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Thread: Japanese question

  1. #1

    Default Japanese question

    We're doing lessons on infinitive right now and the kids are getting confused as to the difference between, for example;

    • I thought I heard someone say "Hi!"
    • I thought I heard someone said "Hi!"

    I was halfway through trying to explain it when I figured that in Japanese it would be the same. Like you would say 

    not "~したのを聞いた"

    But when I asked the JTE to explain it they said that both are acceptable in Japanese. I figured she meant that it meant "I heard you said blabla", like reported speech, (I heard you were talkin shit), but she said no, that it meant exactly the same thing. As in, you could say "息子がテニスをしたのを見た" and it would have the same meaning as "テニスをするのを見た".

    If that's true then no wonder it confuses students. She did say it might be the kind of thing that is grammatically incorrect but people say it in real life anywy, but she's not sure. Obviously I'm not second guessing a Japanese native speaker's answer but does anyone know if it is one of those cases in which people say it "wrong" in everyday speech?


  2. #2
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese question

    It's an interesting problem. When I have more brain power I will answer.

    The short version off the top of my head is how verbs which are active (like hear/say) require either present or progressive tense as you can't have completed the action (past tense) before the act of hearing occurred. It has to describe the state in which the original action occured.

    Either way, I'll think about it and get back to you. There's a semantic reason for this trouble, and Japanese can get away with it where as we can't.
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