Distinguishing passive and Potential(II) forms

Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by Yoshie0, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. Yoshie0 Senior Member

    Hello everyone!
    Tell me please, in the following sentences is the underlined word passive or potential form?
    And how can we distinguish them ?

    piccy dot info/view3/4416334/373f835a4fc4728bc874a1b92dcd0dc2/orig/
    piccy dot info/view3/4416334/373f835a4fc4728bc874a1b92dcd0dc2/orig/

    Thank you very much for help!

    Attached Files:

  2. Tonky Senior Member

    from the lines shown above that line, I'd say this is "to be able to accept", potential.
    When it is in passive, I think the line should be changed to "だがしかしそれが受け入れられるとなると" in this case.

    "to be forgotten", passive.

    It all depends on context. I do not think there is a way to distinguish otherwise.
    Just pay attention to who the actor of the action is, is all I can say :( sorry.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2013
  3. Hi Tonky,

    How come を cannot be used for passive in the first example and can be used in the second?
    Should the second example be その約束忘れられてはいない too?


  4. Tonky Senior Member

    As you may have heard, some grammatical rules have some inconsistent variants that we call "wavering" or 言葉の揺れ.
    In Japanese teaching, teachers or textbooks writers try to be consistent with one rule so as not to confuse the learners, but in real life, we cannot control them and accept such variants although some conservative people tend to whine about "misuse"s.

    I am pretty sure you have learned to switch "を" into "が" when you make both potential and passive forms, but in real life, both are used for potentials.

    ◆それ[を・が]受け入れられる potential
    ・・・それ受け入れる+できる → それ受け入れることできる → それ受け入れられる can happen.
    ・・・それ受け入れる+できる → それ受け入れることできる → それ受け入れられる at JSL classes and normal writing.
    ◆それ受け入れられる passive
    ・・・私それ受け入れる → それ(私)受け入れられる always happens.

    Also, You tend to find many mixed up を and が (as well as mixed up は and が) especially on internet, and also in game scripts and minor comics where no experts(language-wise) proofread.

    Now with その約束忘れられてはいない, this is a suffering passive, or some people call it "indirect passive". These passives take を instead of が, because the actor is the one who gets disturbed and the object is not considered a subject.
    (私は)弟ケーキ食べられた。 I had my cake eaten by my brother.
    (私は)となりの人ふまれた。 I had my foot stepped on by someone (standing) next to me.
    In this particular case, I hope I do not have the promise forgotten (by her). "I" am the one who would get disturbed by having the promise forgotten and we consider "I" as the recipient of the disturbance (or suffering) and 約束 does not take が as a subject maker.
  5. frequency

    frequency Senior Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    Yep they're all passive. These two を are just errors by the writer.
    What's それ?His date asking. それが受け入れられるとなると is When my date asking is accepted (by her on the screen)・・・

    それは vs それが in the second text? It's それは. I have no logical answer. But それは in the text slightly works like それに関しては. But notice I'm roughly speaking. それに関しては、忘れられてはいないよな?それは忘れられてはいないよな?

    Read well. But I know the errors made you wonder, posted the thread. I don't suggest you to meticulously investigate particles only 'Oh, this particle is X, therefore..' You're playing a romance simulation game―imagine the scene well, not only the most exciting scene but also those before that.
  6. Tonky Senior Member

    After all, it really doesn't matter whether it is passive or potential, if you are only playing and enjoying the dating sim :p
    (fyi, in potential, "the fact that she can accept such an offer leads this to an otherworldly issue")
    But if the game you are playing interested you and made you want to learn the grammar, then this is a good opportunity.
  7. Thank you both (and sorry for my late reply).

    Well actually I was just reading this page http://blog.livedoor.jp/s_izuha/archives/1192893.html and getting more and more confused! :(
  8. Tonky Senior Member

    The blog article is talking about classificatory criterion regarding passives in Japanese and suggesting the writer's version of it.
    The bottom line is that there are two types of passives in Japanese, and some sentences cannot be judged (which they belong to) by using the current (or commonly used) terminology and classification.

    Which part exactly is confusing you? を→は take-over? or 伝統的(Traditional) vs 翻訳調(Translational) classification?
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  9. YangMuye

    YangMuye Senior Member

    It seems to me that,

    are more acceptable.
    But how about 私の足は踏まれた?? I think 私は足を踏まれた is more common.

    According to my feeling, I think few passive sentences in Japanese are really expressive as passive sentences in Chinese.
    It seems to me that,
    ①Japanese people have a strong tendency to distinguish events happening to them from other events.
    先生教えてくれて、うれしかった。(In Chinese, 我很高兴老师告诉我。私は嬉しかった。先生が私を教えたんだ)
    先生褒められて、うれしかった。(In Chinese, 很高兴老师表扬我。私は嬉しかった。先生が私を褒めたんだ)
    妹が帰ってきた。(In Chinese, 妹妹回来了。Only in this sentence, we must use 来, otherwise it would sound like you are not at home when speaking)
    Maybe we can call it “viewpoint” or “perspective”? I think using passive is just one of the ways to express the “viewpoint”.

    There are many situations where you can't use simple forms.
    歴史とは何でしょう、と聞かれるとき、「それは、大きな世界です。かつて存在した何億という人生がそこにつめこまれている世界なのです。」と、答えることにしている。→In Chinese, 有人问我..时,我总是回答...。→誰か私に…と聞く時、私は…答えている

    In these cases, you can simple change the verbs to their passive forms and が to に. The recipients (which is usually the subject of the next sentence) do not normally (but can) appear.

    ②If the actor is not specific. In English we use passive in the case too. In Chinese we simply leave the subject blank.

    In these cases, you can simple change the verbs to their passive forms and を to が. The subjects do not normally appear.

    ③To describe things happen to you, not under the your control. In Chinese, we use active voice, or causative voice.

    It sometimes implies “every will/should”.

    There are some other ways to express the same thing, but not as productive as passive form:
    (potential form)笑える→可笑/令人发笑

    In these cases, you can simple change the verbs to their passive forms and を to が. The subjects (which are usually I or anyone) do not normally appear.

    For words like 考える・呼ぶ・言う・する,と is usually used instead of を and が.
    If the verb doesn't take を, you can use させられる. e.g. 驚かされる、考えさせられる

    ④As for suffering passive, I haven't say anything about it, because I doubt if it is really a productive structure.
    For some suffering passives, we use different structure/verbs to expressing the same meaning in Chinese.

    How about 雷に落ちられた? Is it natural in Japanese?
    In Chinese, we say 被雷劈了(雷に落ちられた) or 让雷劈了(雷に落ちさせた).
    The phrase is quite natural in Chinese because it usually implies “evildoers are bound to be punished in the end”.
    雷に撃たれた is natural, but the usage can be considered as ①.

    In Chinese, we use causative to express feeling like “I shouldn't”, “It's my fault”, “I should have been careful”, “I could have avoided …”. られる is usually used in Japanese.

    ⑤To express possibility, or express something as the result of an effort. Some verbs use passive forms, some verbs use potential forms, some verbs use intransitive forms. Many verbs have more than one way to express the same meaning.
    This seems to be the only situation where が and を are sometimes interchangeable.

  10. Tonky Senior Member

    I totally agree, YangMuye san.
    The first two sentences are acceptable, but I still find it rather awkward, and I would change them using は or を (along with removing 私の when using を because it'll be too redundant) if they were my work. (But may leave them be if I'm only asked to check.)

    Ah yes, it seems hard for intermediate learners or even pre-advanced learners too, to master when to use them and when not to.
    We usually call this "Voice" (ヴォイス/態) in linguistics, as in "passive voice". You may mean "Mood"(ムード/法) and/or "Modality" (モダリティ/法性・様相性) as well.

    Right, 雷に落ちられた is not at all natural, and 雷に打たれた does not take を. At least, I've never heard of it being used with を.
    However, we have 雷を落とされる. 雷 is what 雷神(the god of thunder or very often fathers too) drops(落とす) down on us from the clouds above :p
  11. 涼宮

    涼宮 Senior Member

    Sbaeneg/Castellano (Venezuela)
    I too would use を, however, they used the passive there to express that something bad happened to the subject of the sentence. I'm just speculating but perhaps が has some sort of emphasis there? Among other things that my brother ate/might've eaten I regret the loss of my bread the most. The thief could've stolen other things, but he stole my wallet, I highlight that by using が.
  12. Tonky Senior Member

    You're right, true, special context can make it sound natural.
  13. YangMuye

    YangMuye Senior Member

    Thank you for your reply, Tonky-san.

    I wrote は first, but changed to が after I saw が was used in that article, because I wanted to make the least change.

    I have just found what I wrote is misleading. Just to clarify,
    I said
    I actually mean:
    財布が泥棒に盗まれた may be more acceptable than the original sentence 泥棒に財布が盗まれた.
    However 私の足が踏まれた with the same structure seems totally unacceptable.
    Do you mean you agree with this?

    The word order seems to matter.
    財布を泥棒に盗まれた is not as natural as 泥棒に財布を盗まれた
    財布が盗まれた is natural without 泥棒に, and this kind of sentence might be preferred when writing news, isn't it?

    I mean the way you view(事態の捉え方) rather than the specific forms, so I think it is more of modality. Anyway, they are usually interrelated.

    雷が大地をうつ seems OK. I can find a few examples. Anyway, it can be considered as an idiom.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  14. Tonky Senior Member

    I mean, 私の足が/は踏まれた is less acceptable. but 泥棒に財布が盗まれた and 財布が泥棒に盗まれた do not make much differences to me, though the former does sound a bit more acceptable than the latter. It is this 私の that may be the culprit. However, as 涼宮san said, it is acceptable with special context.
    It is pretty hard to decide what is more/less acceptable without giving context anyways, and your brain goes numb when you stare at a few sentences too long :p

    In my personal opinion, it is because of the influence range が and を have, that I mentioned somewhere else. Both of their range is short enough that wants to stick closer to the verb, and tend to shoo away phrases coming in between!
    However, as for news lines, which should sound formal and rather academic, do not mind having so-called Translation-ish passives. They sound more logical to our ears. So you might want to treat news a bit differently from other sentences .

    Just in case, what I've been calling "suffering passive" is a translation from 迷惑の受身, and the term was used for long in JSL. But as you can see in the said blog, there are passives that functions the same but does not have "suffering" meaning.
    先生が健をほめた→先生に健をほめられた (assuming the speaker/writer is 健's parent or someone close.)
    This is why I sometimes call it "indirect passive" and this blog writer calls it 伝統的受身(Traditional passive).

    Traditional, because traditionally Japanese is said to have no direct passives originally. Direct passives, or normal passives in English, or 翻訳調受身(Translation-ish passive) is said to have appeared after Japanese started translating European books in Meiji Era, and it gives us some kind of different air when reading them. Because what they translated at the time were mostly academic or literature works, the style of this passive make us feel like it is more academic or logical or explanatory, and sometimes give us "Western taste" or something along the line. I am pretty sure though that most young people hardly feel it any more, even when they tend to avoid certain passives that we find awkward.

    You're right, there seems to be many 雷が(~を)打つ examples on internet. For some reason, it does not really sound natural to me, probably it is on my part though, and I'm not very used to this expression except for 雷に打たれる alone.
  15. YangMuye

    YangMuye Senior Member

    Thank you for clarifying.

    I think the voice (including 自・他動詞、可能動詞、使役・受身、授受表現) in Japanese is one of the hardest part for me. (Another extremely hard one is は.)
    Passive with direct object subject, which may be an influence, has been playing an important role in modern Japanese.
    The appearance of 可能动词 makes it even more complicated.
    Fortunately(?I heard) questions in JLPT don't deal with these difficult situations.

    I will keep on studying on it.

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