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<< Group 1 Verb Exceptions | ha-2 >>

〜は [〜は] (ha)
    Meaning: 'topic marker' (also shown as 'wa')
    Example: X wa Y desu : X is Y
    JLPT Level: 4
    Category: grammar
    Author: Amatuka

  [ Edit This Grammar Entry ]
Introducing は "wa" and です。"desu."
the particle は marks the topic.
(Remember particles attach to the word which they follow, and that when は is a particle it is pronounced wa.)
です。functions like "is" or "topic is."

Is pronounced as "wah".
は a subject or topic marker.
は can appear as ha, or wa in romaji depending on the system used.

The kana used for は is usually pronounced as "hah", but pronounced as "wah" when used as a particle.
The same phenomenon happens in the word "dewa/deha" では in the negative conjugation of the verb desu.

Other notes:
In yakuza speech,
は、becomes や (yah).
Typically, the y sound is softened such that it sounds like "ah"
Ore ha --turns to-> Ore ya --but sounds like-> Ore a


[ Add Note(s) ]
Note: visit WWWJDIC to lookup any unknown words found in the example(s)...
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ex #623   田中さん大学生です。[ tanakasan hadaigakusei desu] 
Mr. Tanaka is a university student.  
ex #5241   マイケルです。 
I am Michael.  
ex #5891   林檎緑です。[ringo ha midori desu.] 
The apple is green.  
ex #7818   皆さん何処ですか? みんなさんはどこですか?  
Where is everyone from? Minna san wa doko desu ka?  
ex #7819   アメリカ人です。 わたしはアメリカじんです。  
I am American. Watashi wa amerikanjin desu.  
ex #7820   私たち火星人です。わたしたちはかせいじんです。  
We are Martians. Watashi tachi wa kaseijin desu.  

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  See Also:  
  • da    (X ha Y da (X は Y だ) and its variants are the most basic of Japanese sentence structures.) [Amatuka]
  • mo    (も can replace the topic marker は in a sentence.) [Amatuka]
  • ha-2    (Note use of は to indicate contrast vs. indicating the topic of a sentence.) [Amatuka]
  • ga    (Compare / contrast が ga (subject) and は [ha / wa] (topic) markers.) [Amatuka]
[ Add a See Also ]
AmatukaSee here and here for two very interesting Japanese pages on using ha vs. ga 
AmatukaWhen to use は vs が?
Both sentences like 雨は降っている。[ame ha
futteiru] and 雨が降っている。[ame ga futteiru] are
valid, so working out when to use which form is a
tricky point.

First: In answering a question such as
Q. 机の上に何がありますか。[tsukue no ue ni nani ga arimasu ka]
A. 鉛筆があります。[enpitsu ga arimasu].
Here が is used.
AmatukaOn the other hand if attention has been placed on something in advance and the question is asked with that object as the topic...
Q. 本はどこにありますか。[hon ha doko ni arimasu ka.]
A. 本はイスの下にあります。[hon ha isu no shita ni arimasu]
then は is used.
Amatukaが is also used to indicate a specific choice.
私が行きます。[watashi ga ikimasu]
_I'll_ go. (not any of the other possibilities).
Amatukaは is used for contrastative sentences (see ha-2).
For example normally you'd say
犬が好きです。[inu ga suki desu] I like dogs.
However if you want to contrast how you feel about dogs with how you feel about other animals then
犬は好きだが、猫はどうも・・・[inu ha suki da ga, neko ha doumo ...]
I like _dogs_ but I really don't (get on with) cats.
Amatukaは [ha / wa] follows a noun or a noun phrase.
(e.g. 犬は [inu ha] 'as for dogs'
知るのは [shiru no ha] 'as for what (I) know'
The latter case の nominalizes (turns into a noun) 知る)

N = noun
deedrioIn [ex #7818], shouldnt it be: 皆さんはからどこですか?
Or から皆さんはどこですか? Wouldnt ex #7818 just mean "Where is everyone"? Im no Japanese grammar expert but doesnt から mean from? And shouldnt から be used in ex #7818?

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