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Shall I bring/take something?

Discussion in 'Learning Japanese' started by nalo6451, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. nalo6451

    nalo6451 後輩

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    Hey guys.

    Just wondering if I could get clarification on something:

    なにかもっていきましょうか = Should I take something?
    なにかもってきましょうか = Should I bring something?

    Correct or Incorrect?

    TY.
     
  2. nice gaijin

    nice gaijin Resident Realist
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    In English, it makes sense to ask someone "what time should I come?" In a way, it shows a level of empathy with the listener, as you are assuming their position in your word choice.

    In Japanese, you aren't able to assume the listener's position when asking about going someplace. In other words, you must ask this question or make this kind of statement using "go," as you are still moving away from where you are in order to get there. This applies to compound verbs like 持っていく/持ってくる as well.

    My sense is that part of the reason for this is that the Japanese sentence will probably omit the subject, so using a term that suddenly changes the direction of movement (coming and going), the listener may be confused and wonder if the subject has suddenly changed. This is kind of a nuanced interpretation, @Toritoribe please correct me if I'm wrong here.

    This is just your native language intruding on your choice of words; just know that a native Japanese would probably never talk about themselves "coming" to a party (and when they're learning English, this tendency bleeds into their English as well).
     
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  3. AmerikaJin5

    AmerikaJin5 後輩

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    場面: Aさんの家で夜に飲み会、お昼に連絡~
    Aさん:Bさん、駅に着いたら連絡してね。
    Bさん:了解!何か持っていく?
    Aさん:あ、飲みながらゲームやろう?あの新しいやつ持ってきて。
    Bさん:オッケー、じゃあとでね!

    The difference in the speaker's position. Once Bさん arrives to Aさん's house, he can also use 持ってきた to refer to the game.
     
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  4. Toritoribe

    Toritoribe 禁漁期
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    Yeah, speaking strictly, the key of the difference between 行く and 来る is the position of the speaker's viewpoint. 行く means "going away from the viewpoint", and 来る is "coming close to the viewpoint". Usually, as AmerikaJin5-san explained above, the viewpoint is the same as the position of the speaker (whether it's past, current or future), so besides when the speaker goes to somewhere other than the speaker's or listener's position, 行く is also used when the speaker comes to the listener. If the speaker has nothing to do with the movement, the viewpoint can be on the listener or third person.
    e.g.
    A: 昨日遅く、お客さんが来たんだ。
    A: A guest came to my room late last night.
    B: 誰が来たの?
    B: Who did come?
    (The speaker B's viewpoint is on the listener A, so 来た is used even though the guest didn't come close to B.)

    彼女が昨日君のところに行ったけど留守だったって。
    She said she came to your room yesterday, but you were not in.
    (The speaker's viewpoint is on her, and she moved to the listener's room away from her previous position, so 行く is used.)

    Right, Japanese learners of English are often confused with this difference between "行く and "to go" or "来る" and "to come", me in junior high school, as well.
     
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  5. Mike Cash

    Mike Cash 骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう

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    The distinction between bring/take is probably going to disappear from English at some point, due to modern communication methods which let two physically widely separated speakers occupy the same space mentally. People misusing bring/take is one of my many pet peeves.

    It is getting so that most native English speakers are rather poor examples on which to model one's English. (Any time I see excellently written English with impeccable grammar, I immediately suspect the writer is not a native speaker).
     
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  6. nice gaijin

    nice gaijin Resident Realist
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    Is the "what shall I bring/take" situation an example of misuse, or were you referring to other situations?

    I think that grammatically, the distinction lies more in the nuance of what the speaker is focusing on, but perhaps the trouble arises because native speakers are no longer conscious of the distinction and just use them interchangeably?
     
  7. Mike Cash

    Mike Cash 骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう

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    I'm talking about things like:

    "I have to bring my lunch to work tomorrow."

    ....said anywhere except at work.

    The same idjits who don't know the difference between "itch" and "scratch".....
     
  8. nice gaijin

    nice gaijin Resident Realist
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    Where could you use the phrase "I brought my lunch to work yesterday"?

    addendum: what do you think of "Are you bringing anything to the party?"

    It seems less a misuse of the word and more a shift in the mentality of the speaker, in my opinion. English doesn't put the same kind of constraints on the directionality of verbs as Japanese, so since they don't break any grammar rules, these uses will persist until they finally just become a part of acceptable phrasing (assuming that hasn't happened already).
     
  9. Mike Cash

    Mike Cash 骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう

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    At work.

    That unless it is said by someone at the party to someone not at the party it is incorrect.

    I say that in full awareness that it conflicts with my recent usage of the "bring to the table" expression in another thread.

    I think it is a shift that only really came about after A.G. Bell gave us the ability to do that shift and be in verbal contact with an interlocutor at the same time.

    Certain linguistic features have a tendency to be shed by the language over time, in response to the changing requirements of the speakers. English has in the past lost case endings, for example. I think the previous bring/take distinction is being lost. You won't find many American English speakers who can correctly use the past perfect tense; they now use it as a faux-formal hypercorrect simple past tense instead.... which is really annoying to someone like me who wasn't present for the change and still expects it to have its former correct usage.

    Wouldn't it be nice if the OP let us know if the thread answered his question or not?
     
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  10. nice gaijin

    nice gaijin Resident Realist
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    I like this exchange, it's a great example of how a seemingly simple question can have such a complex and varied answer... Whether we ever actually answer the original question, however... :emoji_stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
    You hit the nail on the head. Speakers of a language will stretch it to the limits of being intelligible, and in doing so, that edge of what is commonly accepted (and later formalized) is constantly being eroded away, for lack of a better term. Being away while those changes happen, and then coming back to find people making what sounds to you like mistakes must be a grating experience.

    Just listening to Elizabethan English, I can't imagine what it would be for someone who was accustomed to that kind of speech being dropped into New York today. To them it must sound like English had devolved into a series of grunts and epithets
     
  11. Mike Cash

    Mike Cash 骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう

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    To the degree that perception is reality, to me they don't sound like mistakes....they ARE mistakes.

    Yes, that is precisely what has happened to me; my English is encased in amber. For longer than most of you would probably believe, spoken English simply has not been a part of my daily existence. I don't speak it to others and nobody around me speaks it to me. Most certainly no native speakers, especially any whose English has kept up with current usage. My most recent and often rather jarring re-introduction to spoken American English has been through podcasts...a great many of which despite their being well-produced and having interesting content I simply unsubscribe and delete because I just simply can not bear the way the hosts talk. It's like have someone vigorously rubbing a cheese grater on my ears.
     
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  12. OoTmaster

    OoTmaster 先輩

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    I feel the degradation of the English language in The United States of America has mostly come about because the falling standards of schools in the US. The "everyone is a winner" mentality and staying behind in content to make sure all students understood the presented materials. That being said I do know the difference between bring and take. I find often in my work environment that mostly people have issues finding the right verb conjugation to use with their subject. Which annoys me to no end.
     
  13. Toritoribe

    Toritoribe 禁漁期
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    Interesting, indeed. Actually "the past perfect tense" came to my mind when Mike-san wrote about "to bring/take". It was (or maybe is still) hard to me to use the past perfect tense correctly, so I was surprised that I heard the simple past tense was often used instead of the past perfect tense in spoken language. It reminds me of an episode I watched on NHK or something. An old Japanese lady, who married with a foreigner and left Japan over 40years ago, made a complaint about spoken Japanese in these days. She said that it's unbearable for her to hear people using ら抜き言葉 so frequently nowadays. To tell the truth, I don't feel like anything is off with 食べれる or like that especially in daily conversations, so the similar phenomenon would happen on many languages, I guess.
     

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