Does "desu" have a "dictionary form"?

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Timothy Miller

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Sep 30, 2004, 8:14:58 AM9/30/04
to
I'm sorry for asking such a naive question, but although I have a
background in Linguistics, I am very new to Japanese.

Most of the books I have read about basic communication in Japanese
refer to "desu" as a "verb". However, I am unable to determine its
dictionary form so that I can look it up in "501 Japanese Verbs" and
see the other forms of it.

So, does "desu" have a dictionary form? If so, what is it? If not,
did it ever, and where did it come from? Does it still qualify as a
verb, or is it really something more primitive, lacking certain forms?
(i.e. what is the English infinitive for "can"?)


Thanks.

Curt Fischer

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Sep 30, 2004, 8:24:29 AM9/30/04
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In my experience (I do not have a background in linguistics), some people
claim "desu" is a verb, but most do not. Instead they say it is the copula
and is distinct from a verb.

The dictionary form of "desu" would be "da", I suppose. Other forms that I
personally view as derivatives of "da" include "deshita", "datta", "darou",
"deshou", "dattara", and "na". I'm sure there are others, and I bet a few
people would argue with me about the "na" and possibly the "dattara" as
well.

--
Curt Fischer

Paul Blay

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Sep 30, 2004, 8:29:54 AM9/30/04
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"Timothy Miller" wrote ...

> I'm sorry for asking such a naive question, but although I have a
> background in Linguistics, I am very new to Japanese.
>
> Most of the books I have read about basic communication in Japanese
> refer to "desu" as a "verb".

Which is too bad for 'most' of the books you've read.

> However, I am unable to determine its
> dictionary form so that I can look it up in "501 Japanese Verbs" and
> see the other forms of it.

Hmm, maybe that should be "500 Japanese Verbs and one cupola*"



> So, does "desu" have a dictionary form?

Yes.

> If so, what is it?

da

* Actual spelling may vary.

Joshua A. Reyer

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Sep 30, 2004, 8:53:03 AM9/30/04
to
> Thanks.

Desu is can of worms. In Japanese grammar it is considered a jodoushi,
an auxilliary verb. Some English textbooks refer to it as a copula. It
operates quite differently than verbs, and its conjugation may seem a
little complex. I would advise not thinking of it as verb, per se, and
I'm not sure but I don't think it is in "501 Japanese Verbs". A quick
Google search will turn up a plethora of sites with the information you
require.

To answer the bare bones of your question, "desu" is the polite form of
"da", so to understand desu you'll need to understand da. Da is
generally held to have come from "de aru", and thus desu from "de
arimasu" or "de gozaimasu".

> (i.e. what is the English infinitive for "can"?)

Ooh, ooh, I know this! It's "cunnan". :-)

Josh Reyer

Chris Kern

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Sep 30, 2004, 8:47:53 AM9/30/04
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On Thu, 30 Sep 2004 13:29:54 +0100, "Paul Blay"
<ra...@saotome.demon.co.uk> posted the following:

>"Timothy Miller" wrote ...

>> So, does "desu" have a dictionary form?
>
>Yes.
>
>> If so, what is it?
>
>da

Debatable. No other "dictionary form" differs in usage from its
masu-form. Until you can say "akai da" I don't like calling "da" the
"dictionary form" of "desu".

Especially since "desu" and "da" are equally likely to be found in a
dictionary.

-Chris

necoandjeff

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Sep 30, 2004, 9:38:27 AM9/30/04
to
"Chris Kern" <chris...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:e20ol0h20ehg6hlft...@4ax.com...

> On Thu, 30 Sep 2004 13:29:54 +0100, "Paul Blay"
> <ra...@saotome.demon.co.uk> posted the following:
>
> >"Timothy Miller" wrote ...
>
> >> So, does "desu" have a dictionary form?
> >
> >Yes.
> >
> >> If so, what is it?
> >
> >da
>
> Debatable. No other "dictionary form" differs in usage from its
> masu-form. Until you can say "akai da" I don't like calling "da" the
> "dictionary form" of "desu".

And the endless "desu" debate continues...

Sean Holland

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Sep 30, 2004, 10:27:30 AM9/30/04
to
in article cjgu80$p8a$1$8300...@news.demon.co.uk, Paul Blay at
ra...@saotome.demon.co.uk wrote on 9/30/04 5:29 AM:

> "Timothy Miller" wrote ...
>> I'm sorry for asking such a naive question, but although I have a
>> background in Linguistics, I am very new to Japanese.
>>
>> Most of the books I have read about basic communication in Japanese
>> refer to "desu" as a "verb".
>
> Which is too bad for 'most' of the books you've read.
>
>> However, I am unable to determine its
>> dictionary form so that I can look it up in "501 Japanese Verbs" and
>> see the other forms of it.
>
> Hmm, maybe that should be "500 Japanese Verbs and one cupola*"

I think that's a kind of dome. "Copula" is related to "copulate." Think of
the "is" in "Bob is a lawyer" as being the copulatory junction between "Bob"
and "a lawyer."
I don't get it when people say です is a copula. It isn't between things. It
isn't "coupling" things.

>
>> So, does "desu" have a dictionary form?
>
> Yes.
>
>> If so, what is it?
>
> da
>
> * Actual spelling may vary.

---
pantssea...@telus.pants.net Remove pants to email me.

Dan Rempel

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Sep 30, 2004, 10:57:57 AM9/30/04
to
Timothy Miller wrote:
> I'm sorry for asking such a naive question, but although I have a
> background in Linguistics, I am very new to Japanese.
>
> Most of the books I have read about basic communication in Japanese
> refer to "desu" as a "verb". However, I am unable to determine its
> dictionary form so that I can look it up in "501 Japanese Verbs" and
> see the other forms of it.

There's some dispute about what desu actually is, but the plain form is
"da."

> So, does "desu" have a dictionary form? If so, what is it? If not,
> did it ever, and where did it come from? Does it still qualify as a
> verb, or is it really something more primitive, lacking certain forms?
> (i.e. what is the English infinitive for "can"?)

Seems to me "can" is an modal auxilary verb, (nothing primitive about
those), and that those thingies don't have infinitives, e.g. may,
should, might, etc.

Dan

Dan Rempel

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Sep 30, 2004, 11:01:44 AM9/30/04
to

Yep. Didn't Bart have some comments about "desu" also not being a
copula? I guess I should google that up when I wake up.

Dan

Don Kirkman

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Sep 30, 2004, 2:32:53 PM9/30/04
to
It seems to me I heard somewhere that Paul Blay wrote in article
<cjgu80$p8a$1$8300...@news.demon.co.uk>:

>"Timothy Miller" wrote ...
>> I'm sorry for asking such a naive question, but although I have a
>> background in Linguistics, I am very new to Japanese.

>> Most of the books I have read about basic communication in Japanese
>> refer to "desu" as a "verb".

>Which is too bad for 'most' of the books you've read.

>> However, I am unable to determine its
>> dictionary form so that I can look it up in "501 Japanese Verbs" and
>> see the other forms of it.

>Hmm, maybe that should be "500 Japanese Verbs and one cupola*"

Sure, but why isn't there also a gazebo?
--
Don
Old age is when you start saying "I wish I knew now what I knew then."

Jacques Guy

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Oct 1, 2004, 7:58:42 AM10/1/04
to
Timothy Miller wrote:

> Most of the books I have read about basic communication in Japanese
> refer to "desu" as a "verb".

It is a postposition (de) plus a verb (aru)

> However, I am unable to determine its
> dictionary form so that I can look it up in "501 Japanese Verbs" and
> see the other forms of it.

"501 Japanese Verbs". Lovely book. I am looking forward to
"501 Chinese Verbs". Fully conjugated of course (I hope
they don't forget the subjunctive pluperfect inchoative).
"5001 Japanese Nouns Fully Declined" has been long
overdue too.


> So, does "desu" have a dictionary form?

As much as English "ain't"

If so, what is it? If not, did it ever, and where did it come from?

"desu" from "de arimasu", "da" from "de aru".

Clue: "not to be" is "ja arimasen" itself a
contraction of "de wa arimasen". See the link?

> Does it still qualify as a
> verb, or is it really something more primitive, lacking certain forms?

It does not lack any forms. It just has these contractions:

desu <- de arimasu
deshita <- de arimashita
deshoo <- de arimashoo

You don't have to use them either. You'll only sound
very bookish, dressed in a stiff collar and striped
pants. And a top hat.

necoandjeff

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Sep 30, 2004, 3:15:29 PM9/30/04
to
"Dan Rempel" <drempel@hurtly_flurty> wrote in message
news:7dd90d7579032185...@grapevine.islandnet.com...

> Timothy Miller wrote:
> > I'm sorry for asking such a naive question, but although I have a
> > background in Linguistics, I am very new to Japanese.
> >
> > Most of the books I have read about basic communication in Japanese
> > refer to "desu" as a "verb". However, I am unable to determine its
> > dictionary form so that I can look it up in "501 Japanese Verbs" and
> > see the other forms of it.
>
> There's some dispute about what desu actually is, but the plain form is
> "da."

And while the debate rages about what is "dictionary" form and whether it is
da or desu, verb or copula, etc. I just turn to an "actual dictionary" and
happily find the following:

です
(助動)(でしよ・でし・です/です・〇・〇)


丁寧の意をもつ断定の助動詞。名詞、ある種の助詞、および体言に準ずるものに接続
する。動詞および動詞型活用の助動詞には、連体形に助詞「の」の付いたものに接続
するが、形容詞および形容詞型活用の助動詞には、その終止形に付く。もっとも、未
然形「でしょ(う)」に限っては、動詞および動詞型活用の助動詞の終止形にも付
く。また、形容動詞および形容動詞型活用の助動詞には、その語幹に接続する。


[一]「だ」「である」の丁寧語。


(1)判断したり強く断定したりする。
「あの方が先生〈です〉」「ここから新宿までは三〇〇円〈です〉」


(2)事柄を提示する。
「だいぶ昔のこと〈です〉が、…」「それはおととしの夏休みのこと〈です〉。…」


(3)(「活用語+のです」の形で)原因・理由・根拠などの説明をする。
「不況が続くのは、アメリカの金利政策の結果なの〈です〉」「これはもうずいぶん
考え抜いたことなの〈です〉」


(4)(終止形を用いて)強い感情をこめた決意や断定を表す。
「もう中止〈です〉、中止〈です〉」「さあ、休憩〈です〉、早く片付けましょう」


(5)(「お+動詞の連用形」の形で)軽い尊敬の意を表す。
「この本は、もうお読み〈です〉か」


(6)終止形は間投助詞的にも用いられる。助詞「ね」「な」などを伴って用いること
が多い。
「これが〈です〉ね、いろいろ複雑で〈です〉ね、わからなくなることがよくありま
す」


[二]


(1)〔「でそう(で候)」の転かといわれる〕やや尊大な語感をもって、丁寧な断定
の意を表す。狂言で、大名その他の名乗りなどに用いられる。
「是はこのあたりにかくれもない大名〈です〉/狂言・鼻取相撲」「信濃の国の住人
あさふのなにがし〈です〉/狂言・麻生」


(2)〔「でござります」からの転かといわれる〕文末の終止に用いて、丁寧な断定の
意を表す。江戸中期以降、遊女・男伊達(おとこだて)・医者などによって用いられた
もの。
「是すなはち物をくらつてすぐに吐くもの〈です〉/滑稽本・浮世風呂(前)」


〔(1)連体形「です」は、助詞「のに」「ので」などに連なる場合にだけ用いられ
る。(2)「です」の語源については、「でそう(で候)」説、「でござります」説、
「であります」説、その他があるが、まだ定説化されたものはない。一の「です」
は、明治以降、次第に一般に広く用いられるようになった〕

Happy debating all.

guy-jin

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Sep 30, 2004, 4:24:23 PM9/30/04
to
"Joshua A. Reyer" <re...@benchsumo.zzn.com> wrote in message news:<u6qdnej7q4L...@comcast.com>...

> Desu is can of worms. In Japanese grammar it is considered a jodoushi,
> an auxilliary verb. Some English textbooks refer to it as a copula. It
> operates quite differently than verbs,

How so?

> > (i.e. what is the English infinitive for "can"?)

*shrug* I guess it's an irrecular verb that lost it's infinitive long
ago, kind of like how we lost gender-neutral 3rd person pronouns, but
kept gender-neutral plural pronouns. But I'm not a linguist, so I
really have no idea.

Pope Emperor FrogMaN

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Sep 30, 2004, 4:33:38 PM9/30/04
to

"Jacques Guy" <jg...@alphalink.com.au> wrote in message
news:415D46...@alphalink.com.au...

>
> I am looking forward to
> "501 Chinese Verbs". Fully conjugated of course (I hope
> they don't forget the subjunctive pluperfect inchoative).

Umm.... Chinese is uninflected. Meaning that verbs are not conjugated.
There is no verb tense in Chinese, and there is no plural, singular, etc.
Tense is indicated by a) the verb position in a sentence; b) suffix (AKA
aspect markers); c) context. And those may vary according to dialectical
and cultural factors.

And there is a book on Chinese verbs, published by Barrons, called "201
Chinese verbs." I don't own it personally, so I have no idea how
good/bad/etc. it is.


Jacques Guy

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Oct 1, 2004, 9:46:45 AM10/1/04
to
Pope Emperor FrogMaN wrote:
>
> "Jacques Guy" <jg...@alphalink.com.au> wrote in message
> news:415D46...@alphalink.com.au...

> > I am looking forward to
> > "501 Chinese Verbs". Fully conjugated of course (I hope
> > they don't forget the subjunctive pluperfect inchoative).

> Umm.... Chinese is uninflected.

Exactly!



> And there is a book on Chinese verbs, published by Barrons, called "201
> Chinese verbs." I don't own it personally, so I have no idea how
> good/bad/etc. it is.

The "501 Verbs" series started as "201 Verbs".

I imagine that those "201 Chinese Verbs" are a moronic
list like this:

xiang3 'to think'
wo3 xiang3 'I think'
ni3 xiang3 'you think'
...
wo3 xiang3 le...ta xiang3 qi3lai2 (hey, why not!)...

"501 Japanese Verbs" (or perhaps it was only "201" then)
came out about 20 years ago. Utterly preposterous.

Dan Rempel

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Sep 30, 2004, 7:57:54 PM9/30/04
to
jim_...@hotmail.com wrote:
> Apud Jacques Guy <jg...@alphalink.com.au> (sci.lang.japan) hoc legimus:

>
>>"501 Japanese Verbs". Lovely book. I am looking forward to
>>"501 Chinese Verbs". Fully conjugated of course (I hope
>>they don't forget the subjunctive pluperfect inchoative).
>>"5001 Japanese Nouns Fully Declined" has been long
>>overdue too.
>
>
> WWWJDIC gives you 7,000 Japanese Verbs fully conjugated (or 11,500
> if you count するified nouns.)

And you can't beat the price, which is both cheap and low.

Dan

Sean Holland

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Sep 30, 2004, 8:26:23 PM9/30/04
to
in article 0599d808eb69355c...@grapevine.islandnet.com, Dan
Rempel at drempel@hurtly_flurty wrote on 9/30/04 3:11 PM:

> Sean Holland wrote:
>> in article cjgu80$p8a$1$8300...@news.demon.co.uk, Paul Blay at
>> ra...@saotome.demon.co.uk wrote on 9/30/04 5:29 AM:
>>
>>
>>> "Timothy Miller" wrote ...
>>>
>>>> I'm sorry for asking such a naive question, but although I have a
>>>> background in Linguistics, I am very new to Japanese.
>>>>
>>>> Most of the books I have read about basic communication in Japanese
>>>> refer to "desu" as a "verb".
>>>
>>> Which is too bad for 'most' of the books you've read.
>>>
>>>
>>>> However, I am unable to determine its
>>>> dictionary form so that I can look it up in "501 Japanese Verbs" and
>>>> see the other forms of it.
>>>
>>> Hmm, maybe that should be "500 Japanese Verbs and one cupola*"
>>
>>
>> I think that's a kind of dome.
>

> "In Xanadu did Kublai Khan a stately pleasure copula decree." Nah: it'll
> never sell.
>
> Dan

Well, it was a "pleasure" dome, so copulating was probably involved.

Neeraj Mathur

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Sep 30, 2004, 8:42:58 PM9/30/04
to
Sorry, I know no Japanese, but please allow me to play with English a
little.

> (i.e. what is the English infinitive for "can"?)

The short answer is: there has never been an infinitive in 'to' for this
verb; the infinitive without 'to' is simply 'can', but it does not have the
full functionality of the infinitives of other verbs because it belongs to
the class Modal Auxiliary.

Old English had two 'infinitive' forms with different usage patterns: the
infinitive in -an (which gives the dictionary form of the verb), and the
so-called 'inflected infinitive' with 'to + -enne'. Eg, for 'hear', there
was 'hieran' and 'to hierenne'.

In Modern English, these two infinitives still exist, but have lost their
endings and are thus identical to each other and the verbal stem: 'hear' and
'to hear'.

OE 'cunnan' belongs to a set of verbs which have no present tense; their
past tense forms came to have present meaning and a new, late, weak past
tense was created for them. Thus 'cunnan' (like its Latin cognate 'novi',
earlier 'gnovi') had past tense forms 'cann, cannst' etc. which became
present in meaning; a new past tense was created as *cun-de, OE 'cuthe',
which gives Modern English 'could'. The original meaning of 'cunnan' was
'know how to'; the modern meaning of 'can' grew out of this (in the OE
period or earlier).

These verbs are called 'present-preterite' verbs in OE grammars. They
include most of the Modern English modal auxiliaries. One of the present
forms which was lost, however, was the inflected infinitive with to;
therefore, 'can' is the only infinitive that survives.

Since it does not have any 'to' form surviving, 'can' cannot take part in
any of the syntactic constructions of Modern English that involve 'to'.
Unfortunately, many of the other constructions in Modern English that use
the infinitive without 'to' involve modal auxiliaries; therefore, 'can'
cannot take part in those either. The infinitive 'can' is essentially
restricted to being the name of the verb - the most basic uses of the verbal
noun infinitive.

As an aside (to an aside), does anybody know what the ancestry of the 'to +
___-enne' form is? Is there an equivalent in other Germanic languages, or in
IE? Thanks.

Neeraj Mathur


Bart Mathias

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Sep 30, 2004, 9:50:24 PM9/30/04
to
guy-jin wrote:
> "Joshua A. Reyer" <re...@benchsumo.zzn.com> wrote in message news:<u6qdnej7q4L...@comcast.com>...
>
>
>>Desu is can of worms. In Japanese grammar it is considered a jodoushi,
>>an auxilliary verb. Some English textbooks refer to it as a copula. It
>>operates quite differently than verbs,
>
>
> How so?

One of the most important things is that verbs' arguments are marked by
particles attached to their ends: -ga, -wo, -ni, -kara, etc. Some of
them may be dropped, but it is always possible to pause between an
argument word and the verb.

-desu on the other hand attaches directly to a word or phrase and turns
it into a predicating word. No pause allowed.

Bart

Bart Mathias

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Sep 30, 2004, 9:58:54 PM9/30/04
to
Jacques Guy wrote:
> [...]

> "501 Japanese Verbs" (or perhaps it was only "201" then)
> came out about 20 years ago. Utterly preposterous.

More like 30. A colleague who had been approached with the possibility
of writing it asked me to go in with him. I thought it was a silly
idea, and refused. So Roland Lange, a pretty bright fellow, did it.

I wonder how much Roland made from it? I'm still relatively poor in a
way (but I did get a $270 royalty last week from some other book that I
didn't write).

Bart Mathias

Joshua A. Reyer

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Sep 30, 2004, 10:41:07 PM9/30/04
to
Neeraj Mathur wrote:

> As an aside (to an aside), does anybody know what the ancestry of the 'to +
> ___-enne' form is? Is there an equivalent in other Germanic languages, or in
> IE? Thanks.
>
> Neeraj Mathur

As far as I know, the inflected infinitive is a West Germanic trait,
found in Old English, Old Frisian and Old High German, but not in Gothic
or Old Norse.

Josh Reyer

Dan Rempel

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Sep 30, 2004, 11:25:55 PM9/30/04
to
Sean Holland wrote:
> in article 0599d808eb69355c...@grapevine.islandnet.com, Dan
> Rempel at drempel@hurtly_flurty wrote on 9/30/04 3:11 PM:
>
>
>>Sean Holland wrote:
>>
>>>in article cjgu80$p8a$1$8300...@news.demon.co.uk, Paul Blay at
>>>ra...@saotome.demon.co.uk wrote on 9/30/04 5:29 AM:
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>>"Timothy Miller" wrote ...
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>>I'm sorry for asking such a naive question, but although I have a
>>>>>background in Linguistics, I am very new to Japanese.
>>>>>
>>>>>Most of the books I have read about basic communication in Japanese
>>>>>refer to "desu" as a "verb".
>>>>
>>>>Which is too bad for 'most' of the books you've read.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>>However, I am unable to determine its
>>>>>dictionary form so that I can look it up in "501 Japanese Verbs" and
>>>>>see the other forms of it.
>>>>
>>>>Hmm, maybe that should be "500 Japanese Verbs and one cupola*"
>>>
>>>
>>>I think that's a kind of dome.
>>
>>"In Xanadu did Kublai Khan a stately pleasure copula decree." Nah: it'll
>>never sell.
>>
>>Dan
>
>
> Well, it was a "pleasure" dome, so copulating was probably involved.

Good point: a dome for copulating in would definitely appeal to some
groups of people, especially if it sharpened razor blades too (or is
that only pyramids?)

Dan

Jacques Guy

unread,
Oct 1, 2004, 5:12:13 PM10/1/04
to
Dan Rempel wrote:

> Good point: a dome for copulating in would definitely appeal to some
> groups of people, especially if it sharpened razor blades too (or is
> that only pyramids?)

Only pyramids. Pyramids (small ones) can also be used
for impaling. For copulating, it's domes indeed,
internal (Dutch caps) and external (French letters).

Collin McCulley

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Oct 1, 2004, 12:30:33 AM10/1/04
to

"Timothy Miller" <the...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:80eae8c5.04093...@posting.google.com...

> I'm sorry for asking such a naive question, but although I have a
> background in Linguistics, I am very new to Japanese.
>
> Most of the books I have read about basic communication in Japanese
> refer to "desu" as a "verb". However, I am unable to determine its
> dictionary form so that I can look it up in "501 Japanese Verbs" and
> see the other forms of it.
>

I seem to be stepping in late here, but I once
compiled a table of the forms with the help of this
group:

http://www.epochrypha.com/japanese/da_forms.html


--Collin

chance

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Oct 1, 2004, 12:32:55 AM10/1/04
to

"necoandjeff" <sp...@schrepfer.com> wrote in message
news:lXY6d.4735$nj....@newssvr13.news.prodigy.com...

So what? Big deal!


Anthony J. Bryant

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Oct 1, 2004, 12:41:21 AM10/1/04
to
Pope Emperor FrogMaN wrote:


> And there is a book on Chinese verbs, published by Barrons, called "201
> Chinese verbs." I don't own it personally, so I have no idea how
> good/bad/etc. it is.

It's actually quite good, and very useful. It covers more compound uses of the
verbs, of course, but it's very helpful -- especially if you're in the
low-intermediate range and dont't have kick-arse dictionaries around.

Tony


--

Anthony J. Bryant
Website: http://www.sengokudaimyo.com

Effingham's Heraldic Avatars (...and stuff):
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Anthony J. Bryant

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Oct 1, 2004, 12:42:31 AM10/1/04
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Sean Holland wrote:


> Well, it was a "pleasure" dome, so copulating was probably involved.

Damn, you beat me to it. <pout>

Paul Blay

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Oct 1, 2004, 2:09:41 AM10/1/04
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"Collin McCulley" wrote ...
> "Timothy Miller" <the...@hotmail.com> wrote ...

>> I'm sorry for asking such a naive question, but although I have a
>> background in Linguistics, I am very new to Japanese.
>>
>> Most of the books I have read about basic communication in Japanese
>> refer to "desu" as a "verb". However, I am unable to determine its
>> dictionary form so that I can look it up in "501 Japanese Verbs" and
>> see the other forms of it.
>
> I seem to be stepping in late here,

Doesn't matter - you're one of the very, very, few people to post
something useful for someone who's "very new to Japanese" and wants
to "see the other forms of it"

Sean Holland

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Oct 1, 2004, 3:06:05 AM10/1/04
to
in article 9aad596e21e39eef...@grapevine.islandnet.com, Dan
Rempel at drempel@hurtly_flurty wrote on 9/30/04 8:25 PM:

Don't be silly. This is a serious discussion.

Dan Rempel

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Oct 1, 2004, 11:23:47 AM10/1/04
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Thanks; we're getting good topic drift here.

Dan

Dan Rempel

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Oct 1, 2004, 11:25:51 AM10/1/04
to

Jeez, sorry; does that mean I have to go to the Romper Room and talk
with Mr. Gowen?

Dan

Bill

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Oct 1, 2004, 3:10:04 PM10/1/04
to
In article <415D46...@alphalink.com.au>,
Jacques Guy <jg...@alphalink.com.au> wrote:

> > Does it still qualify as a
> > verb, or is it really something more primitive, lacking certain forms?
>
> It does not lack any forms. It just has these contractions:
>
> desu <- de arimasu
> deshita <- de arimashita
> deshoo <- de arimashoo
>
> You don't have to use them either. You'll only sound
> very bookish, dressed in a stiff collar and striped
> pants. And a top hat.

So what about "arimasen deshita?" Redundant?


Whatever it derives from, one of my Japanese teachers told us that desu
doesn't mean anything at all. It's just there to make things polite.

Sceadu

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Oct 1, 2004, 4:06:36 PM10/1/04
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"Bill" <ws...@cornell.edu> wrote in message
news:ws21-703BA6.1...@newsstand.cit.cornell.edu...

「~ではありませんでした」 does seem redundant, but remember
that 「~ませんでした」 is the standard way to form the polite past.

As for desu not meaning anything, I guess you could make an argument that
"is" doesn't mean anything in English either (of course, I'm NOT trying to
insinuate that "desu" equals "is," heaven forbid). Just listen to some
hip-hop: "Dey crunk as ****." "We tha kings of crunk." "I crunker den you."
Okay, I made that last one up, but whether "crunk" is an adjective or a
noun, you don't need "to be" to understand it perfectly! It just makes it
more polite: "Dey ARE as crunk as ****."

Sceadu

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Curt Fischer

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Oct 1, 2004, 4:57:16 PM10/1/04
to
Sceadu wrote:

> As for desu not meaning anything, I guess you could make an argument
> that "is" doesn't mean anything in English either (of course, I'm NOT
> trying to insinuate that "desu" equals "is," heaven forbid). Just
> listen to some hip-hop: "Dey crunk as ****." "We tha kings of crunk."
> "I crunker den you." Okay, I made that last one up, but whether
> "crunk" is an adjective or a noun, you don't need "to be" to
> understand it perfectly! It just makes it more polite: "Dey ARE as
> crunk as ****."

I'm not too familiar with rap, so I made a mistake while reading your post
that disproves your point.

What if instead of whatever profanity was originally in place of ****, the
artists had instead chosen to say "is"?

"Dey as crunk as is"

Now show me that "is" has no meaning in that sentence.

--
Curt Fischer

Paul Blay

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Oct 1, 2004, 5:26:57 PM10/1/04
to
"Curt Fischer" wrote ...

>
> "Dey as crunk as is"
>
> Now show me that "is" has no meaning in that sentence.

Assertions :
1. The meaning of a sentence is the sum of the meanings of the components of that sentence.
2. A word may be meaningless but it may not have less than no meaning.

I note that the sentence "Dey as crunk as is" is meaningless.
'is' is part of that sentence, therefore 'is' has no meaning.

Jacques Guy

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Oct 2, 2004, 12:26:48 PM10/2/04
to
Bill wrote:

> So what about "arimasen deshita?" Redundant?

Which part, arimasen or deshita?
I should hardly think that a negative could
ever be redundant. Or a past.

Anyway, that construction is no different from
"kikimasen deshita" and others, so there is nothing
special about "aru", and it is no different
either from those with "deshoo".


>
> Whatever it derives from, one of my Japanese teachers told us that desu
> doesn't mean anything at all. It's just there to make things polite.

It's -mas- that's just there to make things polite.

In fact, Japanese verbal suffixes seem to be the most unstable
parts of the language: what happened to -keri and -sooroo for
instance?

Our Japanese teacher taught us that, for about the first half
of the century (last century) the usage in the army and
the navy was to finish your sentence with "no de aru" when
speaking to an inferior, "no de arimasu" to a superior.
And that this lead to speakers on the radio saying
"no de aru no de arimasu". He even told us that one Japanese
minister ended his sentences with "no de aru no de aru no
de arimasu". I find difficult to believe that he did not
make it up (our teacher, not the minister). Perhaps he was
pulling our leg, perhaps he wasn't.

Bart Mathias

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Oct 1, 2004, 9:33:45 PM10/1/04
to
Bill wrote:
> [...]
> So what about "arimasen deshita?" Redundant?

Don't you wonder why they gave up the chance to go with "arimasezatta"?

> Whatever it derives from, one of my Japanese teachers told us that desu
> doesn't mean anything at all. It's just there to make things polite.

Teachers are getting smarter.

Bart

Bart Mathias

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Oct 1, 2004, 9:38:34 PM10/1/04
to
Paul Blay wrote:
> "Curt Fischer" wrote ...
>
>>
>> "Dey as crunk as is"
>>
>> Now show me that "is" has no meaning in that sentence.
>
>
> Assertions :
> 1. The meaning of a sentence is the sum of the meanings of the
> components of that sentence.

I've argued against that on the basis of, e.g., "I could care less" = "I
couldn't care less." Some people have retorted that those sentences
don't mean the same thing, but I wonder how many people use both, and
with different intents?

Then what about, "Yes, I did!" Is context a component of a sentence?
(It has been in my grammars, but I don't know if everyone would go along
with the idea.)

> 2. A word may be meaningless but it may not have less than no meaning.
>
> I note that the sentence "Dey as crunk as is" is meaningless.
> 'is' is part of that sentence, therefore 'is' has no meaning.

Irrefutable!

Bart Mathias

Dan Rempel

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Oct 2, 2004, 11:12:11 AM10/2/04
to
Bart Mathias wrote:
> Paul Blay wrote:
>
>>"Curt Fischer" wrote ...
>>
>>
>>>"Dey as crunk as is"
>>>
>>>Now show me that "is" has no meaning in that sentence.
>>
>>
>>Assertions :
>>1. The meaning of a sentence is the sum of the meanings of the
>>components of that sentence.
>
>
> I've argued against that on the basis of, e.g., "I could care less" = "I
> couldn't care less." Some people have retorted that those sentences
> don't mean the same thing, but I wonder how many people use both, and
> with different intents?
>
> Then what about, "Yes, I did!" Is context a component of a sentence?
> (It has been in my grammars, but I don't know if everyone would go along
> with the idea.)

Another one I've noticed recently is people saying "Yeah, no..." at the
beginning of a sentence, which apparently means something like "Right,
and furthermore..."

>>2. A word may be meaningless but it may not have less than no meaning.
>>
>>I note that the sentence "Dey as crunk as is" is meaningless.
>>'is' is part of that sentence, therefore 'is' has no meaning.
>
>
> Irrefutable!
>
> Bart Mathias

Dan

Sean Holland

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Oct 2, 2004, 1:05:36 PM10/2/04
to
in article 7f6bc0c21361e9b8...@grapevine.islandnet.com, Dan
Rempel at drempel@hurtly_flurty wrote on 10/1/04 8:25 AM:

> Sean Holland wrote:

>> Don't be silly. This is a serious discussion.
>
> Jeez, sorry; does that mean I have to go to the Romper Room and talk
> with Mr. Gowen?
>
> Dan

Perish the thought.

LEE Sau Dan

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Oct 2, 2004, 5:06:17 PM10/2/04
to
>>>>> "Bart" == Bart Mathias <bartm...@verizon.net> writes:

Bart> One of the most important things is that verbs' arguments
Bart> are marked by particles attached to their ends: -ga, -wo,
Bart> -ni, -kara, etc. Some of them may be dropped, but it is
Bart> always possible to pause between an argument word and the
Bart> verb.

Yeah. That's the neat part of Japanese grammar. You always need that
postposition after a noun. You won't forget it (unlike the "-n" in
Esperanto, for instance). :)


Bart> -desu on the other hand attaches directly to a word or
Bart> phrase and turns it into a predicating word. No pause
Bart> allowed.

It's like saying that you can't insert a pause in "isn't" or "won't".
Why on earth do you want a pause within a contraction?

Can't you say "de arimasu" and put a pause after the "de"?

--
Lee Sau Dan 李守敦 ~{@nJX6X~}

E-mail: dan...@informatik.uni-freiburg.de
Home page: http://www.informatik.uni-freiburg.de/~danlee

LEE Sau Dan

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Oct 2, 2004, 5:00:56 PM10/2/04
to
>>>>> "Bart" == Bart Mathias <bartm...@verizon.net> writes:

Bart> I've argued against that on the basis of, e.g., "I could
Bart> care less" = "I couldn't care less." Some people have
Bart> retorted that those sentences don't mean the same thing, but
Bart> I wonder how many people use both, and with different
Bart> intents?

How about "I can't agree [with you]" vs. "I can't agree more"? I
guess most people who would use the latter would also use the former.
And these two sentences means completely different things!

(I've once seen a person not so good at English misunderstand the
latter expression. Apparently, his parser stopped before the "more"
and dropped this last but decisive word. So, his response was "why
can't you agree [with me]? Blahblahblah". The other guy had to
explain what that expression meant!)

>> 2. A word may be meaningless but it may not have less than no
>> meaning.

Many grammatical particles are quite meaningless, but must be there to
fulfill the grammatical rules. e.g. "I'm waiting *for* you". What's
the "for" there to serve?

LEE Sau Dan

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Oct 2, 2004, 4:49:11 PM10/2/04
to
>>>>> "necoandjeff" == necoandjeff <sp...@schrepfer.com> writes:

>> >> So, does "desu" have a dictionary form?
>> >Yes.
>> >> If so, what is it?
>> >da
>>
>> Debatable. No other "dictionary form" differs in usage from
>> its masu-form. Until you can say "akai da" I don't like
>> calling "da" the "dictionary form" of "desu".

Isn't "desu" a contraction of "de arimasu"? (And that long form is
negated regularly, thus 'logically' giving "dewa arimasen" as the
negative form of "desu".)

Bart Mathias

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Oct 2, 2004, 9:11:25 PM10/2/04
to
LEE Sau Dan wrote:
>>>>>>[...]


> Isn't "desu" a contraction of "de arimasu"? (And that long form is
> negated regularly, thus 'logically' giving "dewa arimasen" as the
> negative form of "desu".)

The last I knew, no one knew for sure, but the notion that it came from
"-de gozaimasu" (--> -de gansu --> -de gesu --> -desu, or something
like that) seemed the more popular.

Bart Mathias

Bart Mathias

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Oct 2, 2004, 9:31:05 PM10/2/04
to
LEE Sau Dan wrote:
>>>>>>"Bart" == Bart Mathias <bartm...@verizon.net> writes:
>
>
> Bart> I've argued against [the notion that the meaning of a sentence
> Bart> is the sum of the meanings of the components
> Bart> on the basis of, e.g., "I could

> Bart> care less" = "I couldn't care less." Some people have
> Bart> retorted that those sentences don't mean the same thing, but
> Bart> I wonder how many people use both, and with different
> Bart> intents?
>
> How about "I can't agree [with you]" vs. "I can't agree more"? I
> guess most people who would use the latter would also use the former.
> And these two sentences means completely different things!

Yes, those sentences seem to support Paul Blay's first axiom, as do
billions and billions of others. But not all sentences do.

> [...]


> >> 2. A word may be meaningless but it may not have less than no
> >> meaning.
>
> Many grammatical particles are quite meaningless, but must be there to
> fulfill the grammatical rules. e.g. "I'm waiting *for* you". What's
> the "for" there to serve?

Paul didn't say a word couldn't have zero meaning. He said it couldn't
have *less* than no meaning.

Bart Mathias

Bart Mathias

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Oct 2, 2004, 9:35:27 PM10/2/04
to
Jacques Guy wrote:
> Bill wrote:
>
>>So what about "arimasen deshita?" Redundant?
>
>
> Which part, arimasen or deshita?
> [...]
>>Whatever it derives from, one of my Japanese teachers told us that desu
>>doesn't mean anything at all. It's just there to make things polite.
>
>
> It's -mas- that's just there to make things polite.

I bet you a nickle that's what Bill was getting at. Two "-mas-"
equivalents in "arimasen deshita" seems redundant.

> [...]

Bart Mathias

Bart Mathias

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Oct 2, 2004, 9:51:14 PM10/2/04
to
LEE Sau Dan wrote:
>>>>>>"Bart" == Bart Mathias <bartm...@verizon.net> writes:
> [...]

> Bart> -desu on the other hand attaches directly to a word or
> Bart> phrase and turns it into a predicating word. No pause
> Bart> allowed.
>
> It's like saying that you can't insert a pause in "isn't" or "won't".
> Why on earth do you want a pause within a contraction?
>
> Can't you say "de arimasu" and put a pause after the "de"?

Sure, but not before it, which is close to the point I was making.
Where did you come up with that "within a contraction"?

"arimasu" is a verb. You mark one of its arguments with "-de"
(non-deletable), and then you can add on more particles, sneeze, stick
in an adverb or two, and go on with "arimasu" as if nothing happened.

A couple of other things that should perhaps be brought up in a
discussion of the "-desu" family are "-deshou/darou" (pardon my
waapuroroomaji) and "-de arou."

These things attach more freely than "-desu." It's acceptable (with
reluctance from many quarters) to attach "-desu" to an "i" adjective to
make it polite; it functions only as a sort of politeness particle in
this case, and there is nothing "copular" about it.

So far at least, it isn't accepted to put a "-desu" on the end of a verb
to make it polite. One uses "-masu" for that. However, "-deshou/darou"
and "-de arou" go readily after verbs; they function as particles
indicating the possibility that the statement they decorate may not be true.

The case of "-de arou" is a bit awesome. The space I have spelled it
with is probably not there, else sentences like "sou suru-de arou" ("She
probably will") are unique in allowing "-de" to follow a verb. I opine
that it must be "-de( )arou," and a back formation from the modern
particle "-darou."

Bart Mathias

Jacques Guy

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Oct 3, 2004, 3:40:49 PM10/3/04
to
Bart Mathias wrote:

> I bet you a nickle that's what Bill was getting at. Two "-mas-"
> equivalents in "arimasen deshita" seems redundant.

"goran nasaimase" seems quite redundant to me too,
but so is "non ci capisco mai niente", alors... vive
la redondance!

Dan Rempel

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Oct 3, 2004, 11:40:41 PM10/3/04
to
Sean Holland wrote:
> in article 7f6bc0c21361e9b8...@grapevine.islandnet.com, Dan
> Rempel at drempel@hurtly_flurty wrote on 10/1/04 8:25 AM:
>
>
>>Sean Holland wrote:
>
>
>>>Don't be silly. This is a serious discussion.
>>
>>Jeez, sorry; does that mean I have to go to the Romper Room and talk
>>with Mr. Gowen?
>>
>>Dan
>
>
> Perish the thought.

Thanks; I was getting nervous. From now on, no more silliness (removing
glasses with bushy eyebrows and fake nose).

Dan

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