Hi! Just want to ask a quick question. Let’s say (hypothetically) that your computer background changes daily. When referring to the background of a specific day, does it make more sense to say
I originally thought the first one, thinking that it would be like [today’s] [laptop’s background] but I think it could also be misinterpreted as [today’s laptop’s] [background] (like the laptop I am using TODAY has this one background, but the one I used yesterday is different).
So I thought that maybe the second one, [laptop’s] [today’s background] may make more sense, but I really can’t decide either way. Which one is better, or are they both valid depending on context?
I’m pretty sure the first one is the right way. In general anything you say first modifies what comes after it. Which is probably why I’ve always seen words marking time periods come at the beginning of a clause. So if you’re talking about your laptop anything you want to say describing it will come before it.
Edit: After thinking about it some more it might be better to use 今日は instead of 今日の. That simply defines the time frame you are speaking about and doesn’t leave any ambiguity of you using multiple computers the way 今日の could imply.
That would be “Today’s computer wallpaper.”
(The wallpaper of the computer of today)
While the other one would be “The computer’s current wallpaper” (The wallpaper of today of the computer)
Generally when I see 今日 it’s used before the rest of the words
I think generally temporal nouns are placed first, but I could be incorrect. I think that’s just a common trend I see.
It is true, mind, that chains of のs can be ambiguous at times. For example, 私の先生の本 could arguably be either “the book that belongs to my teacher” or “the book for teachers that belongs to me”. I had thought the grammar dictionary suggested a way around that, but it’s not there - perhaps I read it somewhere else.
Ah yeah that’s a much better example. With that, maybe to reduce confusion and ambiguity, I would use the second one I said then because no one would interpret it as meaning [laptop’s today’s] [background] (how would a laptop have a today?!?), people would hopefully see it as [laptop’s] [today’s background].