[SOLVED] ~そうだ/~ようだ/~らしい/~そうだ(hearsay) - Difference in their Meaning and usage

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Jul 24, 2011 21:09
It's kind of important for me to have a comprehensible short summary of rules/formulas how to use these forms, therefore I collected/quoted magamo's explanations from the forum and DoBJG. Please correct me if I'm getting something wrong straightly, ok?

My questions under the quotes are marked with '#'.
Quotes from grammar references are quoted with the [quote][/quote] tags!

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~そうだ(non hearsay) vs. ~ようだ and ~らしい vs. ~そうだ(hearsay) – A compilation
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[quote]この酒は水のようだ。This sake is like water.
ここは昔学校だったようだ。It seems that this place used to be a school.[/quote]

# The usage of ~そうだ for the likelihood in the sentences above would sound strange, assuming it to be different to ~ようだ concerning the psychological aspect, right?

[quote]ようだ expresses the likelihood of s.th./s.o., or the likeness of s.th./s.o. to s.th./s.o.. In either case, when the speaker uses ようだ, his statement is based on firsthand, reliable (usually visual) information. In counter-factual situations it gets also used and まるで is taken for more emphasis:

木村さんはまるで酒を飲んだようだ。 Mr. Kimura looks as if he had just drunk sake.

~みたいだ is the colloquial form of ~ようだ. [/quote]

# So, perhaps I'm close to Mr. Kimura and we sit at a bar - could I, considering the psychological aspect of ~そうだ us it, also? Or is it a rule, that ~ようだ gets used for this situations? If so, I'm quite messed up and more confused.. where's the rule then? Or does "counter-factual" mean, that he acts/speaks like "as if" he is "drunk", but in fact could be completely sober and just a bit tired (f.e.)?

[quote]There are a few related expressions conveying similar ideas to ~ようだ

かもしれない < だろう(でしょう)< に違いない express also conjecture (different degree of certainty), but not necessarily based on reliable information. Merely guess-work is done.[/quote]

# Not necessarily an „evidence“ as such (visual etc. information) are needed. You say it just like that with no proof/guarantee (?) implied. I just included かもしれない and に違いない for completeness (hope it wasn't wrong though?). They don't appear in this <...<... form in DoBJG, for your notice.

[quote]らしい is used when one guesses but usually らしい implies that you heard that X was true or you have some similar evidence/proof/reason, e.g., old adages, well-known facts and common sense. If you're (almost) sure that X is true because the evidence, etc. is strong, らしい is just softening your sentence so you don't sound too assertive. And while そうだ(hearsay) is strictly quoting someone and putting you under no responsibility for it being correct or not, with らしい it's your conclusion and you had some responsibility if it turns out to be wrong.[/quote]

# So unlike a normal, "out of the blue sky"-guess, ~らしい tends to have some evidence (you heard). It is also implied, using ~らしい, it's your conclusion you came to after hearing this and that -- you kind of take responsibility what you say then.. unlike ~そうだ(hearsay), using to quote someone stricly (f.e. newspaper, weatherforecasts etc. 記事によってXだそうだ。)

[quote]「明日雨が降るそうだ」 would mean you're putting your [b]full faith[/b] in the weather report.
「明日雨が降るらしい」 would mean that you'd decided that the weather report is correct and to trust it.
But according to a comment here, らしい is inference and not hearsay (but inference based on hearsay/etc., a roundabout conclusion). It doesn't have to be based on what you're heard.[/quote]

# So, basically, the idea with the "responsibility" is described once again here: "would mean that you'd decided that the weather report is correct and to trust it" = your conclusion (using ~らしい). "そうだ(hearsay) is strictly quoting someone here again, right? And putting you under no responsibility for it being correct or not..."

[quote]「明日雨が降るらしい」: you've [b]concluded yourself based on[/b] the movements of the clouds.
「彼女結婚したらしい」: you've noticed that she's wearing a ring he hadn't been wearing before.[/quote]

# Same as above again, right?


(skipped a bit in content, but coming now to ~ようだ ~そうだ(non-hearsay))

[quote]The actual difference between non-hearsay そうだ and そうだ-like ようだ lies in the psychological distance between you and the event, appearance, or other kinds of thing you're mentioning. When you use そうだ, you're psychologically/emotionally tied to the thing/event/situation/whatever and often you're picturing an imaginary world where X in Xそうだ is true and you're standing there in your mind. You might be in an on-going/about-to-happen event, and in that case, the imaginary world can be the very close future world you're picturing in your mind.
In other words, you use そうだ when you're both an observer and a person who is currently involved in some way while ようだ is used when you feel you're an observer and kind of an outsider. When you use そうだ, the situation you're taking about is psychologically in front of you.
For this reason, it's impossible to use そうだ when you're talking about an event that already happened or finished.[/quote]

# Besides the psychological difference/nuance between those two forms isn't ~ようだ "It seems..." stronger than ~そうだ "It seems.."?

Sorry for that long post, but I'm really eager to be (fully?) capable of using these forms as correctly as the conditionals (next post, *puh*) in Japanese.. It's just that perfectionist in me wanting to know all the rules, differences and I suppose just learning the differences by tons of example sentences is rather difficult not knowing any rules, right? Thanks for answering in advance, I really appreciate it!!
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