Japanese Lesson 17 – Omission of the subject, Shift of subject and object

You can omit the subject of Japanese sentence

Let’s look at the example in the page of Lesson-16.
(I added a few words in the example.)

(English)
A: I was arrived at Tokyo yesterday.
B: How long are you going to stay in Tokyo?
A: Actually, I will go to Sapporo tomorrow.
B: I went to Sapporo last month, too.
A: What did you eat in Sapporo?
B: I ate sushi.
A: How long do you stay in Japan?
B: I am in Japan until next month.

(Japanese) [Actually = jitsuwa]
A: Watashi wa kinoo Tookyoo ni tsuki mashita.
B: Anata wa itsu made Tookyoo ni iru no desu ka?
A: Jitsuwa, watashi wa ashita Sapporo e iki masu.
B: Watashi mo sengetsu Sapporo e iki mashita.
A: Anata wa Sapporo de nani o tabe mashita ka?
B: Watashi wa sushi o tabe mashita.
A: Anata wa itsu made Nihon ni iru no desu ka?
B: Watashi wa raigetsu made Nihon ni i masu.

Basically, English sentence always needs the subject.
But you can omit the subject of Japanese sentence.

When a speaker and a hearer understand the content of the talk without the subject of the sentence clearly, the subject is able to be omitted.

For example, when they are talking, “watashi wa” (I) and “anata wa” (you) are almost omitted.
Rather, they use the subject only when they want to emphasize it.

But when the subject has a particle “ga” or “mo”, it is hardly omitted because it is emphasized.

Therefore, the natural conversation of above example is the following.

A: Watashi wa kinoo Tookyoo ni tsuki mashita.
B: Itsu made Tookyoo ni iru no desu ka?
A: Jitsuwa, ashita Sapporo e iki masu.
B: Watashi mo sengetsu Sapporo e iki mashita.
A: Sapporo de nani o tabe mashita ka?
B: Sushi o tabe mashita.
A: Itsu made Nihon ni iru no desu ka?
B: Raigetsu made Nihon ni i masu.

In addition, when both a speaker and a hearer share the recognition of the contents about the topic in their conversation, even objects, adverbial phrases are sometimes omitted.
And when they repeat the same verb, even it is omitted.

But such omission is done only in casual conversation.
When you use Japanese, it would be safer to use omission moderately.

The following is an example of the case that they are talking about going to Tokyo.

(English)
A: Do you go there? (there = Tokyo)
B: Yes, I go there!
A: When do you go?
B: I’ll go tomorrow.

(Japanese)
A: Iki masu ka?
B: Iki masu!
A: Itsu?
B: Ashita.

This is an extreme case, but Japanese people often make such conversation.

You may change the position of subject and object

As already mentioned, Japanese subject has particle “wa”, “ga” or “mo” and the object has particle “o” or “ni”.

jp-frame

In other words, by checking the particle of each box in above frames, you can recognize the function of the part.
Therefore, we can understand the meaning of the sentence even if the position of the parts in the sentence are changed.
But verb group is always put at the end of normal sentence. It is only one rule.

(Example)
He teaches her Japanese from April.

(Japanese)
[Case.1]
Kare ga kanojo ni Nihongo o shigatsu kara oshie masu.
[Case.2]
Shigatsu kara Nihongo o kanojo ni kare ga oshie masu.
[Case.3]
Kanojo ni kare ga Nihongo o shigatsu kara oshie masu.

All sentences are natural Japanese.


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