話そうと思います

Deminox

New Member
Español
I found this phrase in a YouTube video: "今日は趣味に好いて話そうと思います。" It is translated as "Today I will talk about hobbies", although Google sais that "話そうと思います" is more like "I would like to talk"; so I guess "Today I would like to talk about hobbies" might be more precise. Being that as it may, I just dont understand how "話そうと思います" works, not in any way but the fact that 話 is there. So, to start with it, what's with that そう? I read that "話そう" it means "Let's talk", but since it doesn't figure in conjugators' lists, I don't quite get what it is or how it forms or to what piece of grammar pertains to, because I haven't seen it before this. Now, と I understand as either "and" or a way to citate whatever is before it, but none seem to make sense here. And then "思います"? "I (will) think"? How is it that the whole thing makes sense put together exactly?
 
  • Flaminius

    hedomodo
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    It is translated as "Today I will talk about hobbies"
    This is the right translation. Roundabout expressions are employed here to make the speech politer. That Google says is a more literal translation.

    話す, hanasu, is 話そう, hanasō, in the volitional form. If the first person is the subject, which is usually the case if there is no explicit mention, this makes the sentence mean, "I shall talk." The "let's" sense is relevant to the first person plural subject.

    The function of -to is sentence embedding. Since the distinction of direct and indirect speeches is not as strict in Japanese as in several European languages, you can say that almost anything can be thrown in before -to.
     

    SoLaTiDoberman

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    話す=I speak. or I will speak.
    話そう=I WILL speak. (そう indicates my intention to do.)

    The polite form of 話す is 話します.
    However, the polite form of 話そう is not so easy. 話そうです or 話そうます doesn't work here. They are ungrammatical.
    In this case, と思います is used instead of です or ます to create the polite form.

    話そうと思う is the plain form of 話そうと思います: "I'm now thinking that I will speak" literally, but the most important point here is that 話そうと思います is the polite expression for 話そう.

    So you may just memorize that です, ます, and also と思います in some contexts are the polite-form-creating suffixes.

    話すと思います, however, has a different nuance. 話します is the standard one.
     
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    Deminox

    New Member
    Español
    Thank you so much, this clarifies a lot.
    話すと思います, however, has a different nuance. 話します is the standard one.
    So, this difference in nuance then, might be, as Flaminius pointed out, that the former is roundabout and hence more polite than the latter?

    Also, what is the difference between 話そうと思います and 話しましょう? Why is it that you cannot use the latter here? Or, if you can, does it change anything?
     

    Flaminius

    hedomodo
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    話そうと思います v. 話します
    The former is a polite volitional future, and the latter simple future in unmarked speech ("be going to" in English).

    話そうと思います v. 話しましょう
    The latter is nowadays less fit as volitional future. There is nothing wrong with it in this context, but the general trend is to use the former construction for volitional future in the first person singular. Why? The latter, or the bare -(y)ō, increasingly assumes the subject to be the first person plural, "let's". The tendency is so heightened by now that it is colloquially used as a gentle nudge for the second person. E.g., もっと大きな声で話しなよ is now being supplanted by もっと大きな声で話そうよ.

    Looked from the other way, I used to hear phrases like 子供たちが帰ってくる前に片付けてしまいましょうと思って from elderly Tokyoites, but this would sound bizarrely anachronistic if coming out of my mouth.
     

    Joschl

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    The polite form of the volitional form "話そう" (hanas-ō) is "話しましょう" (hanashi-mas-yō) and the polite form of "思う" (omo-u) is "思います" (omoi-mas-u). The polite form of "話そうと思う" is "話そうと思います". Sentences, such as [話しましょう]と思う。or [話しましょう]と思います。, whose subordinate clauses expressing content of thought are in the polite form, usually sound odd.

    The following sentences are all grammatical. In my opinion, 話そう and 話しましょう in 1a,b might still work as volitional forms addressed to listeners in some situations. I may be old-fashioned. The sentences in 1a,b sound more "direct" than the sentence in 2a,b.
    1a (plain) 今日は[X]について話そう。 <-> 1b (polite) 今日は[X]について話しましょう。
    2a (plain) 今日は[X]について話そうと思う。 <-> 2b (polite) 今日は[X]について話そうと思います。
    We could also say something like 今日は[X]について話したいと思います。instead of 2b above. The sentences in 3a,b sound more "direct" than the sentence in 4a,b.
    3a (plain) 今日は[X]について話したい。 <-> 1b (polite) 今日は[X]について話したいです。
    4a (plain) 今日は[X]について話したいと思う。 <-> 2b (polite) 今日は[X]について話したいと思います。
    The verb 思う/思います in 2a,b and 4a,b are able to soften the "directness" of the sentences in 1a,b and 3a,b.
     

    gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    Deminox, your question seems to have been answered well, but here are some other examples of this construction, which might make it even clearer to you.

    来年フランスに行こうと思っている。
    I'm planning to go to France next year.
    来年フランスに行こうかなと思っている。
    I'm thinking about going to France next year.

    The above translations aren't the only possibilities here, but I'm trying to show that the first construction, without the かな, is a bit more definite than the second one. The second one is more like wondering whether I should go.

    今日は趣味に好いて話そうと思います。

    I think that is a typo for 今日は趣味について話そうと思います。
     
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    SoLaTiDoberman

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Also, what is the difference between 話そうと思います and 話しましょう? Why is it that you cannot use the latter here? Or, if you can, does it change anything?
    今日は趣味について話そうと思います。お話ししようと思います。
    =今日は趣味について話しましょう。お話ししましょう。お話しいたしましょう。

    The righter, the politer.

    They are the same.
    It doesn't change anything in this context.
     

    Joschl

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Flaminius said:
    話そうと思います v. 話しましょう
    The latter is nowadays less fit as volitional future.
    In spite of the functional shift, we still have another usage that must be related to the volitional one. "V-(y)ō" can also be used to offer someone to do something for them.
    (declarative, plain) 私が話そう。<-> (declarative, polite) 私が話しましょう。
    (interrogative, plain) 私が話そうか。<-> (interrogative, polite) 私が話しましょうか。
     

    Deminox

    New Member
    Español
    That なら explanation actually made something in my brain click, the sentence has so much more sense now. Thanks a lot!
    I think that is a typo for 今日は趣味について話そうと思います。
    And that was a typo there, yes.
     

    Joschl

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Flaminius said:
    I am inclined to think they are outside the shift I discussed above because they have an explicit subject.
    We can also omit the subject in brackets. It is usually clear enough who is willing to do something for the person who (s)he is speaking to. In my view, the "hortative" usage of "V-(y)ō" would not make sense here.
    (私が)荷物を持ちましょう。<-> (私が)荷物を持ちましょうか。
    But I understand what you mean by
    Flaminius said:
    The tendency is so heightened by now that it is colloquially used as a gentle nudge for the second person. E.g., もっと大きな声で話しなよ is now being supplanted by もっと大きな声で話そうよ.
    Unfortunately I don't have in-depth knowledge of the diachronic change of the suffix "-mu".
     
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