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Every language has a way to mark the direct object
of a sentence.
It turns out that, being able to mark the direct object
is critical to the composition of the structure
and meaning of a sentence.
So in modern English, a direct object is marked by word order.
So if you say, John ate pizza, pizza, the direct object,
occurs right after the verb.
And so, word order marks the direct object and the word
order is fixed.
In modern Japanese, the direct object
is marked by case marking.
And so John ate pizza, in Japanese is,
[SPEAKING JAPANESE], is the direct object.
[SPEAKING JAPANESE], is the case marker.
And so you can say, John pizza ate, or you can say,
[SPEAKING JAPANESE], Literally, pizza John ate.
And they both mean the same thing.
And you have trouble understanding the sentence,
because the direct object and the subject
are marked with case marking.
So these are two ways in which to mark the direct object, word
order as in modern English, and case
marking as in modern Japanese.
What's interesting is that, if you go back in history,
and look at old Japanese, 1,200 years ago,
old Japanese employed the same system that modern English does
of using just word order to mark direct object.
And so in old Japanese, there was no pizza back then,
but let's say, I am thinking of my wife, [SPEAKING JAPANESE],
wife occurs right next to the verb, no case marking,
and so word order is fixed.
What's interesting is that, if you look at English, so
modern English we know marks direct object by word order,
if you go back roughly about the same historical depth, and look
at old English, old English employed the same system
that modern Japanese does of marking
all direct object by case marking, just like Latin.
And so old Japanese and modern English marks direct
object by word order.
Old English and modern Japanese marks direct
object by case marking.