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Virginia Beach, VA, United States
This blog (or 日記 if you will) is intended to chronicle my experience in Japan at the Yamasa Institute in Okazaki, Japan from July to August, 2012. I have always wanted to have a journal, though, so I will try to get into a habit of writing frequently about the things important to me in my life. Besides, I plan on returning to Yamasa to participate in the AIJP after I get out of the Navy! These are the Espelancer Chronicles. Erica is also blogging about the trip, and you should totally check it out. It is The Marvelous Misadventures of Schneewittchen link over on the sidebar.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Simplest Explainations are the Most Useful

The pond at Okazaki Minami Park
   Last Friday, on the half day, as well as today, we covered transitive and intransitive verb pairs.  While I had studied transitive and intransitive verb pairs in the past, it was a subject of much confusion as the verbs take different forms in each case, and it can be difficult remembering which verb to use.  Ironically, a subject that has plagued me for several months was cleared up in about 5 minutes with a simple explanation and a picture.  It's funny how that works.

   Transitive and intransitive verbs function the same way in both English and in Japanese.  A transitive verb requires a direct object -- it is a verb describing an action directed on or towards something else.  "I opened the window to let the breeze in." is an example of "opened" being used as a transitive verb.  An intransitive verb, on the other hand, cannot have a direct object -- it is basically a self-fulfilling verb.  "The door opened automatically, allowing entry into the store."  shows the same word, "opened", being used intransitively as the action is not placed upon any direct object, but rather the subject.

  In Japanese, it is pretty much the exact same way, except it is not so simple as using the same word in different context as it is in English.  Japanese has what is called "verb pairs", in which the exact same word, written using the exact same kanji, have two different readings, each of which are used differently.  Using  開けます, which is the transitive verb for "open", here is an example:

 雪子さん は ドア を 開けました。 (Yukiko-san は(subject marker) door を (direct object marker) 開けました (akemashita - opened).
If I wanted to talk about the train doors automatically opening, though, I cannot use 開けます.  I have to use 開きます, which is the intransitve verb for to open.  Also, the sentence is structured differently:
電車のドアが開きました。 Train Doors が (A different subject marker) 開きました (akimashita - opened).

  To further add to the confusion, you also use intransitive verbs to describe the states of objects, for example "The door is open."  In Japanese, that would be ドアが開いています。  Door が 開いて います (Open, conjugated to て form, using います to make it present tense.)

  However, I think it is all cleared up, now.  I had thought at one point that I would never grasp the concept of verb pairs in Japanese, and that there was no rhyme or reason to how the verbs were distributed -- it is not as simple as conjugating the verb from its dictionary form. After having it explained to me (entirely in Japanese and pictures), though, it actually makes sense now.  Thank you very much, Suga-Sensei -- mastering this concept alone in such a short amount of time really has made this school worthwhile for me.

Birds found in Okazaki Minami Park
  I know the pictures have nothing to do with the topic, but I figure most people reading this will have absolutely no idea what I am talking about here, anyways, so I put some random pictures taken around Okazaki Minami Park to give you guys something not-so-dry to look at.

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