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や (In-Exhaustive Listing)

や (In-Exhaustive Listing)

や (In-Exhaustive Listing) Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Conjunction

Essential Meaning: And X (among other things)

Construction: 

  • Noun や Noun
    • E.g. クリスやマーク [Chris and Mark (among others)]

Notes:

  • や is used to in-exhaustively list noun phrases that relate to a specific time and place. To make a general in-exhaustive listing, とか is used instead. To in-exhaustively list sentences or predicates, たり~たり~する is used.
    • E.g. *昨日きのうはデパートにきましたや映画えいがました。[I went to the department store and watched a movie (among other things).] This sentence is ungrammatical because や can only be used to list nouns and noun phrases, not verbs or predicates.
    • E.g. 昨日きのうはデパートにったり映画えいがたりしました。[I went to the department store and watched a movie (among other things).] たり~たり~する is the appropriate structure for in-exhaustively listing actions.
    • E.g. ぼくはビールやワインをんだ。[I drank beer and wine (among other things).] や is the appropriate conjunction here because it’s a listing of nouns and it refers to a specific time and place where the beverages were drunk (as opposed to a general listing, such as one’s favorite drinks).
  • Because Noun 1 や Noun 2 is itself a noun phrase, it can be used anywhere a regular noun can be used.
    • E.g. As the subject: 山本やまもとさんやスミスさんがテニスをしている。[Yamamoto-san and Smith-san (among others) are playing tennis.]
    • E.g. As the direct object: ぼくはビールやワインをんだ。[I drank beer and wine (among other things).]
    • E.g. As the indirect object: 土田つちださんは大川おおがわさんや鈴木すずきさんに手紙てがみいた。[Tsuchida-san wrote a letter to Ogawa-san and Suzuki-san (among others).]
  • Noun 1 や Noun 2 can not be used in place of X in the structure XがYだ because is an exhaustive marker in this structure and would not make sense in concert with an in-exhaustive noun listing.
    • *E.g. ジェンやミッシェルが学生がくせいです。[Jen and Michelle (among others) are students.] This sentence is ungrammatical because や and are incompatible with the ~は~が structure.
    • E.g. 学生がくせいはジェンやミッシェルです。[Speaking of the students, they are Jen and Michelle (among others).] This example avoids the mismatch between や and .
  • や is similar but not identical to とか. The difference is that とか is used to make a general and casual list of example items, while や is used to list items that relate to a specific time and place.
    • E.g. A: スミスさんはたとえばどんな日本食にほんしょくきですか。B: てんぷらとかすききとか刺身さしみですね。[A: What are some examples of Japanese foods that Mr. Smith likes? B: He likes tempura, sukiyaki, and sashimi (among other things).] This is a general list of foods that Mr. Smith likes. It doesn’t relate to a specific time or place. Thus, とか is appropriate.
    • E.g. A: 昨日きのう料理屋りょうりやなにべましたか。B: てんぷらやすききや刺身さしみべました。[A: What did you eat at he restaurant yesterday? B: I ate tempura, sukiyaki, and sashimi.] This is a specific list of items that the speaker ate at a specific time and at a specific place. Thus, や is appropriate.

Example Sentences:

山田やまださんや大川おおがわさんがた。[Yamada-san and Ogawa-san (among others) came.]

山本やまもとさんやスミスさんがテニスをしている。[Yamamoto-san and Smith-san (among others) are playing tennis.]

ぼくはビールやワインをんだ。[I drank beer and wine (among other things).]

土田つちださんは大川おおがわさんや鈴木すずきさんに手紙てがみいた。[Tsuchida-san wrote a letter to Ogawa-san and Suzuki-san (among others).]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line t 1:52: 会計かいけい注文ちゅうもん先陣せんじん[Taking the lead on making orders and settling the bill (among other things)]
Listen to this line at 1:00: かおこえおもうだけで、てもってもれない [Just thinking of your face and voice (among other things), I can’t contain myself]

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