The beginnings of my foray into grammar!

So for now I’ve halted new WK lessons and I’ve started my foray into grammar as of yesterday using Tae Kim. It’s’ been really helpful so far!

I understand more now about い adjectives and な adjectives, and I know now that the は particle isn’t the Japanese version of ‘to be’ as I originally thought it was. I also know the particles だ, じゃない, だった and じゃなかった to indicate if something is, is not, was or was not (and also くない, かった and くなかった for い adjectives).

It’s all been quite helpful, and I wanted to kinda make a sort of diary here xD

The only thing I still kinda struggle with of the things I have learned so far is when the は particle is applicable or when the が particle is applicable :o I understand taht the が particle is used to refer to an unknown topic (who? What? When? etc) but there’s been a few instances where I thought that you should use が but it ended up needing the は particle instead. Does anyone have a sort of mnemonic for this? (een ezelsbruggetje for the Dutchies xD)


CureDolly did more for my grasp of fundamental grammar than any other resource. ^^

This is a slightly older video of hers on the topic, and it’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but I recall it being very useful for a complete grammar-idiot like me. I’m so bad at it. In Dutch, English, and Japanese. cries grammatically incorrectly

Niet echt een ezelsbruggetje, maar wat zij leert over het feit dat は een non-logical topic particle is heeft mij goed geholpen.

Good luck with your grammar journey!


Thank you very much! I shall give this a watch in my break today ^.^

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:rofl: :heartpulse:

to OP - I concur - CureDolly is great for grammar explanations.


I could pick out a few words here and there in the Dutch, but out of curiosity decided to put it through Google translate - is ‘donkey bridge’ correct???


Ezelsbruggetje means mnemonic; just a way to remember something more easily.

(Not sure about the etymology of it)


Fun fact, it’s the same in German: Eselsbrücke. So it seems to be something common to our area :slight_smile:


These aren’t particles, though. They’re conjugations of the verb である in the first case, and conjugations for adjectives in the second case. Also you are doing well already, but I would advice to practice these grammar points a lot. Don’t move on to the next subject too quickly, especially early on, because it is the basis for everything to come after. In Japanese especially grammar builds on itself, so if one part of your understanding is shaky, it might all topple later on.


Het woord is misschien afkomstig van het feit dat de ezel maar een heel klein randje nodig heeft om snel op de plek van bestemming te komen; een plank over een sloot volstaat al. Het woord ezelsbrug bestond reeds in Griekse oudheid, waar de pons asinorum een stelling uit de euclidische meetkunde is, maar bestaat in zijn huidige betekenis al minstens sinds de Latijnse scholastiek in de Middeleeuwen.

NL wiki claims the current usage has been around since the middle ages. :thinking:

So because donkey’s only need a little bit of extra help to get from A to B, it’s now used to mean a mnemonic, I guess. But there’s clearly heavy speculation involved with something so old.


Waar komen al die Nederlanders toch vandaan?

I would say after studying new grammar points hook them up on bunpro. And also look at the other readings.

Ik zit nog op mijn proefmaand.


Donkey Bridge is the word-by-word translation. I think the story was that donkeys hate water and cannot see how deep water is, so it’s very difficult to get them to cross a river at a ford. You know how mulish a donkey can be :wink:
It is much easier to build them a bridge, and sometimes it’s also the only way for you to get where you want (even though a bridge at a ford isn’t strictly necessary).


Wederom kapen de Nederlanders weer een Wanikani post


I found some random information on the internet for the German version, which claims that it’s derogatory because it’s to help those that are too lazy/stupid to put in the actual work, i.e. donkeys. (Etymologically at least)

Ben geen Nederlander, maar woon wel hier en spreek ook de taal. :slight_smile:


Je haalt ze er ook telkens uit, waar je ook heengaat.


't Is een ware plaag.


Wow, netjes. Ik weet niet of ik hetzelfde zou kunnen, wij Nederlanders kunnen zo koppig zijn als een ezel.

I’ll stop now, before we take over the entire thread in Dutch.



@Roxanne13579 veel geluk met de grammatica! Je gaat het nodig hebben XP (neenee, cava nog hoor, ik vind Japanse grammatica persoonlijk veel makkelijker dan die van de Europese talen die ik al geleerd heb… Ocharme de mensen die Nederlands als tweede taal moeten leren DX)

As for は and が, my professor always says you have to translate は in your head as ‘as for’ (‘wat betreft’); it gives you really awkward sentences, but kinda hits the nail on the head and makes it easier to distinguish from が. You know, since が always points to the subject of the sentence (het onderwerp, datgene wat de actie uitvoerd, waar het werkwoord op slaat) while は refers to the… theme? The most important thing? Really, you could also translate that as subject in English (en onderwerp in het Nederlands XP) But the thing that performs the action is not always what a sentence is really about… Like if you say 「日曜日は東京に行きます。」It’s not like 日曜日 is going to Tokyo, right? I am going to Tokyo! (well in the context that I mean it’s I at least) So if you were to add a が, it’d be like 「日曜日は私が東京に行きます。」Not like you would actually say that probably, but you know. The main thing is, this sentence is actually about what you’re gonna do on Sunday. Not any other day. You’re saying this because you want to share your Sunday plans!

…Okay did that help, or was it too chaotic? In that last case, sorry XP


I like how what started out as a post about grammer turned into a Dutch post about ezelsbruggetjes xD

Tae Kim also mentioned how you should translate は as ‘as for’ or ‘about’ while you translate が as ‘x is the one that’ but I find that a little hard distinguish. Also since the Japanese language doesn’t really have a subject per se, but rather a topic that the sentence can be about. A topic that doesn’t necessarily have to be present in the sentence because it’s all context based.



I guess that’s why when you add a が to a sentence, it usually feels like you’re highlighting the subject

What do you mean exactly?