Forum Rocket Japanese Japanese Grammar Would both of these sentences be correct?

Would both of these sentences be correct?

イ リ ニ

Hello everyone,

Whenever I begin a new module, I try to write example sentences in Japanese before looking at the translation so that I can see how accurate/inaccurate I am.

In module 3.9 is the phrase: 
にほんご のべんきょう は たのしい です か / Nihongo no benkyō wa tanoshii desu ka?
are you having fun learning Japanese?

I would have written the sentence this way:
たのしい は にほんご をべんきょう  して います か / tanoshī wa nihongo o benkyō shite imasu ka?

Which is very far off.  Does my translation make sense (is it another way to express the sentence)?  If so, how has the meaning / nuance changed?  I seem to be having a big issue knowing the order of pieces in a sentence.  Can someone help me understand (as simply as possible :-) ​​​) how I would know how to structure this sentence?

Thank you very much in advance,



楽しく日本語 use the ku to join the words.


For me this seems a case where a natural translation can cause trouble.

にほんご のべんきょう は たのしい です か?
"Are you having fun learning Japanese?" conveys the idea in English, except the words "you" (pronoun), "having" (helping verb) and "learning" (verb) don't actually appear in the Japanese sentence.

More literally it would be:
日本           語
にほん      ご                    の              べんきょう   は                          たのしい         です   か?
Japan       language      (part.)       study                (topic part.)       fun                       is         (ques. part.)
Is Japanese language study fun?
More naturally: Is learning Japanese fun?

「楽しく日本語をべんきょう  して います か?」
My translation: (Are you) happily studying Japanese?
I'm not sure what's meant by "join the words" but たのしく is the adverbial form of たのしい.

イ リ ニ

Hmm, well that is challenging.

So... would this mean that my translation is less "natural" than the one given in the module, or structured in such a way that it's not correct:
たのしい は にほんご をべんきょう  して います か / tanoshī wa nihongo o benkyō shite imasu ka?


What's natural in Japanese is above my level. ^^;

I don't have enough experience to say「たのしい は にほんご をべんきょう  して います か」is wrong, but I cannot make sense of the grammar. 

If you simplify the sentence and write, 「にほんご をべんきょう  して います か?」that would be, "Are (you) studying Japanese?" I don't see how たのしい can be the topic (は) of that sentence.  Even if I use the "As for" translation, "As for fun, are (you) studying Japanese?" it doesn't seem to work.

Clarification would be appreciated. (^_^)


toru e

I think は、as a topic maker, by nature can only be used for nouns or "noun phrases", so 楽しい wouldn't work as a topic because it's an adjective. As Tony S-10 suggested, one way to convey this "extra" information is to make a kind of "compound" verb out of たのしい and べんきょう している. [Ex: たのしい (fun) + なる (to become) ー>たのしくなる (to become fun)]  So it ends up being: 日本語は たのしくべんきょうしていますか。

You can also nominalize the verb たのしむ to make it a topic (たのしむのは), but then it would completely change the meaning: 楽しむのは 日本語を 勉強していますか. {As for having fun, are you studying Japanese?} :-/

イ リ ニ

Ugh, it seems I've been totally missing something fundamental:
"は, as a topic maker, by nature can only be used for nouns or "noun phrases"
I didn't realize that.  That rule does help, thank you.  And now I understand the く reference Tony S-10 made (I wasn't sure what that meant when I first read it).

夫婦茶碗 , I see what you're saying, and was clear on にほんご をべんきょう  して います か.  I just don't really understand where  and why たのしい goes where it does.  I'm having the same issue with the bold parts of these two sentences:

にほん ていえん に ついて なに か しって います か?
Nihon tēen ni tsuite nani ka shitte imasu ka? / do you know something about Japanese gardens?

ケニー さん が うたって いる あいだ よく ねむれ そう です?
Kenī san ga utatte iru aida yoku nemure sō desu! / Seems like I can sleep while you sing, Kenny!

I would have put these words in different places.  I guess I'm really not understanding how to arrange the pieces of sentences.  I seem to be repeatedly putting them together incorrectly.  With the shorter sentences I had no problem, now as they get longer, I'm struggling.  Are there any tips you can offer to help me understand which pieces go where and why?

Sometimes I feel like I go 2 steps forward and 4 steps back :-(

Thank you very much...


This page is lengthy but it might prove helpful for Japanese word order:

You're right, the longer the sentences get the more  difficult it becomes for English speakers. The only solution I've found is to keep exposing myself to Japanese. The more you hear or read it, the less arbitrary the word order seems.


イ リ ニ

Well, 夫婦茶碗, I think I'm going to dedicate an entire day studying both:

Hopefully it won't be too much over my head, and I'll feel much, much better afterwards :-)

Thank you very much!

イ リ ニ

Ok.... so those two links above....  They should be MANDATORY reading for ALL Japanese languange students.  They are absolutely FABULOUS!  I can't believe how well-written, clear, concise, and and easy-to-understand they are.  I feel SO much more knowledgeable about Japanese word order AND sentence structure.  I was growing so tired of complex explanations that I didn't understand, and these links were like heaven.

If these two pages were part of the Rocket Japanese course, they would have made my life a million times easier.

Thank you, thank you, thank you so very much for sharing them!!!!!!!

toru e

よかった!The grammar on Rocket languages has always been treated a bit lightly for my taste (at least, that was my experience with the French and Japanese modules). I think it helps to really understand the nuts and bolts of a language's grammar in order to think in that language and form "natural" sentences, and 80/20 Japanese does a great job at doing that.

イ リ ニ

I completely agree!  I'm having to spend a lot of time going off on tangents to other resources because there are some fundamentals that are not being explained.  Word order and sentence structure are so critically important, and I was constantly thrown off because I didn't understand how both worked. 

Right about 1/2 way through level 1 I think this should be explained, and 80/20 does an incredible job of doing it simply.   If the answers and explanations are too complex (as are most on that subject elsewhere), then you feel even worse!  I feel like 1,000 lbs has been lifted from my shoulders after reading both articles.  The diagrams converting English words to Japanese particles are priceless!!! :-)


Ask a question or a post a response

If you want to ask a question or post a response you need to be a member.

If you are already a member login here .
If you are not a member you can become one by taking the free Rocket Japanese trial here .