Home Forums The Japanese Language Two questions about passive form

This topic contains 4 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  trunklayer 6 years ago.

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  • #49670

    trunklayer
    Member

    I’m sorry but I’m afraid I would have to bother you yet again.
    The first question would be better demonstrated by example:
    Active: 先生は山田さんに手紙を送りました。- The teacher sent a letter to Mr./Ms. Yamada.
    Passive: 手紙は先生に山田さんに送られました。 The letter was sent, but by whom and to whom? The sender uses に because the letter was sent by him/her and the receiver uses に to indicate direction. As they both use に, how do we differentiate between them? Or maybe the second sentence is incorrect? (Actually, both these sentenses have a good chance to be incorrect as they were thought up by me).

    The second question is about the passive form of the verb 来る. I understand that it’s an exception and therefore the passive form is 来られる (こられる). What I don’t understand, however, is the meaning of this passive form. I mean, it’s an intransitive verb, isn’t it? How can an intransitive verb have a passive form?
    Active: 私は来ました。- I came.
    Passive: 私は来られました。- I was <to come>’d?
    The only translation I can think of would be “I was made to come”, but I doubt that it’s true. If it was, 来る would have also had a transitive meaning “to make someone come” which it doesn’t, so I’m quite confused…

    Sorry again for bothering you with these questions.

    • This topic was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by  trunklayer.
    • This topic was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by  trunklayer.
    • This topic was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by  trunklayer.
    • This topic was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by  trunklayer.
    • This topic was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by  trunklayer.
    #49676

    Joel
    Member

    It’s no bother – ask all the questions you like. =)

    For the first question, you’d probably avoid the ambiguity by using から for the sender rather than に. I’ll have to wait until I can get my hands on the grammar dictionary to be completely certain of that, though.

    For the second question, 来られる can mean “(someone) came to me”, but note that passive voice is also used for politeness – because it’s indirect, and indirectness is polite – so you’re probably going to see it used like that a bit more. When passive voice is being used for politeness, its meaning is the active voice instead.

    #49677

    trunklayer
    Member

    Thanks for the help!

    #49678

    Joel
    Member

    Alrighty. More info from the grammar dictionary:

    For the first point: から can be used in place of に when the agent is a sort of source – that is, there is something coming from the agent. Which is to say, you can say (for example) 山田さんはみんなから尊敬されている (Yamada-san is respected by everybody), but not その時計は泥棒から盗まれました (That watch was stolen by a thief).

    For the second point, there’s two things I forgot. Firstly, the existence of the indirect passive. This form doesn’t exist in English – basically, an event involving an action by an agent affects another person. Usually the event negatively affects the other person.

    Secondly, 来られる is also the potential form of 来る – i.e. “can come”.

    Not entirely sure what exact meaning is being invoked without seeing context.

    #49743

    trunklayer
    Member

    Thanks again for the help!

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