In this lesson, you will learn to form Japanese sentence that makes use of the emphasize structure or 強調構文 (kyouchou koubun - emphatic sentence construction).
What is emphasize structure? It is a structure that indicates new, important information by placing it between のは (nowa) and です (desu).
Let's take a look at the sentence patterns...
This pattern is used when a noun representing a thing, a person, a place, a time, etc, is replaced with の (no) and then taken up as the topic of the sentence. Sometimes it can be a reason instead of a noun that put between のは (nowa) and です (desu). You will see that in the examples later.
Let's use an example to show how the emphasize structure works in a normal Japanese sentence.
This is the fact that you know - Ms Tanaka will go to japan next year. Let's say your friend knows that someone is going to Japan next year but doesn't know who is the person. He will ask the following question...
From what you have learned so far, you will probably answer with the following...
There is nothing wrong with the above answer. However, your friend already knows that someone is going to Japan next year. He only wants to know who the person is. In conversation, you can simply answer 田中さんです (tanaka san desu - It is Ms Tanaka).
Alternatively, you can use the emphasize structure to stress on the person that your friend would like to know.
In this Japanese sentence, you want to emphasize what your friend wanted to know most - 誰？ (dare? - who?). Therefore this information "田中さん" is placed after のは (nowa). All other information is placed before のは (nowa).
Assuming that now your friend wants to know when Ms Tanaka is going to Japan, he will ask...
For short answer (conversation), you can simply answer 来年です (rainen desu - It is next year). If you make full sentence emphasizing the information that your friend wanted to know most, you can say...
The information your friend wanted to know most "来年" is placed after のは (nowa) and all other information is placed before のは (nowa). Note that since one sentence cannot have two topics, 田中さんは (tanaka san wa) has to be changed to 田中さんが (tanaka san ga).
Assuming that now your friend wants to know where Ms Tanaka is going to next year, he will ask...
For short answer (conversation), you can simply answer 日本です (nihon desu - It is Japan). If you make full sentence emphasizing the information that your friend wanted to know most, you can say...
In this Japanese sentence, the information that your friend wanted to know most "日本" is placed after のは (nowa) and all other information is placed before のは (nowa).
Let's practise how to use emphasize structure on the following examples.
maiku san wa nihongo ga jouzu desu
Meaning: Mike is good at Japanese.
nihongo ga jouzu
da na nowa maiku san desu
Meaning: It is Mike who is good at Japanese.
maiku san ga jouzu
da na nowa nihongo desu
Meaning: It is Japanese that Mike is good at.
onaka ga itakatta kara, kinou gakkou wo yasumimashita
Meaning: I had a stomach-ache, therefore I was absent from school yesterday.
kinou gakkou wo yasunda nowa onaka ga itakatta kara desu
Meaning: It was because I had a stomach-ache therefore I was absent from school yesterday.
In the above example, you were asked about the reason why you were absent from school yesterday. In this case it's the reason that you want to emphasize. Take note that when emphasizing reason, you cannot omit から (kara), otherwise you cannot show that this is a reason.
So for どうして (doushite - why) question, the sentence pattern is...
watashi wa eigo ga heta desu kara, "Berlitz" de eigo wo benkyoushite imasu
Meaning: I am poor in English, therefore I am studying English at "Berlitz".
watashi ga Berlitz de benkyoushite iru nowa eigo desu
Meaning: It is English that I am studying at Berlitz.