Differences in "what"

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dEhiN
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Differences in "what"

Postby dEhiN » 2014-05-30, 4:38

What is the difference between なんだ and なに for "what"? For example, how would I say "what is this?" The two possibilities I can think of are これはなんだ?and なにこれ?, both of which I think I've heard before. Are these both correct? Do they mean the same thing? Are there any other ways to combine これ, なんだ/なに?

PS. Keep in mind I only know Hiragana right now.

ありがとう
N: (en-ca) B1: (fr) A1: (pt-br) ((es) (ta-lk)) A0: (sv) (ro)

Ciarán12

Re: Differences in "what"

Postby Ciarán12 » 2014-06-01, 11:24

The two forms of the word for "what" you are looking at are " なん " and " なに ".

I can't really think of any hard-and-fast rules for this except that " なん " seems to normally precede words with alveolar consonants at the beginning (though I can think of a few counter-examples) and (almost?) always precedes counters of any kind. Also, regarding the phrases you gave above, you should watch out for the politeness level as well, I would probably only say "なに, これ?" in incredulity and it is very informal.

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dEhiN
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Re: Differences in "what"

Postby dEhiN » 2014-06-01, 15:16

Ciarán12 wrote:The two forms of the word for "what" you are looking at are " なん " and " なに ".

I can't really think of any hard-and-fast rules for this except that " なん " seems to normally precede words with alveolar consonants at the beginning (though I can think of a few counter-examples) and (almost?) always precedes counters of any kind. Also, regarding the phrases you gave above, you should watch out for the politeness level as well, I would probably only say "なに, これ?" in incredulity and it is very informal.


ありがとうご. Is なんだ used? Or is it actually なん? Because to my ears it sounds like なんだ.

Also, thanks for the tip about the politness level. I forgot that なに is informal.
N: (en-ca) B1: (fr) A1: (pt-br) ((es) (ta-lk)) A0: (sv) (ro)

Ciarán12

Re: Differences in "what"

Postby Ciarán12 » 2014-06-02, 13:17

dEhiN wrote:
ありがとうご.


This has to be either "ありがとう" or "ありがとうごいます" (the first is less formal and probably more appropriate here)

dEhiN wrote: Is なんだ used? Or is it actually なん? Because to my ears it sounds like なんだ.


"だ" is the short form of the copula in the non-past ("です" is the long form), so "なんだ" is short for "なんです(か)".


dEhiN wrote:Also, thanks for the tip about the politness level. I forgot that なに is informal.


Well "なに" itself isn't inherently any more or less formal than "なん", but "なにこれ?" is a very informal way of phrasing that (in general, it's informal because a) you are completely omitting any form of the copula or the particle は and b) the word order where you leave "これ" until the end is a conversational thing, not normally a written thing)

Koko

Re: Differences in "what"

Postby Koko » 2014-06-05, 7:08

Isn't nani used when it's a pronoun too?

For example,
なにをしますか。

I also believe it can be nan- with velars? Nanigo-> nango? I could be wrong in this. But if it is possible, would it be colloquial rather than an official allomorpheme?

Ciarán12

Re: Differences in "what"

Postby Ciarán12 » 2014-06-05, 12:56

Koko wrote:Isn't nani used when it's a pronoun too?

For example,
なにをしますか。


But なん can also be used as a pronoun - なんですか

Koko wrote:I also believe it can be nan- with velars? Nanigo-> nango? I could be wrong in this. But if it is possible, would it be colloquial rather than an official allomorpheme?


I don't think it's a case of "nan" before velars as you can have "nani ga" but not "nan ga". Off the top of my head, I can't think of any instances where "nan" comes before a particle (which cwould explain "nani wo" above and why you can have "nani ga" but "nango"). "nango" can mean "how many words", in which case it falls under the "nan + counters" rule, or it can mean "what language(s)", but I think it's a bit of a one off there, because I wouldn't use "nan" if you replaced "language" with, say, "chocolate" : What language do they speak in Japan? - Nihon de ha, nango ga hanasareteimasu ka? but What chocolate do they eat in Japan? - Nihon de ha, *donna chokoreeto ga taberareteimasu ka?

*As I wrote this I realised you can use nan no here as well, so there is at least one particle that you can put "nan" before...

Koko

Re: Differences in "what"

Postby Koko » 2014-06-05, 15:52

Hmm, I suppose you just have to know where to use the forms ^_^

What are the verb forms you used? They look very different from the ones I know.

Ciarán12

Re: Differences in "what"

Postby Ciarán12 » 2014-06-05, 18:37

Koko wrote:What are the verb forms you used? They look very different from the ones I know.


Non-past passive continuous.

Passive Conjugation Rules

All passive verbs become ru-verbs.
•For ru-verbs: Replace the last 「る」 with 「られる」
•For u-verbs: Change the last character as you would for negative verbs but attach 「れる」 instead of 「ない」.

•Exception Verbs:
1.「する」 becomes 「される」
2.「くる」 becomes 「こられる」


So hanasareteimasu - "is being spoken", taberareteimasu - "is being eaten".

Koko

Re: Differences in "what"

Postby Koko » 2014-06-05, 18:42

Ciarán12 wrote:*As I wrote this I realised you can use nan no here as well, so there is at least one particle that you can put "nan" before...

But it also adds to the rule that it is nan before alveolar consonants :)


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