PDA

View Full Version : How to say 'or' in Japanese?



Anyaaa
08-14-2008, 12:15 PM
I asked on another forum a while back and I was told 「か」 between two nouns.

Today I was just on the WWWJDIC when I found this sample sentence:
選ぶべき道は自由か死だ。
The alternatives are liberty and death.

If か between two nouns means 'or', then surely this means 'must choose between liberty or death' (not exactly but... doesn't translate too well... xD).

So, either the translation there is wrong, or I've been taught wrong. Which is it?
:p

And also, how would you say 'or' between two verbs? As in 'Would you like to dance or sing?' or something of the sort. And what about adjectives? 'Was she pretty or ugly?' etc.
xDD

Datenshi
08-14-2008, 01:04 PM
So, either the translation there is wrong, or I've been taught wrong. Which is it?

Neither. Look at the English more closely. The translation has taken a little liberty but it still says the came thing in the end: you can't be both free and dead so it's logical to think the sentence means you have to choose between "liberty" and "death".


And also, how would you say 'or' between two verbs? As in 'Would you like to dance or sing?' or something of the sort. And what about adjectives? 'Was she pretty or ugly?' etc.
The easiest term to handle is probably 「それとも」.

Would you like to dance or sing -> 踊りますか、それとも歌いますか?
Was she pretty or ugly? -> 彼女は美人でしたか、それともブスでしたか?

Anyaaa
08-14-2008, 03:05 PM
Aha, thank you very much!

There are other terms as well as 「それとも」? Is this the most commonly used one?

Ruby_MoonT
08-14-2008, 06:00 PM
there's also または

xcloudxstrifex
08-14-2008, 06:06 PM
Someone thought they knew more than you and didn't think you would find out lol!

Ertai87
08-14-2008, 09:41 PM
I don't know how それとも is used, but I asked my prof this a while ago and she said to use か between 2 nouns. The example you provided is a bit weird, since it uses "and" in English but may use "or" in Japanese, but generally you would use か (e.g. 赤いのか青いのだけはいいです, "I only want it if it's red or blue"...I think...that's what I intended anyway XD)

dabura667
08-16-2008, 08:00 PM
I asked on another forum a while back and I was told 「か」 between two nouns.

Today I was just on the WWWJDIC when I found this sample sentence:
選ぶべき道は自由か死だ。
The alternatives are liberty and death.

If か between two nouns means 'or', then surely this means 'must choose between liberty or death' (not exactly but... doesn't translate too well... xD).

So, either the translation there is wrong, or I've been taught wrong. Which is it?
:p

And also, how would you say 'or' between two verbs? As in 'Would you like to dance or sing?' or something of the sort. And what about adjectives? 'Was she pretty or ugly?' etc.
xDD



I am Japanese and I think I can help you.

Your english is the problem.


erabu 選ぶ means choose... but instead of choose, they used "alternatives" which in english means "have to choose one OR other"

the "or" is there... in the word "alternative"...

I thought that Japan was the only country who doesn't understand their own language well

世界共通「ゆとり」文化ってやっぱりすごいネイティブの人に英語で勝てると思ったら、相当英語が下手じ ゃないと敵わないんだなぁwww

乙wwwww

Kikyosama
08-17-2008, 06:21 AM
"Or" in japanese is "toka"

どっちの道選ぶのか?右とか左とか

Anyaaa
08-17-2008, 01:50 PM
Alrighty, thank you everyone!

The reason I got confused was because "The alternatives are liberty and death" makes it sound as if it's an option between not being free but being alive, or escaping but dying, as opposed to those two being the only two options. Using 'alternative' makes it seem as if there's already been another option mentioned. Perhaps I just read too deeply into that...