"I can speak English and Japanese."
Because you want people to know that you speak those two languages. They will pay more attention to the languages than to the fact that you speak them.
I thought が was the subject marker. By that logic, wouldn't 「英語と日本語がはなせます」 mean "English and Japanese can speak"? Or am I wrong?
Yeah, cause its the short form. The full sentence is: わたし は 英語 と 日本語 が はなせます。
You are wrong. が is the object marker, and は is the subject marker. Here in this sentence, the subject is わたし，and it is omitted，which happens often when pointing to "myself" - the speaker - in Japanese language. The full sentence should be: わたしは 英語と日語が はなせます。☺
My friend, you're wrong... は is the TOPIC MARKER and が is the SUBJECT MARKER. を is the OBJECT MARKER. In the sentence, the speaker is the topic (because they're talking about their ability to speak those languages) and the languages are the subject. Though you did get the omitted pronoun part correct, a review of the three basic particles might do some good.
Also, I assume it was a typo, but for everyone else, it would be (私は)英語-(えいご)-と日本語-(にほんご)-が話-(はな)-せます。
pretty sure が is a subjective character letting the listener know that the subject being discussed is the languages? Is this correct?
Not quite. To mark the subject or topic of a sentence you use は. が as a particle is an object marker like を; they're often interchangeable (though for some words you only can use が). が is used here to amplify the meaning that you speak those two languages instead of the fact that you can speak them. The subject (わたし / I) is omitted here as it should be obvious from context who is meant by it.
What do you mean by "amplify the meaning that you speak those two languages instead of the fact that you can speak them?" Do you mean that you DO speak them as opposed to the fact that you CAN speak them? That's a slight bit confusing...
Think of it as different questions leading to that sentence as the answer: 1) Do you speak English and Japanese? -> The focus is on your ability to speak those languages. 2) What languages do you speak? -> Here you emphasize that it's English and Japanese which you can speak.
Though I also read in a comment somewhere here that with はなせます you have to use が instead of を because it's an intransitive verb or the potential form or something like that. I'm not sure about that myself though.
With verbs like ある, いる, はじめる... が is most definitely used as an object marker. ((私は)友だちがいます. - "friend" is an accusative object here) Otherwise I think it can be quite fluent if you use が or は for the subject. In this sentence here は would be the topic marker as well as the indicator for the subject (わたし) even though it's omitted here.
I put it in backwards, I didn't know it mattered this much. Going to get this wrong a lot.
It's important for Duolingo to know you understand which Japanese word corresponds to which English one. Unless it's a set phrase with reverse ordering in the two languages, you should maintain the same order as in the language you're translating from.
I should maintain the same order when translating?
"English and Japanese can speak it does."
This doesn't seem like a good argument. Even if I managed to put them in order that does not mean that Duolingo knows I meant to. It's not like Japanese follows the same order as english anyway. If Duolingo is intending to test my vocabulary in this instance it failed. I already know those words.
Perhaps you can argue that with the Names reversed the sentence actually means something different, or maybe it's particularly rude or something. If that's the case I would be really interested in the differences.
But if it translates to this "I can speak English and Japanese." in english then is also translates to this "I can speak Japanese and English."
Because in english those two sentences mean the same damn thing.
I think Vis S meant maintain the same order when listing things, in this case English and Japanese instead of Japanese and English so Duolingo knows that you know which kanji goes to which word.
These replies and the original comment are pretty ambiguous. I was kind of shocked myself to read @V2Blast's response because I wasn't sure what he was referring to.
It was obvious what v2blast meant. You must have been pretty confused is you were shocked. That's since extreme verbage for this situation don't you think? Actually, I don't really care. Nvm.
This is probably one of the most confusing things to learners of Japanese and you'll see this asked in a lot of question comments on this site. There's lots of different ways to explain it, but I'll just give you the one that helped me the most:
は is used to stress what comes after it. When you see something written as "X は ...", you can read it in your head as, "As for X, ..."
が, in contrast, is used to stress what comes before it. It's like you're answering an unspoken question and the answer is what was just before the が.
For example, consider the two sentences
These are both grammatically correct sentences and they both mean "Tanaka is a teacher," but the situations that you'd use them in are different.
Suppose that someone asked you what Tanaka does for a living. We're already clearly talking about Tanaka, so we don't really need to stress the "Tanaka" part of the sentence, but we do want to stress the "teacher" part, since that's the answer to the question. So in this case, you'd use #1 - 田中は先生sです。("As for Tanaka, he's a teacher.")
Now suppose instead that you, me, Tanaka, and a bunch of other people were all in a room and you asked me if anyone here was a teacher. I know we're already talking about teachers, so I want to stress that the answer to your question is that Tanaka is a teacher out of all these people. So in this case I'd use #2 - 田中が先生です。("Tanaka is a teacher.")
There are also just some verbs that always use が instead of は that you'll encounter and just have to memorize which ones they are. For example, the verbs あります and います ("to exist") always use が instead of は. That isn't the case here with はなせます, but I figure I'll mention for future reference.
Excellent explanation! Thank you for writing that out so coherently, helps a lot.
が=GA ;) there are those two little strokes (no idea how they're called) that turn the k from か into g.
I would have used the wo particle over the ga particle - is that incorrect? Does it matter?
Yes, that is incorrect to use with はなせます because はなせます is an intransitive verb - it doesn't have a direct object and doesn't take the を particle.
If you were using はなします instead ("I speak" instead of "I can speak"), that is transitive and you'd use a を.
Why would "I can speak" be intransitive in this case? Wouldn't it still take an object (languages) and a subject (the person who can speak).
I am also interested in the answer to this question. In English, "can" is a modal verb, and the verb "speak" completes its meaning. "English and Japanese" (substantive use of adjectives) are the direct objects of "speak" in this sentence.
I think you both might getting hung up on the idea of these translations being literal equivalents to English and the subject verb object form. In this sentence "English and Japanese" is none of those- it's the topic of the sentence which is a grammatical concept that doesn't quite exist in English which is why it might seem weird that a particular verb can be intransitive. Conjugating the verb to the potential form (う -> え, which in this case is す -> せ) takes care of the "can" so there is no modal verb, and I believe all potential forms are instransitive. My guess is because it's only a potential, it's therefore a general truth and not something that actively needs an object "now." What you're really saying is "(on the topic of) English and Japanese, (I do) have the ability to speak (them)."
Thank you so much for the lucid explanation! It was helpful for me in several ways.
Which part of the sentence specifies that it's me? I'm confused because it doesn't have something like わたし in it
You read the note for this lesson. "Pronouns are relatively rare in Japanese, but they are sometimes used to explicitly specify the subject or topic of a sentence. Below are some of the most common ones."
The actual subject can often be obliterated when it's generally clear who/what is meant. (same as in spanish: you leave out the yo (I), tú (you)... and just conjugate the verb) a lot in japanese is said by assuming things through context.
can someone explain me when we should put the particle" ga, ha, wa..." what's the difference between them?
RVJioWts gave quite a throughout explanation for "ga" and "wa" a bit further up. I suggest you check it out. ;)
As for は, it's generally pronounced "ha" when used as a regular syllable. When it's used as a particle for topic indication or in ではありません (the negative formal present form of です), it's pronounced "wa".
Is Duolingo planning to add a light bulb feature to this level, EXPLAINING the sentence constructions? Or should I just keep shooting in the dark and hope I hit something by chance? I am a complete beginner, and I've only got this far by using half a dozen other apps to study the writing systems. If you think you've found 'the best way to teach' maybe it's time you went back to school and watched how it's done.
Why is ます used instead of です? If I'm wrong please let me know, but isn't ます for "you" and です for "I"?
Halp meh plz
desu is a verb meaning "is" or "to be", in this case, the verb is hanasu meaning "to speak" with a masu stem making it hanasemasu.
です and ます are both endings for the polite present form. です is used with nouns and adjectives like 日本人です or 高いです (takai = expensive, high) while ます is used as the verb ending together with the verb-stem はな-.
The subject "I" is not used here and you have to guess at it fromt he context. For "I" exist different words: 私 (わたし), ぼく (only used by men) and おれ (used by men and a bit rough or arrogant), for you there is あなた though you mostly talk to or about a person by using their name like "田中さんは何時におきますか." (Mr. Tanaka, at what time do you get up?)
Are you always assumed to be talking about yourself in japanese if you don't state it outright?
Generally, yes. If it's something obvious like "(It) tastes good" then it would be implied to the listener, though, that you are referring to the food, etc. And questions are generally implied to be referring to the listener, i.e. 「名前は何ですか？」would be asking the listener, "What's your name?"
Why are they using ”はなせます”, I was told that they are supposed to be using "はなします”. I wasn't told this by some passerby, both of the teachers that taught me Japanese so far have used "はなします”, not "はなせます”.
It's because they are different inflections of the same base verb.
(話 = はな)
話す to speak
話し to speak (polite form)
話せ to be able to speak (potential form)
The first two describe the actual act of words coming from someone's mouth, whereas the third describes the potential ability to do if they wanted to.
Another example would be
(読 = よ)
読む to read
読み to read (polite form)
読め can read
Do all/most verbs follow this pattern of -u, -i, -e for different inflections?
Pretty much. There are very few irregular verbs (する、行く、and 来る are the main ones you'll see).
The rest are split into two types. Ichidan verbs which end in る、and godan verbs which end in other う sounds, like the examples above 話す and 読む. It can get confusing because some verbs ending in る are actually godan verbs.
見る (みる), to see/look, is an ichidan verb and becomes 見ます in its polite form (drop the る).
帰る (かえる), to return home, is a godan verb and becomes 帰ります in its polite form (う to い).
The two types of verbs conjugate in different ways but they are consistent within their groups. When you start doing some inflections like the て-form then the godan verbs break down into smaller groups again.
thanks for explaining; was wondering what form was はなせます. they really do need some verb-from explanations and not just throw all those different forms at us. there are just too many.
も kind of relates here to something else, not the languages. Though it would be grammatically correct to say: 英語はなせます。日本語も話せます。(in 2 different sentences) (I speak English. I also speak Japanese)
Strange that for English/UK such a different word is used than for e.g. Amerika or Holland. For that matter: why a kanji?
I believe the makers of this course want to teach users the importance of Kanji and how it can really help people who read Japanese understand the sentence. IfasentenceinJapaneseiswrittenwithoutkanjiitlooklikethistoaJapanesespeaker. Thats why it is important to use kanji when writing Japanese.
What makes this が instead of は、and when do you know to use one of these
は is used as a general topic marker for a sentence; very simply put you can often use it for the subject. が is more used with objects. It's required to use with verbs such as いる (ともだち が いります. = I have a friend.; いる is used for people.) and ある (たべものがあります. = I have food/There is food.; ある is used for things).
In this sentence you could technically also use を as the object marker but in using が instead you put special emphasis on the fact that it's those two languages that you're speaking.
RVJioWts gave quite a throughout explanation further up. ;)
Yes. The order in japaneses sentences is subject, object, verb. The verb is always at the very end. Additional information like time or place are usually put before the object and in case of omitting the subject at the beginning of the sentence.
It's a bit more complicated than that. You can use either particle for both. は is usually used to mark the topic of the sentence and can be used to put special emphasis on something like e.g. あした は 日本 に 行きます. (Tomorrow, I go to Japan.) where you put the emphasis on the fact that you go tomorrow and not today (that you are the one going is implied here; if you talked about Mr. Tanaka in the sentence before, it would probably be him going to Japan by context understanding). Very simply put は is often used with the subject of the sentence.
が is usually used as an obejet marker with verbs similar to を. In some special cases は can be replaced by が though I'm not sure on the rules there. :-/
You probably mean わたし (watashi) "I"? は is only pronounced "wa" as a particle. The "I" in this sentence is implied here. When you are talking about yourself, you can usually leave it out when the context is clear.
I got this right but Duolingo keeps on telling me ”英語と日本語がはなせます” is another correct solution when my answer was ”英語と日本語が話せます” the ONLY DIFFERENCE IS I used the kanji for はなせ and Duolingo didn't.
Is it correct if I say 英語と日本語を話せます (wo instead of ga) or it still need to be 私は英語と日本語を話せます (with watashiwa) ? And is the meaning change from 英語と日本語が話せます or it still be the same?
It should be also correct with を instead of が. Though を would probably be more used in a general statement while が would stress more on your ability to spreak those two languages, i think. RVJioWts already explained the different use of は and が higher up in the discussion quite well.
You can omit the 私(は) here as it is implied that you're the one being asked if you can speak those languages/what languages you speak. There it's clear from context that your talking about yourself in that statement. You'd have to add 私 though if the person was talking about what languages they themselves (or some other person) are speaking and then you add that you know japanese and english.
As particles, in this case 'ga', are often dropped in daily conversation, not including it and answering 「英語と日本語はなせます」should be acceptable as it is acceptable (and accurate ) in real life.
It's in the verbform or more precise a variation of the verb はなす ("to speak"). For that one present tense form would be はなします (as はなす is a u-Verb and therefore conjugates by putting the verb-stem in the i-form (す -> し) and adding ます).
Here you got はなせる which means "to be able to speak" and is the potential form of はなす (change "u" to "e" at the ending). This form conjugates as a ru-verb therefore the used form here is はなせます.
the article should be を yet it seems to accept は and が, not sure i understand why. は and が are subject articles, を is the object action article.
The complete sentence would be: わたしは英語と日本語を話せます
It's because 話せる is an intransitive verb meaning "able to speak" or "have the ability to speak" so there is no direct action necessary.
話す is the transitive version which would require the を particle.
As for Japanese, (I am) able to speak it
(I will/do) speak Japanese