Start Learning Japanese in the next 30 Seconds with a Free Lifetime Account
Hey Listener! What is your favorite sport? Tell us in Japanese!
On behalf of Natsuko どういたしまして.
Just like many other sentences, it could be down to “what the focus here is” and/or
“what information we’d like to deliver”.
I mean, if we want to say “they” are playing volleyball or baseball, we’d probably say
“they’re playing volleyball/baseball” in Japanese too.
If we want to describe that the group of people were divided into two teams and they’re
playing volleyball/baseball, we’d probably use those sentences you mentioned. 😉
こんばんは。返事してくれて、ありがとうございます。It is interesting that the information about being divided into teams was included in the Japanese way of thinking for that sentence.
The teams are playing baseball.
I am pretty sure I get the idea overall, but nailing down an accurate and natural sounding translation is often very difficult. Now part of what got me to think about all this was this apparently similar example sentence that was given on this same page here:
The teams are playing volleyball.
Of course the subject is not even given in either of those Japanese sentences above, but in the English translation there appears to be a subject, teams. That’s probably what threw me off balance. I should probably assume the sentence was conceived originally in Japanese and go from there.
So anyway, for the volleyball one, apparently we use で to mark “team” because で can be used to mark the condition of an action. Here the action is playing volleyball and the condition is “team” play marked by で. The alternative is perhaps there are no teams established, nothing tightly organized, just people joining in on either side of the net and playing informally. I can see that happening on a beach perhaps. In that case we might just say something like (彼らが) ボレーボールをしています。I’m not really sure why we don’t say that anyway, just drop the idea of teams or dividing into teams unless that is somehow important information.
Thinking about it some more, even in English I wouldn’t really say the “The teams are playing (a sport)”, because in a team sport like baseball or volleyball, that is already understood. It would sound strange actually. For チームでバレーボールをしている, in translating, I might want to avoid mentioning teams altogether and just say, “(They are) playing volleyball”. Or, depending on a larger context where the information about teams is important, perhaps mention something about teams.
Sorry about my ramblings here. I guess I am just thinking out loud.
You’re right; English translation here is not literally corresponding.
However, we might not say “they divided up into teams and are playing baseball”
in English as “divided up into teams” are something obvious.
Also, I think “divided up into teams AND are playing” sounds like わかれて then
playing, which is a bit different from what we’re saying in Japanese.
チームに分かれて expresses the situation, “with divided teams” or “being divided”, so it’s not
“the order of actions” here.
We don’t literally say “teams are playing baseball” in Japanese.
Natural way in each language here would be different.
Hope this helps!
日本語の文を聞くとき、「They divided up into teams and are playing baseball.」という意味が分かりました。でも、英語の翻訳はちょっと違うと思います。「わかれる」の意味ではありません。これは大丈夫ですか。
( Good afternoon. My favorite sport is baseball. I like to watch the games, but I am terrible at playing. Oh well… . I also like to play volleyball, but I don’t really care to watch volleyball games.
Regarding the example sentences on this page, I have a question. The example sentence:
The teams are playing baseball.
When I heard the sentence in Japanese, I understood it as “They divided up into teams and are playing baseball.” But the English translation given is a little different. It didn’t carry the meaning of actually “dividing up” into teams. Is that ok? )