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Question about verb forms...

kinjo

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I am having some trouble understanding what several verb forms mean or signify in actual speech. They are volitional, passive, causative, and potential.
:confused:
My guesses so far as to equivalents in English have been thus:
voltional= the modal auxiliaries of will/would and shall/should; example: I will eat lunch at noon.

passive= the passive voice combination of "to be" and the participle of another verb; example: The dog was walked already.

causative= ? (I haven't the least idea.)

potential= some form of the subjunctive? example: If need be, I will drive everyone. She demands that they be permitted to go alone.

Any information, anyone?



:rolleyes:
::starts to think about throwing down the cash for a grammar book::
 

Elizabeth

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I think your assumptions are a bit too specific & limiting for Japanese, but don't have time to answer in full now. Anyway, here is a web site that might help in getting started. :)

Japanese - Verb Forms
 

berean_315

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I'll try to give my input of the top of my head, but will miss something.

1) Volitional
Verbs end in "mashou", "o" & "you"

Ex) SHALL we go eat lunch together?
issho ni hirugohan wo tebemashou ka?


2) Passive
I think you've got it. It is used when there is no direct object.

Ex) "The window WAS CLOSED" as opposed to "I closed the window"


3) Causative
To make someone do something

Normally has an ending such as "saseru"

Ex) The mother MADE him clean up his room.


4) Potential
Means able to do something.

Ex) I can read Japanese.
Nihongo wo YOMEMASU. Or "Nihongo wo yomu KOTO GA DEKIMASU.


ジェラルド
 

Elizabeth

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Originally posted by berean_315 [/B]

3) Causative
To make someone do something

Normally has an ending such as "saseru"

Ex) The mother MADE him clean up his room.


[/B]
There's also the "let causative" form which I think basically translates to a very strong I'm going to do something anyway, so please accept my apologies for any inconvenience type request in English. :)


1). Kangaesasete kudasai.

Please let me think about it.


2). Kono heya wo tsukawasete kudasai.

Please let me use this room.
 

kinjo

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Interesting... Unlike English but similar to Romance languages, the verb itself is altered to express these meanings. The causative is completely new to me, though. It seems sort of like the opposite of the passive. Could you have a construction like "The dog was made to walk"? Would you just use "arukarera" (sp?) since there is no subject present to do the making, so to speak? (Heh, side-note: My mom, an ESL teacher, calls the passive voice the "politician tense")

Elizabeth: The list I posted was far from being a list of assumptions. On the contrary, they were my wild guesses based solely on the English name of the form. The only assumption I make is that the meanings and shades of meaning that can be expressed using a single verb form in Japanese are as varied as they are in any language. "I will eat lunch at noon" is an example of the use of a modal auxiliary, but not the definitive example, because there are none. That website was just the wedge into the mystery I was looking for. The more examples the better!

Thanks you two!
:)
 

Elizabeth

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Originally posted by GaijinGirl
Interesting... Unlike English but similar to Romance languages, the verb itself is altered to express these meanings. The causative is completely new to me, though. It seems sort of like the opposite of the passive. Could you have a construction like "The dog was made to walk"? Would you just use "arukarera" (sp?) since there is no subject present to do the making, so to speak? (Heh, side-note: My mom, an ESL teacher, calls the passive voice the "politician tense")


Thanks you two!
:)
Yes, Japanese is highly agglutinative and inflected for sure. Turkish & Korean are the only other languages I know of like this where you can have a one word sentence for 'the dog was made to walk' (---> arukaserareru) from this causative-passive coalescence, or "suffering passive" as it's sometimes called in the plain form -- implying something was forced or allowed to happen against someone's/something's will.

Expressing temporality or time relationships in japanese verbs is probably the one area where there are actually fewer forms than in English since they don't use present (have gone) past (had gone) or future (will have gone) perfect tenses to speak of and of course the plain future and the present are the same.

Conditionality and the subjunctive in Japanese are also difficult for the opposite reason -- because there are at dozens (at least) ways to express if or when and the verb in the dependent clause doesn't necessarily relate in tense to the main verb.

Just learn enough to make yourself understood in the context in the beginning.

👍
 
Last edited:

tobata

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> Japanese - Verb Forms

Wow ! There are many verb forms in Japanese !

Plain, Masu, Imperative, Te, Conditional, Volitional, Potential, Passive, Causative and Causative Passive.

I did not learn Japanese verbs in those ways in school, so I am wondering if they can let learners of Japanese have a good understanding of Japanese verbs. If I was not a Japanese speaker and learned Japanese as a 2nd language or something, I would find them hard to follow...

I am very curious to know whether those classified forms work well for the learners or not.

Any comment would be greatly appreciated.
 

tasuki

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My experience as a learner has been that it's better not to pay too much attention to those grammatical terms because,

1. In conversational situations, they're confusing and tend to slow the flow of conversation because you have to stop and think about them.

2. I've not met many normal people (if you don't happen to have a Japanese teacher who's up on his/her verb forms handy) who can actually tell the difference between all these verb tenses. Most Japanese people I've run across are not even all that comfortable with verb tense technical names in Japanese, much less in English.

However, if you're learning Japanese from a philological standpoint, then it may prove useful.
 

kinjo

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Yes, there are a lot! O.O

Japanese will be my fifth language, so I have had some experience with different kinds of verb forms. I have always found it helpful to have names for forms because there is usually a rough equivalent in the language/s you already know.

Plus, it is safe to assume that human beings, whatever language they speak, view time and reality in similar ways. Therefore, language will develop along similar lines since its purpose is to communicate information about reality. For instance, the idea of performing an action now is distinct from the idea of performing an action a month ago. For practical reasons, it is often necessary to be able to differentiate the two in communication. Consequently, linguistic conventions arise about how to do that, even if it isn't the modification of a verb.

Native speakers of a language don't really need to learn the grammatical names for aspects of their language to communicate effectively, since they already understand the grammar intuitively. Some people believe that language acquisition occurs best through total immersion, the way that babies learn a language, rather than from organized lessons. I believe that for adults a textbook approach is necessary also, but it depends heavily one the way one thinks and learns.
 

ax

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Japanese has yet to become my fith language. I'm still trying to connect all the pieces I learned.

I sometimes think that japanese verb form has a lot of similarities with chinese and somehow normalized into japanese. e.x. the ~nakerabanarimasen has the exact same pattern in chinese bu4 de2 bu4 ~.

I was learning japanese on an off for three years back in my home country, Indonesia. Now, I'm in taiwan, the more I knew Chinese, the more it helps me to understand japanese with it's kanji. It's suddenly become easier.

ax
 

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