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What is the meaning of -しかありませんから ?

Jace *\(^o^)/*
Asked 7 years ago

The full sentence is 日本のまわりは海しかありませんから、 島国です. I read this to mean "Japan's surrounding area is nothing but sea, and..." something to do with island nations? I need help understanding the function of -しかありませんから .

Know someone who might be able to answer this question?

2 Answers

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・noun + しかありません is "there is/ you have nothing but something"

・verb + しかありません is "you have no choice but to do something "

"日本のまわりは海しかありませんから、島国です” means ”Since Japan is surrounded by the sea, it is an island country.”

Hope this will help.

beni
Answered 7 years ago

Ah, so I was really just misinterpreting the usage of the word 「から」。At the end of a statement, it takes on the meaning of "since" or "because", transforming the statement from "Japan is surrounded by the sea", to "Since Japan is surrounded by the sea..." and 島国 here points directly to the subject of the sentence. Thanks for the help! This sentence structure is so entirely opposite of the English language, a very challenging transition!

Jace *\(^o^)/*
Commented 7 years ago

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Hi!  

It looks like beni-san has answered your question well enough.  I just would like to add some explanation for the function of しか.

As you can look at it in the dictioary, しか is a prticle which means "only", "nothing but."

http://www.nihongomaster.com/dictionary/entry/491/%E3%81%97%E3%81%8B-shika

 

The particle しか looks a little confusing mainly because it is used only in negative sentences.  If you memorize しか as "only", you tend to say "海しかある。"  This is a wrong sentence!  If you want to say it in an affirmative sentence, you can use だけ.  Here are two sentences which basically have same meaning. 

こども (children) しか いません。

こども だけ います。

I hope this didn't make you more confused;;

 

 

 

Masako
Answered 7 years ago

No, not at all. I was studying the usage of しか in an attempt to make sense of the passage, but now I'm beginning to understand how から completely transforms this sentence. The Japanese language is sometimes so simple it's obfuscating! A very efficient language that requires incredible open-mindedness by those of us in the West who dare challenge it ;) Thank you for the feedback!

Jace *\(^o^)/*
Commented 7 years ago