Speaking without subject
May 13, 2022
When talking with learners of Japanese, you will often hear them say, “I am…”.
Perhaps they are careful to put the subject first and the verb last, as is the grammatical rule.
Of course, this is not a mistake.
However, such serious Japanese sentences sometimes sound unnatural.
As is characteristic of the Japanese language, the subject is often omitted.
Even in the literary works of the Heian period (794-1185), which I studied in the doctoral course, the subject was often omitted.
Japanese people have been omitting subjects for more than 1,000 years.When it is obvious who is doing something, the subject is often omitted.
It means, “You know what it is, even if I don’t say the subject.”
For example, look at the following conversation.
Aさん : あしたは、(あなたは)何時に来ますか?
Bさん : (私は) 12時に行きます。
Mr. A : What time will (you) come tomorrow?
Mr. B : (I) will be there at 12:00.
It is more natural Japanese conversation to abbreviate “you” and “I.”
So speaking without subject is very natural for Japanese.