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I am an absolute beginner in Japanese, so I can only speak from limited experience. Skylee, ala, and many other people on this forum could probably give you a better or more accurate answer. To me, the many uses of の, the sentence ending particles, the ways to express relative locations of different objects, and the uses of question words like なん all seem pretty familiar. The markers が and は also remind me of the Taishan dialect I often hear here in Boston.

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I am an absolute beginner in Japanese, so I can only speak from limited experience. Skylee, ala, and many other people on this forum could probably give you a better or more accurate answer. To me, the many uses of の, the sentence ending particles, the ways to express relative locations of different objects, and the uses of question words like なん all seem pretty familiar. The markers が and は also remind me of the Taishan dialect I often hear here in Boston.

Okay, thanks for the more detailed response. I am pretty much a beginner in Chinese (though I'm working on it), so this sort of thing is interesting for me coming the other way. What you say makes sense, especially about particles and how の and 的 can be used in similar ways. If I can ask you another question, how are は and が similar to what you hear in Taishan dialect? I've never even heard of Taishan dialect, but I wasn't aware of anything in Chinese that fulfills the same roles.

I guess the thing that really brings home the stark difference between the two languages is that I can look at a sentence in Chinese, recognize most, if not all, of the characters, and still not know what it says by virtue of not knowing the language the characters are being used to represent. One can hazard a guess about individual words, but it's just as likely to be wrong as it is right, ie. 手紙、用意、料理、大丈夫、汽車、工夫、走、and one of the most confusing of all, 娘.

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I've never even heard of Taishan dialect, but I wasn't aware of anything in Chinese that fulfills the same roles.

I often hear "wa" used after the subject of a sentence in Taishanese, introducing a pause before the topic. For example, if used in mandarin, we would have something like "他們wa [pause] 今晚不回來吃飯lawa." "le" and "lo" are used in a similar way in Cantonese to introduce a pause after the subject, giving the speaker time to organize what he/she wants to say.

"ga” on the other hand is a shared ending particle between Cantonese and Taishanese. For example, "他是谁来ga?" "那里有些什么ga?" "这些东西好不好吃ga?" “你家里有些什么人ga?" It's more like the Japanese か than が, and like the mandarin 吗, but with a more restricted use, only used in certain types of questions.

Of course, they are not the same as the が and は in Japanese, but the habit of throwing in unncessary particles is nothing new to me, and I often find similar uses in a given situation.

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  • 1 month later...
woodcutter

By the way, I must say that these days, the better I get at Korean, the more important it seems to be to know Chinese. Korean words are short and rather similar to one another, and having a way to fix them in the memory (knowing the character and thus the origin) is a real help.

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