MissLeliz (missleliz) wrote in bis_japanese,


Alright, let's do the は/が and です thing! Now, no one will ever completely understand the mystery that is and , especially not an inexperienced student like me, but I shall try my best to explain.

is the hiragana for "ha". However, when is the topic marking particle, it is pronounced "wa" for reasons unknown to pretty much everyone. Now in the future, you shall see sentences like this:

Seika wa hito desu.
Seika is a person.

is marking Seika as the "topic" of the sentence - when literally translated to English, most professors agree that it should be translated something like "As for Seika, he is a person". Just because is marking something, it does not necessary mean that it's the subject of the sentence. It is what the speaker is talking about. also serves to emphasize the predicate of the sentence, drawing attention away from Seika and more towards the fact that he is a person. Taken from japanese.about.com " 'wa' is used to mark something that has already been introduced into the conversation, or is familiar with both a speaker and a listener." Now look at this sentence:

Seika ga hito desu.
Seika is a person.

Here, marks Seika as the "subject" of the sentence - the sentence is actually Seika is a person. It is emphasizing the subject, bringing attention to the fact that it is Seika that is a person. Taken from japanese.about.com " 'ga' is used when a situation or happening is just noticed or newly introduced."

Usually, Japanese books tend to skim over the differences between wa/ga and just use wa to mark the subject at first, but that's just confusing and wrong. So always remember is the topic marker, not the subject marker, and can mark other things. Using the "As for ____" format for is usually helpful.

Moving on to です - as I said before, it is an equal sign, not a verb. It does not mean "to be", which is reserved for two other verbs which will come about soon. I'm not sure how to explain it...it is used when convenient. ^^; For the above sentences, the desu is setting Seika equal to person - Seika=person. It can be used in many similar sentences:

Maru wa otoko desu.
Maru is a man.

Shunsuke wa kakkoii desu.
Shunsuke is cool.

I don't think there's really anything more to be explained about desu...at least not yet. ^^; So that ends lesson 3!
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