が(ga)’s implicit meaning

Let’s say there are two people, Bob and Ellen.

Ellen: What kind of sports do you like? あなたはどんなスポーツが好き?
Bob: I like baseball. 野球好き。

The literal translation of “I like baseball.” is “私は野球が好き”.
In Japanese, the subject phrase “私は” is often omitted, so Bob answered “野球が好き” only.
The sentence “私は野球が好き” can be mapped to a cases-relation model as below.

image-2017-1124123224_167

Previously, I wrote that “が” is a subject marker, which is a common explanation about “が”.
However, this pattern looks different from that. How can we understand this?

Probably, understanding the more fundamental and implicit meaning of “が” will help you.
Let’s proceed on!

 

When Ellen asked Bob, there should be two steps of thinking inside his brain.

image-2017-1124123235_168

The case particle が’s fundamental function is “Distinguishing someone with emphasis”, as illustrated above, Step1.

The distinguished something is often mapped as a subject of a sentence, so が’s major function is “subject marking”, but that’s not all.
Bob’s answer “野球が好き” is an example of others.

“I like baseball.” can be translated into Japanese in two ways, such as;

(1) 野球が好き
(2) 野球は好き

These sentences’s implicit meanings can be illustrated as below.

image-2017-1124123300_169

The sentence(2) has no other meaning than “I like baseball.” He may like other sports too, may not. Both are possible.
In contrast, the sentence(1) implicitly shows that he likes baseball “more than other sports”.
This implicit meaning is not so strong, but this will help you to understand Japanese more.

The following sentences can be understood as same way.

コーヒーが飲みたい。 I want to drink a cup of coffee.
音楽が好きです。 I like music.
英語が話せます。 I can speak English.

 

There are further Q&A in the next post.

 

4 thoughts on “が(ga)’s implicit meaning

  1. ピンバック: “が” and “を” – Kaimai's bilingual notes

  2. ピンバック: Case particles in Japanese – Kaimai's bilingual notes

  3. ピンバック: “が” and “を” | Japanese Grammar in Logic Diagramming

  4. ピンバック: Case particles in Japanese | Japanese Grammar in Logic Diagramming

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