A Word That Adds Flow Within And Between Sentences Yoda and Japanese Word Order

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Yoda and Japanese Word Order

One thing I rarely see is a simple and straightforward explanation of Japanese grammar.

Call it a “zen-attitude” if you like, but I’m all about keeping things simple and minimalistic! So there are a few points I want to address when talking about the Japanese language.

I’ve found that one of the best ways to explain Japanese is to use literal translations, sometimes with “implicit translations” that highlight or underline the focus-point(s). Here’s what I mean:

Japanese: Kore-wa pen desu.

English: This[-of what I speak] There is a pen.

Implicit translation: It is (a) a pen.

This is because it’s really cool to know what people are saying in a foreign language – it’s extremely helpful if you know how foreigners think and speak in their native language!

The second reason is that once you start thinking like a Japanese person, your sentences and grammatical structures will flow more naturally, with Japanese word-order in mind. This natural flow of things is known as “The Force”.

Really!? Well no, but that helps us move on to our next point: Yoda.

Yoda is of great interest to Japanese language learners because its grammatical structure is almost identical to the original Japanese language. For example:

Japanese: Watashi-no Tomodachi-no Kuruma-wa Shiroi Desu!

English: My friends car[-of what I speak] It’s white!

“Yoda-style”: My friends’ car, it’s white!

Implied translation: My friends car is white.

However, word order in Japanese is classified as “.Subject-Object-Verb“. Consider an example sentence about pen: kore-wa pen desu.

Literally it reads “This is a pen“. The subject word in that sentence is “come on” which is marked by the grammar-marker (or “particle” as they are called) “wa”. verb at the end to be Present tense is conjugated as “is” or in Japanese: desu.

You will hear the word “Desu” a lot in Japanese. Although the phonetically correct spelling in English is “desu”, it actually sounds like “des”.

Flexibility of Japanese Word Order

In the previous paragraph I mentioned the terms “grammatical-marker” or “particle”. These are important aspects of the Japanese language that I will cover in a future article, so we won’t go into them right now. It’s enough to understand that Japanese word order is extremely flexible because a “particle” tells you what a word is doing in a sentence.

For example in this sentence the particle “wa” stands after the word “.come on” (written as “kore”) to show that it is the subject of the sentence. See another: “kore-or Give me a pen.”

Now just remember to follow the path of the force and you won’t go wrong in Japanese!

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