Japanese language

  • Several members have expressed a desire to either learn or improve their language skills. @P.J. mentioned the idea of doing a sort of class in the forum, so I'm going to give this a shot.

    Know beforehand that there is a possibility that I will be returning to Tokyo next October, and the entire Funimation site is IP blocked in Japan since the site update this year (I was able to access the blog for the first couple of months, but that stopped over a year ago). For that reason, I will not be able to guarantee devotion to this project beyond the end of September.

    However, I will make every effort to insure that the information is available to at least be able to begin conjugating adjectives (there are two types in Japanese, but we'll get to those pretty quickly), verbs (There are no less than a dozen different conjugations for every verb in the language. These can also be combined, for example, to express the ability to do something as a past tense. On top of that, the verbs are really the most notable difference in formal (teineitai) and casual (futsutai) speech. Keigo, the ultra-honorific form of speaking, will likely not be covered in any detail because it is so far removed from anything heard in daily life. Most Japanese citizens can't speak it at a conversational level.), particles (this is something which really tends to throw even fluent speakers until they recognize the reason for the use of each).

    I'm also going to work on kanji as this proceeds, but am still undecided on the best way to approach this since it can be a rather daunting/repetitive process to learn. For the time being, kanji will be included with the basic vocabulary. I would suggest learning the kanji as you learn the words as this will at least make it more recognizable. There is also the benefit that once we begin conjugating verbs, the kanji users will have an advantage because of the way the language is written. Just a hint for now, but the written syllabaries for the Japanese language were created for the purpose of making kanji match the language.

    Having stated all of that (and there will be A LOT more than that covered), I need to express a couple of rules for this thread in order to make it useful for anyone wanting the information.

    1. I will make every effort to answer any questions expressed in the thread. However, because most of this will be done in a way which develops basic words prior to expanding upon those words to make them fit the language, I have to ask that any questions specifically state which lesson (I will number them) is being referred to. For example: I can say "it wasn't cold" by saying "samui jya arimasen deshita" or "samukunakatta". In order to know which form I'm trying to answer a question about, I need to know which level/form is causing the problem.
    2. I encourage the use of the syllabaries and kanji in this thread. At some point, after enough language has been developed to allow me to discuss the topics, I will be changing over to use them myself. It's just good practice, and a lot easier to read once familiar. However, because mistakes do happen, and a lot of questions will likely be "how do I express this", I need to ask that an English translation be included with the use of Japanese characters. This will also simplify things for any users which don't learn the kanji.
    3. Any questions asked will be responded to by editing the lesson rather than a direct response to the user. This will not only streamline the initial lesson for future users, but prevent me from adding unnecessary posts which will make the thread more difficult to search for anyone referring back for something they may have forgotten. I will label the responses as "Edit:" rather than change the lesson. These labeled responses should only be considered refining and not necessarily the actual lesson.
    4. If a question jumps ahead of the lesson, I will have no choice but to reply via edit that the current use needs to be learned to be implemented first. This is not being disrespectful, but because of the way the language changes, and is used, it is important to understand EVERY form of change in order to build the proper word. Likewise, you will often find yourself "reverse engineering" long words to take them to their base forms so they can be more easily understood. These steps are IMPORTANT!!!
    5. Please realize that this is a hobby for me, and responses will not be available immediately. I'm going to try to have any responses posted by Sunday morning because of my work schedule. Therefore, if a question is asked on Monday, even though I may find time to respond before then, don't expect anything till the weekend. It's ok to check back, but know that my life is not necessarily conducive to undertaking this sort of hobby project.
    6. Last, but not least, try to have fun with it. I'll try to list any relevant methods of study which I found useful as we go along. However, a lot of learning a new language is repetition. You'll read the word watashi a thousand times before you learn when it is proper to remove it from a sentence because of implied meaning. The same holds true with ALL of the vocabulary we're going to cover. Recognition, as soon as you hear a word, is very important to fluid conversation. The only way to get that is to have been exposed to it on a regular basis (both hearing and speaking).

    I've thought about the best way to approach this project for over a week. There are a couple of things I will point out up front which may simplify the learning process.

    I personally believe the best textbook for learning Japanese is "Minna no Nihongo". I will be following the same basic outline of this textbook and adding to it as I see relevant to the material. Because of copyright issues, I won't be using their sentences, but anyone wanting to follow along with a physical book will get the same basic information from the lessons of this book as a supplement. Likewise, there is an unofficial app for android (I think also iOS, but don't know for sure) which lists the vocabulary for each chapter. Simply search "Minna Nihongo" to find the app. It's not a great app, but does have the vocabulary, a BASIC translation, and the kanji where applicable. This is what I will be using as a reference to prevent myself from going beyond the learning level of a beginning learner. Otherwise, I know myself well enough to know that I would be throwing up the lessons for all conjugations as soon as I explained the group system (more on this in about two months)

    My suggestion is to start using Windows IME as soon as possible. It is very simple, and will allow you to type in Japanese as well as switch back to English just as easily. You'll need it if you plan on responding to the thread using Japanese characters. Likewise, it'll be a necessity for my next study suggestion.

    Create a quizlet account. It can be downloaded as an app for your phone, or used from a browser. It's very easy to create flashcards for vocabulary or kanji, and speeds up studying these immensely. It takes some time to create a set of cards, especially since we'll be covering 30-80 vocabulary a week, but is well worth the time once completed. Once learned, it is easy to do a weekly review (because of the complexity it's important to review kanji frequently) in just a few minutes and know where you stand for a necessary refresher.

    I'll be adding the vocabulary to the regular lessons in list format, so someone on the thread may even want to create a public set of cards for each lesson to share to the group. If anyone decides to undertake this responsibility, please tag me in the post for each lessons set, and I'll add it to the respective lesson to make for easier searching.

    Having said all that, and hopefully laying out a basic format for how things should be done from here forward (I reserve the right to edit any post I put in this thread if necessary), 始めよう(はじめよう)(hajimeyou) (Let's begin)!!

    Edit: If anyone decides to purchase the textbook (recommended, but not necessary), I advise to get the Japanese language version. There is a version which is written in English. However, learning the language in English is going to make it much more difficult to get used to reading and understanding the language. I will be teaching in Japanese as this project progresses, but you can never get enough practice. It is difficult when first starting to find written texts which use characters that are easily understood without having to look up words or kanji. For this reason, a textbook which uses a structured progression of vocabulary and grammar will be a great asset.

    Edit:@P.J. I looked at the table of contents of the book mentioned (sorry, I didn't initially see the link). While it may be useful for some time, it appears to be a rather slow (spoon-fed) method. While I don't know the pacing of the conjugations or the extent of detail included with regards to the various uses (there are several different reasons for using each of the conjugations), I am worried that it would fall short of conversational level. For example, katakana is only introduced in chapter four of that series which includes 26 chapters. In the text I'm using for pacing, the same material is covered as a prerequisite for chapter one. The pacing is much faster, and still yet it doesn't reach what I consider to be the beginning of true conversational Japanese (futsutai) till after chapter 21. Without going into an overwhelming amount of detail, I can't imagine all the necessary grammatical tools to express more complex thought or even compound sentences would be available at the completion of a series using that pacing.

  • Lesson 1

    One of the most important aspects of speaking any language is being able to properly pronounce the words. Luckily, Japanese uses syllabaries rather than an alphabet. The difference is rather simply. A syllabary is a set of sounds specific to the language whereas an alphabet is a set of characters which can be combined to create other sounds.

    There are over 4,500 sounds possible in the English language because of the combination of alphabet characters. In Japanese, there are less than 200 (and a lot of those only exist because of words taken from other languages).

    Those "loan words", taken from other languages, will normally use katakana. There are a few exceptions, and I'll try to point out the reasons as the vocabulary are discussed. I often hear this pronunciation referred to as "Japanglish", but I prefer to call it "katakana Japanese". It is very easily the most difficult set of words to understand because of the use of Japanese syllables to pronounce foreign words. It was also the reason I avoid Harajuku as much as possible. Everyone there seems to want to speak English, but it tends to come out as katakana Japanese. Conversation becomes very challenging.

    The vast majority of the language will be written in hiragana. This is very specific to actual Japanese words. If you see something written in hiragana, you can be relatively sure that it is associated with a word understood by Japanese, some katakana words (possibly because of pronunciation differences) can be misinterpreted or simply not understood.

    There are also words which you will frequently see written with either syllabary. I don't want to go into too much detail with this because it's actually jumping FAR ahead, but it can be a bit confusing for at least the example I'm giving here. Gomibako (trash can) is often written with either syllabary. Therefore, if in Tokyo, and you see either ごみばこ or ゴミバコ, it is still the same word.

    I will now assign the first self-study lesson for this class. I'm adding the links for what I consider to be relatively decent examples of the pronunciation of the Japanese syllabaries.

    First, the hiragana.

    Then, the katakana.

    My advice is to study these and practice writing them in the order shown. I specifically chose these examples because they are written in the Japanese style. That means they should be read top to bottom, and right to left. This order is very important when discussing verb conjugation, so it absolutely has to be memorized if you plan on really mastering the language. It should also be noted that there are other characters which traditionally fall to the left of the charts shown, but I'll cover those separately since they are essentially modifications made to the characters already being studied. Knowing the basic 46 syllables, both the sound and being able to recognize them by sight, are substantially more important.

    From the charts, you'll notice that the vowel sounds are in the far right column. I want to take a minute to discuss this because this is one of the differences of an alphabet and a syllabary. All of the vowels will always be pronounced the same way. Any time you see one of these characters, you should automatically know how to pronounce it.

    I'll use the hiragana alphabet for these examples, but it's important to know that the same sounds are used for katakana words as well. It's only a difference of the character.

    あ ( a ) will always make the sound of aaah as in "open up and say aaah"
    い ( i ) will always make a long e sound as in "beast"
    う ( u ) will always make a oo sound as in "foot"
    え ( e ) will always be a short e sound as in "bed"
    お ( o ) will always make a long o sound as in "coast"

    While practicing learning the characters, I advise pronouncing the characters aloud as writing them. This not only helps build proper enunciation, but will also reinforce the recognition of the associated sound.

    Now, I'll move along to the top row. Horizontally from right to left (in romaji) is a--ka--sa--ta--na--ha--ma--ya--ra--wa--n. It is important to practice actually saying this. It will help you remember the order of the characters, and (although I don't want this to sound too basic) all Japanese kindergartners are expected to know this verbal order as part of placement exams.

    Once you know these two lines, you can easily recognize the associated sound of each block on the chart. It works just like a punnet square used in basic genetics. If a character is below the ma character, it will start with an "m". If that same character is in the "o" line, it will be mo. The use of horizontal and vertical lines simplifies early learning of the syllabaries, and it gets even cooler when you see what it does for conjugation in a few weeks.

    I planned on going over a couple of exceptions to sounds, but think it would be better if I do those when discussing the associated grammar for those exceptions. However, I do want to point out that the ya--wa columns do not full of characters. There are no sounds in the language which match to the missing blocks. Therefore, it is important to remember which sounds are associated. Likewise, the n column only has the single character because all the associated sounds are completed by the na column.

    Since we've reached the end of this lesson, I'll share my study advice for this. I struggled for some time just learning these characters because of not knowing the trick to the order. I recognized them, but was very slow when reading because I had to think about each sound. Once I began practicing writing, much later, I managed to memorize both the pronunciation and recognition of both syllabaries in a very short time. However, it did require investing time into doing it.

    My advice is to dedicate a notebook to practicing writing. Write out the characters one time while looking at the chart. Try to focus on learning how to write a couple of these and the associated sound as you're making your "sample copy". Even if it's only the vowel column, it's a start. When writing the second copy, do not look at the first until after you've completed all the characters you can remember. Then go back and check your work against the first. When checking, try to memorize what a couple of the characters you missed were. Then repeat the same steps.

    I initially set a goal of doing this five times a day and focusing only on a single syllabary at a time. I learned hiragana first, and then moved on to katakana. The goal is to improve, even if only by a single character, every time you write it. Don't worry if you forget a character overnight. If you practiced it properly the day before, it should come back to you much easier during the second and third repetitions.

    Once you're semi-confident with one syllabary, getting approximately 75% of them correct, move on to the next. However, when you start working on the second, change your method of study of the first. While doing the same method used for the first set for the second, start doing timed writings of the first. Therefore, you will be doing five timed writings of the first (trying to increase your speed and recognition simultaneously) and five memorization drills of the second set each day.

    Five repetitions is only a suggestion. This is essentially a guided self-study course, and up to each person to work at their own pace. However, it should be realized that the more time invested into that study, the more effective it will be. If you can only make time for three, then that's all you have time for. If you can make time for ten, you're going to learn a lot quicker.

    Check the OP for an edit at the bottom of the post. From this point on, if an edit is needed for a post, I will leave a message at the bottom of the most recent lesson notifying of the change, and the lesson number which has been edited. This should allow for a quick reference for anyone that is following along and prevent anyone from missing out on the change.

    頑張って(がんばって)(ganbatte)(do your best)

    Edit: Due to a typo while creating this post, it has been edited. The line "う ( u ) will always make a oo sound as in "boot"" should have read "う ( u ) will always make a oo sound as in "foot"" The post has been edited, but notation is being made here as well for reference purposes.

  • First, i just want to say that this is a mighty undertaking which deserves mention. I believe i have found the book you are referencing: http://a.co/3QGIXGV. Some time back, i was looking into this, any thoughts? I had a little fun entering various words/ phrases i've picked up through the years into WordPad while the Hiragana option was engaged:

    0_1513859143686_language conversion.jpg


  • Lesson 2

    In order to make it to the first vocabulary and grammar lesson as quickly as possible, I'm trying to add lessons at a bit faster pace than will be the normal once we actually get started. This does not mean that it is necessary to keep up at the pace I'm posting, but simply want to have the information available to allow anyone to begin studying once they're comfortable with the early lessons. The first steps into making sentences will be difficult for most, so things will definitely slow a bit once we get started.

    For now, we'll continue on with the rest of the alphabet I mentioned in the first lesson. Beyond the "n" column, there are five more complete columns. However, the characters will already be semi-recognizable by this point. These columns reproduce, in order, the -ka--sa--ta--ha--ha- columns. Yes, there's a reason I for two "ha" columns, but I'll get to that in a second. The difference from the initial part of the alphabet is added modifiers. Therefore, the あ line of these columns will look like -がーざーだーばーぱ-. In order these are read as -ga--za--da--ba--pa-. The columns continue on as if you were writing the originals, but have either the hash marks or circle (only used for the "pa" column). This is why it was not necessary to include them in the practice from Lesson 1. It is important to recognize their use, but making them is easy once you recognize that it is only a matter of recognition of the originals.

    If you write this new section out, you won't be able to avoid realizing that, in the "da" column you will have to modify つ to つ”. This does not follow the punnet square method I mentioned in Lesson 1. This character makes a "zu" sound. There is also a "zu" sound in the さ column. However, they are not interchangeable. I am going to give two examples here, but don't worry about the definition of these yet. We'll get to them soon enough. つつ”きます and ずっと are the sample words. I simply want to emphasize that which character is used is important for recognition, and because the sounds are identical, you'll have to memorize the spelling for words using this sound individually.

    There is one other exception to the alphabet I want to point out, but it does not show up on either of the written syllabaries. It is only used for katakana and is one of the sounds I mentioned only being in the language because of "loan words". The katakana ウ can also have these hash marks applied as ウ“. This is used to imply a "v" sound. It is rarely used, and only for "loan words", but is important to know that it exists because you will eventually run into it if you do this long enough.

    I haven't written a large enough post to make this feel like a real lesson, so we'll continue on to compound sounds. You'll notice that the つ I used in the example above for the つ” sound is larger than the same character used in ずっと. The smaller っ does not pronounce the same sound. Instead, it means to replicate the consonant portion of the following character. In this case, the following character is と, so we're going to replicate the "t" sound. Therefore, this word is pronounced as zut-to. I used the hyphen to show that there is a slight break in the sound, and it doesn't sound like the double "t" in the English word "cotton". The "t" is actually said twice in rapid succession. The same っ can be used with any consonant sound, but I don't want to bog anyone down with a lot of unrecognized vocabulary till we actually need words. Right now, we're learning the basics of how to read those words. When I give you vocabulary, they will be written using the syllabaries. Therefore, it's important to know how to read them.

    The next set of compound sounds still use the smaller character sets, but (unlike the っ) are actually modifying the sound before them. じゃ is a good example for this (we'll also have this as a vocabulary word VERY soon). In this case, you would pronounce only the consonant sound of the first character, and then the complete sound of the smaller on. Therefore, じゃ would be read as "jya". There is no pause as with the っ when using this type of compound character.

    There is also one other word, which we'll be using rather soon, which uses this form of compound sound, and tends to get a lot of questions about pronunciation. This is because it uses the ち, chi, sound. People, for some reason, are initially thrown by fact that this character, when written in romaji, has two consonants. The first instance we'll come into this will be おちゃ. It reads simply as ochya.

    Both of the examples I gave used hiragana and the ゃ character. This is not always the case. Therefore, I want to add ヴァイス. This is the katakana Japanese word for "vice". Compare it to the larger "a" sound of アニメ, which is OF COURSE "anime".

    Before moving on to the final compound sound, I want to discuss a couple of things about the katakana examples used here. What I'm about to say applies to both syllabaries, but it's most obvious when using a word which everyone here is familiar with the English pronunciation of. When we pronounce "vice", we jump straight from the "v" to the "i" sound is what we're taught when first learning to read. However, if you force yourself to say it in slow motion, you can actually hear the the "a" sound as you transition between these two characters. Kanakana Japanese works the same way. The difference comes in the use of syllables (which are actual sounds) and characters (which only represent a sound). When reading, writing, or speaking, it is important to recognize that the Japanese language ABSOLUTELY requires that you read the syllables as they are written in order to achieve mastery (or even be understood when it comes to some words).

    You'll also notice that anime is written using katakana. This is because it is a "loan word" from the English "animation". The complete word is written as アニメーション. When you read online that "Japanese make no distinction between Japanese and western animation", it is the truth. Even down to the word used to describe it. No different than we have genre or series preferences, they are the same, but it is ALL アニメ.

    You've probably noticed that I'm very careful about the example words I use because I like to see them lead into the next portion. No different here. When you look at the word アニメーション, not only do you have the compound sound "shyo", but there's that weird line in the middle of it. It only applies to katakana words, but has a rather simple purpose. Whenever you see it, extend the vowel sound of the character before it. In this case, that sound is "me" (remember to use short e sound because English speakers don't actually pronounce アニメ correctly). Therefore, you're going to make the "e" sound for the same length it would take to say it twice. Something like "mee" (remember that short e) with no pause between the vowels.

    When doing this with hiragana words, it is written differently (and almost always involves an "o" sound for some unknown reason). For this example, because everyone can find an anime which uses it in the title if they want to hear how it's actually said by looking up a relatively recent "little sister" anime on CR ;-) we'll use いもうと (imouto). When saying this, it is very easy to forget to pronounce the "u" sound. However, as mentioned earlier, it is ABSOLUTELY necessary to pronounce every syllable as written. Even though it is not easy for Westerners to hear this when first learning, the sound is there. If it is not pronounced properly, you end up with いもと(井本)which is a Japanese surname. Since both are referring to people, it will cause confusion and the mistake will not be recognized by a native speaker. They'll simply think you're talking about someone else.

    Finally, since we talked about little sisters, we have to talk about big sisters as well in order to wrap up this primer. The word used for someone else's big sister (not your own) is おねえさん. We'll get into the reason when we get to honorifics and emotional distance. I want to use this word specifically because it uses the double "e" sound similar to the アニメーション example used above. There is a difference here. Rather than extending the "e" sound, it has to be pronounced twice. This causes the brief pause as we ran into with っ. When pronouncing words where the vowel sound is followed directly by another vowel (even if it is the same vowel sound), it ABSOLUTELY has to be pronounced.

    With that, you may want to prime Google translate from here on out. However, when there's a question of whether it gives the proper translation or I do, the safe bet would be on me.


    I'm not translating that twice, so left the kanji example out this time. By this point, you should also be able to at least recognize the sounds, so I'll be stopping the romaji translations for words introduced in the lessons. I will however continue for my closing statements because some of those will likely get a bit wordy. I do strongly advise trying to read the kana rather than my romaji. This will give you both reading practice and a sense of how the words actually fit together in proper grammar. (sore kara, kana wo yomikata wa owarimashta. tsugi no jyugyou wa anata ga atarashii kotoba ni narawanakereba narimasen. jikoshoukai mo.) (From that, how to read kana is finished. The next class you'll have to learn new words. Self introductions also.)

    Edit: Corrected a romaji spelling error
    Edit:@P.J. Questions are completely fine, but need to be careful with this one for just a bit. ずっと does mean always, but is a contextual use. There are a lot of instances where it can't be used, and don't want to confuse anyone by jumping too far ahead. I haven't introduced the word yet, probably on this weekends lesson, but for the time being I'd prefer than everyone get used to using いつも for "always" as it's more universal without so much relying on the rest of the sentence. The short answer to your question, is yes it means "always beside", but the reason for not using いつも, which is a more frequently used word for "always" is too complex to hit on just yet.

  • Lesson 3
    This lesson is now as complete as I can get at the moment. I'm still having an issue with getting the spoiler tags working for the example, but will fix that portion as soon as I either figure it out, or someone is able to tell me why it won't accept the tag if text follows it. Regardless, I'll try to get it fixed as quickly as possible so the explanation will be available for understanding purposes.

    Self-introduction is a relatively standardized routine in Japanese culture. In every instance, it follows the same basic phrases. However, the circumstances may add to what is information is shared.

    For some reason, Western culture has trouble grasping the idea of emotional closeness changing the way people talk to each other. In Japanese, this is amplified by the use of different ways of saying the same words to those people we are familiar with. Likewise, people that are unfamiliar are shown a more formal/polite method of communication until a comfort level is developed.

    This transition, is what westerners seem to be confused by. However, our culture is no different in this regard. The issue is that we don't recognize it because we're familiar with our own culture.

    Think about your first day on a job, or a class, or even going to the bank. You're going to meet people that you are unfamiliar with. You have no idea of the professional status of the individuals, or even if you're going to be able to get along with them. Those first interactions are going to be A LOT different than when going out with a group of friends on Friday night. The same applies here. When first meeting people, it is normal to be more "guarded" about the type of communication used. At the same time, when first meeting, you're going to talk to a lawyer in a different way than you would someone you just met at a convention.

    Although we're going to be covering professional and casual introductions, both are still using ていえいたい (formal speech). My reason for bringing up the transition is to ease the epidemic fear beyond the introduction phase. Nearly every westerner has an automatic phobia of using casual speech because the internet and books have exaggerated the change to the point that most appear to believe that you have to be best friends or married before you can let anyone hear you speak any differently than you would in court. That is not the case at all. In most instances, unless a degree of professional courtesy is necessary, or you're really trying to put your best foot forward, you will transition to casual speech relatively quickly.

    I will not be covering how to speak using casual speech for several weeks because it's important to have a several hundred word vocabulary in order to effectively show how the words change, and what grammatical changes take place. However, since we're specifically covering introductions, and the inherent fear of changing to casual speech, I feel this is the best place to at least provide some degree of circumstantial perspective of when to use each.

    I am also going to be using a specific anime reference. This is not directly tied to the "self-introduction"/"how to speak Japanese" focus of this lesson, but more with regards to the circumstances of the transition to casual speech. I will be using a spoiler tag for the entirety of that portion of the discussion because the specific reference is to what I consider the closure of the series, and is the final episode of the series. Do not open the tag unless you're ready to learn how the series ends!!! It is only being used as an example, and you can wait a couple of weeks to read it without having any effect on the lesson. The series is ネト充のススメ or , the English title, "Recovery of an MMO Junkie".

    As mentioned, じこしょうかい follow a very standardized form. Even if formality isn't an absolute requirement, the same form is used and additional information can be added. However, it will always use ていねいたい due to being unfamiliar with the other person. Anything less would be the verbal equivalent of the drunk guy at the bar that wants to give everybody a hug. Translations for all the phrases used are provided in the vocabulary, so I will not be adding them here.

    For this first example, it will be assumed that this is a professional environment (formal/polite communication is always a requirement in this circumstance).
    どうぞよろしくおねがいします。If you have one, a めいし is presented at this time.
    While presenting the card, bow slightly from the waist, and present the card with both hands.

    This feels a bit awkward the first few times you do it, but there have been days that my lower back and neck have hurt from bowing so much. Even now, having been back in the states for six months, I often catch myself greeting people with a more subdued bow. The other individual will use the same lines while changing only the name and company/profession. If a student, the third line would read something along the lines of ABCだいがくのだいがくせいです。

    Even if at a bar, this is the format used for anyone you're meeting for the first time if unfamiliar of their status. It's better to be safe than to come across as too casual. I've had instances when hanging out with friends and someone brings a date (we'll discuss dating culture at a later time, but it's normal that the "safety in numbers" method is used when first getting to know someone). Even if both of you are completely drunk, and barely able to stand, this is the format.

    You'll notice that each sentence ends in either です or ~ます. This is THE standardized trait which defines ていねいたい. Even after we start conjugating the verbs, we will still use this format until I officially tell you that it's time to switch over to ふつたい. By that point, you'll already be using it without realizing and only have to make a couple of very minor word changes to make it recognizable as such.

    While living in Japan, I was also taking college language classes to get credit for my study. This allowed me to join the school ACGクラブ. This is more katakana Japanese, but you're going to have to get used to it. It says ACG club. ACG is an acronym for Anime, Comics, and Games. This is the ever-so-popular anime club featured in so many series. The first day of each term, or whenever there was an important guest, everyone did じこしょうかい. However, this was a more relaxed atmosphere (even more relaxed than the bar), so more information was expressed as a part of the introduction. The reason for being more relaxed is because we all knew we had a shared hobby, so there was an immediate sense of unity even if new to the group. Aside from the club president, advisor, or a guest everyone had an equal status within the group. Normally, we would simply go around the room, in order from one side to the other, with our introductions. Therefore, a proper じこしょかい would be:


    There are two things to make note of from this introduction compared to the first. There is an obvious difference in the amount of personal information being shared, but it is all relevant to the situation. This is part of that closeness of a shared interest. It's also important to notice that the closing line was simply どうぞよろしく. I did not use the おねがいします. This is implied because of the established closeness of the group, but the sentiment is still expressed.

    Just a couple of brief notes about the particles used in this lesson to simplify what is being read. わたしの was used several times during these introductions. Although there are other circumstances where this will be changed later in the lessons, for the time being, always assume that any time a noun is followed by the particle の it implies ownership. I'll expand on this more when we get to compound nouns, but it will be difficult to make any statement about yourself without (even announcing your name) without using this particle.

    Likewise, we're introduced to one of only a handful of pronunciation exceptions in this lesson. When it says 「わたしのなまえは」, that は is announcing the subject of that sentence. Likewise, it is pronounced as wa rather than ha. This is only when being used as a particle. At any other time, it would still be read as ha. For the sake of practice, when practicing writing any sentence, get into the habit of recognizing the subject of the sentence and following it with は.

    As mentioned earlier, I want to discuss an interesting/obvious (if you speak the language) point about "Recovery of an MMO Junkie". The last episode opens with Morioka in the shower of Sakurai's apartment. She borrows clothes to wear while hers are in the dryer. They cook, and eat a meal together. Sakurai walks her home, and barely falls short of confessing his feelings for her. All of this after realizing that they've been playing games online together for a VERY long time. At the end of the episode, they are going out for a date (per Koiwai anyway) of dinner and a movie, and Sakurai takes her hand (after saving her from falling). Both are obviously aware of the changing relationship status and closeness.

    All this time, any time Sakurai is talking to Koiwai (who is his supervisor) both are using futsutai (casual speech). It never shows them talking at work, but it would have to be more formal because of the circumstance. This is indicative of their established friendship outside of work that they are comfortable discussing personal matters in a free manner.

    However, even while holding each others hand, neither Sakurai nor Morioka stop using formal speech. Morioka is even being polite while talking to the dryer in Sakurai's apartment. This is also because of circumstance. Even while holding hands, and blushing bright red, they continue speaking formally. Simply put, they are trying to impress each other by using formal/polite language. They're not at that comfortable relationship level yet even though both have expressed interest.

    This is something to keep in mind. If it's anyone that you feel you need to impress, you're safer to continue using ていねいたい until your relationship has developed. If it's someone you would be comfortable telling your best dirty joke to, you're safe to use casual speech.

    わたし [わたし] /I/
    わたしたち [わたしたち] /we/
    あなた [あんた] /you/
    あの人 [あのひと] /that person, he, she/
    あの方 [あのかた] /that person, he,she (more polite)/
    皆さん [みなさん] /ladies and gentlemen, all of you, everyone/
    ~さん [~さん] /Mr. Ms. (title of respect addded to a name)/
    ~ちゃん [~ちゃん] /(suffix often added to a child's name)/
    ~君 [~くん] /(suffix often added to a boy's name)/
    ~人 [~じん] /(suffix meaning "a national of")/
    先生 [せんせい] /conveys a level of respect for a skill, instructor (not used when referring to one's own job)/
    教師 [きょうし] /teacher, instructor/
    学生 [がくせい] /student/
    会社員 [かいしゃいん] /company employee/
    社員 [しゃいん] /employee of ~ company (used with a company name)/
    銀行員 [ぎんこういん] /bank employee/
    医者 [いしゃ] /medical doctor/
    研究者 [けんきゅうしゃ] /researcher, scholar/
    エンジニア [エンジニア] /engineer/
    大学 [だいがく] /university/
    病院 [びょういん] /hospital/
    電気 [でんき] /electricity, light if referring to room lights/
    だれ [だれ] /who/
    どなた [どなた] /who (polite)/
    ~歳 [~さい] /~years old/
    何歳 [なんさい] /how old/
    おいくつ [おいくつ] /how old (polite)/
    はい [はい] /yes/
    いいえ [いいえ] /no/
    失礼ですが [しつれいですが] /Excuse me, but (used when making a request of someone)/
    失礼します「しつれいします」/Pardon me (proper announcement when entering an office or professional environment)
    お名前は [おなまえは] /May I have your name?/
    初めまして [はじめまして] /How do you do? (introducing oneself for the first time)/
    どうぞよろしく(お願いします) [どうぞよろしく(おねがいします)] /Pleased to meet you/
    こちらは~さんです [こちらは~さんです] /This is Mr. (Ms.) ~/
    ~から来ました [~からきました] /I came (come) from ~/
    アメキカ [アメリカ] /America/
    イギリス [イギリス] /United Kingdom/
    インド [インド] /India/
    インドネシア [インドネシア] /Indonesia/
    韓国 [かんこく] /South Korea/
    タイ [タイ] /Thailand/
    中国 [ちゅうごく] /China/
    ドイツ [ドイツ] /Germany/
    日本 [にほん] /Japan/
    フランス [フランス] /France/
    ブラジル [ブラジル] /Brazil/
    ロッシや 「ロッシや」/Russia/
    名刺「めいし」/business card/
    一番「いちばん」/number one/
    好きな「すきな」/like/ {Technically, this would be translated as liked thing. The thing being discussed following the statement. It's still a couple of weeks early to get into this, but the conjugated adjective was required for the example to be grammatically correct. For the time being, while we're developing vocabulary, just realize that this conjugation is most usually a set. I'll explain why after we have a few more examples to compare against.}

    Edit: In the first example, stating わたしはABCかいしゃのしゃいん or わたしはABCだいがくのがくせい would be equally acceptable. This is a matter of context already being presented in the sentence and being unnecessary to repeat. The use of わたしは is also optional as it is understood that you are introducing yourself. However, when using わたしの statements, it must be said. Ownership cannot be implied using this format.

  • You mention zutto, that translates as "always" correct? When placed in this context: ずっとそばに could that mean "always by your side"? Funny, Microsoft interprets it as "all the way around". Sorry if i'm interrupting the flow of your posts, should questions be saved until the end?

  • Lesson 4

    As was the case last week, I'll be adding to this lesson until Sunday morning. There's a lot of info to cover on each topic, and it's just not possible to sit down and get all of it in a single sitting without life getting in the way. For that reason, from this point on, I'm going to make every effort to put these postings up weekly, but want everyone to be aware that they will be edited consistently until Sunday morning. If you want to take advantage of all the info, without having to deal with my edits changing the material, Sunday afternoon is going to be the best time to read them.

    Sadly, I've not been able to give this project the attention needed this weekend. I have added the vocabulary, but didn't get to complete all of the lesson. It's now time for me to get to bed and ready for work. However, I'm going to work on getting a post together sometime midweek to cover the missing section. There's not a lot of info remaining, but what is left is rather important for beginning speakers. Remember that each step has to build upon the last.

    Now, with the disclaimer in place, I'll get started on this weeks lesson. @P.J. kind of hit on something that I was looking at for this lesson, but wasn't really able to answer completely because I hadn't figured out the best way to approach it. In a sense, it goes beyond where the lessons currently are because ずっとそばに is actually assuming that two pieces of information are already understood because of information are assumed to be known from the context of the discussion. The grammar of the example sounds like it came from a song because of these omitted pieces. We'll cover the grammar used in artistic forms, usually futsutai, later. I'm actually working on a couple of game ideas to add some interaction to these lessons with this in mind

    However, this omitted text can generally be assumed. In this case, ずっと does mean "always", and そばに does mean "beside". However, it does not say what is beside what. This is where a higher understanding of the grammar becomes necessary. When a subject is not provided in the statement, and no context has been previously given, it's a safe assumption that the subject is going to be わたし. In that regard, what is actually being said by the example being used is ずっとわたしのそばに. This would translate to "always beside me"... Definitely sounds like song lyrics! {or a love confession}

    But, wait a second, didn't we say that わたしの means ownership of the item following it??? This is the lesson for this week! We've covered the particles の and から in the last lesson. Based on the info given, の implies ownership and から means "from". There was no example given in the lesson for から, but アメリカからきました。could easily be placed in either じこしょかい as a part of your introduction. This would simply translate as I came from America.

    Each of these particles will have a different meaning depending upon where they're used in a statement. I'm going to drop the ずっと, because it has a more complex contextual requirement, and use the proper teineitai form, but we'll look at わたしのそばにつくえがあります。as an example. It would translate simply as "beside me, I have a desk". I know the English grammar for this statement doesn't sound right, but is an important distinction from how we would normally say it. This is because the Japanese あります is the proper Japanese grammar, and means "to have" in this sentence. There are actually multiple uses of this word, so I want everyone to be able to distinguish between them as they're introduced.

    On to our first step of breaking down the multiple uses of the particle の. It's important to realize that わたしのそばに is actually saying "my beside". It sounds odd in English, but actually simplifies long sentences in which things/times are relative to one another. This is one of a long list of relative terms. In terms of spacial relativity there is: そばに、うえに、したに、なかに、まえに、あいだに、まわりに、ちかくに、とおいに、までに、and a lot more than I'm not thinking of right before going to bed. In regards to chronological relativity there is: まえに、までに、あとに、and still more that I'm not thinking of. Recognizing these is going to simplify a lot of statements, but will also add complexity to the language.

    Again, as with a lot of this language, ALL of these terms should be thought of as a set. If the particles, の or に, are removed, it will change the meaning of the sentence in a big way. I will be introducing that in a MUCH later lesson because I've heard some statements attempted by early learners which got really confusing because they didn't have the grammar skills to hold to a single direction with those sentences. It's important to learn these slowly to grasp all the implications of their use without getting muddled up in the reasons for the particles. Any time particles are mentioned, it should be realized that this is one of the most complex parts of the language, so every use absolutely needs to be recognized. These are the parts of a sentence which tell how a word is related to the rest of the statement. Not using them correctly will change what is being said/heard.

    これ [これ] /this (thing here)/
    それ [それ] /that (thing near you)/
    あれ [あれ] /that (thing over there)/
    この~ [この~] /this ~, this ~ here/
    その~ [その~] /that ~, that ~ there/
    あの~ [あの~] /that ~, that ~ over there/
    本 [ほん] /book/
    辞書 [じしょ] /dictionary/
    雑誌 [ざっし] /magazine/
    新聞 [しんぶん] /newspaper/
    ノート [ノート] /notebook/
    手帳 [てちょう] /pocket notebook/
    名刺 [めいし] /business card/
    カード [カード] /card/
    テレホンカード [テレホンカード] /telephone card/
    鉛筆 [えんぴつ] /pencil/
    ボールペン [ボールペン] /ballpoint pen/
    シャップペンシル [シャップペンシル] /mechanical pencil/
    かぎ [かぎ] /key/
    時計 [とけい] /clock/
    腕時計 [うでどけい] /watch/
    傘 [かさ] /umbrella/
    かばん [かばん] /backpack, bag/
    テープ [テープ] /(cassette) tape/
    テープレコーダー [テープレコーダー] /tape recorder/
    テレビ [テレビ] /television/
    ラジオ [ラジオ] /radio/
    カメラ [カメラ] /camera/
    コンピューター [コンピューター] /computer/
    パソコン [パソコン] /personal computer, laptop/
    自動車 [じどうしゃ] /automobile/
    車 [くるま] /car/
    机 [つくえ] /desk/
    いす [いす] /chair/
    チョコレート [チョコレート] /chocolate/
    コーヒー [コーヒー] /coffee/
    英語 [えいご] /the English language/
    日本語 [にほんご] /the Japanese language/
    ~語 [~ご] /~ language/
    何 [なん] /what/
    そう [そう] /so/
    違います [ちがいます] /No it isn't, You are wrong/
    そうですか [そうですか] /I see, Is that so?/
    あのう [あのう] /well (used to show hesitation)/
    ほんの気持ちです [ほんのきもちです] /It's nothing, It's a token of my gratitude/
    どうぞ [どうぞ] /Please, Here you are (when offering someone something)/
    どうも [どうも] /Well, thanks/
    ありがとう [ありがとう] /Thank you/
    どうもありがとうございます [どうもありがとございます] /Thank you very much/
    これからお世話になります [これからおせわになります] /I hope for your kind assistance hereafter/
    こちらこそよろしく [こちらこそよろしく] /I am pleased to meet you/

  • Pleco Breeder explains,

    “In a sense, it goes beyond where the lessons currently are… More to that point- I will be introducing that in a MUCH later lesson because I've heard some statements attempted by early learners which got really confusing because they didn't have the grammar skills to hold to a single direction with those sentences.”

    I apologize for “jumping” the lesson, it can be irresistible sometimes…


    Like you say, problems will arise for the dilettante (such as myself) when the core foundational framework is not in place. (frustrated with self)

    “This is where a higher understanding of the grammar becomes necessary.”

    So true, i loved that statement.

    “Definitely sounds like song lyrics!”

    So, you’ve uncovered my secret have you? Think you have it all figured out! Well, not gonna lie, you kinda do. I would say a good majority of words and phrases i’ve picked up stem from constantly listening to Japanese music and researching meanings.

    “If the particles, の or に, are removed, it will change the meaning of the sentence in a big way.”

    Yes, i have learned this the hard way when researching with Japanese characters in YouTube or Amazon.co.jp. I appreciate researching with the characters because what i find is that better search results can yield over if i was using English on say the Japanese Amazon. I guess it stands to reason, the controlled vocabulary, to bring up the best results, is probably encoded for the specific region, in this case, Japanese.

    Overall, this is becoming deliciously interesting, and, just wish i had the diligence to seriously delve into the language. I think for me, the first step will be buying the textbook you recommend. I also wouldn’t mind picking up the other book i came across. What would be epic is if you taught formal Japanese classes at a University situated near me. I feel like lessons can really come to life in a classroom setting - - especially one that is technologically equipped and not too big of a group of people for more individualized attention.

    If i don’t happen to hear back from you right away, wishing you and yours a Happy New Year,


    P.S.- Just saw your critique with respect to the book i found, very interesting... I don't know, perhaps i would need that deconstruction? Could it be the case that both could be used to complement one another? Once again, very interesting. Also, @Sophie is there any possibility that this thread could be pinned for centralization, and, probably make it more accessible (than to dig through a forum) as Pleco Breeder is generously undertaking this tremendous project?


  • Lesson 4.5

    One of the drawbacks of using a preset vocabulary list is that it's often going to run into exercises which are actually a lot easier to explain than what the text would lead you to believe. It's also a bit more complicated than actually explained in the text.

    We were looking at the particle の when I broke off Saturday. Again, think of it as implying possession, but we're going to add to it in order to explain the vocabulary. In this case, we're going to use it for この、とその、とあの。By adding these characters ahead of the particle の, we're actually "such-and-such place's ~" where ~ is an item. Therefore, このざっしはとてもおもしろいです。will often be translated as "This magazine is completely interesting." However, what is actually being said (and it really is splitting hairs for this early exercise but makes more sense when looking at more advanced N1 kanji use) is "This place's magazine is completely interesting." The particle is still maintaining it's meaning even though it is now part of a compounded word. Because we're referring to an "owned" item, anything using these words will automatically become the subject of the sentence. Therefore, it will ALWAYS be followed by the particle は in order to be grammatically correct.

    Alternatively, これ、とそれ、とあれ are much more vague in their definition of an item. It's kind of like the difference of saying "that book" and "that thing". We'll get into だれ shortly, and it also has this same vague use as a descriptor. Because these are innately vague with regards to what they're talking about, they are very rarely ever used as the subject of a sentence. It's a pretty common occurrence to hear beginning speakers use the phrase "あのひとはだれですか。" I definitely think every textbook in existence uses it. There is a reason for this. It gives the basic parts of a simple question using the descriptors we've discussed here, and enforces the use of the subject in a question.

    In a more relaxed setting, I could just as easily ask "だれですか。" and it would be understood (unless there were a lot of people around that I could be asking about). Likewise, in a more professional setting, I would likely use "あのひとはどなたですか。" Again, this could be either with or without the subject being said depending upon the number of people, and my normal communication with the person being spoken to. I mention the number of people because in a large group it may be necessary to imply which is being asked about. We don't have the vocabulary to use adjectives to describe the person yet, so I'll just add a small warning.

    Pointing at someone/something in Japan is considered exceptionally rude! In cases where it becomes necessary, never just use an index finger to do it as this is compounding the issue. Use an opened hand with the fingers all held together to create a plane similar as to how you would imagine a concierge directing someone to an area.

    This is going to get a bit off subject before we get back to particles, but there's actually some interesting culture with this subject if you understand it. I'll start by saying つぐもがみ are actually considered to be a thing in the Shinto religion. I can't remember the actual proverbs in Japanese (I have a book of them somewhere that I can't find at the moment), so I'll use the standard translations that everyone uses. There are two which apply here.

    The first is "There are eight million gods in Japan". This is to imply that there is a god of every single thing. Toilets, trash, diapers, it doesn't matter. If it exists, there is a god for it. Therefore, pointing at an item is no different than pointing at (being disrespectful toward) that god.

    The second, because I cannot remember the actual proverb, is more loosely translated as "items become treasured (in a spiritual sense) upon becoming one hundred years old". This is where the idea of つぐもがみ arises. This is often used to teach children to take care of their things in order that they may become treasured items. Again, pointing at the item is being disrespectful of that treasure.

    For those reasons, always use an opened hand rather than a finger. It will show that you are being respectful of the culture, beliefs, and belongings without being overly intrusive.

    Back to the particles, I've introduced two of them in this lesson, and need to discuss their use. The first was と. In the form used here, it is the same as saying "and". I used it in both of the lists above. The important thing to notice, different than when used in English, is that each item in the list MUST be preceded by と. Even if there are only two items, it must be used if intended to mean "and". We'll learn a different way of discussing things in a list of related items later on, but for now, regardless of whether there are two things or fifty, get used to using と before every item in the list.

    I also introduced the ending particle か. I specify ending particle because it means something completely different if used in the middle of a sentence. We'll see this quite a bit later, and these ending particles are actually considered their own special group with specific meanings and implications. However, the important thing to know right now is that か at the end of a sentence means that it is a question. Therefore, the example used above, だれですか。, can be recognized as a question immediately even though it ends in a period.

    Actual Japanese writing, unless you're seeing it in a casually written text, does not really have a question mark. Sometimes the Western "?" will be used, but it really only ever happens in casual writing. Just so it's no surprise when you finally start reading LN and manga in the original Japanese, these are written using the casual format in nearly all cases. When you see them use formal language, it is usually because the situation of the character requires it.

    I hadn't mentioned it before, but the Japanese version of a period is 。. Likewise, you'll often see me use 「and」. These are the Japanese version of quotation marks. When using IME, the period is the same key as the period on the English keyboard, and the quotation marks are [ and ] respectively for opening and closing quotations.

  • @P.J. and everyone else following, there are a few things about this course which worry me, and some were brought up by the post I'm responding to. I'm responding separate from a specific lesson because it doesn't directly correspond to anything I've taught up to this point.

    If I were actually teaching this class in a formal setting, anyone following it should have two questions on their mind. The most obvious would be whether this middle-aged white male can actually speak English. The second would be why some words sound completely identical, but don't mean the same thing.

    I cannot fix the first, and still be able to teach the language in a written format. However, I can give some advice. That would be to begin immersing yourself in the language. Even if you don't understand what is being said, begin listening to what is being said in subbed anime and song lyrics. Most of what is said will actually sound like static because it is literally not recognized by your brain. However, as we continue and your vocabulary increases, you will start hearing words and parts of words which have a recognized meaning. Most sentences are still well beyond the reach of a beginning learner.

    In Japanese, this is called ちょかい れんしゅう, literally listening practice. It is important to begin recognizing what each of these words actually sounds like, and (even if you can't understand the context or words around them) your brain will begin recognizing them as they are heard.

    I'm also unable to provide かいわ れんしゅう, or conversation practice, because of the format. For that reason, you may think it odd, but should probably begin making it a habit of speaking to yourself in Japanese for a small part of your day just to get used to using the words. It will feel like rote memorization initially because we haven't covered any amazing amount of vocab, but even if it's only asking yourself "what magazine is that" and providing a simple answer, it is still practicing speaking the language.

    As I've said in the past, while working in Japan I also attended college level language classes in order to accrue credits for my studies. Everything prior had been self-taught, so there was still a lot of what I said which I didn't completely understand. I could answer properly, knew what I wanted to say, and how to phrase it, but didn't understand all of the implications of my words. Therefore, sometimes it sounded kind of lazy/rough/thuggish depending on what was said.

    Because of work requirements, I didn't have a lot of time to practice correcting this at the school, so had to start practicing the "corrected" grammar at home. This meant methodically deconstructing everything I said at home, so I got used to sitting in front of the TV for several hours a night while watching anime, and talking to the TV while focusing on using proper grammar to convey my thoughts and feelings. Even though I lived alone, I didn't speak English in my apartment for over six months. Eventually, even when I asked myself a question in my own head, I forced myself to use use Japanese to do so.

    The lead instructors began noticing that I was improving at a very rapid pace, and actually asked me to explain my personal method to them. I assume they wanted to introduce it to other students with the same problem. I'll recap how that conversation took place here, with translation, because everyone seemed to think it was rather comical. Because I'm going to have to use quite a bit of advanced grammar, as well as vocabulary we haven't yet covered, I'll add spaces into the Japanese to separate the words. This is normal practice in textbooks for beginners still developing word recognition skills for newly introduced words.

    By doing this, it allows you to actually do a google search of the word for translation. In order to look up the word, even if you don't accurately know how to spell it, you can copy/paste the word into the address bar followed by えいごで. This is literally asking how to say the word in English. えいご was one of the vocabulary for this week, so it's really not that far ahead of where we are. Just be prepared because all of the search results you get will be intended for a Japanese learner trying to study English. It will have a translation at the top of the page though.

    (As an aside, because most Japanese are used to dealing with foreigners that struggle with the language, they will overlook minor mistakes in a casual setting. However, when in an academic setting it is their job to point out mistakes. Likewise, most foreigners don't have the language skills to be capable of making jokes in Japanese because their brain isn't ready for the complex thought required to say anything other than what is immediately on their mind. As a result, they tend to give very short, and direct, answers to any question. Talking to yourself allows you to slow down the conversation to the level you're capable of understanding and get used to the minor changes needed to actually produce an interesting conversation rather than those direct answers.)

    The conversation went "roughly" as follows (I'm changing it slightly to fit our current conversational format versus a slightly more lax level of communication used in this personal/not professional meeting):
    せんせい: どう べんきょう しました か。"How did you study?"
    わたし: テレビ を みた とき、 よく テレビ と はなしました それに テレビ に ききました も。でも、やめました。 "When I watched TV, I would often talk to the TV. Moreover, I would also ask the TV questions, but I stopped."
    せんせい: どうして やめました か。"Why did you stop?"
    わたし: テレビ に きった とき、こたえ が ありません でした、それで ひとりごと の とき、とても おもしろい かいわ に なります。"When I asked the TV questions, I didn't get an answer. However, when talking to myself, it becomes a completely interesting conversation."

    By practicing the use of the language, even at an early level, it is possible to create sentences. Even if they happen to be grammatically incorrect, you are still getting used to the use of the words. Eventually, as you become more proficient, you'll recognize those early mistakes, and they will have became a learning exercise in the form of "WTF was I thinking???" By doing it with yourself, you also do away with any worry of being ridiculed for those mistakes which WILL happen. Even I made them, practically all the time, but got better because I recognized that I made them as I learned the proper way of saying it.

    Before ending this little "side-step" from our normal lessons, I'll also add something else which I found to be rather interesting. Japanese people, it's hard to say in English without sounding like I'm segregating so I'll put it this way so you can actually look it up, にほんじん, begin learning English in school in the sixth grade and will continue at the very least till they graduate high school. They do have some understanding of the language, but will often say they don't because they're uncomfortable with it. Some have been exposed to it rather heavily and quite good at it. Others stopped using it after graduating and barely able to understand or construct basic sentences. Those in foreigner-heavy areas (Harajuku and Shibuya immediately come to mind) tend to have a rather high "drive" to want to use it and you'll often find that they almost refuse to speak Japanese to anyone that looks like they're not Asian.

    For those that watch subbed anime, a rather comical example of this is included at the end of episode three of "BanG Dream!", and yes that's actually how it happens in the cities I mentioned. Not those exact words, but that is Japanese making fun of Japanese because they do this.

    If not a fan of subbed anime, but still willing to give something subbed a chance (and actually ready to see something hilarious), do a youtube search for a show called "Morning Musume". I was unaware of it before going to Japan, but it is about students learning/practicing English. They are given tasks for which they are required to use English to produce an answer, or sometimes tell a story. For anyone that is worried about their speaking level, remember that these girls have been studying for YEARS and actually make their living by allowing it to be broadcast. It's easy to think it is exaggerated, but all you have to do is walk down the street leading from Harajuku train station to Meiji shrine (only a few hundred yards) and someone WILL try to speak to you using this type of English.

    My point here, simply put, is that you CANNOT be afraid to try to play with this language, and still expect to learn it. Even if speaking to a native Japanese, they understand the difficulty of speaking their language, and will be happy that you tried to make the effort for their sake. There is the rare circumstance that they will avoid you because of the level of speaking, but, even while living there, I only ever saw this one time involving a tourist that knew he couldn't speak a word of Japanese. On top of that, even the other Japanese citizens in the area recognized that that particular Japanese was 悪い人「わるい ひと」, aka "rotten person".

    Edit: @darthrutsula40 This is just the Japanese way, and Western ideals are going to differ. I often forgot the proper way of saying things when I first moved to Tokyo. I just wasn't used to using them for everyday life, and realized that I wasn't saying things correctly. I must have used the incorrect phrase 「いっぽん おはし ください」a hundred times (out of mistaken habit) to the same clerk at the supermarket before she offered to correct me. This was of course out of not realizing the correct counter word for chopsticks, and automatically thinking of them as a "long and thin object". I was happy when she corrected me because I knew better and was continuously making the same mistake. I took it as a "learning experience" and never made the same mistake again. Different people are going to view this differently, but I wanted to be as near a perfect speaker as possible. For what it's worth, the correct phrase is 「いち ぜん おはし ください」. ぜん is a counter (we'll cover these types of words in a couple weeks, and there are TONS of them) which applies only to chopsticks.

    With regards to regional dialects, Japanese still use the same sounds for all dialects, but tend to add/subtract syllables or use a slightly different conjugation for some words because of the changed syllables. I'm using とうきょう びん 「Tokyo dialect」for all these lessons because it is the most recognized in Japan, and the one I'm most familiar with. Some words will also be specific to a region. However, the sound of the syllables will ALWAYS be the same. We'll get into the various conjugations quite a bit later, but a lax sound for a syllable (because of the way the language is structured) changes the meaning of the word. I'll give a short example, and you can try to look it up if you like, but it is often one of the problems associated with Westerners trying to be lax with their method of speaking Japanese.

    If I say あるきます, this is the verb meaning to walk using masukei (this is a form of conjugation, and the one we'll be starting with as the basis for changing verbs when we get that far along). There is a "potential" form for this, meaning the ability to walk, which would be read as あるけます. The only change in the word is changing き to け in the middle of the word, but it changes the meaning from "doing" to "the ability to do".
    These minor changes happen all through the language, and require the listener to be able to detect the change in syllables to understand. The conjugation itself is far beyond what we're ready for, but this is why I am now recommending the listening practice. The more you hear how the words change, the easier it will be to recognize those changes when they happen.

    I hope that answered the question.

    Edit: Because of the post below, I found a typo which does change the pronunciation of the う sound. It should have read "う ( u ) will always make a oo sound as in "foot". I will edit the original post as well as make a notation of the edit at the bottom of that post.

  • This makes me ask the question:

    If I hear that you are saying something wrong should I point it out to you when no one else does?

    For example: this one mexican woman where I work will refer to one area of the store as "site of the store" when it really should be "site to store." I told her that what she was saying was wrong and she told me that no one else had ever told her that before me which just infinitely loops in my head as "should I not have said that?"

    I mean I'd actually take a little bit of effort to learn to at least say Hi (and thank you) in your native language, our typical exchange is "Hola" she asks me "Como estas" I say "Bien" and that is probably the extent of my spanish learning. I had to ask my dual-native friend wtf that meant.

    make a long e sound
    be a short e sound
    make a long o sound

    This means nothing to me and it bothers me that so many people say things like this.

    あ ( a ) will always make the sound of aaah as in "open up and say aaah"
    い ( i ) will always make a long e sound as in "beast"
    う ( u ) will always make a oo sound as in "boot"
    え ( e ) will always be a short e sound as in "bed"
    お ( o ) will always make a long o sound as in "coast"

    I highly recommend listening to a video on the proper pronunciation. I understand what is being said but the way people pronounce words in general varies. Take for example the way us americans use the word internet. We tend to omit the "T" sound from words so when we say internet it comes out as inner-net. Or we just change the way it should sound, butter, while spelled with two "T"s, is said as budder.

    This doesn't apply to specifically to consonants, the bostonian accent loves to merge As and Rs so when you "drive your car on the parkway" a bostonian would say it as "drive your cah on the pahkway."

    I think you understand what I'm saying at this point. And I know that the letter "F" and "R" are both used slightly differently from most native english speakers.

  • Lesson 5

    Feels odd that we're actually starting to get somewhere with this. Just so it's no surprise, I want to let everyone reading know that I'm actually using a standardized list of vocabulary designed for the chapters in the book. There are several variants of this list available online and really depends upon who put the list together as to how many words are used for each chapter. I'm using the stripped down version with a few corrections which I make to the words, kanji, and definitions to make them actually fit where we're going with this as well as simplify the meanings to a conversational level. I also tend to add a few words each week in order to keep up with the current direction, and provide what I feel will be necessary in order to use the language effectively.

    I'm putting this out there because there were a few corrections which I had to make this week which could make a big difference when using the language in a conversation. Although the original words would work, they tend to confuse early learners, and can also make kanji more difficult as it begins to build upon itself. I'm going to list the changes for this list, because they can be confusing, and give my reasons for each. Most of these are generally because of similar words which can be used in some context, so feel free to glean the additional definitions from them.

    1. 食堂「しょくどう」I didn't change this one, but want to point out that this word is also often used as a general word for anywhere eating takes place. If you want a reference for this one, 異世界食堂. That reads as いせかいしょくどう, aka Restaurant to Another World. I didn't change the definition because Japan has became rather Westernized and normally uses the katakana レストラン in everyday language when talking about a restaurant. However, it can mean the same thing, and when attempting to speak more traditional Japanese, I would always use しょくどう in a formal setting and reserve レストラン for more casual conversation.
    2. Want to make a note here not specifically aimed at any specific word. However, we're coming into a lot of katakana words in these early lessons. I want to point out that if given a usable word in the Japanese language versus a katakana word, you will always be safer to use the Japanese word.
    3. 家「うち」This kanji actually has several meanings, and we'll get to that as they come up, but the one of concern here is that it can also be read as いえ. This is often confused by beginners because these words can also mean the same thing. However, it's simplified if you think of うち as home and いえ as house (in the form of the physical structure). The original list had うち listed as home/house but there is a distinction between these meanings.
    4. 地下室「ちかしつ」was originally listed as 地下「ちか」Both of these can be used interchangeably when referring to a basement. However, there is a slight distinction which makes the latter a bit vague. ちかしつ literally translates as "room below the world", aka basement. ちか, although acceptable in general communication literally translates as "below the world". We'll use this portion of the word for several other words that are coming up even though it doesn't seem like it would be that common. ちかてつ, meaning subway, will probably be the first we run into. Anything below ground will likely use ちか as a part of the word, so would prefer to use it as a prefix rather than a standalone word. Now that I've explained that part, know that when used by itself it still means basement.
    5. This one is more of a "catch all" and could be applied to everything, but explains why some of these words use ひらがな and others useかたかな. In that sense, think of it as a history lesson, and I'll throw a couple words in to explain as well. On this weeks vocabulary list, we also have たばこ. This is obviously NOT a Japanese word, and yet it doesn't use かたかな. The reason is actually a rather interesting part of Japanese history.

    Prior to the 1860's, the Meiji Era, foreign trade in Japan was restricted to Portugal and Denmark. No other countries were allowed to do business in Japan. In the mid-1500's Portugal began exporting tobacco to Japan. At this time, there was no かたかな syllabary. The most common writing styles of the time were actually kanji and a now defunct syllabary known as hentaigana.

    A lot of the characters for both ひらがな and かたかな were actually adapted from hentaigana. Hiragana was the first adaptation and all words were simply transcribed over because it didn't change the syllables, and was really only a way to simplify teaching the written language to the general population. Therefore, tobacco (which was already part of the language) remained とばこ.

    After trade opened up during the Meiji Era, かたかな began being used in order to find a median ground for communicating needs for international trade. Although the syllables are still the same, this distinguished foreign words which were now being introduced to the culture in the form of goods. (As an aside, I'll also note that Japanese tend to speak katakana Japanese more slowly with more definition of each of the syllables. This is not because it is foreign words, they've been part of the language for multiple decades, but because it was the way those original traders heard the words as they were making deals. Words spoken when you are trying to talk to someone that doesn't understand your language are innately spoken more slowly in an effort to get them to understand, and that form of speaking can still be heard in the pronunciation of a lot of those words.)

    The next major change in the language happened after World War II. This is when the romaji alphabet became common as it was placed into the school systems in an attempt to integrate the language into their culture. Not only did they see it as a necessity as part of a global system, but the US had literally placed over 20 stipulations on the new national constitution which they had to accept as part of their war reparations. japan also started looking at themselves as a potential "tourist economy" shortly thereafter.

    In closing, I'm going to point out something that most people don't immediately realize because it is TOO simple to even bother thinking about.

    The word ひら means either "flat or plain", and kana means "writing". Therefore, the word itself infers to the change from hentiagana (literally "strange writing"), to plain writing intended for the general populace. Likewise, かた means "the way", and therefore, かたかな translates as "the way of writing".

    Now, just to finish the definitions of the different writing styles, we'll define kanji. This is going to sound corny, but is true. Kan, normally romanized in the English language to khan, actually refers to the rulers of the Mongolian Empire. At the time kanji was being adapted, this was a large part of China, and even now is why there's a differentiation between Mongolian and Cantonese when speaking Chinese. I have to use the kanji for kanji to show this, so bear with this. The second character of 漢字 , pronounced as じ, refers to a written character. Therefore, kanji itself refers to the fact that it was adapted from the rulers of China. After knowing this, romaji should be rather easy to figure out. It's characters adapted from the Roman alphabet.

    As kanji becomes a more prevalent portion of the lessons, a lot of these meanings will begin taking shape. It will also become obvious that there is an implied meaning to each of them. If you recognize that meaning of each character, even if you don't know the word yet, you can often understand the meaning of the whole. We're not ready to start breaking these down yet because (no different than a lot of things I'm looking forward to discussing) we need A LOT more words first. However, I'm hopeful that some of the things I've shared this week will help everyone realize that A LOT of the words we consider to be standalone are actually compound words which give a description of their meaning.

    I begin a certificate program this Saturday, the day I would normally finish up the lesson for the week, so I don't know if I'll make it back to the lesson. I'd like to begin discussing the systems of counting and time if I have a chance, so I'm going to shoot for a second "more customized" lesson before returning to my daily life. I just don't know if there will be time. If not, there's always next week.

    ここ [ここ] /here, this place/
    そこ[そこ] /there, that place near you/
    あそこ [あそこ] /that place over there/
    どこ [どこ] /where, what place?/
    こちら [こちら] /this way, this place (polite)/
    そちら [そちら] /that way, that place near you (polite)/
    あちら [あちら] /that way, that place over there (polite)/
    どちら [どちら] /which way, where (polite)/
    教室 [きょうしつ] /classroom/
    食堂 [しょくどう] /dining hall, canteen/
    事務所 [じむしょ] /office/
    会議室 [かいぎしつ] /conference room, assembly room/
    受付 [うけつけ] /reception desk/
    ロビー [ロビー] /lobby/
    部屋 [へや] /room/
    トイレ [トイレ] /toilet, restroom/
    お手洗い [おてあらい] /toilet, restroom/
    階段 [かいだん] /stairs/
    エレベーター [エレベーター] /elevator, lift/
    エスカレーター [エスカレーター] /escalator/
    国 [くに] /country/
    会社 [かいしゃ] /company/
    家[うち] /home/
    電話 [でんわ] /telephone/
    靴 [くつ] /shoes/
    ネクタイ [ネクタイ] /necktie/
    ワイン [ワイン] /wine/
    たばこ [たばこ] /tobacco, cigarette/
    売り場 [うりば] /department, counter (in a department store)/
    地下室 [ちかしつ] /basement/
    ~階 [~かい] / ~th floor/
    何階 [なんがい] /what floor/
    ~円 [~えん] /yen/
    いくら [いくら] /how much/
    百 [ひゃく] /hundred/
    千 [せん] /thousand/
    万 [まん] /ten thousand/
    すみません [すみません] /Excuse me/
    ~でございます [~でございます] /(polite form of "desu")/
    ~を見せてください [~をみせてください] /Please show me ~/
    じゃ [じゃ] /well, then, in that case /
    ~をください [~をください] /Give me ~, please./

  • Lesson 5.5

    Don't get too spoiled by these two part lessons, but this is one of the lessons which really needs to be covered for basic communication. I've wanted to make it to time for a bit because there are a couple of "flukes" when it comes to time in Japanese.

    First, I'll start with the basic numbers. Even if you're not to the point of working on kanji yet, I would advise getting used to these.

    四「よん or し」/four/
    七「なな or しち」/seven/

    You'll notice that both four and seven have two different words marking them in Japanese. This is because there are actually several different ways to count in Japanese, but these are the ones we'll need for this lesson. I'm doing this one completely out of order of the textbook/vocabulary lists, but it gets kind of boring to try to create lessons straight from a book. I want to actually create a lesson occasionally rather than follow a template.

    Anyway, for most general conversation, you'll use the first set of numbers. I'm going to work up to telling time with this one, so I should probably get the basics of that out of the way first with basic vocabulary.

    今何時ですか。いま なんじ です か。This literally translates to "right now what hour is it?"

    なん has already been introduced as one of our vocabulary words and means "what" when said by itself. However, it often changes to be used in phrases like なに (which literally uses the same kanji when written, so you have to be aware of the current grammatical use), なんで (which can mean either why or how depending on the sentence context (that's a lesson for later, but you should be aware that it can have different meanings)), and several other combinations. I'll say that if you see it paired with another character, and decide to look it up, you're going to need that other character in order to get an accurate translation. I'm separating the kanji in this lesson because each of these is a word in it's own right, and (in this case) the meaning isn't changed.

    今「いま」/right now/
    時「じ」/hour or o'clock/
    分「ふん or ぷん」/minute/
    時間「じかん」/hour as a unit of time/
    週間「しゅうかん」/week as a unit of time/
    今週「こんしゅう」/this week or current week/
    来週「らいしゅう」/next week/
    先週「せんしゅう」/last week/
    月「げつ」/month of/
    か月「かげつ」/month as a unit of time/

    I'm only going to make a brief point of this, but everyone should realize that both なんじ and いつ have the same kanji. This is what I mean when I talk about recognizing the context of a sentence. As with the earlier sentence, なんじ will almost exclusively apply to asking the time. However, いつ will refer to when type questions. For いつ, I may ask いつ がっこ へ いきます か。"When are you going to school?" If you think about it in that way, いつ refers to a question asking when an event will take place.

    As to our original question, いまなんじですか。We'll need to understand how to count past ten to answer it. It's actually pretty simple, but takes some practice to get used to using it. Best way to do that is to tell yourself the time in Japanese every time you look at a clock. However, it will still take some practice.

    For numbers past ten you'll simply state the number of tens first and then the single digits. Therefore, 34 would be さん じゅう よn. That is three tens and four. The same applies up to 100. At one hundred, you'd simply say ひゃく (hundred) and follow the same pattern. Therefore, 356 would be さん びゃく ご じゅう ろく. Notice that ひゃくbecame びゃく when paired with さん. A similar thing happens when paired with ろく.
    It then becomes ろっぴゃく. Likewise, for 800 you would say はっぴゃく. These are "exceptions" to the basic rules. We'll run into words like this a lot. Most normally, when joining words like this, they are because the syllables would be difficult to pronounce clearly in their original form. Therefore, they are actually changed in order to fit together more smoothly when being spoken.

    Before I go on to thousands, I need to make a point about the way Asian and Arabic countries write their numbers compared to Western countries. Where as Western cultures would place a comma between the hundreds and thousands (like 1,000), those cultures place their commas every four decimal places (like 1,0000). This only applies when using Western numbers (there are no commas used when writing out the numbers with either kana or kanji), but you do see it rather often. Don't let it throw you, and it's not a typo.

    For thousands, the same basic rule we used with tens applies. Therefore, for 1,485 we would say せん よん ひゃく はち じゅう ご. Thousands are read as せん for all units except 3000. In that case, it becomes さん ぜん.

    We're going to stop counting with the ten thousands. Luckily, there are no exceptions for this unit, so all of them will read as まん. For this one, just for comparison sake, I'm going to include both the kana and kanji to show how simple it actually looks when using the kanji to write numbers versus the other way. We'll go with 12,937. It would be いち まん に せん きゅう ひゃく さん じゅう なな versus 一万二千九百三十七. That's a major difference in the amount of effort, and the kanji actually makes more sense when you look at it in that way. You have 1 ten thousands, 2 thousands, 9 hundreds, 3 tens, and 7 ones. One thing to notice about まん, whereas with the smaller denominations we did not use いち before them, All divisions of ten from まん up, will always include a number before them (even if it is only いち).

    I know this kanji actually looks more difficult than it really is, and there is a lot of memorization required, I'm trying to slowly work the lessons in that direction rather than dump the standard 80 a week that would be required to study for JLPT N1 within a year. We're going to start seeing a lot more compound kanji in the vocabulary, and one of the vocabulary for next week is 自動販売機. That's one word, じどうはんばいき, and means vending machine. Don't let it freak you out if you can't remember all the characters because it's probably on of the two hardest words to remember how to write using kanji. All of those individual kanji will be introduced as we proceed, and then it's just a matter of remembering which ones to use.

    Having made it this far, I have to break to get a quick nap before going to class for the day. I'm catching a lot of typos as I proof-read, and could do more harm than good if I continue working like this. There should only be a couple paragraphs left to complete the original goal of this lesson, so I will definitely be able to finish it sometime tonight. I have to retract that statement. After class, finished a binge of Escaflowne that took longer than expected. I'll have carry this over to mid-week.

  • I apologize for not checking in sooner, between demands of work, home, and, i was also taking time to document some malicious Websites for Norton this week.

    You explain,

    “they almost refuse to speak Japanese to anyone that looks like they're not Asian.”

    I saw this in a recent documentary where a foreigner who was speaking the language on point, was marginalized for the person he was with who was Asian, so, it is interesting that you mentioned this.

    Keep up the great work,

  • Lesson 6

    I didn't get much chance to edit the vocabulary list, but time is getting short between work, classes, and studying. I may have to cut these lessons down to a more lax schedule sometime soon, but am going to try to keep moving along for as long as possible.

    We're starting to get a few verbs in the list, but there are still a lot more to go. In order to recognize the verbs here, and for the majority of these lessons, just look for the words ending in ます. This is intentional since recognizing them in that format makes it a lot easier to conjugate them to expand their meaning later on. It will also usually be the format you use to finish a sentence when using ていねいたい.

    As for the actual lesson this week, I want to work on expanding on the use of the particles の and に. We already have quite a few nouns in the vocabulary so I'll start with の. When we first started, I said something along the lines of "When you see the particle の, always assume that it means ownership." That still holds true, but there is also another use which still means ownership. However, it's used in a slightly different way. Consider the anime "さんがつ の ライオン" or "こうてつじょう の かばねり". Those are "March Comes in Like a Lion" and "Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress" respectively. Both use the particle の but don't have any really obvious ownership involved. That is unless you look at them a bit more abstractly, and that's what you're going to have to do in order to understand this language.

    If I were going to translate "さんがつのライオン", it actually translates to "March's lion", but that sounds a bit rough in the English language. (FWIW, March is the name of a town in the anime, but is named after the month for some odd reason.) It's easier, and flows a lot better, to invert the phrase to "lion of March". This still reflects ownership but allows for more complex ideas to be used. It also allows nouns to describe each other as long as you realize that one of those nouns has to be in possession of the other. Regardless, unless being placed in a list, anytime two nouns are used consecutively in a sentence, の will be between them. As we've already covered in an earlier lesson, と will be used for lists.

    Now that we've covered the idea of using it in conjunction with an abstract idea, a month or town, we'll look at "Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress". This is still a location in possession of a living thing. However, the translated title is much more correct. (The exception being that こうてつ is actually the word for steel, so the accurate translation would be "Kabaneri of the Steel Fortress".) The point being, one noun has to be in possession of the other if placed beside each other in a sentence, and have to be separated by の.

    The next particle, especially when we start looking at which particles to use for specific actions, tends to throw EVERYBODY off. It's actually rather simple if you know one basic rule. に is always going to be specific. If I were to say ろくじ に ばん ごはん を たべます, it means that I'm going to eat dinner at EXACTLY six o'clock. If I say ろくじ ばん ごはん を たべます, it suddenly becomes an approximate time that I'm going to eat dinner.

    One of the vocabulary words for this week is まで. It basically means a finishing location or time. に also has an adverse effect on まで which you'll hear rather often when using it as a finishing time. If I say ろくじ まで, it means to finish sometime before 6 o'clock. If I say it as ろくじ まで に, it means I expect it to be finished at EXACTLY 6 o'clock.

    I'll be making comparisons like this, especially with regards to に because it has an effect on so many different kinds of statements (especially when used to connect nouns to verbs), as we go along. However, to introduce every rule this early would be like trying to memorize the dictionary right after learning to read. The biggest point that is important right now is to remember that に will always be indicative of something VERY specific. We'll look at the various effects as we get into more verbs which use it since that is where it really has most of it's effectiveness.

    起きます [おきます] /get up, wake up/
    寝ます [ねます] /sleep, go to bed/
    働きます [はたらきます] /work/
    休みます [やすみます] /take a rest, take a holiday/
    勉強します [べんきょうします] /study/
    終わります [おわります] /finish/
    デパート [デパート] /department store/
    銀行 [ぎんこう] /bank/
    郵便局 [ゆうびんきょく] /post office/
    図書館 [としょかん] /library/
    美術館 [びじゅつかん] /art museum/
    今 [いま] /now/
    ~時 [~じ] / ~o'clock/
    ~分 [~ふん] /~ minute/
    半 [はん] /half/
    何時 [なんじ] /what time/
    何分 [なんぷん] /what minute/
    午前 [ごぜん] /a.m., morning/
    午後 [ごご] /p.m., afternoon/
    朝 [あさ] /morning/
    昼 [ひる] /daytime, noon/
    晩 [ ばん] /night, evening/
    夜 [よる] /night, evening/
    おととい [おととい] /the day before yesterday/
    きのう [きのう] /yesterday/
    きょう [きょう] /today/
    あした [あした] /tomorrow/
    あさって [あさって] /the day after tomorrow/
    けさ [けさ] /this morning/
    今晩 [こんばん] /this evening, tonight/
    休み [やすみ] /rest, a holiday, a day off/
    昼休み [ひるやすみ] /lunch break/
    毎朝 [まいあさ] /every morning/
    毎晩 [まいばん] /every evening/
    毎日 [まいにち] /every day/
    月曜日 [げつようび] /Monday/
    火曜日 [かようび] /Tuesday/
    水曜日 [すいようび] /Wednesday/
    木曜日[もくようび] /Thursday/
    金曜日 [きんようび] /Friday/
    土曜日 [どようび] /Saturday/
    日曜日 [にちようび] /Sunday/
    何曜日 [なんようび] /what day of the week/
    番号 [ばんごう] /number/
    何番 [なんばん] /what number/
    ~から [~から] /from ~/
    ~まで [~まで] /up to ~, until ~/
    ~と~ [~と~] /and (used to connect words and phrases in a list)/
    そちら [そちら] /your place/
    大変ですね [たいへんですね] /That's tough, isn't it? (used when expressing sympathy)/
    えーと [えーと] /well, let me see/
    お願いします [おねがいします] /Please. (lit. ask for a favor)/
    かしこまりました [かしこまりました] /Certainly (sir, madam)/
    お問い合わせの番号 [おといあわせのばんごう] /the number being inquired about/
    どうもありがとうごさいした [どうもありがとうごさいした] /Thank you very much/
    ニューヨーク [ニューヨーク] /New York/
    ペキン [ペキン] /Beijing/
    ロンドン [ロンドン] /London/
    バンコク [バンコク] /Bangkok/
    ロサンゼルス [ロサンゼルス] /Los Angeles/

  • Here's a question for you Pleco

    Does Japanese have different words for different types of love?
    In English love is pretty much the only word we have. It doesn't matter if it is romantic love, or love for a parent, child or sibling.
    In anime though, when a sibling says "好き" to their sibling, everyone around them seems to gasp as if it is incestuous love.

  • @HOOfan1 There are four words/phrases which come to mind with this question. 恋、好き、大好き、愛してる. Those are, in order, koi, suki, daisuki, and aishiteru. Koi is normally referring to a noun, such as in koibito (lover). Suki is just another word for like, and can refer to anything. It's a very generic term and sentence structure for it is very easy to make it fit. Daisuki is no different than suki, but is a stronger term. It literally means "big like". The grammar is also the same as when using suki, so it's very easy to use.

    The REALLY big one is aishiteru. This word is the form of love which westerners tend to associate with lifelong friends or spouses. However, you will scarcely every hear it used. It is a very overwhelming word which is almost an immediate shock when it's heard. To get some idea of the strength of this word, I've been told several times, by several different people, that it is basically reserved for weddings and funerals (and rarely used for weddings).

    I know there are others which are often used, but I just got off work, and need to get ready for bed so I can do it again tonight. This does cover most of the terms you'll run into though.

  • @pleco_breeder said in Japanese language:

    But would it be normal to use the same term for loving your girlfriend/wife and loving your parents and siblings?

  • @HOOfan1 If you're using it as a verb form, to love, yes it would normally be the same. Both suki and daisuki are very open terms. You'd use the same word for your favorite meal or dessert also. One of the funniest sentences I can remember from recent anime involved the word daisuki.

    If you want to see what I'm talking about, I believe it was at the end of episode 1 or the beginning of episode 2 of Eromanga Sensei. First time I heard it, I nearly coughed to death because it caught me off guard so much. I literally only had the TV running in the background as I was finishing up a document, but was trying to keep up with the show till I could get it sent. This was unedited on Japanese television, and was the first time I'd heard that word used on TV while there. To be used in conjunction with daisuki, nearly killed me.

  • @HOOfan1 I can actually answer this question; yes, Japanese has at least three words that convey the meaning of the word "love."

    The word you mentioned, "好き (suki)," actually conveys more of a sense of fondness towards someone or something, and the compound "大好き (daisuki)" means you like or love someone or something a lot.

    Then there's the kanji "愛 (ai)." which means love in the more romantic sense, and the phrase "愛してる (aishiteru)" means "I love you" in that same sense.

  • @pleco_breeder

    What do you think of this

    I saw a preview for a new movie called "Isle of Dogs" the other day, and the title was presented with these characters


    overlaid over said characters was the English title "Isle of Dogs"


    犬 Isle
    ケ of
    島 dogs

    So the unknowing audience would think the character for 'dog' means 'Isle'
    The character or 'ke' means 'of'
    and the character for 'Island' means 'dogs'

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