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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Random Japanese Fact of the Day

Rather than have many particles that indicate relative position, such as English 'on [top of]', 'to the left of', 'above', 'in', etc., Japanese uses nouns for these things - 'top' (上), 'left' (左), 'inside' (中), etc., and has only a single word to indicate place (actually two - 'に/ni' and 'で/de' - with the context determining which is appropriate). An example from a CD booklet:
楽曲群 [set of compositions/music] の 中 [inside/medium/middle/among] で

This would literally translate to "at the inside of the music", or, more freely, "in the music".

It's a pretty elegant system. And this is of particular interest to me because of the fact that there's a clear hierarchy of word classes (in terms of importance) in Caia:
1. Nouns
2. Verbs
3. Everything else (adjectives, adverbs, particles) except conjugates (I don't really know how to rank conjugates in importance)

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