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Particles in Japanese

Posted: February 6th, 2007 1:37 am
by Jordi
みな さん こんにちわ
ジオルヂです

This has probably already been asked and answered a million times, but I'll ask once again. I am very confused with all of the different particles and their functions, such as は, が and へ and basically all the other ones except は ね and よ. I know that this is a very broad question but it anybody could please answer it I'd be very grateful

ありがとうございます

Jordi

Posted: February 6th, 2007 4:34 am
by Tom
A search for "Japanese particles" on Amazon or your favorite book search site will return many results for small booklets dedicated to the subject. There are doubtless many web sites as well. I can't recommend any in particular, as I learned beginner Japanese from the Nakama textbooks, but you can probably reserve many of these at your library and go through them quickly to get a feel for what the different particles are for.

Posted: February 6th, 2007 9:22 am
by brianca
I've always liked this guys page:

http://www.timwerx.net/language/index.htm

Posted: February 6th, 2007 5:11 pm
by Bueller_007
I have a bit of time, so here goes:

は marks a topic, emphasing what follows it as being specific to that topic. There is no real equivalent in English, but people often say that "AはB" = "As for A, B". The "topic" is often the grammatical subject, but can be anything (including the grammatical object, and sometimes the verb), and it may also follow some other particles.

が marks the grammatical subject of a sentence. It can also be used to join sentences, like the word "but", but that が is technically a different word.

を marks the grammatical object of a sentence.

も functions as "also" in English. It can be used most places where you'd use は. That means, when used, it replaces は and が (and usually を, although I've seen them used together) and can follow some other particles directly.

に indicates direction (and arrival of) of coming/going or giving/receiving verbs. It usually means "to" (I.e. "I go to work"), but in the case of giving/receiving verbs, can also mean "from". In the case of passive verbs, it marks the grammatical agent, making it the same as "by" in English. (i.e. "my wallet was stolen by my brother.") に is also used to indicate the location of existence when combined with the verbs いる or ある, making it the Japanese version of "at" (in some instances). It is also used to create adverbs from な-adjectives, like the English "-ly".

へ is basically the same as に, except it emphasizes direction over arrival. The main difference is usage. へ is never used as "from", "by", "at" or "-ly". In addition, the particle の can follow the へ particle directly, whereas it cannot follow に.

で is used to indicate location of an action, so it also means "at", but is not used together with the verbs いる or ある. A different で is also a form of the copula used to connect clauses or phrases, so when you see で, it could also mean "due to", "and then", "using", etc.

から indicates a temporal or spatial starting point. ("from", "since")

まで indicates a temporal or spatial finishing point. ("all the way to", "until")

と is used to join nouns together into an exhaustive list that functions as a single noun. ("with", "and"). Like the English "and", it can also be used to give an (immediate) consequence to an action. (i.e. I walked out my door and got hit by a bus.") It's also the particle used to indicate a direct quote (from someone's mind or speech), functioning like quotation marks in English.

や is used in the same way as the first sense of と, but the list is not exhaustive. It means "such things as A, B, and C".

の (often shortened to ん) indicates possession (functioning like the English "apostrophe-ess"), but can also be used (before a copula) to give a reason for something. Similarly, it also functions as an indefinite pronoun. It is also one of the nominalizers, converting verb phrases, etc. into noun phrases.

ね is used at the end of sentences, basically in the same way as an English tag question. Generally, if said with rising intonation, it indicates a request for confirmation from the listener (i.e. "It's a beautiful day, isn't it?"), whereas if it's said with falling intonation, it's used as rhetorical device (i.e. "It's a beautiful day, isn't it.") Over-generalization, but a decent starting point.

よ is used to add emphasis to a sentence, i.e. to strengthen one's argument during a debate. In already-very-emphatic sentences, it reduces emphasis somewhat. It's your emphasis-regulating particle.

As a beginner, that's all you'll need to know. I've omitted a lot of stuff, just because it's out of your league at the moment, and there are TONS of other particles, and combinations of particles, like ので and とか, that need to be memorized as well.

Posted: February 6th, 2007 11:11 pm
by JohnCBriggs
Buellerさん,
Thank you for this explanation. It is very well written.
ジョン

Posted: February 7th, 2007 6:26 am
by Jordi
Buellerさん、どうも ありがとう ございます! それは ほんと に ものすごい です。  That was a very good explanation おかげさまで 今私は 解ります。:D

よろしくおねがいします

-Jordi

Posted: February 7th, 2007 7:00 am
by Outkast
Jordi wrote:Buellerさん、どうも ありがとう ございます! それは ほんと に ものすごい です。  That was a very good explanation おかげさまで 今私は 解ります。:D

よろしくおねがいします

-Jordi


Not to poke or anything, but remember, you don't put spaces between words in Japanese. So go ahead and run those words together!

Posted: February 7th, 2007 8:48 am
by JohnCBriggs
Outkastさん,
You are right, of course, for adult readers. However, this type of spacing is common in Japanese children's books. This is probably to help inexperience readers of the language. So perhaps that applies here as well.
ジョン

Posted: February 7th, 2007 9:55 am
by annie
JohnCBriggs wrote:Outkastさん,
You are right, of course, for adult readers. However, this type of spacing is common in Japanese children's books. This is probably to help inexperience readers of the language. So perhaps that applies here as well.
ジョン


I agree that spacing is appropriate if typing all in hiragana... without spaces hiragana words are difficult to differentiate.

And Buellerさん、
Great explanation. It looks like you have as much free time as I do. Maybe someone from jpod101 can make this into a sticky, so that it doesn't get lost.

Posted: February 8th, 2007 9:48 am
by Outkast
JohnCBriggs wrote:Outkastさん,
You are right, of course, for adult readers. However, this type of spacing is common in Japanese children's books. This is probably to help inexperience readers of the language. So perhaps that applies here as well.
ジョン


News to me! That's pretty cool, actually... Sorry about that then.

Posted: February 9th, 2007 10:05 pm
by JohnCBriggs
Beullerさん,
You saved me on this one with the use of に to turn an adjective into an adverb.
おまいりが ぶじに すんで かえろうとしたときです。
I remembered your excellent post and referred back to it.
Thanks
ジョン

Posted: February 9th, 2007 11:29 pm
by Jordi
annie wrote:And Buellerさん、
Great explanation. It looks like you have as much free time as I do. Maybe someone from jpod101 can make this into a sticky, so that it doesn't get lost.


Annieさん Great idea, but how do we get the attention of a Jpod101 staff member?
Do we have to reach a certain number of posts or something like that?

ありがと

Posted: August 2nd, 2007 8:11 pm
by nilfisq
hello jpod-friends!

i also have a particle question.

in newbie lesson 22 i learned the following sentence pattern:

PLACE (ni) wa (IN)ANIMATE OBJECT ga aru/iru

example:
watashi no gakkou ni wa oukina pu-ru ga aru
there is a large pool in my school

i suppose that the brackets around "ni" mean that "ni" is optional.

in earlier lessons i noticed the following patterns, where "wa" was left out, not "ni":

kono hen ni koushuu denwa wa arimasu ka?
is there a pay phone around here?
(by the way: why is "wa" used after the inanimate object and not "ga"? i read something about "general use" somewhere)

konbini no mae ni jidou hanbaiki ga arimasu ne.
there's a vending machine in front of the convenience store.

can somebody explain this to me?

Posted: August 3rd, 2007 10:22 am
by maxiewawa
When you put a 'wa' in a situation like that (after 'ni', which indicates direction), it establishes the location as the subject of a sentence. You're not just telling where something is. A little hard to explain, but have a look at this

koko ni pen ga arimasu.
There is a pen here.

Easy, right? But in the next example:

Koko ni ha pen ga arimasu.
Here? There's a pen.

The first sentence is just telling you there's a pen here. In the second example, it's almost like someone has asked you what is 'here'. 'Here' is obviously the topic of discussion.

Maybe this will help.

Watashi ha Shanhai ni sunde imasu. Shanhai ga suki desu. Shanghai ni wa, chuugokujin ga takusan imasu.

I live in Shanghai. I like Shanghai. In Shanghai, there are many Chinese people.

Since Shanghai is obviously the main gist of what I'm talking about, when I'm talking about what's in Shanghai (as in the last sentence of ' Shanhai niwa'), I use a wa particle to emphasise it.

But in the following exerpt:

Shanhai ni nani ga arimasuka.
What is in Shanghai?

Shanhai ni chuugokujin ga ippai imasu.
In Shanghai there are lots of Chinese people.

I'm not really talking about Shanghai as a major topic, I don't add a 'wa'.

I hope this helps. By the way, I have been inconsistent in this post with using 'wa' or 'ha' as the romanisation of the は particle. Sorry.

EDITED: Bad Grammar :(

Posted: August 3rd, 2007 12:08 pm
by Jason
annie wrote:Maybe someone from jpod101 can make this into a sticky, so that it doesn't get lost.

So stickied.