Grammar is Cool(?)

It wasn’t until I had to start communicating in a foreign language (Japanese) that I started to actually like grammar and value it. I discovered that Grammar is actually the universal language, the template on which all languages are built. It is the language of language itself.

This is why it’s also one of the most hellishly boring subjects to learn in a typical school environment. It is very deep and abstract and difficult to explain in words – because it is the below and prior to the words that a teacher tries to use to explain it. Of course we can’t expect underpaid and undervalued teachers to be creative geniuses (I know, I know, “genii” or whatever the spelling might be) and figure out how to teach students grammar without overusing words. That’s why it’s so difficult to grasp and thus boring.

But actually it’s quite amazing. Here are a few interesting Japanese grammar words which inspired me to write this.

  • は (“wa”) means “=”.
  • に (“ni”) means “->”.
  • を (“o”) means “=>”.

Ok, for some explanation… は (“=”) is the simplest. 私はヴィク (“watashi wa Vic”) means I = Vic. It’s how you tell someone your name.

に is still pretty easy to explain. It indicates something moving into or towards something else. “->” 神社行きます (“jinjya ni ikimasu”) means The shrine <- moving. In better English, “Going to the shrine.”

を ( “->”) is tricky. I might not really get it fully yet.  It is another word that points (like に) but this word points towards things involving action (dare I say “verbs” without falling asleep?) put is used when you are pointing to the thing, not taking about moving something else towards that thing, like に. I’m not perfectly sure I’ve got this one figured out yet. But here is an example: 英語を話しますか? (“Eigo wo hana shimaska?”) means English language <- speak, yes? Or, in better English “Can you speak English?”

The difference


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