An Introduction to Japanese Syntax Grammar and Language

Two days ago I was reading a thread initiated by Tori-kun, in my favorite forum forum-koohii.com He was asking for a list of 連用形 [れにょうけい] in which he also mentioned this book. What a lucky coincidence i must say! In this thread he also mentioned a book, written by Mr. Michiel Kamermans, from which he must have gotten the idea from. This reminded me of the fact, that I myself had this book lying around for some weeks now, but never came around actually reading it. You can find out more about this book on the authors website. I decided to buy the physical copy of the book, though, since it’s more up-to-date, and i wanted to show my support to this author.

By this lucky coincidence, i now started to actually read this book, and it is amazing what he is presenting in terms of information. In the book he is addressing something, that really opened my eyes for something, i haven’t even thought of! Most of the sentences i have come upon in AIAIJ so far, are containing grammar constructions, such as the one you can see in the following example, marked in bold.

その日に病院に行かなくてはならなくなってしまって。

For instance 行かなくて can be broken down to 行く (go) ない (neg. form of ある) なくて(negative て-form of ない) put together giving us 行かなくて (not going). The other parts of the sentence can be broken down in a similar way. This is something not likely to be found your average textbook. But it is one of the very first things, after the usual introduction of pitch accent and the kana-syllables, that the author is explaining. Every textbook targeted at beginners should contain an instruction, how seemingly complex verb conjugations, are really only simple rules. This can help immensely, if it is learned from the beginning, because over time it becomes automatic. Being able to look at something that seemingly looks very complex 待たされていました and being able to tell that this is made of the following rules:

未然形 [imperfect base + される] 待つ – 待た + される 
連用形 [continuative base + ている] 待たされる – 待たされ + ている
連用形 [continuative base + ます] 待たされている - 待たされてい + ます   
連用形 [continuative base + た] 待たされています – 待たされていまし + た

makes reading and understanding such constructions a whole lot easier. I can really say it is a great book, that you should consider buying, dear reader.

2 responses to “An Introduction to Japanese Syntax Grammar and Language

  1. Hi!!!
    Yes, I recognised that the 連用形 get so commonly used in Japanese. They are easy to form and you would not need special vocabulary with difficult kanji (if you want to write it) unless you are at university/school where this special word or vocabulary is needed.
    連用形 is something like that. F.e. 取り上げる、飛び上げる、飛び出す、嵌め込む、立ち上がる、立ち止まる、引き止る etc. Reading manga, I recognised these forms would get used so often, I thought it would increase my proficiency at least concerning the skill reading, when I had a list with the most common 連用形, but I did not find anything related to 連用形 on the Internets unfortunately. (You found something, besides this.. so interesting book for you? I must say I’m not quite that impressive as you XD)

    Concerning your example sentence:
    その日に病院に行かなくてはならなくなってしまって。
    Sounds like a mistake with only しまって (without ます or (い)る) at the end. Would make sense with しまった to me… “I didn’t have to go to hospital the other day anymore [it came to the point where I did not have to go to the hospital the other day, puh *finished*]” (or was ~なくてはならない ”have to/must to”?? Get them confused all the time :x)

  2. Hello Tori,

    No, this was no mistake, it was so written in my book ~しまって. Your translation is correct though. ~なくてはならない means have to do [sth.]

    The reason for you not being so impressed might be, that you only know the version available on the interwebs. There is a huge difference between it and the physical copy. It is a great book for what it is, good to have, but no must have.

    That reminds me, that i wanted to contact the author, to ask for a .pdf version. Some parts of the book would be good to SRS. Or for other reasons, but I’m too lazy, to type off the information i would like to have.

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