#4934495, By Shinji Learning Japanese I think I'm learning Japanese I really think so

  • Shinji 30 Jun 2009 14:56:54 5,903 posts
    Seen 8 months ago
    Registered 13 years ago
    In a really basic sense, が indicates the party carrying out the action of the verb, while を indicates the object/person that is directly targeted or used by the action - or, in more general terms, the argument that the verb takes.

    If you were to extend that sentence out to include the person doing the action, it would become わたしが日本語を話しました - watashi is the actor, hanasu is the verb, nihonngo is the argument taken by the verb.

    There's a concept in Japanese of transitive and intransitive verbs, where this が/を difference becomes incredibly important. Basically you get verbs like "to open" where there are two different ways of using them - i.e. "the door is open" / "he opens the door". In the first one of those examples, the door itself is the object "acting", so it's marked with が in Japanese - in the second, the person opening the door is the actor, so the person is marked が and the door is marked を.

    Thing is, In Japanese you also use a slightly different verb in each instance - same kanji, but different pronunciation of the verb stem. This is a fun headache you've got to look forward to :)
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