itself... and could be transleted as "Regarding (this)...", "As for...".


Regards.
 
Still confusing... can someone translate it to something that doesn't require a dictionary to figure out? or like to make a 10 year old understand, with simple 4 letter words? lol...
 
Originally posted by Elizabeth
I've seen it 'wrong' a lot, too, but there was just a thread on this under "Colours" last week so you may want to search back for it.

OK, I get the clear picture now from the "Colour" thread. Keiichi san explained it quite clearly:

I'm not sure why it's like that, but basically they're interchangable between an adjective and a noun.
When kuroi is used, it is an adjective. when kuro is used, it's a noun.
And there's only a certain way you can use a certain one. So if you want to answer someone's question, such as "what color is this?" To say "it's black," you'd use "kuro desu." Not "kuroi desu."
Kinda weird. ^^;

What about other adjective like futoi, mijikai, nagai? It's applied the same way by just removing the ii?
 
Originally posted by beluga
OK, I get the clear picture now from the "Colour" thread. Keiichi san explained it quite clearly

Is this also how your colleague explained it? I can't get Japanese fonts to display on this computer unfortunately.



What about other adjective like futoi, mijikai, nagai? It's applied the same way by just removing the ii?
No, I don't believe those even have noun forms, do they? Although there may be more words like "aki" (empty, open, vacent) that are technically nouns but actually function more like adjectives (akiheya, akikan, akijikan etc)....🙂
 
1) neko ha kuro desu
2) neko ha kuroi desu
I asked 3 Japanese and I got 3 different answers. 1st person, told me 1 means to make the cat black. 2nd person told me 1 and 2 is the same, just that 1 is less polite. 3rd person told me 1 means "cat is black" and 2 means "cat is black in colour". I think the 3rd person is more accurate as gels with what keiichi has explained, in which kuro is a noun and kuroi is an adjective. This 1 is actually wrong grammatically.
 
Originally posted by beluga
1) neko ha kuro desu
2) neko ha kuroi desu
I asked 3 Japanese and I got 3 different answers. 1st person, told me 1 means to make the cat black. 2nd person told me 1 and 2 is the same, just that 1 is less polite. 3rd person told me 1 means "cat is black" and 2 means "cat is black in colour". I think the 3rd person is more accurate as gels with what keiichi has explained, in which kuro is a noun and kuroi is an adjective. This 1 is actually wrong grammatically.
Yes, I agree the difference in English is mostly in the translation. Like the example I gave earlier "Your face is red isn't it?" "kao ga akai ne" (not "kao ga aka ne") can be thought of as "You have a red face don't you" with akai as an adjective.
 
What about other adjective like futoi, mijikai, nagai? It's applied the same way by just removing the ii?

No, I don't believe those even have noun forms, do they?

Actually I think they have ! Wouldn't that be the -sa form ? futosa, mijikasa (?) and nagasa.

Although for some reason mijikasa doesn't seem right to me : /
 
Originally posted by mahl
Actually I think they have ! Wouldn't that be the -sa form ? futosa, mijikasa (?) and nagasa.

Although for some reason mijikasa doesn't seem right to me : /
Yea, in a way, it's true... With -sa, it would become, fatness, shortness and length respectively.
 
Originally posted by beluga
Yea, in a way, it's true... With -sa, it would become, fatness, shortness and length respectively.
Yes, sorry, it was unclear. I just meant the nouns weren't the same as the adjectives in English and formed by dropping the ii's...such as with the color forms.
 
Originally posted by Scientist
Can I ask If kuro means something like kuroi+ iro with iro meaning color? thus meaning the color black?

thanks.
No.... iro and kuro+i has no connection whatsoever. it's just that kuro is a noun and kuroi is an adjective. Despite of what keiichi has explained, I can't really think of a concrete way to use kuro (or aka, ao).
 
Originally posted by beluga
No.... iro and kuro+i has no connection whatsoever. it's just that kuro is a noun and kuroi is an adjective. Despite of what keiichi has explained, I can't really think of a concrete way to use kuro (or aka, ao).
According to my dictionary at least, one situation in which only nouns could be used would be when you're referring to a particular color in the abstract.

"Black is the opposite of white" (Kuro wa shiro no hantai desu).

"Tsuika-bun wa subete ao de maaku shite kudasai" (Mark all additions in blue).
 
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