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Need help on Sentence Structure....

RanRane

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I am quite new to japanese, and i do not currently understand any of the proper writing of Japanese. (Kanji etc)

I have a book and cd which i bought named Beginners Japanese.

Well i thought that a sentence Structure is usually - noun wa noun desu, but in this bought, to say your name it says all you have to write is "Sazuki desu". Surely that means "Is/Am Suzuki"? Do you not have to put Watashi wa before it? To say I?

Also, look at this sentence "kore wa nnihon go de nan desu ka". I know that wa is used before a noun, but what does the "de" stand for?
 

Nicky

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I think it's kind of similar to English, where if you were announcing your name to someone who didn't ask for it, then saying "My name is" would be necessary. But if someone came up to you and asked "What's your name" then it'd be perfectly fine to just reply "It's Suzuki".


My grammar book has de listed as:
DE 2:
A particle which indicates the use of something for doing something..(by; for; from; in; on; using; with)
(Related tsukatte)

"Watashitachi wa nihongo de hanashita."
"We talked in Japanese.'

(notes)
!) In general, de2 indicates something which is used when someone or something does something. Typically, It indicates means and instruments as in example 1...

It has a whole bunch of other stuff about the particle de, but it's too much to type up.
 

Damicci

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Many times you can think of de as "at/in" when talking about locations
And when speaking of methods of usage de can be considered "by means of"

So your sentence could read literally "By means of Japanese, what is this?"
Loosely translateing to "What is this in Japanese."

I am sure there are many other meanings for de I don't know them but this may help to understand it in simpler forms.

Another example neko ha(wa) eigo de nan desu ka?

kuruma de gakkou ni ikimashita.

and watashi ha(wa) ie(uchi) de bangohan wo tabemashita.
 

hkBattousai

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Suppose some one asked you your name :
"What is your name?"

Your possible answers are :
"My name is Ran."
"It is Ran."
"Is Ran."
"Ran."

You don't have to use "I / watashi" every time. Maybe it's same in your language too (mine is so). But since you are still a beginner you have to build your sentences in full form. You should always use "watashi".

And don't try to understand prepositions like ni, no, de, kara, etc you will learn them all soon as you study.

Good luck.
 

RanRane

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Im a little confused. Could someone give a word for word in the exact order it is in the senctence translation of
Kore wa nihongo de nan desu ka?

To me, this is the exact translation if you do it in order : " This Japanese in what is?"

Have i got that right, if you actually translated it in the exact order is is? Can some explain what the nouns are in this sentence, as i thought you had to have "wa" between nouns, yet between "nihongo" and "Nan" there is a "de". From What i can see, Nihongo is a noun, so is Kore and so is Nan?
Could someone please give a proper in depth explanation of exactly how a sentence should be set out, as this book i have doesnt really explain the use of de, and i know you said is houldnt worry know, but im not like that, i need to know how to understand exactly how the nounds/prounounds/verbs etc work and where they should be placed in a sentence before i can learn?
 

hkBattousai

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これ は 日本語 で 何 です か? (これ は  にほんご で なん です か?)
"Kore wa Nihongo de nan desu ka?"

This sentence consists of 3 parts :
1 - Kore wa (This is (kore=this, wa=is))
2 - Nihongo de (in Japanese (Nihongo=Japanese, de=by(How do you say it by using Japanese?)))
3 - nan desu ka? (what is it? (nan(nani)=what, desu=is, ka=question-tag))

Full of paranthesis ha?
I hope it was helpful.
 

RanRane

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No, it didnt really help at all, sorry. You didnt really distinguish which parts were the nouns etc, I would appreciate it deeply if someone could give an in depth explanation of what I have asked previously, as This is playing on my mind and halting me from continuing from learning.
 

Damicci

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これ は 日本語 で 何 です か? (これ は にほんご で なん です か?)
"Kore wa Nihongo de nan desu ka?"

This sentence consists of 3 parts :
1 - Kore wa (This is (kore=this, wa=is))
2 - Nihongo de (in Japanese (Nihongo=Japanese, de=by(How do you say it by using Japanese?)))
3 - nan desu ka? (what is it? (nan(nani)=what, desu=is, ka=question-tag))

Full of paranthesis ha?
I hope it was helpful.


Yeah probably not a good Idea to say ha=is cause it really doesn't wa just states that the focus of the sentence is kore.
Don't associate "ha" with "is" it WILL screw you up.

Kore = "This"
ha = topic/subject marker 😅
 

Cue

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Im a little confused. Could someone give a word for word in the exact order it is in the senctence translation of
Kore wa nihongo de nan desu ka?

To me, this is the exact translation if you do it in order : " This Japanese in what is?"
okay...

According to Japanese grammar,

kore: demonstrative pronoun, "this"
ha(wa): postposition, topic particle
Nihongo: noun, "Japanese language"
de: postposition, contextual particle, "in" in this case.
nan(nani): interrogative pronoun, "what"
desu: auxiliary verb, similar to "is" in this case.
ka: postposition, question marker, "?"
So, word for word translation is like "this Japanese language in what is?" (yeah, you got it right)

Still confused?

Maybe you might want to look at http://www.guidetojapanese.org/index.html .

Cue
 

nhk9

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Im a little confused. Could someone give a word for word in the exact order it is in the senctence translation of
Kore wa nihongo de nan desu ka?
To me, this is the exact translation if you do it in order : " This Japanese in what is?"
Have i got that right, if you actually translated it in the exact order is is? Can some explain what the nouns are in this sentence, as i thought you had to have "wa" between nouns, yet between "nihongo" and "Nan" there is a "de". From What i can see, Nihongo is a noun, so is Kore and so is Nan?
Could someone please give a proper in depth explanation of exactly how a sentence should be set out, as this book i have doesnt really explain the use of de, and i know you said is houldnt worry know, but im not like that, i need to know how to understand exactly how the nounds/prounounds/verbs etc work and where they should be placed in a sentence before i can learn?

First of all, Kore wa nihongo de nan desu ka? is not really a natural sentence, although native speakers would get what you mean. The proper way to say something like this is "kore wo nihongo de nan to iimasu ka?" Since the question that you provided is not of the most proper type grammatically, translating word for word and dissecting the word order is not going to be useful to your studies. As for the one that I have, it is more like "this (object marker) japanese (in) what (speech marker) say (question)'

If you want an in depth explanation, you must be prepared to give an in depth explanation on which point you are having a problem. If you have a lot of questions and would like a better understanding, I advise you to get a good book or to visit wikipedia and search up "japanese grammar". The companies '3A' and 'Japan Times' produce fairly good beginner books, you should search them up on amazon.co.jp or in a local bookstore.
 

RanRane

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First of all, Kore wa nihongo de nan desu ka? is not really a natural sentence, although native speakers would get what you mean. The proper way to say something like this is "kore wo nihongo de nan to iimasu ka?" Since the question that you provided is not of the most proper type grammatically, translating word for word and dissecting the word order is not going to be useful to your studies. As for the one that I have, it is more like "this (object marker) japanese (in) what (speech marker) say (question)'
If you want an in depth explanation, you must be prepared to give an in depth explanation on which point you are having a problem. If you have a lot of questions and would like a better understanding, I advise you to get a good book or to visit wikipedia and search up "japanese grammar". The companies '3A' and 'Japan Times' produce fairly good beginner books, you should search them up on amazon.co.jp or in a local bookstore.

Thanks for all your help guys, I undersstand alot better now. But what you were saying, I do have a book , it cost me 15 pounds. But in my book it has taught me that to say "Kore wa nihongo de nan desu ka" Means "What is this in Japanese". So am i learning it incorrectly? Please could you elaborate on what you mean by I am using the wrong sentence structure, as I feel that this will help my learning.
 
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Thanks for all your help guys, I undersstand alot better now. But what you were saying, I do have a book , it cost me 15 pounds. But in my book it has taught me that to say "Kore wa nihongo de nan desu ka" Means "What is this in Japanese". So am i learning it incorrectly? Please could you elaborate on what you mean by I am using the wrong sentence structure, as I feel that this will help my learning.

Dont worry. Kore wa nihongo de nan desu ka is OK. I am Japanese and I say this to you.
But maybe we Japanese do not say so. It is correct but sounds mmmmm
as we Japanese people suppose to know polite ways to ask something to strangers. We would say " kore wa nihongo de nanto iimasuka?" or
" Nihongo dewa dou ieba iidesyouka?" the part of nan desu ka sounds
too simple. The sound of NAN plus desu is not nice. I am sorry i cannot explain well but Kore wa nihongo de nan desuka is correct!! Just sounds a bit cold and direct...
 

undrentide

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Many memers already gave good explanation, so my message might overlap with many of them, but anyway...

First of all, Japanese grammar can be very much difrerent from English and other European languages.

1. Function of the word (subject, object, verb, etc.) are not decided by its location in a sentence. In English the word order is basically strict, so there's a definite pattern such as S+V+O or S+V+C.
In Japanese language word order is loose comared with English.
Topic(not necessarily the subject of verb)+[ ]+predicate.

2. There's no "preposition" in Japanese. Instead there are many "particles" which is placed "after" the word to modify its preceding word.

some examples of particle
ga : to indicate its preceding word is the subject of a verb
wa : to indicate it is the topic of the sentence (i.e. what the speaker is talking about)
ni : to indicate the place or direction
wo : to indicate its preceding word is the object

- The cat caught the mouse.
- The mouse caught the cat.

In English, the word before the verb means is the subject of the verb, so the above two sentences mean different things.

- Neko ga nezumi wo tsukamaeta.
- Nezumi wo neko ga tsukamaeta.

neko : cat
ga : particle to indicate the subject
nezumi : mouse
wo : particle to indicate the object
tsukamaeta: past form of tsukamaeru = to catch

In Japanese, both of the sentences mean the same thing - the cat caught the mouse, though in the latter more emphasis is placed on the mouse which is placed at the beginning of the sentence.

You can see that the location of each word does not affect the function of the word in a sentence.

I think that "kore wa nihongo de nan desu ka" is OK for "what is it in Japanese?".
"Kore wa nihongo de nan to iimasu ka" (what do you call it in Japanese) might sound a little more polite.

I think that if you are really new to learning Japanese, you are on the right track - first learn basic expressions with English translation, and after a while, when you learned some grammars, how verb/adjective conjugate and how each particle works, then you'll start to see the sentence structure.

Just my two cents worth. 😌
 

RanRane

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Many memers already gave good explanation, so my message might overlap with many of them, but anyway...
First of all, Japanese grammar can be very much difrerent from English and other European languages.
1. Function of the word (subject, object, verb, etc.) are not decided by its location in a sentence. In English the word order is basically strict, so there's a definite pattern such as S+V+O or S+V+C.
In Japanese language word order is loose comared with English.
Topic(not necessarily the subject of verb)+[ ]+predicate.
2. There's no "preposition" in Japanese. Instead there are many "particles" which is placed "after" the word to modify its preceding word.
some examples of particle
ga : to indicate its preceding word is the subject of a verb
wa : to indicate it is the topic of the sentence (i.e. what the speaker is talking about)
ni : to indicate the place or direction
wo : to indicate its preceding word is the object
- The cat caught the mouse.
- The mouse caught the cat.
In English, the word before the verb means is the subject of the verb, so the above two sentences mean different things.
- Neko ga nezumi wo tsukamaeta.
- Nezumi wo neko ga tsukamaeta.
neko : cat
ga : particle to indicate the subject
nezumi : mouse
wo : particle to indicate the object
tsukamaeta: past form of tsukamaeru = to catch
In Japanese, both of the sentences mean the same thing - the cat caught the mouse, though in the latter more emphasis is placed on the mouse which is placed at the beginning of the sentence.
You can see that the location of each word does not affect the function of the word in a sentence.
I think that "kore wa nihongo de nan desu ka" is OK for "what is it in Japanese?".
"Kore wa nihongo de nan to iimasu ka" (what do you call it in Japanese) might sound a little more polite.
I think that if you are really new to learning Japanese, you are on the right track - first learn basic expressions with English translation, and after a while, when you learned some grammars, how verb/adjective conjugate and how each particle works, then you'll start to see the sentence structure.
Just my two cents worth. 😌

Thank you so much! Most of that made alot of sense to me and helped clear it up a bit more for me. The only part iwasnt to sure on was the way you said to make it more polite to say "Kore was nihongo de nan TO IIMASU KA". The part i have wrote in Capitals is there part I am unsure of. How come you have taken away Desu? And also why is it that it has been put at the end of sentence? Say it means "As for this, what is it in japanese?", how would you fit TO IIMASU into the sentence?

It says in my dictionary that "To iimasu" would mean "and is/there is"? That doesnt stand for call does it? Basically know im confused a bit as that surely what would "As for this, What does this and there is mean in Japanese?"

Please xplain to me!!
 

undrentide

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Thank you so much! Most of that made alot of sense to me and helped clear it up a bit more for me. The only part iwasnt to sure on was the way you said to make it more polite to say "Kore was nihongo de nan TO IIMASU KA". The part i have wrote in Capitals is there part I am unsure of. How come you have taken away Desu? And also why is it that it has been put at the end of sentence? Say it means "As for this, what is it in japanese?", how would you fit TO IIMASU into the sentence?
It says in my dictionary that "To iimasu" would mean "and is/there is"? That doesnt stand for call does it? Basically know im confused a bit as that surely what would "As for this, What does this and there is mean in Japanese?"
Please xplain to me!!

(1) Desu
~desu is used only with noun or adjective.
It is not exactly the same but similar to "to be", used to link the subject or topic with complement.
e.g.
watashi wa nihonjin desu.
(as for me) (japanese) (be) = I'm Japanese.
sono inu wa kuroi desu.
(as for that dog) (black) (be) = The dog is black.
Because "iimasu" (polite form of "iu") is a verb, you cannot use "desu".

(2) to iimasu
Iimasu (iu) means to say/to tell, and also used as "to be called/said".
to is particle to quote something.

watashi wa undrentide to iimasu.
(as for me) (undrentide) (be called) = I'm called undrentide. My name is undrentide.

I think you've mistaken "iimasu" for "imasu" which is a polite form of "iru" which means to exist/tobe.
:)

watashi wa undrentide to iimasu. My name is undrentide.
watashi wa koko ni imasu.
(as for me) (here) (exist/be) = I exist here = I'm here.

Hope this helps.
 
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