Almost all the Japanese / Almost all Japanese

Akasaka

Senior Member
Japanese
Hello everyone,
What is the difference between the following sentences?

Almost all Japanese like to eat rice.
Almost all the Japanese like to eat rice.

If both are grammatically correct, which one is more appropriate in this context?

Thanks in advance.
 
  • Ynez

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    It seems the version without "the" is more normal. I think in theory both would be correct grammatically.

    Jap·a·nese (jāp'ə-nēz', -nēs')
    adj. Of or relating to Japan or its people, language, or culture.
    n. pl. Japanese
    A native or inhabitant of Japan.
    A person of Japanese ancestry.
    www.dictionary.com

    The same word is an adjective and a noun (both singular and plural).

    Normally, when speaking in general, it is all + plural noun, without "the" (all people are --- all Japanese).

    With nationalities, it is normal to use the adjective with "the" (the French --- all the Japanese).

    I hope I was not too confusing. I was just trying to see how both could be grammatically correct. :)
     

    Franzi

    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    "Japanese are ___" and "a Japanese" are unnatural. Non-native speakers say them constantly, but they sound awful to me. Instead, I say "the Japanese" (all Japanese people as a group), "Japanese people", and "a Japanese person".
     

    Ynez

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    And what about "all the Japanese" or "all Japanese"? What do you prefer? This is the main part of the question, I think. :)

    I saw more entries in google for "all Japanese", but maybe many are from non-natives, so it'd be good for us to know what you think of it.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I think I'm with you, Ynez, that the version without "the" would be more common:
    [almost] all Japanese:tick:
    [almost] all the Japanese:confused:

    Would I prefer [almost] all Japanese people? Yes, probably:)
     

    manon33

    Senior Member
    English - England (Yorkshire)
    I agree.

    You only really see 'all the Japanese' used idiomatically when they are being contrasted with people of another nationality, e.g.

    All the Japanese visitors enjoyed the show, but the Polish guests were less enthusiastic about it.

    (Here the use of the definite article is in fact anaphoric, dependent on previous reference having been made to the two lots of visitors).
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Generally, I wouldn't use "the". However, I can think of two occasions in which I would use "the".

    1) When I am talking about a limited group of people:
    In this room, all the Japanese are eating rice, and all the Americans are eating mashed potatoes.
    2) I would use it in here, too:
    At this very moment, all the Japanese are eating their breakfast and all the Americans are eating their suppers.
    (At least, I would use it if I could think of a sensible thing to say about "all the Japanese".)
    Edit: I see that manon posted about my example (1) as I was writing this.
     
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    Ynez

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Yes, that would follow the same rule as always: "the" if it is not totally in general, but referring to something particular.

    In all your examples with "the" you are not referring to the Japanse as a whole, but to a particular group.

    I have understood this now, I hope Akasaka too. :)
     

    Akasaka

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I agree.


    All the Japanese visitors enjoyed the show, but the Polish guests were less enthusiastic about it.
    Thanks manon33. In your sentence, the word "Japanese" is used as an adjective modifying "visitors". Can I use it as a noun?
    eg: All the Japanese invited enjoyed the show, but the Polish guests were less enthusiastic about it.
     

    Akasaka

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    It seems to me that "the Japanese" always is always plura. Can I use it as a singular?
    eg: The Japanese I met at the party yesterday was very friendly.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    If I were taking about a single person, I would only use Japanese as an adjective: the Japanese man, the Japanese student, or, even, the Japanese person, if I didn't want to include any other information. I would never refer to a single person simply as "the Japanese".
     

    Aoyama

    Senior Member
    français Clodoaldien
    The Japanese I met at the party yesterday was very friendly.
    that way of speaking would (only) be possible if you wanted to stress that this person, being Japanese, was different from what you would [rightly or wrongly] expect.
    The Japanese [guy/girl/guest] I met at the party yesterday was very friendly (contrarily to what I expected from Japanese - to be cold, shy etc-).
     

    Akasaka

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    So "the Japanese" is always used as plural while "a Japanese" is always used as singular.
    the Japanese guest - the Japanese guests - the Japanese -- definite
    a Japanese - some Japanese - Japanese -- indefinte
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Even when I am referring to a single indefinite Japanese person, I use the adjective with a noun, even if it was only the uninformative noun "person".

    a Japanese student / person - some Japanese woman/ person - Japanese person -- indefinte
     

    Akasaka

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Even when I am referring to a single indefinite Japanese person, I use the adjective with a noun, even if it was only the uninformative noun "person".
    Thanks Cagey for helping me. My dictionary says that "I am a Japanese." is more common than "I am Japanese." You mean even if I introduce myself, I had better say "I am a Japanese person."?
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Thanks Cagey for helping me. My dictionary says that "I am a Japanese." is more common than "I am Japanese." You mean even if I introduce myself, I had better say "I am a Japanese person."?
    Thank you for pointing out something I hadn't thought of. I do say "I am an American" much more often than "I am American". It makes sense that you would do the same.

    When I talk about someone else, I might say "She is an American". However, I think I still wouldn't say "She is a Japanese". Let me think about this a bit.
     

    Philo2009

    Senior Member
    English
    Hello everyone,
    What is the difference between the following sentences?

    Almost all Japanese like to eat rice.
    Almost all the Japanese like to eat rice.

    If both are grammatically correct, which one is more appropriate in this context?

    Thanks in advance.
    Yes, both are possible but only one (the first) is natural.

    Philo
     

    Ynez

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Akasaka, I have understood that these were the traditional, normal ways to say it:

    The Japanese are....
    All Japanese are...
    All the Japanese who are here now are...
    A Japanese student/person has come..


    But reading the other thread, it is also normal to say now "a Japanese", and other forms like that because in a Japanese environment it would be superfluous to be repeating "person" all the time (I have invented the reason).


    About this thread in particular:

    All Japanese
    All the Japanese


    it seems natives find it natural to use it in the same way they'd use "all" with a plural, and they would use "all the Japanese" to refer to a particular group (all the Japanese involved in this particular situation).

    All Japanese = All the people from Japan
     
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    Philo2009

    Senior Member
    English
    Thank you, Philo2009. You say the second sentence is unnatural because not all the Japanese like to eat rice?
    No, I'm referring to its linguistic form, not its truth value!

    It is unnatural to use the definite article << abbreviation deleted >> when reference, as here, is intended to the entirety of a group without exception (i.e. the whole Japanese nation), not merely to some particular group of Japanese people who may have featured previously in the conversation.

    The article is simply redundant in this case, and is therefore better deleted to avoid ambiguity.
     
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