NHK Easy News reading group

So I’m confused about something.


Am I right to say that everything which precedes お金 acts like one big adjective? Am I right to say that it describes “money”?

Because if so, が marks the subject but “money” is the subject of which verb? 少なかった? Is have trouble when parsing to determine which verb goes with which subject or when a verb is just attributive to a noun.


Triple yes! You’re really getting better at this.


Hmm but is ルバイトでもらうおかねすくなくなった like an adjective describing 学生?

When does an attributive chain ends I guess is what I’m wondering about.

Because here you have a first noun (アルバイト) which describes another noun (お金) which describes another noun (学生)?

I think the first part is about 10万円, the money that the students received. It was potentially reduced from an unspecified amount. I mean if the money of the part time job is the subject that is.

I’m used to shorter sentences so it gets overwhelming when they have comma after comma.

特に: special + adv.
:thought_balloon: So since I have both a subject and an adverb I might as well skip to the end to find out what the verb is:出します, to pay.

Now the thing is, 生活 means “livelihood” and that’s the subject of the verb “to pay”. A subject does the action of a verb. How can livelihood do any action?

ジズカさんは前よりよくなっているね (笑)


A noun can describe directly another noun with の; that isn’t the case here, as it is not アルバイト but アルバイト
So, アルバイト is linked not to お金 but to the verb もらう
アルバイトでもらう = “to receive trough (by means of) the job” or “to receive at (place of action) the job”.
アルバイトでもらうお金 = “the money received trough the job”

Note that following that there is, as you saw, 出します, but also なっている.

I am not as good as others, but I am growing the feeling that, when shuch long sentences with sub-sub-sentences exists; then は is more likely to be the topic of the whole sentence, while が is more likely to link to the nearest verb/adjective.

So here I think it is 生活が なっている = the livelihood is becoming/becomes.
Becomes what ? 特に大変に particularly difficult
And the whole subsentence qualifies 学生 : the students whose means of subsistence are being particularly difficult.
And that 学生 is tagged with には : に [purpose (of the following verb)] + は [contrastive]

The contrastive は goes in pair with another contrastive は; indeed, there is another 学生(に)は

Those two kind of 学生 are contrasted; they get different attributive subclauses describing them, and they get different actions attached to them.

one of the actions, is omitted, as it is the same verb, it is not repeated ( “だして … だします” is not used, just “(nothing) … だします” )

The construct of the whole sentence is similar to something like: “the part of speech classified as verbs have two categories, (while) the part of speech classified as i-adjectives only one”
the verb being the same it is not repeated;
the contrastive “は” can be rendered in English with “for A this, while for B that”


Congratulations, that’s completely right! And your contrastive は analysis is also correct. The sentence really is comparing the amount of money given to each type of student.

@Zizka I don’t want to scare anybody, but I honestly think it can potentially go on forever until all the describing is done. It was probably implicit in the very technical description of the Japanese language that you once copied from Wikipedia for me. In English and in French, we indicate attributive chains with words like ‘that’ or “qui” or “que”, and they come after the noun that’s being described, so we’re used to starting with the noun as a reference point and tagging things on until the description is clearly finished. In Japanese though, it’s the other way around. There are no markers like ‘that’ aside from という, and we can only interpret exactly what a phrase means when the noun it’s describing appears. Our thought process needs to change: we have to start with a core, and then keep adding information to that core until we know exactly what its function is. It is overwhelming at first, because we’re doing the complete opposite of what we do in our native languages, but it makes sense after a while, because you learn to package things and kind of ‘leave them there’ as you process the rest of the sentence.

One of my favourite examples is from volume 18 of the Shield Hero light novel (partly because I can understand it now, whereas I had immense difficulty reading it one year ago). I probably can’t quote it exactly, but that’s just as well, because that way I won’t be infringing any copyrights :stuck_out_tongue::
I think that’s what was said. How to parse it:

  1. 出された飯を - a meal that’s put out. It’s an object.
  2. もりもりと食べる - to energetically eat. It’s the verb that acts on 出された飯. It’s in the plain form, so…
  3. 食欲魔人を - ‘appetite demons’ i.e. people who can eat a lot. It’s modified by the phrase ending in 食べる, and the plain form indicates that that’s a characteristic. They always eat what’s put in front of them, and they’re not just doing it right now. That whole block is the object of…
    4.見習って - to learn from the example of. It’s followed by…
    5.欲しいもんだ=欲しいものだ - to want. もの だ is a structure using もの to emphasise someone’s opinion or feelings.

So, if I were to indicate where all the attributive block layers are, we would get:

A Japanese sentence is like an onion. It’s almost always possible to add something else at the end of a sentence in order to give it another function. Maybe I’m just fortunate that Chinese attributive phrases are like that too, so I had a little bit of practice beforehand (the difference being that in Chinese, we use 的 as a marker after verbs, so it’s a bit clearer).

As @YanagiPablo explained, 生活『が』is just part of the attributive phrase describing ‘students whose lives have become terribly difficult’. The subject of 出します is probably just implied somewhere in the article, maybe in the preceding sentence. It’s most likely the government or some student aid organisation. When people say Japanese is a ‘context-heavy’ language, it’s really because you sometimes have to look back at previous sentences in order to determine who or what is involved, especially since pronouns are rare in Japanese.


No I know but アルバイトでもらう is describing お金, this is what I meant by a noun describing another noun although I should’ve said a phrase describing a noun.

I think the 『で』here indicates a means of action, i.e. the money received through the part-time job like in your first definition.

I am not as good as others, but I am growing the feeling that, when shuch long sentences with sub-sub-sentences exists; then は is more likely to be the topic of the whole sentence, while が is more likely to link to the nearest verb/adjective.

That would certainly make things a lot easier to understand, hopefully you’re right and it’d be logical.

So here I think it is 生活が なっている = the livelihood is becoming/becomes.
Becomes what ? 特に大変に particularly difficult
And the whole subsentence qualifies 学生 : the students whose means of subsistence are being particularly difficult.

But since syntax is generally not important in Japanese, how can you be sure that 特に大変に goes with なっている and not 出します?

The construct of the whole sentence is similar to something like: “the part of speech classified as verbs have two categories, (while) the part of speech classified as i-adjectives only one”

I don’t understand that.

Ok but what is this “core” you a referring about and what’s a reliable way to spot it?


So in the first part: アルバイト『で』もらうお金『が』acts like a relative clause to 学生 more so than as a long adjective:
:speech_balloon: “The students whose money from the part time job was reduced”

Am I reading this right that:
:speech_balloon: “The students whose money from the part-time job was reduced by 10 万円

The second part:
:speech_balloon: “The students whose income became particularly bad are paid 20 万円”

You don’t spot it. You immediately start building it the moment you see a sentence.

I started with 出された and realised it was modifying 飯, so that became the core. Then I added on further layers as they came along. Basically, each time you come across another end-of-verb + noun pair, you need to ask yourself if that verb alone can provide enough information on its own to describe the noun. If it can’t, then you probably need to include previous elements, which is what I did for that sentence.

@YanagiPablo is correct. This is one of the ways to decide whether to use が or は, in fact: if what comes before the particle is referred to by the entire sentence, then は is what you want. That’s why it’s called the ‘topic particle’ for lack of a better word in English.

I honestly was thinking ‘at work’, with で being a sort of location particle, but I think で as means of action is very logical as well.

I guess I should have transcribed my friend’s conversation with his Japanese classmates in full… they said 「一緒やから」=「一緒だから」(=‘because they’re together’; welcome to Kansai dialects, BTW), any order is fine. Syntax isn’t extremely important, that’s true, but proximity is. Even in languages where syntax isn’t that important (e.g. Latin, German, Japanese), ideas that are closely related usually are placed close together within a sentence, usually in the same clause (aka within the same ‘subsentence’). That’s how we know they’re likely to be linked.

Secondly, there are contextual clues and common structures: 特に could be applied to 出します, but it’s not likely because there’s no reason for one set of handouts for students to be ‘special’ while the other isn’t, and if the sentence was meant to express that, 特に or 特別に would be at the beginning of the sentence, not appearing halfway through. As for 大変に… well, ok, first of all, if we tagged 生活が特に大変たいへんに to 出します, then what’s なっている doing? What are ‘becoming students’? Furthermore, even though 大変 is often used as an adverb for emphasis, how would you emphasise payouts or handouts? Again, what would make the handouts ‘terrible’ for the second set of students, but not for the first? These two adverbs just don’t fit 出します. In addition, 大変 is usually used as an adverb as-is, without any に. に is present in the sentence as a part of 〜になる, which is a common structure meaning ‘to become ~’. That’s another part of parsing sentences with greater ease: assume that common structures are the most likely interpretation. That’s also why, even though I know 安く in 安くなる is an adverbial form, and even though that helps me to remember the need for に when I use なる with a noun, I just tell myself, ‘〜くなる just means “to become ~”,’ and I continue to think of 〜く as an adjective, because it’s just a common structure. After all, when Japanese grammarians talk about the く form, it’s called the 連用形 (‘link-to-declinables form’) and not the 副詞形 (‘adverb form’). There would be no reason to do that if its primary function was turning an adjective into an adverb.

You’re almost there!

This is correct.

Almost. The 学生には tells you that it actually means ‘to [such] students, 10 万円[will be paid]’.

I would say ‘whose daily living’. That’s the sense of 生活 here, in my opinion.

1 Like

I couldn’t find “daily living” on Weblio but I think “an income“ is similar enough to “daily living” although it’s missing the urgency of “daily living”.

Where do you get the “such” from?

Also, there’s no mention of payment in the first clause.

It is a replacement for the long descriptive clause
(such students = the students whose money from the part-time job was reduced)

There is an amount of money, and the “purpose” に particle (“10,0000Yen to the students whose money from the part-time job was reduced”)
the verb is missing, that’s true; and that is because it is the same as in the second clause.

So instead of 「 … 学生には10万出して、… 学生には20万出します。」 the first “出して” is omitted.
That happens when the verb is the same.

I was giving an example, in English, of a similarly structured sentence.
Replace “part of speech” with 学生, “two/three categories” with 10/20万円 and “have” with 出す …



:speech_balloon: “The students who can receive the money are attending [listing of schools] and that amounts to about 43,000 people“

So based on what I was recently told:
学生『は』modified by [お金をもらうことができる]so the “students who can receive money”.

大学院『や』大学, 専門学校、日本語学校など

:writing_hand: 大学院: graduate school [non-exhaustive listing や]
:writing_hand:専門学校: technical school
:writing_hand:通っている: this one was a bit tricky because it’s not 通る but rather 通う, “to attend school”

1 Like

My bad. I meant ‘daily living’ as in ‘daily life’. The first definition of 生活 in the Wisdom dictionary (and it’s also the definition I would give based on Chinese) is ‘life’. The Japanese nuance (provided for the sake of Japanese users of the dictionary) is 暮らし(くらし), which is the act of living out one’s life.

@YanagiPablo’s whole explanation is correct, including the bit about 出しますapplying to both clauses. How you can ‘guess’ this is based on the fact that the first clause seems to have a verb missing at the end, which means it’s probably incomplete given that Japanese clauses and sentences almost always end with a verb.

PS: Sorry for the lack of clarity. I really did intend ‘such’ to be shorthand for the long clause.

1 Like

Come on guys, claim some sentences, starting to feel lonely here :cold_sweat:.

1 Like

For me a “core” is something that doesn’t change;
so I see languages like Spanish or English as being built from a core; eg “I want…” I don’t need to finish the sentence, you already know the core, it is about me wanting something; and if you don’t like me or feel I am not entitled to want anything, you can immediately interrupt me.

On Japanese, I see it as building all the surroundings, the wallpaper, the napkins, all the details, and only at the very last is the core meaning coming.
I have to read until the very end of the sentence to know that it is about “giving payments”.

In English it would be formulated probably like “Payments of 100.000 Yen will be given to students that …” and only at the end of the sentence will we know that the missing money is from their part-time jobs.
In Japanese, we start about アルバイト, and only later know it is about money of those part-time jobs, and only later than such money is missing, and only after that the loss is for some sutdents, and then later again that those students something abou 100.000 Yen, and at the very end that those 100.000 Yen will be paid.
In English the fact of paying and the amount is the first thing known, only after that to whom, and the context.

English : action, then context
Japanese: context, then action


:speech_balloon: “Foreign exchange students are also eligible/also can”

:writing_hand:留学生: foreign exchange students

1 Like


:speech_balloon: “The students who needs money can apply on their own at the schools”


:speech_balloon: “The students in need of money”;


So you said that the が is the subject of the nearest verb = 自分+かよっている = oneself + attending.


But here, isnt 通っている just an adjective describing the schools?

:writing_hand:申し込む: to apply for;

1 Like

自分が通っている is a noun phrase describing 学校.