Are you leaving or coming back?

  • wathavy

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    How do you say the "or" in Japanese?

    Anata ga iku _ kaeru ka?
    'Or' can be 'ka' 'matawa' ' aruiwa' 'moshikuwa' 'soretomo'....etc.

    In the sentence 'Are you leaving or coming back?';
    'Anata wa ikutokoro, soretomo kaeru tokoro no, dochira desuka?'
    You could also translate as you did;
    'Anata wa ikuno ka kaeruno ka?'
    But the problem lies here due mainly to the lack of sense of respect to the other end. This does not matter much as far as it is written in English.
    That will make this lanugage rather complicated, unfortunately.

    Cheers.
     

    q_006

    Senior Member
    US and English
    When you ask questions don't you use "ga"? Also I'm not familiar with the grammar structure or "tokoro no".
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    When you ask questions don't you use "ga"?
    Postposition -ga is used to mark the wh-expression when it is the subject of the interrogative sentence:
    Dare-ga kita-no?
    Doko-ga aiteiru-no?
    Nani-ga tabetai-no?

    I'd translate your English sentence without the "or" element:
    Anata/kimi/XXX-san wa ikutokoro? kaerutokoro?
    行くところ? 帰るところ?

    Alternatively, the second part can be taken off as a separate sentence:
    行くところ(ですか)? それとも、帰るところ(ですか)?

    [I assumed that the question is asked by someone who knows his interlocutor is moving but doesn't know which direction. It's like seeing the picture of a train halfway through the platform. You need to look very carefully to determine whether it is setting out from or coming in to the platform. q_006, it would help us immensely to help you if you provide some context and background within which you wish to use your sentence.]

    wathavy's first one:
    'Anata wa ikutokoro, soretomo kaeru tokoro no, dochira desuka?'

    I think we need -to right after ikutokoro:
    Ikutokoro-to kaerutokoro-no docchi/dochira desuka?

    The construction treats going and coming back as stative nouns by virtue of tokoro (in the process of: Well, it's like a prepositional phrase of English but treated like a noun in Japanese). You may be familiar with dichotomic questions for nouns:
    A-to B-no docchi/dochira

    wathavy's second one:
    'Anata wa ikuno ka kaeruno ka?'

    These iku and kaeru express intentions; with an understanding that the V-ing forms in your English sentence refer not to the interlocutor's ongoing action but his intentions in the immediate future.

    Like wathavy said, this is a bit awkward because speech levels (an indispensable component of any Japanese sentence) are not considered. One more reason for us to ask you to please provide context and background.

    If you are asking someone who is leaving the scene whether he will be gone for good or return to the place where the conversation is taking place sometime in the future, then:
    このまま帰るんですか、それとも戻ってきますか。

    Cheers,
    Flam
     
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    q_006

    Senior Member
    US and English
    In this particular instance, the speaker is unsure of whether his guest is leaving the house or is going to come back.

    But I was just asking a general question of how to use "or" in a sentence and I came up with that one.

    Another random example is: "I can go to the store, watch the kids, or do the laundry."
    (Let's assume in this example the daughter wants to help and is giving the mother options.)

    So really I'm just asking the correct way to use "or" in a sentence, because I know the English way of using "and" is done very differently in Japanese.
     

    q_006

    Senior Member
    US and English
    "Anata wa ikutokoro, soretomo kaeru tokoro no, dochira desuka"

    This may be too literal of a translation, but is the following correct?

    "As for you, which person is in the process of leaving or in the process of returning?"

    And why the "dochira" if the speaker is directing the question to only one particular person?
     

    q_006

    Senior Member
    US and English
    wathavy's first one:
    'Anata wa ikutokoro, soretomo kaeru tokoro no, dochira desuka?'

    I think we need -to right after ikutokoro:
    Ikutokoro-to kaerutokoro-no docchi/dochira desuka?

    The construction treats going and coming back as stative nouns by virtue of tokoro (in the process of: Well, it's like a prepositional phrase of English but treated like a noun in Japanese). You may be familiar with dichotomic questions for nouns:
    A-to B-no docchi/dochira
    I'm not familiar with the A-to B-no form.
    (edit: OK, actually I know it but I thought it was something else.)

    wathavy's second one:
    'Anata wa ikuno ka kaeruno ka?'

    These iku and kaeru express intentions; with an understanding that the V-ing forms in your English sentence refer not to the interlocutor's ongoing action but his intentions in the immediate future.
    Ahh. I see.

    If you are asking someone who is leaving the scene whether he will be gone for good or return to the place where the conversation is taking place sometime in the future, then:
    このまま帰るんですか、それとも戻ってきますか。

    Cheers,
    Flam
    For reference, I'm still in the "advanced" beginner stage and don't know much kanji. But I'll look those up anyway. Thank you.

    edit: I'm not understanding the two verbs used in this sentence because they both mean "to return". So, if I'm reading this correctly, the sentence is saying: "Will you return to this same place, or will you return and come back?"
     
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    Morrow

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    "I can go to the store, watch the kids, or do the laundry." (Let's assume in this example the daughter wants to help and is giving the mother options.)
    I think it is of great help to give non-native speakers of English information as to what you're actually saying.

    Unfortunately, however, your English sentence doesn't translate into Japanese. In Japanese culture, the daughter is generally expected to offer what is most likely to please her mother. So it is actually no good to just enumerate options. You must be able to identify exactly what your mother wants you to do.

    To be more exact, if you are low in social hierarchy, you have to correctly anticipate what is going to please someone high in the ladder. If you do things right, you will prosper because they will be happy to protect you in return.

    That's the way it works here.

    Morrow
     
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    q_006

    Senior Member
    US and English
    Well if the example was friend A offering to help friend B, would the sentence be translateable?

    Also if someone could take at my post above that has the blue text, it would be appreciated.
     
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