Page 1 of 1

Language drift

Posted: February 25th, 2013 1:40 pm
by qiziq
Toward the beginning of a recent podcast (survival phrases #57), someone uses the phrase 私もとても楽しかった. I have been gone from Japan for many years, but to me, this is a perfect example of language drift. Maybe someone needs to enlighten me.

Given the meaning of the adjective 楽しい, (fun, entertaining) I expect it to always modify the object, not the subject. I know that both are often left out in spoken Japanese, but if it is specifically associated with a subject, I would think that the meaning would become "I'm funny," rather than the obviously intended "I'm having a good time. I have never heard anyone speak of him(her)self as おもしろい. Is this new, or has it always been so? I would welcome any thoughts.

Re: Language drift

Posted: February 25th, 2013 9:54 pm
by community.japanese
qiziq-san,
kon'nichiwa!

Yes, you're right; 楽しい is, strictly speaking, an adjective to describe somthing like an event, not the subject.
We use this 楽しい to describe "how we feel" about something without mentioning "what" is entertaining
and "who" feels it, like 「楽しい」 or 「楽しかった」 as someone's impressions and/or opinions about something.
私も楽しかった is a very common phrase we can use, and there're "behind-the-scenes" words: it was a
short version of 私も【event が】楽しかった【と 思う、感じる etc.】 :flower:
So, the person who says this phrase "also" enjoyed something.
Hope this helps you understanding why 楽しかった can be used only with non-modifying person, or subject :wink:
Please feel free to let us know if you don't fully understand! :D

Natsuko(奈津子),
Team JapanesePod101.com

Re: Language drift

Posted: February 26th, 2013 12:45 pm
by qiziq
奈津子さま,

Thank you for your reply. I really do want to understand this. Grammatically, even by filling in the blanks, the expression still seems to me to turn 楽しい into a verb, which it is not. It may just be that I don't fully comprehend how much closer 形容詞 are to verbs in Japanese than adjectives are to verbs in English. If, however, you are telling me that with subjective adjectives (that have to do with human feeling or response), it is more about the feeling or response and less about placement or relation to the object or subject, THAT would be very Japanese, and I think I can fully 分かります.

Re: Language drift

Posted: February 26th, 2013 10:31 pm
by community.japanese
qiziq-san,
I think your understanding is quite correct.
Grammatically speaking, those 楽しい or 楽しかった refers to an event being fun, but if we actually think of
the meaning, "who" had fund is "a person (= subject)". This expression is really different from English because
of that: expressing "something" is/was fun directly means "someone" enjoyed.

Hope this makes sense! :wink:

Natsuko(奈津子),
Team JapanesePod101.com