Language Structure Problems


Examine the data and answer the questions.

1. nomimasu - someone drinks
2. kaimono - a purchase
3. tabemasu - someone eats
4. urimasu - to sell
5. tatemono - a building
6. wasuremasu - someone forgets
7. nomimono - a beverage
8. waremono - broken stuff
9. kimono - a traditional Japanese garment 
10. urimono - things that are on sale

a. What do you think these Japanese words mean? Why do you think so?
kimasu, wasuremono

b. How would you say the following in Japanese?
to build, food

c. It is easy to separate some words into their constituent morphemes. For example, the Japanese word 'furuhon' (second hand book) is easy to understand once you know that 'hon' means book. the two morphemes must be furu + hon. In these data, though, it is harder to decide where to put the morpheme boundary. Explain the problem. What data (that is what kind of Japanese word) would you need to have to resolve the problem?