Translation:The soap is placed there.
Yeah it's a weird English sentence. I answered "I am placing the soap there" but got it incorrect :(
います would be used after おいて in this translation because it is describing something you're doing. Think of it like はじまる vs はじめる.
Except we have あります here instead of います, which is a different grammar pattern. ある here can be a conjugation on the て form of a verb to mean that an action has occured. おく is the verb to place, so the conjugation (おいてあります) here reads "it has been placed" or "it is placed".
I agree that it therefore must be an action that has occurred, so past tense, so "It is placed" is correct. BUT why is it ます and not ました if it is past tense?
The action that is past is the "putting" or "placing" which is in "oite." The "-te" form is actually a remnant of a classical "past" form. The "arimasu" is non-past and stative. What you get conceptually is "(someone) having placed (it) the soap is there."
You can always vote down the translation by clicking the down-arrow at the top of the page
Please do not downvote it. That will not help improve the sentence. If anything, it will bury the discussion.
In very formal writing "ni oite" is commonly used where "de" might be used in speech. While it literally means "(someone) having put" it is generally treated as a "compound postposition" (a particle like "de") in translation, i. e., "The soap is there."
It is "ni" plus "oku" is it not? It has been called a "compound postposition" but it is basically a verbal phrase. It is what it is. Structure, not not idiomatic sense, is what makes it a conSTRUCTion.
Yes, it is, in a strict pedantic sense. But grammatical explanations are only helpful in so far as they help people who are grappling with the usage and meaning. This sentence 'chunks' into sekken ha.......... soko ni.......... oite arimasu. It only superficially resembles the prepositional 'ni oite' conSTRUCTion.
Learn the grammar, know the language. Japanese has an amazingly regular, consistent grammar which is not apparent when you approach everything about it in terms of English translations. The usual English treatment of "....te aru/ ....te arimasu" is to ignore the putative subject of the "...te" form and use an intransitive or passive English construction, e. g., "mado ga shimete aru" becomes "The window is shut". ( In which case, "someone shut the window " might not be so far off.) "Sekken wa soko ni oite arimasu" says where the soap is rather than where to put it. "The soap is there, (someone) having placed (it there) ." whether "soko ni" is properly construed with "oite" or "arimasu" or with "oite arimasu" as a phrase is open to pedantic discussion. It makes sense with both verbs separately or with the phrase.
In any case, "The soap is placed there" could be an instruction in English. So, I think the translation could possibly be improved. "The soap is over there" would be sufficient in most cases. I would not go to "someone put the soap over there" unless I were very sure of the context.
Dan553966, while I understand what you're saying, I agree with CaroEnrico that talking about において in a response to someone asking what おいて means in a sentence using おいてあります is actually quite confusing. I had no idea why you were talking about で and において in our conversation above because I was thinking only about the specific sentence we were discussing, so I was completely missing your valid point because it has nothing to do with this sentence. We know that this sentence is using the -te form of the 置きます (okimasu) rather than the expression において because the verb あります is a verb of existence. において replaces で as you said and is used with action verbs rather than verbs of existence.
Considering the confusion I caused, I can agree that mentioning "ni oite" was ill advised and confusing to learners. Just don't write off the idea that the so called "compound postpositions" are verbal expressions with meanings at least tenuously related to the meaning of the included verb. (Place, put, or locate in this case.)
I've only ever seen に used to show location with おいてあります. Do you have some links about using で? I've never encountered it and it sounds strange to me.
No, the phrase is "....ni oite," I meant that this phrase is used instead of a simple particle to indicate location. "... Ni oite" has been called a "compound postposition" in some older grammars. That just means that it is a set phrase used like a particle. "Kumamoto ni oite" would simply be "in Kumamoto."
Sorry, I misread what you were saying. I still don't quite understand your reference to で.
Sekken wa asoko ni arimasu.
The soap is over there.
You would still use に to show location, not で, but you're right, that there's a certain equivalency between using a particle to show location, and using the verb おく to show location. In English, there's not really a difference.
I probably should not have mentioned "de" because it might be confusing but I have the feeling that ".... ni oite" can be used with verbs of action to indicate where the action takes place.
Ni sounds actually more reasonable. Like you carried there and put it into the room, and not just an action that you have put it into the room while being there.
Don't know if that even makes sense or has the slightest relation to the actual meaning. But I could imagine it like that
I Have wondered for a while why the individual Kanji characters for soap is:
石鹸, 石けん [せっけん]: (P, n) soap.
Was Japanese soap ever made of salt or stones?
The 石 is simple, that refers to it's blocky shape.
The 鹸 indeed has to do with salt, and involves a bit of chemistry. It refers to the process of turning fats/oils into soap, called 鹸化 （けんか） or "saponification" in English. This produces alkaline, which are 'fatty acid salts' or basic (as in opposite of acid) salts.
I'd like to add that saponification has traditionally been performed by mixing fats with sodium hydroxide (NaOH), also called "caustic soda", which in its solid state looks similar enough to salt, and dissolves into ions in water like common salt does, so that may have had an influence in the kanji used.
On a side note, I have always associated NaOH to common salt (NaCl) in my head, probably because both are formed by two ions, one of them being sodium
I've only ever known soap as シャボン and ソープ! I guess we learn something everyday. :D
It may as well be imported from the Portuguese: sabão (which sounds pretty much like the French savon, even if you don't see an "n" written). Seeing how many western words were imported during early contacts from Spanish and (especially) Portuguese explorers and missionaries, it seems a very likely origin
Sapon-, savon, sabão, sabun...if only there was some sort of...linguistic link between these words, that might point to a similar origin.
"Sekken ga aru" > "Soap exists" ( "There is soap" or "We have soap.")
"Sekken wo soko ni oku"> "I/someone puts the soap there."
"Sekken wa soko ni oite aru"> "As for the soap, (someone) put (it) there, and (there it) is."
This is obviously not like English in any way. It is a topic/comment structure with a compound predication in which one verb is in active voice with no specified agent subject ("oite") and the other verb is an existential stative.
This is not passive voice. Passive voice in translation of this structure is an English mechanisnm for dealing with an essentially non-transferrable Japanese structure.
"The soap is (over) there" is a good translation. It wouldn't be there unless someone put it there; so, translating the "oite" is only asking for trouble. "The soap is placed there" sounds like an instruction on where to put the soap, which is not what the Japanese is. Adding a subject for "oite" doesn't work well either. "The soap has been placed there " is a passive voice solution but it is different from the Japanese in that it stresses the "placing" while the main verb in the Japanese is the stative "aru."
There is soap over there should be an acceptable answer. The soap is put over there is just awkward and unnatural.
The safe rule is to give literal translations. I think this is done to learn the nuances, e.g. the difference between the above and そこに石鹸はあります
Call me crazy, but I think a good translation for this sentence would be: (American English) "The soap is sitting there." Or "resting there" At least that is how I hear the oite arimas in this context.
Is passive the same as present progressive in Japanese？Their translation is passive but the Japanese sentence is in present progressive.
～てあります (~te arimasu) is neither the present progressive nor the passive form, but it's English translation is usually in the passive.
Something + が / は + V＋てある/ てあります
= Something + ga / wa + V + te aru / te arimasu
= Something is done intentionally
The "something" is acted on by the verb, giving us a passive translation.
The soap has already been placed there, so you can say "the soap is there".
From what I am guessing, the use of あります is a lot like the distinction between ま and め in a good number of verbs. はじまる would be pertaining to an object beginning something, while はじめる would refer to yourself beginning something. In this way, the use of おいています would change the sentence's meaning to "I am placing the soap (over) there." The use of おいてあります would refer to the object on its own.
Good explanation here: http://yesjapan.com/YJ6/question/1483/can-you-explain-about-the-te-aru-form
Basically, てある means that the state was brought about by someone, as opposed to ている which just explains the current state.
せっけんはそこにおいています。 The soap is placed there.
せっけんはそこにおいてあります。 Someone placed the soap there.
But "te iru" is not passive. "Oite iru" would be "(agent subject/presumably I) have placed/am placing." This is, as you say, stative but "soap" is not the agent/subject.
You are absolutely right, it is not passive. It's just that I had to rhyme it together in some way in English, and I believe, this is not a terrible way to make sense of and remember it. (For someone who has no academic degree in languages)
I really liked your explanation above btw, and it helped me a lot.
It would mean that it is generally placed there or could be placed there but not that it is necessarily there at the moment. This verb form is not your English passive. The identical form can be passive, potential, honorific, or jihatsu (spontaneous). The associated structure differentiates the uses. (In your sentence the non-past form indicates a "habitual" or future sense.) My only point here is to give warning that Japanese virtually never works exactly like English.
That's what the English means, though. It means that's where people generally place it, where it goes. It does not necessarily mean that's where it is now. The verb tense corresponding to the Japanese meaning would be "The soap's been placed there." Or as BobcatMonk said, "The soap's sitting/resting there."
Shouldn't it be あそこ for 'over there'? I read the Japanese as simply 'there'.
would this sentence not equate better in english to "the soap goes over there"?