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Andrei Marks · June 7, 2008

Alright, I’ve finished Chapter 16 of my 新概念日语-1 book. Two more to go! It was a chapter on two points of grammar:

~なければ なりません。 (Must ~)

~なくても いいです。 (Don’t need to ~)

I have no idea how to analyze the first sentence structure . The second seems like a negation of the verb with the ‘~なくて’, although from what I’ve learned so far ~くて is just the い adjective’s way of listing more than one descriptive phrase. Otherwise, the ‘も いいです’ is simply ‘also is good.’ So…“not doing ~ is also okay”.

I like when explanations of grammar make sense, and so far Japanese has a lot of what I think of as idiomatic grammar rules. For instance, to take a verb, and turn it into an attempt to do said verb (i.e. to listen –> try to listen), or 试试听, you take the verb’s て root, and then use the verb 見る, or to see. So basically you’re saying “see if you can listen”. I’ve run into a couple of those, like using “to put away/to file away” for having completed an action that can’t be undone. Very interesting, because I’m pretty sure these aren’t just idiomatic phrases, but hard grammar rules.

I should really pick up a basic linguistics textbook, I haven’t read one in a while, so my ability to name all these different grammatical concepts is limited!

But I’m trying not to get to wrapped up in the explanation of the grammar. Tomorrow I’ll write about why, and about the method employed by one of my first Chinese teachers, who taught grammar purely in Chinese to to 101 level speakers, and in my opinion was pretty successful with it.

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