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Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by rainbowizard, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. rainbowizard

    rainbowizard Senior Member

    Italian - Italy
    I am dealing with the sentence 彼らは自分の車を洗っています and honestly I do not understand who does 自分 make reference to.
    That sentence is nothing more than a caption under a picture where a group of people are washing up a car...
    It could be "They are washing their own car" but probably also "They are washing my car".
    I am really confused by the usage of 自分.
    I also found out this post: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2238769 however I was not able to understand.

    Does 自分の can be used instead of 彼らの or 彼の or else 私の or あなたの ... and so on?

    May you help me?

    Thank you!
  2. Tonky Senior Member

    It can be quite confusing sometimes, but that one is the same as 彼らの車, as we avoid to repeat as 彼らは彼らの車を.
    If the speaker wants to mention it as the speaker's car, he/she would say 彼らは私の車を instead.
    In general, 自分 refers to the actor of the verb.
    You said so yourself.
    I don't understand it myself.

    There could be exceptions, but I cannot think of one at the moment. Let me know if you find any.

    Kansai dialects use 自分 to refer to "you" very often, but I believe it still works the same as in "the actor of the verb".
    Don't you speak kansai dialect?
  3. rainbowizard

    rainbowizard Senior Member

    Italian - Italy
    Thank you Tonky!
    It's pretty clear now.

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