8 December 2018 by wolfganghofmeier
We have discussed the topic marker は wa, the subject marker が ga and the object marker を o. The follow nouns or expressions and assign grammatical roles in sentences, but can’t be translated into English. In addition, word order also determines direct objects in English:
The boy gives the dog the ball.
The word order tells us that the dog is the indirect object, the ball is the direct object.
But the indirect object can also be expressed with the use of a preposition in English:
The man gives the ball to the dog.
When learning Japanese, it is best to think of all English indirect objects that way because it makes translation into Japanese easier.
The man gives the ball to the dog. .. Otoko wa inu ni bōru o ataemasu. .. 男は犬にボールを与えます。
The postposition に ni follows the noun 犬 inu in Japanese whereas the preposition to preceeds the noun dog in English.
There are many postpositions in Japanese as there are many prepositions in English. There is no one-to-one correspondence between them, mostly because of the illogical use of some prepositions in English.
I am in Walmart. .. uorumāto ni imasu. .. ウォルマートにいます。
I am at McDonald's. .. Makudonarudo ni iru. .. マクドナルドにいる。
Is there a real difference between in and at? Both are translated with in に Japanese.
The seal jumps into the sea. .. Shīru wa umi ni tobimasu. .. シールは海に飛びます。
The visitor came to Japan. .. Hōmon-sha wa Nihon ni kimashita. .. 訪問者は日本に来ました。
The tourist came from America to Japan. .. Kankōkyaku wa Amerika kara Nihon ni kimashita. .. 観光客はアメリカから日本に来ました。
The class goes from 4 o'clock to 5 o'clock. .. Kurasu wa yo-ji kara go-ji ni ikimasu. .. クラスは四時から五時に行きます。
The fish jumps out of the water. .. Sakana wa mizu kara tobidashimasu. .. 魚は水から飛び出します。
My appointment is at 5 o’clock. .. Watashi no yotei wa go-ji desu. .. 私の予定は五時です。
My appointment is in five minutes. .. Watashi no yotei wa go-fun desu. .. 私の予定は5分です。
In the last two cases, at and in aren’t translated at all.