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Thread: Poor translation

  1. #26
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Jul 17, 2002
    Well look, it's simple (examples in French)

    止める・止まる: stop > arreter/s'arreter,
    動・・動かす: move > bouger/ se bouger
    沸す・沸・: boil > faire bouilir/ boullir
    始める・始まる: start > Commencer (there is only one for this one, but in English you have start, begin or commence, where start sounds more like 始まる)

    Usually, Latin languages use the reflexive "se/si" and German "sich".
    Sometimes theere is no reflexive so you have to say "make + verb" like in "make boil", so that you know it's doesn't boil by itself.

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  2. #27
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Jul 17, 2002
    Sorry, I wrote the previous message in a hurry as I was leaving.

    The use of the reflexive also exist in English, but is less used than in other European languages. You can say "I see myself (in the mirror)", even so you don't say the car stopped itself or "I moved out of the way" instead of "I moved myself out of the way". That's a particularity of English to generally use the same verb both for transitive and intransitive meaning. It sometimes happen in other European languages or in Japanese, but usually there are 2 forms.

    Basically ugoku and ugokasu is the same verb with a different conjugation. Note that English is very limited regarding conjugation. Auxilliaries like "will" and "would" are used for the future and conditional, like in other Germanic languages. Latin languages have different conjugation for all, then for all personal pronouns (I, you, he/she...). For instance, "to go" in Italian is "andare", but I go is "vado", you go "vai", he goes "va", we go "andiamo", you go (pl.) = andate and they do "vanno". The future would be : andro, andrai, andra, andremo, andrete, andranno (I will go, you will go...).

    That's much more comlpex than English and Japanese that have no inflections (just a "s" in the third person in English). That makes it easier for foreigners to learn English though (without affecting the meaning).

    You could argue that inflections are necessary in Italian or Spanish because the personal pronoun is omitted. So if you here "vado", you know it means "I go" and not you from the form. I think it's why the pers. pronouns have been dropped and not the opposite, as in French you must use it, eventhough it's a Latin language (To go > "Aller = Je vais, tu vas, il va, nous allons, vous allez, ils vont", with the same pattern as the Italian inflections). In Japanese, however, personal pronouns are not very much used, but there are no inflections either. That makes me often wonder who someone is speaking about. But I'll not say anything more about that as I know we can always add a "watashi" or "anata" when it's confusing.

    Here are 2 examples of reflexive verbs that exist in Italian and French, but not in Japanese.

    1) To wash (oneself) = arau = "se laver" (F), "lavarsi" (I).
    I wash (myself) = (boku ha) arau > je me lave (F), mi lavo (I)
    You wash (yourself) = (anata ha) arau > tu te laves (F), ti lavi (I)

    2)I go = iku = me ne vado (I)= je m'en vais (F). This form is impossible to translate in any other langauges (even Spanish) because only French and Italian use the reflexive wit to go + "ne/en" which is a particle that also doesn't exist in any other languages. You use it like this : Have you got some paper ? Yes I have (some) > (in French) Tu as du papier ? Oui, j'en ai. This "en" report to the object of the previous sentence. "Je m'en vais" is just a set phrase ("en" means "from here", so you could translate it as "I get myself out of here").

    As you can see, Japanese isn't special for using different form for transitive and intransitive. That's just a grammatical point. It doesn't bother me that every language is different. There is so-to-say no subjunctive in English and you live without it. However, there are lots of different way to express the future in English (I will do, I am going to do, I am doing, I do, I will have done, I will be doing, etc.), while only 3 in Latin languages and just the present tense in Japanese. What perturbs me with Japanese is the lack of nuance in basic vocabulary, the poverty of idiomatic expression and the lack of originality/possibility in the way of saying things.

  3. #28
    Regular Member
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    Jun 19, 2002
    Manchester, England
    That's interesting. I didn't know any other languages enough to realise that was a pecularity of English. I see what you mean about the pronouns, I remember phrases like 'Je me leve' from the French at highschool In English we sometimes say "I washed myself", though usually we wouldn't say this or 'I washed' either but 'I had a wash' (though that's irrelevent).

    I find the simplicity of Japanese to be quite pleasing in most cases, the lack of a future tense like English has never caused me any problems (though I was surprised when it didn't have one). I reckon the main problem this absence causes is Japanese people coming up with 'Tomorrow I go to shopping' type phrases in English.

    I think overall I think I probably actually agree with your point about the ability of Japanese to accomodate originality/inventiveness in everyday conversation. I just don't feel qualified to actually decide that yet.
    I did think some of the examples you gave weren't so relevant which is why I kept trying to come up with Japanese words in response (plus it helped me learn a couple more old fashioned kanji compounds for my collection...)

  4. #29
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 15, 2013
    very good point sir ........

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