15 March 2016

Back to front

As Japanese is a subject-object-verb order language, and English is subject-verb-object, most analysis of word order between the languages only emphasises the differences between them.

However, let's have a look at a particularly complication example.
Imagine, if you will, a young boy, who has some homework to be getting on with. He'd rather be playing with his friends, but his dad makes him get on with it.
On the way to school the next day, he relates this to a friend.
'I didn't want to be made to do homework by my dad'

How could we say that in Japanese?

That's a very long verb at the end there, so we can break it down into units of meaning.

お父さんに by my dad
宿題を homework (object)
させ made to do
られ (passive) to be
く want
かった (past tense) did
(僕は) I

Reading from the bottom, the word order is exactly reversed.
You may think that splitting a word up in that way is strange, but although word order in Japanese is relatively flexible, the constituent parts of a word have a fixed order. Why have these constructions become fixed, and why in reverse order from English?

Unfortunately I haven't got any answers, but these patterns hidden within languages go to show how similarly human beings think.

日本語の教科書 畠山 雄二

1 comment:

  1. Yes, It seems little complicated while framing opposite sentences. It required a lot of practice to speak in a proper Japanese accent.
    Start reading these Japanese Examples like stories and news with meaning to be perfect in this language.