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saying numbers - が/を? 
24th-Feb-2014 08:12 pm
kopp

sorry if this has been asked a lot before, but i was wondering about this:
noun + が/を + number + counter
can you ALWAYS switch が and を when saying what number there is of something? for example:

コンピューター二台しかありません
can を work there just fine too? i thought the answer was no, but if so i don't understand why they're saying they're interchangeable.

(Note to mods - there's no "grammar help" or "particle help" tag, so i thought "sentence help" was closest)
Comments 
24th-Feb-2014 07:35 pm (UTC)
Hi,
I am but a (false?) beginner, but I think here you have the construction "there is", e.g. が あります/ がいます, that requires が。
With other verbs, you could have を , e.g. ビールを二つください。
Hope that helps, and hope somebody more competent than me would (un)validate that.
24th-Feb-2014 08:21 pm (UTC)
Hey, thanks. It seems graywords below knew it.

I'm just really glad there are so many Japanese learners who are helpful, I'm also learning Faroese for example and there's noplace you can just ask stuff and get answers about it like you can here, haha...
24th-Feb-2014 07:42 pm (UTC)
I think the sentence still needs to make sense when you remove the counter and any modifiers.

Remove 二台 + しか, and you get コンピューターありません, which is a proper sentence. コンピューターありません, however, is not. So in this case, を won't work.

を would be the correct choice if you were doing something transitive to the computer, like repairing it. コンピューター二台修理しました works, but I don't believe コンピューター二台修理しました would work.

Please let me know if I'm completely missing the actual question you are asking here, or if this is what you were looking for.
24th-Feb-2014 08:18 pm (UTC)
No, I think that answered it, thanks! I was confused since the book said "you can do this interchangeably whenever talking about numbers" which seemed to go against what it had said before about ex. the がある construction... Maybe I misunderstood the book. But even if that's the case, you cleared it up!!
(Deleted comment)
26th-Feb-2014 06:23 am (UTC)
Edit: Don't mind me, this is just my normal/newer account.

The second paragraph I understand, the first one has me confused... Could you use sentence examples? Although I like language and study a few different ones, I'm much more on the end of practical use and describing things for learners rather than for linguists ;_;

Okay, so when I look up "noun phrase" in Wiki it redirects me to "nominal phrase" and says:

A nominal phrase (shortened to NP in English) is a part of a clause, which synthetically functions as a substantive/noun. It can be an alone-substantive ("the girl"), a pronoun ("she"), or a series of words; in such cases one of the words (the substantive) is a main-word and the rest of the phrase is determination ("the technique-interested and encyclopedia-editing girl in the flat squinted over the street"). A determination can also be made from a secondary clause. The nominal-phrase can come before everything that a substantive can come before, for example as a subject/object in a clause or as a part of another phrase. In the named example "the street" and "the flat squinted over the street" in themselves are nominal-phrases which, though the prepositions "over" and "in" become prepositions-phrases, which in turn go into the larger nominal-phrase.

As for "verb phrase":
A verb-phrase (shortened to VP in English) is a phrase which has a finite verb as a main-word.
Jescheute offered bread.
Parsifal has ridden around and looked for the grail for a long time.



Edited at 2014-02-26 06:26 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
28th-Feb-2014 07:23 pm (UTC)
Ahh, okay, I see. Sorry, I was just copying from the book in the beginning there. I really only meant if "when declaring numbers can the particle be changed", not that it had to be an exact sentence structure haha...

But, I guess since I learnt Swedish by ear and Icelandic by book, (Icelandic having a whole lot more exceptions and other sentence structures than Swedish) I stopped thinking of "What it's like in English" or "i have to say it like this", and skip to "well this is just how they like to say it unless they're just making it up on the spot which also happens a lot" haha...

I don't know how people normally think of Japanese, but I don't think of it in terms of verbs or adjectives or even chunks of them, exactly... more like, having a lot of "base words" that by adding a suffix or prefix they become adjectives, verbs, nouns, and whatever else. Well, it's the same in Swedish/Icelandic (and English I guess, although much less so...) And the sentence structure in Germanic languages (or, Icelandic anyway) can be changed a lot due to the meaning being shown in the case instead of the word placement. "I tell her = her tell me = it that her tell me = tell her me = it which her tell me" all meaning the same thing entirely undepending on word-order, etc. So I don't actually think so much about sentence order until it says "this order implies this". Which actually hasn't happened much so far, it's been more like "this contraction/verbform implies this" or "switching the particle to this implies this"....

Then, I think of particles as a sort of mix between helper-words and case endings hahah.... For example, の almost exactly correlates to genitive form, which is used both to make compound words and to show possession... And ex. masu form, I don't think of it as "formal form" but it's just "the polite verb masu added onto the base verb".

In general I think the books/sites I've seen are teaching rather badly, there's a lot of stuff that's just obviously one word put on top of another yet they act like it's a real unique phrase, or that it's a unique word-form... Well, not much I can do about that. All the Icelandic and Swedish textbooks have the same exact problem, it's really strange that no one is going around pointing out "that's not how the language really works" when it's so obvious. You know, like how "fire-man" or "un-defeat-ed" isn't a unique word, it's just "fire" and "man"... At first I was scared of Japanese grammar since I heard "oh how difficult Japanese is!!!" and if I ever take a break from learning I get a bit scared to start again, but when I realized it's like there's no actual "advanced grammar" and it's more like "advanced phrases" (Swedish is the same but Icelandic isn't), I thought, wow that's a weight off my mind.

I don't know if any of that made sense or even sounded like it was on the same track as you, sorry... I've been ill for a few days now and I feel really out of it all the time haha.

Edited at 2014-02-28 07:27 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
1st-Mar-2014 01:26 am (UTC)
Oh, thanks!! I'll check that book out. \(#∂ゝ∂#)/
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