犬が怖い

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Dropless

New Member
Chinese-Mandarin
Hi, everyone. I wonder if there is any difference between these two sentences:

林さんは犬が怖いです
林さんは犬を怖がる

Additionally, as for "犬が怖いです" this sentence alone, does it have two meanings? One is "I'm scared of dogs", and another "Dogs are terrifying"?
Thanks!
 
  • kanadaaa

    Senior Member
    Japanese (Tokai)
    In Japanese, you have to use some kind of discourse marker when you tell a subjective concept objectively and when you tell an objective concept subjectively.

    林さんは犬を怖がる is an objective view of Hayashi's attitude toward dogs.
    On the other hand, the subject of 犬が怖いです must be "I", namely this is a subjective view of the speaker's attitude toward dogs.
    For this reason, when you alternate this "I" to "Hayashi", you have to say 林さんは犬が怖いようです.
    This is an instance of telling a subjective view objectively, so it must involve a discourse marker like よう 'seem'.
    Thus:

    :cross: 林さんは犬が怖いです
    :tick: 林さんは犬が怖いようです

    Additionally, as for "犬が怖いです" this sentence alone, does it have two meanings? One is "I'm scared of dogs", and another "Dogs are terrifying"?
    That IS ambiguous, as far as I'm concerned.
    But the second is usually expressed by sentences like

    犬は怖い
    犬は怖いものだ
    犬は怖い生き物だ

    So I think you should just interpret it as "I'm scared of dogs".

    P.S.
    This is a very difficult aspect of Japanese, so you might want to just avoid learning it.
    A famous linguist says, "It's nearly impossible for non-native speakers to use those discourse markers perfectly. So, it'd be best to ignore them unless they are highly advanced learners of Japanese".
     
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    Dropless

    New Member
    Chinese-Mandarin
    In Japanese, you have to use some kind of discourse marker when you tell a subjective concept objectively and when you tell an objective concept subjectively.

    林さんは犬を怖がる is an objective view of Hayashi's attitude toward dogs.
    On the other hand, the subject of 犬が怖いです must be "I", namely this is a subjective view of the speaker's attitude toward dogs.
    For this reason, when you alternate this "I" to "Hayashi", you have to say 林さんは犬が怖いようです.
    This is an instance of telling a subjective view objectively, so it must involve a discourse marker like よう 'seem'.
    Thus:

    :cross: 林さんは犬が怖いです
    :tick: 林さんは犬が怖いようです


    That IS ambiguous, as far as I'm concerned.
    But the second is usually expressed by sentences like

    犬は怖い
    犬は怖いものだ
    犬は怖い生き物だ

    So I think you should just interpret it as "I'm scared of dogs".

    P.S.
    This is a very difficult aspect of Japanese, so you might want to just avoid learning it.
    A famous linguist says, "It's nearly impossible for non-native speakers to use those discourse markers perfectly. So, it'd be best to ignore them unless they are not highly advanced learners of Japanese".
    Many thanks to your reply, kanadaaa!

    『林さんは犬が怖いです』 this is actually from my textbook, and there are similar ones:

    小野さんは歌が好きです
    王さんは肉が嫌いです

    So I assume them need "よう" too.

    What if it's a question? It seems to me that 『小野さんは歌が好きですか』or 『王さんは肉が嫌いですか』makes sense.
    But somehow『林さんは犬が怖いですか』seems strange to me.
     

    kanadaaa

    Senior Member
    Japanese (Tokai)
    小野さんは歌が好きです
    王さんは肉が嫌いです
    In these cases, the subject is 小野さん and 王さん, respectively, and it can never be “I”.
    So these are objective concepts.
    Since “I” is irrelevant, these are just instances in which objective concepts are told objectively.
    So these sentences are just good as they are, even without discourse markers.
    What if it's a question? It seems to me that 『小野さんは歌が好きですか』or 『王さんは肉が嫌いですか』makes sense.
    But somehow『林さんは犬が怖いですか』seems strange to me.
    I agree with your assessment.
    林さんは犬が怖いですか is odd probably because the subject of 犬が怖い is, as I said above, usually “I”.
    And for some reason, 林さんは犬が怖いようですか doesn’t work, either.
    林さんは犬を怖がりますか is fine, though.
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    the subject of 犬が怖い is, as I said above, usually “I”.
    And one exception is when the speaker asks how the listener feels. As Dropless probably knows, Japanese people tend to use appellations like 林さん in place of second person pronouns. The following is a natural sentence as a question from the speaker to the listener whose name is Hayashi:
    林さんは犬が怖いですか。
    Hayashi, are you afraid of dogs?

    Other adjectives of emotion in this thread can be used in the same manner.

    Now, how to ask the listener about the emotion of someone else. If you want to enquire the listener about the emotion of someone named Hayashi, you would say (beside the construction with 怖がる):
    林さんは犬が怖いんですか。
    [more formally] 林さんは犬が怖いのですか。

    If I venture a guess, I would say that n/no is a device to ask the listener to put themselves in the shoe of the third person.

    In fact, it can be used in order to force the speaker themselves to be in the shoe of someone else.

    林さんは犬が怖いんだな。
    [soliloquy] Ah, I realise that Hayashi is afraid of dogs.
     

    Dropless

    New Member
    Chinese-Mandarin
    Thanks for all your replies.
    But I'm getting a bit confused now about 『怖い』

    歌が好きです
    肉が嫌いです

    These two sentences' subject must be "I", 『好き』 and 『嫌い』are, as kanadaaa has put, the speaker's attitudes towards something.
    If I replace "I" with somebody else, say 『小野さん』

    小野さん歌が好きです
    小野さん肉が嫌いです

    I'm telling 小野さん's subjective view of something. Since 『好き』、『嫌い』、『怖い』 are all adjectives for emotions.
    Then what makes 『怖い』special that it should need a discourse marker?
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    Then what makes 『怖い』special that it should need a discourse marker?
    Maybe I cannot directly answer your question, but 怖い belongs to a different class of adjectives from that of the other two. While 怖い conjugates like 怖くない, 怖かった, 怖くなる etc., the other two conjugate like 好きではない (colloquially 好きじゃない), 嫌いではない (colloq. 嫌いじゃない); 好きだった, 嫌いだった; 好きになる, 嫌いになる, etc. The former class of adjectives are called either 形容詞 or イ形容詞, and the latter class, either 形容動詞 or ナ形容詞.

    Naming practice is a trivial thing, but these two types occasionally show different behaviours in terms of syntax. E.g., 好き and 嫌い have corresponding verbs in 好く and 嫌う. They are used transitively:
    みんな君のことを好いて/嫌っているのさ。

    Likewise, the adjectives can take -o-marked objects (maybe complement is a better term? I don't know):
    私は君のことを(が)好き/嫌いだ。
    Note that using が is also possible in the above construction. They don't have much difference in meaning.

    In contrast, 怖い cannot use を in a similar construction:
    GOOD 私は君のことが怖い。
    NOT GOOD 私は君のことを怖い。

    Well, I seem to be heaping more conundrum than answers, but I had to dig deeper than I thought...
     
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    SoLaTiDoberman

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    #7と同じ事を言っているのかもしれませんが、
    「好きです」や「嫌いです」は「好き」「嫌い」という言葉の品詞が、名詞または形容動詞(今回は形容動詞)であるから全く問題がないけれども、
    「怖いです」は、「怖い」という形容詞、特に「い」で終わる形容詞に「です」をつける、という小学生っぽい日本語になるから違和感があるのではないでしょうか。いわゆる『「イ形容詞+です」問題』というやつでは?
    「イ形容詞+です」問題 - 校正ツールEnnoのチェック内容から - 違いのわかる日本語――日本語教師の日本語メモ


    これを良しとするなら、#2は
    林さんは犬が怖いです :tick:
    となり、the textbookの作者も例文に取り上げたのだと思いますし、(上の文献には、初等教育においてはこの形を使っても良しとされる理由が詳細に書かれていますし、それに異を唱える方がいることも記載されていましたね。確かに自分自身の経験としましても、小学校の時は許容されていて、中学、高校になるにつれて先生から訂正されるようになっていった気がします。)

    逆に、これに違和感を感じたから、#2で
    林さんは犬が怖いそうです。怖いようです。などと別の連結形をとって自然に感じるようにされたのではないでしょうか?

    「この花は美しいです。」
    とか、
    「とてもうれしいです。」
    とか
    「悔しいです!」
    は正しいのかおかしいのか?
    なども基本的に同じ事ですが、お笑いの「悔しいです!」に聞き慣らされてしまうと、その表現はあまり気にならなくなっていたり、言語のフォーラムの例文に取り上げられて、日本語学習者の為に正しいことを教えたい、と真面目に考えていると、急に不自然に感じたりする現象なのだと私は思いました。

    「です」をのけて、
    「彼は犬が怖い。」

    「林氏は犬が怖い。」
    なら3人称が主語でも、文章としては全く問題なくなると思います。「林さん」という敬称をつけたことで、丁寧文にする必要があるが、「怖い」に直接「です」をつけると不自然な感じがするという今回の場合には、例えば、
    「林さんは犬恐怖症です。」とか「林さんは犬に対して怖がりです。」などに構造を変えれば、同じ意味を伝えることができると思います。

    PS) 「林さんは犬を怖がる」というもう一方の文章は、「です・ます」体で書かれていないので、丁寧体に変えるなら、
    「林さんは犬を怖がります」 :tick: となります。

    「林君は犬が怖い。」:tick:To him, dogs are scary. As for him, dogs are scary. Dogs are scary in his case. と
    「林君は犬を怖がる。」:tick:He is afraid of dogs. という二つの文は、
    丁寧度も同じになりますし、意味も全く同じになります。
    違っているのは、前者は文尾が形容詞であり、後者は文尾に動詞を使った構文である、という点です。
     
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