Explaining the Situation: Patwa and Japanese

Last month, I missed a couple Sundays of posting. It was a busy time for me.

So, I thought I’d give you my apologies, my precious readers:

A bizi mi did bizi.

And that brings us to the topic of this blog entry. One of the most interesting things about learning languages is how various languages express similar concepts.

When I was learning Japanese in university, I learnt about a grammatical structure that my teacher called “explaining the situation”. In this grammatical form, the postposition の (no), which in used otherwise as a nominaliser (noun-forming  thingy*) is used.

I don’t remember when I first came to the conclusion that there was an analogue to “explaining the situation” in Patwa. But it’s pretty cool.

Okay, let me explain both of them. Patwa first; watch me be all patriotic, guys!

Rain ina Patwa

In Patwa, the basic sentence structure that is modified to form the “explaining the situation” form is:

subject-verb phrase


Mi bizi. (I am busy.)
Im a man. (He is a man.)
Yu redi? (Are you ready?)

To express the “explaining the situation” idea, the verb, noun, adjective or other word is taken and put at the start of the sentence after the copula (is/am/are verb) “a”:

A bizi mi bizi. (The thing is, I’m busy.)
A man im niem. (It’s because he is man.)
A redi yu redi? (Are you really ready?)

Or, the word “chruu”/”chuu” (true) is used after the copula:

A chuu mi bizi.
A chuu im a man.
A chuu yu redi (mek yu a muuv so)? (Is it because you’re ready [that you’re behaving like that]?)

This form is also used in expressions like:

A so im stie. (That’s how he is.)
Modified from: Im stie so. (He is that way.)

Japanese, now, does things differently. Instead of at the start of the sentence,  this concept is expressed by  adding something の (no) or the reduced form ん (n) at the end, before the copula:

私は忙しいです。(Watashi wa isogashii desu. / I am busy) -> 私は忙しいです。
彼は男だ。 (Kare wa otoko da./ He a man.) -> 彼は男なだ。
(あなたは)準備がいい? ([Anata wa] junbi ga ii?) -> (あなたは)準備がいいか?

Interesting that I’d find an analogous grammatical form in a language from oceans away, when to express the same idea in English, we often have to be fairly wordy!

Further proof that Patwa is a language with its own syntax!

*の is placed after verbs to form noun forms: 歌う (utau, sing) + の = 歌うの, singing

This entry was posted in Languages, Linguistics, Patwa, 日本語 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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