- When speaking Japanese, we have to be aware of the greetings we use. For example, konnichiwa and sayounara, which is 'good afternoon' and 'good bye' respectively, are only used for outsiders of the group. Insiders would be your classmates, colleagues, family...those people whom you see everyday and interact with on a common basis. Outsiders would be everyone else. If you say konnichiwa or sayounara to your 'in-group', they would think you're crazy, or you're joking. In these situations, simply bowing your head or saying other kinds of greetings will be enough.
- Itte kimasu [it-teh kih-mas]- said when you're leaving. They also use this phrase when they're about to do something (I guess it's like they're leaving their little group behind). Like for example, in Japanese game shows, when someone decides to go do the challenge they would pull up their sleeves and cheerfully cry out, "Jya, itte kimasu!"
- Itte (i)rasshai [it-teh ra-shyai]- said to someone who's leaving. Used more like at home, when the dad, or kids, are about to leave home to go to work or school. The "i" is almost silent. Itte kimasu and itte irasshai are a set phrase.
- Tadaima [tah-dah-i-mah]- said when you arrive at home. It basically means, "I''ve come back!"
- Okairi (nasai) [oh-ka-i-rih na-sai]-means "welcome back home". This is an automatic response to tadaima. Nasai, just like in oyasuminasai, is just a polite word. Most people would just chirp out, "Okairi!" Tadaima and okairi are a set phrase.
- Doumo arigatou (gozaimasu) [doh-mo a-ri-gah-toh goh-zah-i-mas]- thank you (very much). Close friends would probably just say "arigatou" to each other, but if you're feeling very thankful, like they've just done some real big favor for you, then you would most likely use this whole phrase.
- Gomen (nasai) [goh-men na-sai]- I'm (very) sorry. Again, nasai is just polite. People cry out, "gomen, gomen!" Or you might have heard, "gomen ne," meaning, "I'm sorry, ok?"
- Sumimasen [su-mi-ma-sen]- Excuse me/ I'm sorry (formal). You say this if you've been rude to someone. Usually this is followed by a profound bow, if you've really messed up. Or this could also be used to say, "pardon me, what time is it?" in that case, it would be, "sumimasen, nan ji desu ka."
- Itadakimasu [i-tah-dah-ki-mas]- it's like a little prayer you say before eating. It basically holds the meaning, "I will dig in!"
- Gochisousama (deshita) [goh-chi-soh-sah-mah desh-tah]- said after eating. Like itadakimasu, there's no English word equivalent, so this is more or less, "Thank you for that wonderful food." Deshita is the 'te' form, or past form, of desu, the state of being. It's just basically saying "it was" good food.
In Chapter 2, I used a formal way of talking between two acquaintances. Here, I will show you a more casual way of talking to each other. Ninomiya and Ohno here are close friends and they've met up by chance on a train. Ninomiya:
O, ohayou, Ohno-kun.Ohno:
Un, genki. Gakkou wa doo?Ohno:
Omoshiroi yo. Eigo no kurasu wa?Ninomiya:
Ah sou? Jya mata ne!Ninomiya:
Mata ato de.
Try to see if you understand what they're talking about first. These are words you're already familiar with, with the exception of "ato de" and "sugoku". Once you think you have an idea of what they're talking about, go on ahead and read the translation.Ninomiya:
Oh, good morning, Ohno-kun!Ohno:
Good morning. Are you well?Ninomiya:
Uh-huh, I'm well. How's school?Ohno:
It's interesting. How's your English class?Ninomiya:
It's really fun!Ohno:
Oh, is that right? Well, I'll see you later!Ninomiya:
See you later.
Mata means again, and ato means later. So literally, mata ato de means "Later I will see you again."
Sugoku means extremely, or really, or very. It denotes a sense of extremety. It's in casual form. An example of its usage would be, "Sugoku kawaii!" meaning, it's soo~ cute!
Say the following expressions in Japanese
1. It's a beautiful day, isn't it? (Today the weather is good, isn't it?)
2. How are you, Mr. Domyouji?
3. Makino Tsukushi is very interesting, isn't she?
4. I'm fine, thank you.
5. Good afternoon, Mr. Rui!
Read the dialogues and see if you can understand them:
Serizawa: Naruse-san, ohayou gozaimasu.
Naruse: aa, Serizawa-san, ohayou gozaimasu.
Serizawa: ogenki desu ka?
Naruse: maa maa desu. Serizawa-san wa?
Serizawa: watashi mo maa maa desu.
Naruse: isogashii [busy] desu ka?
Serizawa: hai, totemo [very] isogashii desu.
Naruse: jya, mata.
Serizawa: jya mata. Sayounara.
Sakurai: Yo, Aiba-chan! Genki?
Aiba: Un genki. Sakurai-kun wa?
Sakurai: Genki. Uwaa, kyou wa atsui [hot] desu ne!
Aiba: Atsui desu ne!
Sakurai: Jya, kurasu ni ikimashou.
1. Kyou wa otenki desu ne?
2. Domyouji-san wa, ogenki desu ka?
3. Makino Tsukushi-san wa, sugoku omoshiroi desu ne?
4. Okagesama de genki desu.
5. Rui-san, konnichiwa!
Serizawa: Naruse-san, good morning.
Naruse: aa, Serizawa-san, good morning.
Serizawa: Are you well?
Naruse: I'm so so. How about you?
Serizawa: I'm also feeling so so.
Naruse: Are you busy?
Serizawa: Yes, I'm very busy.
Naruse: Well then, I'll see you later.
Serizawa: Later. Good bye.
Sakurai: Yo Aiba! Are you well?
Aiba: Yes, I'm well. You?
Sakurai: I'm well! Man, today is hot, isn't it?
Aiba: It is, isn't it!
Sakurai: Well then, let's head to class.
Aiba: Let's go!
Thaaaanks for reading!
Tags: chapter 2, class, exercises, extra, grammar, japanese, lesson, tutorial
Chapter 2: Greetings
Ohno: Ninomiya-san, ohayou gozaimasu.
Ninomiya: Ohno-san, ohayou gozaimasu.
Ohno: Kyoo wa ii (o)tenki desu ne!
Ninomiya: Honto ni ii (o)tenki desu ne!
Ohno: Ogenki desu ka.
Ninomiya: Hai, okagesama de genki desu.
Ohno-san mo ogenki desu ka.
Ohno: Hai, okagesama de (ogenki desu).
Ninomiya: gakkou wa doo desu ka.
Ohno: Totemo tanoshii desu.
Ninomiya: Kurasu wa omoshiroi desu ka?
Ohno: Hai, totemo omoshiroi desu.
Ninomiya: Sore wa yokatta desu ne!
Jya, mata ne.
Ohno: Jya mata.
Alright! After a long break, I finally updated! I’m sorry it’s been so long. I just didn’t expect a lot of people to read this and say that they actually learned a lot I’m so happy…. Thank you everyone who commented!
At any rate, moving on. These two dashing people are Ohno and Ninomiya from the awesome boy band Arashi. They’re just so cute, I couldn’t help myself. Here’s the translation]:
Ohno: Good morning Mr. Ninomiya.
Ninomiya: Good morning, Mr. Ohno.
Ohno: Today is a nice day, isn’t it?
Ninomiya: It really is a nice day, isn’t it?
Ohno: How are you? (literally, “Are you well?”
Ninomiya: Yes, thank you for asking, (I’m all right).
How is school?
Ohno: It is really fun/enjoyable.
Ninomiya: Are [your] classes interesting?
Ohno: Yes, they are very interesting.
Ninomiya: That‘s good to hear.
Well, I’ll see you later.
Ohno: See you later.
Ninomiya: Good bye.
Ohno: Good bye.
Ninomiya and Ohno met by chance, let’s say, on a train. They of course begin by greeting each other good morning, and then moves on to ask about the weather. In Japan, being a small island, weather is highly important, so it’s natural for them to inquire about the weather as a conversation starter. In English, our fixed set phrase would be “How are you?“ “I’m fine, thank you.“ In Japan, it’s to inquire about the weather and then ask the other person’s well being.
If you did or did not notice, I put the “O” in () when I wrote (o)tenki. This is because the “O” before a word makes it polite. Tenki by itself means weather, but when talking to someone, depending on who it is, you most probably would want to be polite and put the honorific O in the front. If you look closely:
Ohno: (o)genki desu ka. (are you well?)
Ninomiya: Hai, okagesama de, genki desu. (Yes, thank you for asking, I‘m alright.)
Ninomiya does not say ogenki because he is talking about himself. Like tenki, genki is a word by itself, which means “good”. Because Ohno is inquiring about Ninomiya’s health, he exalts him and uses the honorific prefix “o”, and when Ninomiya answers, in order not to put an honorific on himself, drops the “o”.
They then talk about Ohno’s class, whether it’s fun and interesting, and then both goes on their own ways.
*In English, our sentences are constructed in a Subject Verb Object position. For example:
I am reading a book.
[The subject is I, the verb is reading, and book is an object].
In Japanese, this is reversed. Japanese language is in a Subject Object Verb position. Meaning:
(watashi wa) hon o yomimasu.
[The subject is watashi, although oftentimes people would leave it out because it is implied that you are the subject when you don’t say so. The object is hon, marked by the particle o, and the verb is yomimasu.]
*Ohayou gozaimasu- Good morning.
Some people would write ‘ohayoo’, which is not wrong, per se, but that’s not exactly how you would write it in hiragana. The “u” is used in the end. I guess some people would find it somewhat difficult to pronounce a word that ends in “ou” without making it sound like “o-ha-you (as in English ‘you’. It is pronounced o-ha-yoh go-za-i-mas. The “u” at the end is silent, and that goes for desu as well, although some girls would strongly enunciate the ‘u’ at the end to sound more feminine and cute.
*~san- Is an honorific suffix that does not imply any component of gender. You can add that to a Ms./Mrs./Mr. Contrary to what some people believe, especially those who typically watch anime and can now recognize and use some Japanese words but don’t have a complete understanding of its essence (just like how I was before I took Japanese class), these honorific suffixes technically have no implications of the person’s gender.
~chan is a suffix used as a term for endearment. It is also usually, but not necessarily, reserved for girls because it makes them sound cute. So basically, you usually should only use this if you’re really close to them, regardless whether they are a boy or a girl, younger or older. In terms of politeness, it’s pretty low, so use this only for the people you know won’t be offended by it. For those of you who know Arashi, this would be a great example. There was a scene where Ohno and Nakai from SMAP were “arguing”. One of these arguments was that Ohno deliberately calls Nakai, who’s his senpai (someone older, or with a higher rank), as Nakai-chan. Nakai gets “angry” and says, “who are you calling Nakai-chan? Only the executives at Fuji TV can call me that,” which proves another point that if they’re your boss, people would usually let themselves be called as something-chan because they‘re of a superior position.
~kun is usually used for boys, although like ~chan, it is just a term of endearment without any technical implication of gender. As for politeness rank, it’s a step up from ~chan. All members of Arashi call each other by ~kun, at least in their casual TV shows, with the exception of Aiba, whom everyone seem to usually call as Aiba-chan (since his personality is so childish and they’re all expressing his endearment to them). In Fruits Basket, Shigure calls Tohru as Tohru-kun, while Kagura who becomes a close friend to Tohru calls her Tohru-chan. Others like Yuki, who is more reserved and respectful towards her calls her by her last name, Honda-san. By listening to this closely, you’ll be able to tell a lot about people’s relationship with each other, and it’s always very interesting to me to see what kinds of suffixes they affix to people they’re talking to.
*[anata wa] ogenki desu ka- literally meaning “Are you well/in good health?”. The Japanese do not naturally say an equivalent of ‘how are you’, which is ‘ikaga desu ka’ because they think it’s more of an English way, though others don’t have any objection to this expression.
Anata wa is not said because it is implied that you are talking about the person whom you are talking to, otherwise, if you want to inquire about someone else, let’s say Ohno-san wanted to ask Ninomiya-san about their other friend, Sho-san, then he would say to Nino-san, “Sho-san wa, ogenki desu ka.”
*doo in [kurasu wa doo desu ka]- doo, just like ikaga, means “how”. Ikaga is just more polite, so when asking about someone’s health, they tend to use ikaga. It depends on the subject you’re talking about. For example, remember the first tutorial about the particles always marking whatever goes before it? In this case, wa is marking kurasu, so kurasu is our topic. When asking the other for their health, “[anata wa] ikaga desu ka”, our topic is anata, so it is natural we would want to use the polite form.
Going back to the “o” honorific prefix, we add it depending on our topic. Since weather is a big deal in Japan, we say otenki at all times to honor the weather. Ogenki, if talking about the other person, is exalted because we honor the other person--but if your topic is yourself, you wouldn’t want to use the honorary prefix because you want to humble yourself. Ocha is another one of those things that Japanese honor. Cha by itself means tea, but we say ocha because it is important. Don’t go putting the honorary prefix on everything, though! I didn’t figure out what sorts of words you could use that on, so… haha…
*Okagesamade- meaning ‘thanks to the favors of others’ or ‘fortunately’. It implies a good answer that says the speaker is fine. The most common way to reply to ‘ogenki desu ka’ or ‘ikaga desu ka’ is to say, “Okagesamade, genki desu.” Sometimes you don’t even have to say genki desu. Okagesamade by itself already tells them that you are well.
*Jya mata- jya is a contracted form of dewa, just like how “isn’t” is a contracted form of “is not”. Contracted forms are less formal, as you probably can tell by saying isn’t and is not. The choice of style that you use to talk depends on many factors such as: circumstances (are you close friends, or business co-workers?), age (are you older or younger?) sex (boys would generally talk to girls differently than they would to guys their age, if they’re gentlemanly enough ^~^), and social status (are you their boss, or someone’s secretary?) etc. Usually in classrooms, students say Jya to each other, and it is true in most social occasions even among adults.
Mata means “again.” Literally, jya mata would mean, “then again”, but that’s just how they say “see you later.”
*Sayounara- (again, it is not sa-you-na-ra, but rather sa-yoh-nah-rah). It means goodbye, but this is formal and usually means that you probably won’t be seeing the other person again tomorrow. For example, Ohno-san just happened to meet Ninomiya-san by chance--they don’t see each other very often, so it is natural to hear them say sayounara to each other. If, on the other hand, Ninomiya-san and Ohno-san live together, or they go to the same work place together and see each other every day, sayounara wouldn’t be practical. If you say that to a family member, or someone you see often, it would mean that you are going away and wouldn’t be seeing them for a long while.
*kyou [kyo-oh]- today
*(o)tenki [o-teng-ki]- weather
*(o)genki [o-geng-ki]- in good health
*gakkou [gak-koh]- school
*kurasu [ku-ra-su]- class (this is written in katakana)
*ii [long E sound, as in see]- good (colloquial form of yoi)
* tanoshii [at-noh-shii]- fun/enjoyable
*omoshiroi [oh-moh-shi-roy]- interesting/fun
*yokatta [yok-kat-tah]- something was good (past form of ii)
*mo holds the meaning of “also” or “too”. This cannot be used as an independent word to mean “also” because it is only a particle. As with the other particles, this one will always define the word before it.
Watashi wa genki desu. Ogenki desu ka.
Hai, watashi mo genki desu.
Notice that mo replaced ‘wa’ as a subject marker. It’s because this time, you want to say that the subject is also alright.
Nihongo ga wakarimasu.
Sou ka? Watashi mo nihongo ga wakarimasu.
Other greetings you may say:
* Konnichiwa [kon-ni-chi-wah]- good afternoon, or hello.
* Kombanwa [kom-ban-wah]- good evening.
*Dewa mata- more polite form of Jya mata.
* Oyasuminasai -[oh-yah-su-mi-na-sai]- good night. When you’re about to sleep. ~nasai makes it polite, so people usually just say to their friends or siblings, ‘oyasumi’.
*maa maa desu [mah- mah- des]- I’m so so/ Not bad, thank you
PHEW! Long haul, this one. For those of you who liked this, I’m also uploading hiragana tutorials. Check those out as well
Tags: arashi, grammar, japanese, lesson, tutorial
Current Music: Oh Yeah! by Arashi
Ok, we'll start with the "something extra" part of the title. I realize not everyone will know exactly how to pronounce the words in Japanese, so here is a little tip or help.
When we write Japanese words in English, such as the dialogue I wrote at the beginning of the chapter, we call it romaji. Japanese words are written in hiragana or Kanji, and English words that the Japanese borrow are usually written in katakana. As for now, I don't really know how I'll teach you guys how to write in hiragana/katakana/kanji... so I'm thinking it over. If someone else has an idea on an awesome way to be able to teach the h/kata/kanji, then please, post up whatever.
That aside, here we go on the pronunciation guide:
>The a in any romaji version you see is pronounced as 'a' like in father. Never 'ay'.
>The i is always pronounced 'ea' as in 'beat'.
>The u is always pronounced as a kind of short 'oo' as in 'cook'.
>The e is always pronounced as 'eh' as in 'bed'.
>The o is always pronounced as 'o' as in 'ole!' (in spanish). It's made by making the mouth an 'o' shape.
You probably realized the weird way I set up the usual aeiou--but it's not. In Japan, this is how they line up their vowels, and it'd do you good to memorize it this way. It's pretty hard (at least it was for me) to say it in this order. It took me 2 days of singing recitation.
Also, make note of some of the words that will come up that has double vowels. Basically it means you say it longer.
(Ex: obasan (o-bah-san) vs. obaasan (o-baa-san). That is aunt vs. grandma.
And for the rest like: ii, ee, oo, uu
Please keep this pronunciation guide in mind.
Now we're on to the:
A.Say the following in Japanese. The parenthesis will give you more hints as to what is really wanted.
1.) Hello, nice to meet you. (Nice meeting you for the very first time)
2.) My name is Ichigo Kurosaki. (I am Ichigo Kurosaki)
3.) I'm Ms. Kuchiki.
4.) Do you understand Japanese? (Is Japanese comprehensible to you?)
5.) I don't understand Japanese. (Japanese is not comprehensible to me.)
6.) I understand a little Japanese. (Sukoshi=little. Adverbs usually go in front of the verb.)
7.) Does Atobe understand French?
8.) No, Atobe doesn't understand French. (Iie=no.)
9.) Yes, Atobe understands French. (Hai=yes.)
10.) Let's speak German. (Let's speak by means of German language)
11.) Let's do that [speak German].
B. Practice the dialogue, and then translate it to English.
1.) H: Abarai-san desu ka?
A: Hai, soo desu.
H: Watashi wa Hanatarou desu. Hajimemashite.
A: Hajimemashite. Doozo yoroshiku.
H: Kochira koso, doozo yoroshiku.
2.) A: Uchiha-san desu ka?
H: Iie, chigaimasu. (chigaimasu=wrong, mistaken)
A: Doomo shitsurei shimashita. (Doomo=very; shitsurei shimashita= i was rude)
3.) A: Hanatarou-san desu ka?
K: Iie, chigaimasu. Kuchiki Byakuya desu.
A: Shitsurei shimashita. Watashi wa Abarai Renji desu.
K: Abarai-san wa dochira kara desu ka? (dochira=where; kara=from)
A: Watashi wa Kariforunia kara desu.
K: Watashi wa Texas kara desu. Doozo yoroshiku.
A: Doozo yoroshiku.
C. Reply to the following questions in Japanese.
1.) Kirihara-san desu ka?
2.) Jya, onamae wa? (onamae=name)
3.) Chuugokugo ga wakarimasu ka?
4.) Eigo ga wakarimasu ka?
5.) Furansugo ga wakarimasu ka?
Basically this is a quiz activity. Make up your own dialogue in English, keeping in mind the scope of what you've learned (so don't go too far and make it hard on yourself), and then translate it in English. Here's the scenario: You are meeting someone for the very first time. I don't care who it is. You mistake him for Johnny Depp, and then you apoligize. You then start talking about where each of you came from, and what language(s) you guys know. Name something that you know little of. One of you will ask the other do speak something in a certain way, and they will agree to do it your way.
If you want, you can post up your mini dialogue here for everyone to see, and we'll see if it is correct. Have fun!
Tags: excercise, japanese, language, lesson, practice, quiz, test
Current Mood: calm
Fuji: Watashi wa Fuji Syuusuke desu.
Loxley: Watashi wa Loxley no Robin desu.
Fuji: Douzo yoroshiku.
Loxley: Kochira koso, douzo yoroshiku.
Fuji-san wa, eigo ga wakarimasu ka.
Fuji: Hai, wakarimasu.
Loxley: Jya, eigo de hanashimashoo.
Fuji: Soo shimashoo.
Haha, ok, apart from the silly names I chose (Fuji Syuusuke is from Prince of Tennis and Robin of Loxley is from Robin Hood), this dialogue is pretty much the whole chapter. Now, let's see the English equivalent of these sentences and then we'll go on to breaking it down to bits.
Fuji: I am Syuusuke Fuji.
Loxley: I am Robin of Loxley.
Fuji: A pleasure to meet you.
Loxley: No, it is my pleasure to meet you.
Mr. Fuji, do you understand English?
Fuji: Yes, I do understand (English).
Loxley: Then let us speak in English.
Fuji: Let's do that.
Basically, as you can no doubt tell, Fuji and Loxley are meeting for the first time. I guess Robin got tired of Sherwood Forest and decided to move on to the untamed forests of Japan (?). Loxley does not know how to speak Japanese very well yet and so he asks if Fuji can understand English, of which, fortunately for Robin, he could, and then they start speaking in English.
>Hajimemashite is a word reserved only for meeting someone the very first time. You say it to a person once in your lifetime and it basically translates into "Nice meeting you for the very first time."
>Douzo yoroshiku really has no literal translation in English. And if it does, it's probably going to go something like, "Please consider me kindly,"--which we don't usually say in meetings. It's a set phrase that shows your politeness, willingness, and gratitude to be their acquaintance.
+Kochira koso holds the meaning "It is I who should be saying that." It is used to humble yourself. Japan is a place where respect is a very important thing (their language is based upon this politeness ranking. There's humbling yourself, being polite, and even honoring the other person. Don't worry about this yet)
> ~mashoo is a suffix added to verbs (i.e hanasu, taberu, etc) to make it mean "Let's do (verb)"
(Ex: Hanashimashoo- let us talk
Tabemashoo- let us eat)
> ~masu is a suffix added to verbs to make it sound polite. It puts the verb in a non-past form, meaning it is in a state of continual doing, or will be done (much like the verb "to run" conjugates into "runs" and "will run". Keep in mind however, that I do not say "running". There is another way to form an 'ing' verb, but that comes later).
(Ex: Watashi wa wakarimasu- I understand
Fuji-san wa arukimasu- Fuji runs)
+ ~masen is a suffix opposite of ~masu. It makes the verb negative, but still polite.
(Ex: Watashi wa eigo ga wakarimasen- I do not understand English)
>Desu is a copula (a word added with no real specific meaning) that basically holds the idea of "state of being." You could think of it like the English "is", but sometimes it may be unreliable.
(Ex: Hon desu- A book
Fuji desu- It is Fuji)
>Watashi is how a person would refer to themselves as. It translates into "I" and is considered a polite and refined way to refer to oneself. Women and men can both use this (you'll find out later that in Japanese, there are many different ways to refer to yourself depending on your gender and sex (which, I am told, are two very different things).
> ~san is a suffix added to names of others in order to be polite. It is equivalent to Mr./Mrs./Ms. However, you do not add ~san (or other honorific suffixes) to your own name unless you want to sound egotistic or bold. My advice is, since you're barely learning Japanese, don't try to act 'cool' with native speakers and add cute suffixes like ~chan (like what they do in the anime when introducing themselves). Stick with the basics for now.
On a side note, for those of you who know the famous Jrocker Miyavi, or Atobe Keigo from Prince of tennis, will realize they call themselves Ore-sama, and if you're wondering what in the world that means, Ore is basically a way to refer to oneself as someone who is masculine and strong, like what you would say as Boss, or BigDude in English. Ore by itself is not that bad, but since they add the suffix ~sama, which is an honorific suffix for a lord, god, some noble guy, etc, they basically say The Almightly Masculine and Strong Me. Which... sounds overly egotistic (but since it's Miyavi and Atobe, hey, why not?)
Now we're going into the nouns, verbs, and particles of this chapter. If I were you, I'd really try to memorize this section of the chapter, as you'll see these words over and over again. Watashi actually is supposed to go here as well, but since I started talking about it in the ~san section, I decided to introduce it to you beforehand.
> Eigo is the Japanese word for "English". The suffix ~go is added to a country's name to refer to its language.
Doitsu + go = German language
Chuugoku + go = Chinese
Supein + go = Spanish
Furansu + go = French
Nihon + go = Japanese
Itaria + go = Italian
>Anata is the japanese equivalent of "you". I think this is a good time to introduce you to the fact that Japanese people don't have words like "he" or "she" or anything particular like that. For some reason, they spent it all on their "me's"....
>Fuji is a Japanese surname. It is customary in Japan to say last names first before first names. They do know that other countries do the opposite though, so just keep your ears or eyes out. It is also considered a bit bold for a new acquaintance to call their newly met friend by their first names only. Generally they'd refer to you first by your surname-san, and then move on to name-kun or name-chan (if it's a girl). But don't worry about that yet. Worry about last names and using ~san as the suffix first.
>Wakarimasu means I or someone understands. It's the ~masu form of wakaru. Incidentally, wakarimasen means I or someone does not understand.
>Hanashimasu means I or someone speaks. ~Masu form of hanasu.
>Shimashoo means let's do. ~Mashoo form of Suru (don't worry if it looks odd. We'll talk about it later)
>Arukimasu means to walk. ~Masu form of aruku.
>Tabemasu means to eat. ~Masu form of taberu.
Now this is the hardest part of the chapter. I know it's been long, but hey, that's the pain of learning. These are the particles. They are like little words that hold no meaning by itself. They're the markers of the sentences, and they direct you to what the topic is, the direct/indirect object, etc. Remember that they define the preceding words.
>Wa is the topic marker. Whatever we're talking about in the sentence, it will always relate to what this 'wa' particle is defining.
(Ex: Watashi wa Fuji desu. Here, wa is marking watashi, and therefore, our main topic is watashi. Whatever we're talking about ultimately relates to this. In this case, "Fuji desu" relates to "watashi", and thus: as for Watashi, it is Fuji.
>Ga is a
direct object marker subject marker (thank you to excalibor for pointing out this mistake), meaning whatever action the verb (it has to be an intransitive verb) is relating, it refers to the word 'ga' is defining.
(Ex: Eigo ga wakarimasu. Wakarimasu is the verb, and usually verbs would take a direct object (hence the mistake I made), but since wakarimasu is an intransitive verb, meaning it does not take a direct object, 'ga' marks the subject that is being wakarimasu. Wakarimasu translates into "something is clear or comprehensible."
I do think it is interchangeable completely now, it's just a matter of what you want to emphasize. For example, if you wish to say "As for English, it is comprehensible to me," then it would be "Eigo wa, watashi ga wakarimasu." The main topic will go to English; maybe you were talking about many languages and you came to English, and you wanted to say, Oh as for that I understand. Watashi now is the subject of wakarimasu. Hm. Usually, if you're referring to yourself, you just leave watashi out. So you'd just say "Eigo ga wakarimasu" or "Eigo wa wakarimasu". But I haven't actually seen or heard people say the latter. It may be grammatically correct, but no one does it. At least as far as I know.
(More examples: Fuji san wa, chuugokugo ga wakarimasu. As for Fuji-san, he is able to wakarimasu chuugokugo.)
Excalibor brings up another particle, which is the real direct object marker, which is (w)o. W is in parenthesis because you don't pronounce it, so it comes out as 'o' as in boy. We'll talk about that later, but if you're interested, Excalibor talks about it in the comment.
>Ka is basically the Japanese's question mark. They typically don't use (?) to express the question, instead, they sort of use a high intonation with 'ka' as a form of asking.
(Ex: Fuji-san desu ka. Are you Fuji?)
>No is a particle that links 2 nouns together. This is one of the particles where there will be about 6 uses, all having different meanings. Remember this as (no number 1.) Things only get harder from here on out with these darn particles. But one step at a time. This is basically "of" in English language.
(Ex: Loxley no Robin = Robin of Loxley
Nihongo no hon = Book of Japanese or a Japanese book)
If you put the nouns the other way around, as in Hon no nihongo, then it'll come out as The Japanese of books. Oo, that sounds intimidating, in a way. Like there'll be a war between the Chinese of books, and German of books. Who will win?
>De, like no, will have many uses. In this particular usage, it is equivalent to "by means of" or "using". It is a particle that marks how a thing marked by the verb should be done.
(Ex: Furansugo de hanashimashoo. Let's speak by means of French.)
Alright! This is where chapter 1 ends. I do hope you learned a lot amd enjoyed learning in the process, because I sure enjoyed writing this up. Comments, questions, suggestions, please comment or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please spread the word about this community and let's all help each other learn Japanese ^__^ Arigatou gozaimasu.
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