Position of Japanese verb

As I create language training iPhone APP, I sometimes realize the difference between Japanese and foreign language.

One of the most unique features in Japanese is that verb has to be located at the last part of sentence. In addition, negative word such as “not” is integrated in Japanese verb so we cannot determine which sentence is affirmative or negative until we listen to the full sentence.

This language feature sometimes reflects the personality of Japanese people. We tend to show important and precious things at the end. So, we easily add our intention and let others to keep it after the conversation conversation is finished. The later you hear, the newer things you hold. So, you will not forget as the last one as first.

However, it has also some bad aspect. We Japanese can easily change the point of what we say while talking. The important point can be intentionally hidden if necessary while checking the reaction of listener because we can say anything before reaching conclusion. This is for avoiding unnecessary conflict though we Japanese seem to be indecisive.

On the other hand, this language structure sometimes prevent us from learning English and other languages in which grammar “verb” is shown at the first part. This is because we tend to pay attention at the last part. We often miss the point at the first part. If you see some Japanese who are not so familiar with English, try to tell your important point twice to them, especially telling it again at the end of sentence. Then, you will be efficiently understood and they will not forget something you tell so easily.


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