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musicmakerMonday 28th of June 2004 12:18:03 PM
What is the difference...? - I was looking at some transcripts of a concert performed in Japan (Any Rockapella fans? Get this CD. It RULES!) and I noticed a few things that I have questions about...

What is the difference between using 'wa', 'ga', and 'o'? It seems to me the first two are virtually interchangeable.

When tagged onto the end of a statement, what exactly does 'kara' mean? It looks like another way of saying 'desu' but I want to be sure.

What does 'ima' mean?

Is there a male equivalent to the female suffix '-ko'? Sort of like '-chan' vs. '-kun'.

What's the difference between 'minna' and 'zenbu'? Looks like they both mean 'all' but I have no idea which would be used when.

If I'm totally off the mark here about anything, please let me know! We're all here to learn. ^_^
jeffMonday 28th of June 2004 02:28:05 PM
Some Answers - Hi Musicmaker - You have me inspired to check out Rockapella, i heard of them but never heard them. I assume they are a japanese band... if you like Japanese music, check out Pizzicato Five, they are my favorite..

I think I can shed some light on some of your questions, but hopefully a Japanese expert can chime in here and fill in the gaps...

1) both wa and ga are topic markers, but ga is used to mark the primary subject, so for example, "anata wa resutoran ga ikitai?" means "do you want to goto the restaurant"? Literally, it translates as "you, restaurant want-to-go?". both wa and ga mark the subjects, but ga is used to desginate the primary topic. mo, no and o are also topic markers, o is used for concrete tangible physical items, like "ringo o kudasai" = " apple, please-give-me". no is basically used like an apostrophie-s. "kore wa jeffsan no biru" = "that is jeff's beer". And mo means already or too, as in "watashi wa mo aru" = "I, already have-it".

2) desu means is, so really, in the above example, "that is jeff's beer" really should be said "kore wa jeffsan no biru desu". and to make it a question, just put ka at the end, "kore wa jeffsan no biru desu ka?". kara means "so that..." or "because...". most often if you hear "da kara...", it's like saying "well because...". but kara can also mean from. "9-ji kara 5-ji made" = "from 9oclock until 5 oclock".

3) ima means now. but also means living room.

4) -ko is not really a female suffix, ko means child, many girls names end in ko like Aiko (love child), Yoshiko (happy child), Reiko (zero child... go figure?).. guys names don't end this way cause it's a bit too cute and they would get beat up in grade schoool.

5) minna is used for people, minna-san means everyone, minna is all people, everybody. Zenbu is all things, everything.
musicmakerMonday 28th of June 2004 09:42:50 PM
Rockapella - Not Japanese, but they first got big there- they're an a cappella group that used to be the house band on the PBS show Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? Their last album is called Live In Japan- I didn't know Scott (high tenor) spoke Japanese as well as he does! There's a really cute moment when Elliott (baritone) is telling about his new baby- like he does at EVERY show- and he says "kaimashita" instead of "kimashita". That brings a laugh.