Monday, September 2, 2019

Parallel Markers

WIP : this article is incomplete and might change in the unforeseeable future.
In Japanese, parallel markers are particles that translate to "and" and "or" in English. They're parallel marking particles because they put nouns and nouns phrases in parallel. The Japanese term for them is heiritsu-joshi 並立助詞, "lining-up particles."


Here's a summarized list of the parallel marking particles and their respective functions.
  • to
    Exhaustive "and."
    Used with two or three things, when you can list all of them.
    Cats and dogs.
  • ya
    Non-exhaustive "and."
    Used to list a couple of things as example of all things you're talking about, when you can't list all of them.
    Cats and dogs and other stuff like that.
  • mo
    Inclusive "and" or "or."
    Cats, and dogs as well, too.
    Cats, or even dogs, too.
  • ka
    Exhaustive interrogative "or."
    Used when something is either of two or more choices, but you don't know which.
    Is it a cat? Or is it a dog?
  • toka とか
    Non-exhaustive interrogative "or."
    Used when something is uncertain, and you list examples of what it might be.
    Do you like dogs, or cats, or stuff like that?
    Non-exhaustive interrogative "and."
    Used when being vague about what something is exactly, by listing examples of it.
    I like manga, anime, games, and stuff like that.
  • ni
    Additive "and."
    Used when something was added onto something else.
    Dogs AND cats, AND NOW EVEN RATS!!!
    Set-building "and."
    Used when a set of things was made by adding something onto another.
    White cream and strawberries, the perfect cake combination.
  • dano だの
    Complaint "and."
    Used when listing examples of things in a complaint about what someone does, what you have to do, etc.
    Textbooks, rulers, stuff like that: things you have to waste money on when enrolling a school.


For reference, some examples of parallel marking particles being used:
  • neko to inu

    Cats and dogs
  • inu to neko to nezumi
    Dogs, cats, and rats.
  • manga ya anime
    Manga, anime, and stuff like that. (games, light novels, etc.)
  • okane ya jinmyaku
    Money, connections, and stuff like that. (power.)
  • kyou mo ashita mo ganbaru zo!
    Today, and tomorrow as well, [I'll] work hard!
  • otoko mo onna mo kankei nai
    Men, and women as well, have nothing to do with it.
    It has nothing to do with whether [you're] a man or a woman.
  • ikiru ka shinu ka
    Will [you] live or will [you] die? (one of the most cliché phrases in anime, used to motivate someone to fight.)
  • tensai ka baka ka wakaranai
    Whether [he's] a genius or an idiot isn't known.
    [I] don't know if [he] is a genius or an idiot.
  • shiroi keeki ni ichigo
    A white cake and a strawberry.
    A strawberry added to a white cake.
  • mini-sukaato ni nii-sokkusu
    A mini-skirt and knee-socks.
    Knee-high socks added to a mini-skirt. (see: Zettai Ryouiki 絶対領域.)
  • mazui dano kirai dano to otto wa ryouri ni monku bakari itte-iru
    [It] is bad and [I] hate [it], [my] husband is always complaining about [my] cooking.
    • Here, the speaker uses dano to complain about a list of things their husband says about their food.
  • shougakusei no musuko ni keitai dano pasokon dano to urusaku segamarete komatta
    [My] son, a grade-school student, is noisy pestering [me] about a cellphone and a computer, [I'm] troubled.
    • Here, the speaker uses dano to complain about things their son wants: a cellphone and a computer. The speaker doesn't intend to buy their son, who's still in grade-school, such things, hence the complaints.
    • The dano examples were by Suzuki 鈴木, 2004.



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