When to start learning grammar?

I think unlike western languages that share a somewhat similar SVO (subject-verb-object) grammatical pattern (I’m by no means an expert, but after learning anglo-saxon and latin languages reached that conclusion), Japanese grammar (SOV, subject-object-verb) is quite unique, and it helps a lot to start pairing vocabulary learning with grammar from an early stage as it will make the process more enjoyable and less of a pain.

There are good points exposed in this forum about beginners learning grammar straight away saying it might/might not be perjudicial. I say don’t take it too serious in the beginning, but learn as much as you can at your own pace.

Grammar becomes really important at late-beginner/intermediate levels in my opinion.

SOV is actually the most common language order in the world (with SVO next). 45% / 42%, with the remaining 13% making up the remaining orders. Latin itself was actually SOV.


Not to nitpick, but SOV is the most common grammatical syntax pattern followed by SVO. Perhaps you weren’t intending to say that SOV is unique, but if you were, that simply isn’t true.

Common as in number of languages using it? :thinking:


German is also SOV, btw, ane if I recall correctly, so was Ancient Greek. Wikipedia lists Classical Latin also as SOV.

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I think they were intending to say that Japanese Grammar is unique when compared to SVO languages as a whole, as in for those with no exposure to SOV languages.


Is German SOV? You don’t say “Ich ein Apfel esse”.

That’s what I understood too.

Sorry if I didn’t express myself clear, but that’s not what I meant to say, I wasn’t compairing both structures at all, just saying most Western languages use SVO, and if you are a Western language speaker it might be challenging to switch patterns. But thanks for the educational note anyway!

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I guess the “quiet unique” qualifier wasn’t accurate. Sorry :slight_smile: I was trying to say it might be unique for someone who’s not used to it.

Ahh well that’s fair, I think it’s something that seems daunting but you get used to it pretty quickly. Same as how speakers of say Spanish get used to Adjective - Noun instead of Noun - Adjective (The more common form for SVO languages) pretty easily.

And yea, German has what is called V2 word order. Which essentially means in basic sentences German appears to be SVO, but the underlying format is SOV. Also note Old English had this as well.


Apparently there’s more to it than what we both thought (according to Wikipedia, which us fairly good with linguistics):

German and Dutch are considered SVO in conventional typology and SOV in generative grammar. For example, in German, a basic sentence such as “Ich sage etwas über Karl” (“I say something about Karl”) is in SVO word order. When a noun clause marker like “dass” or “wer” (in English, “that” or “who” respectively) is used, the verb appears at the end of the sentence for the word order SOV. A possible example in SOV word order would be “Ich sage, dass Karl einen Gürtel gekauft hat.” (A literal English translation would be “I say that Karl a belt bought has.”) This is V2 word order.

ETA: ninja’d by @Syphus!.. there are worse people to be ninja’d by.


The German language is a 忍者.

Understood. Thanks for clarifying. (@ernestohegi, @Jnk1296, @konekush)

I am German and I had no idea.
Always told people, that the Japanese grammar is the total opposite of our own.

For my defense, I only ever learned Japanese in English…


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