Home Forums TextFugu Seriously wrong grammar point…

This topic contains 23 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  kanjiman8 11 years ago.

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    I really like the course so far, I got myself a life membership and working my way through everything… But I gotta say, if I came across this one before signing up, I might have reconsidered:

    How do you define the word “is”? How do you define the word “are”? You really don’t, and those words are considered particles.

    Those words are verbs man. Actually, they’re the same verb… “to be”. This is like grammar 0.01… And English is not even my first language.

    If I were you, I’d change that: http://www.textfugu.com/season-2/particle-ha/6-3/#top



    Eh, while true in the strictest sense, it’s a little more complicated than “is = to be”. “Is” is the verb you use where nothing else goes. It’s the function that it’s playing in the sentence rather than it’s actual form.

    Though I do agree that this is Koichi trying a little too hard to be philosophical. =P


    Saying that “be” is a verb isn’t *defining* it, it’s just categorising it as a verb. It’s not so simple to actually explain what “be” means. Plus, it’s better to say “be” is a copula than a verb.



    @Yann: I can see your point, but I don’t think it’s a huge issue.

    With English as my first language, I skipped English 0.01. In fact, before learning a second language, I had forgotten what things like ‘verbs’ and ‘adjectives’ were. So even if is not entirely correct, the lesson still helps a begginer with understanding particles. You got the point anyway right?

    Perhaps there are better words than ‘is’ and ‘are’, but I can’t think of any that would relate to the particles that have been introduced by that point in the TextFugu-book.






    Actually, I think you’re all right. The function of a copula is to link (or “couple” see what I did there ;) ) a subject and a predicate. “To be” is definitely a verb in English. However, it also just so happens to act as a copula.



    You can call it a copula, but it’s still definitely a verb and definitely not a particle.

    I don’t think there is room for interpretation here and it’s not ok to provide wrong info in order to get a point across. It just doesn’t seem professional and I believe it’s detrimental to the overall credibility of the course. And it would have confused the hell out of me if I wasn’t already familiar with that specific part of the Japanese grammar.

    It’s not the end of the world or anything… but I think that lesson should be tweaked.



    … “Doesn’t seem professional”? Where else in TextFugu does Koichi actually seem professional? =P

    In any case, English doesn’t have particles. Sure, it’s a shade specious to explain Japanese in terms of English grammar, but at this point, we’re talking about learners who may have had no exposure at all to Japanese. If you think it could do with tweaking, then how would YOU explain it?



    The tone is funny and casual, but everything seem very professional to me. That’s why I got a life account.

    I have no idea how I would explain it… You don’t need to be Mozart to know when someone’s out of tune ;)


    The thing with desu is that, when you start off, you learn about in VERY basic terms (which could be classed as slightly “wrong” since it’s not the full story) because it’s easier that way. But as you get more into the language, you come to learn what kind of beast desu REALLY is. It’s the same with wa and ga. Or it’s like learning that acceleration due to gravity is 10m/s/s, and then told later it’s actually 9.8m/s/s, and then later that it’s 9.81m/s/s (is it 9.81? I can’t remember) – it’s easier to think of it as 10m/s/s in the first place, even though that’s inaccurate. Or like being told an electron has no mass (it does, it’s just negligible when you’re only doing basic physics/chemistry).

    Also, I’ve never known Koichi to be professional :P


    Ron Moses

    English does indeed have particles.

    And “is/are/to be” is unquestionably not one of them.  It is a verb.  You can call it a copula, but it is in any case a copular verb.  I haven’t gotten to that lesson yet, but if it claims “is” is a particle it should be corrected.


    Avoid infestation. Rotate.


    I agree with Michael.

    I’m really new to all this Japanese language stuff, and when I got to the です part I also noticed that. Even so, the way it was explained made me understand really well how it works and what it does…maybe there’s more to discover about です, but that explanation got me trough until now.

    Also, I know how hard it can be to translate grammar points to other languages…my main language is Spanish, and there’s a TON of grammar points that are soo different compared to English or Japanese…In my opinion, sometimes it’s better ( just like Michael said ) to give a “wrong” meaning to something, as far as it lets you advance with ease, so later on you can give the “correct” meaning to it without messing anything, but helping to link things instead.

    I hope you understand my point, my brain is just dead tired trying to translate Spanish into English and trying to explain Japanese stuff at the same time haha



    Koichi could rewrite to reflect the technical definition of “is,” but technical definitions aside, “to be” does fall into a category that’s hard to define. The overall point Koichi makes is quite useful, and even while I (from a professional standpoint*) winced at the incorrect definition, I found the section useful. I’m okay with English grammar details being fudged a little in service of making the imperfectly analogous Japanese grammar points clearer. I agree entirely with Michael and Carlos on their points. Overall clarity should, in my opinion, be privileged over technical precision.

    *freelance copyeditor/proofreader/line editor



    I think the point was made many times that this is not a course for grammar nazis. If you are already bothered by the definition of is and be perhaps you should ask for a refund and try another study medium.



    @mtb812 Just because you don’t know anything about grammar doesn’t make me a “Nazi”. I’m not being finicky about the finer details of obscure grammatical points here. This is really basic stuff. I guess grammar is not taught in US schools?

    I gotta say though, I can see now why it would be pointless to correct that chapter… I just got to the は and が chapter, and reading his definition of a “subject” makes it clear that he really has no idea of what he’s talking about when it comes to grammar.

    I still think it would have been better if he just came up with his own terminology instead of providing wrong information, but hopefully it won’t get in the way of learning Japanese… Let’s see how it pans out.


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