Thursday, March 7, 2013

Important Announcement!

Hey everyone, I hope you're all still studying your Japanese diligently. I'm writing this announcement to let you all know that I will not be updating on here for a while because I will be going to Japan.

I will studying abroad for six months, and I'm pretty excited. Will I not be updating for six months? No, I will try my best to, but the soonest I can probably begin updating again will probably be around the end of March. I will be landing and spending a week in Tokyo, and then staying with a host family for a few days. Getting settled into my dorm is only when I see myself as being available to write again, as I'll most likely be busy until that point.

Until then, keep striving to be as knowledgeable as you can. I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Frequency Adverbs

Since we've learned a few verbs up to this point, I think it's good to review frequency adverbs. If you don't remember, adverbs describe verbs. We'll cover frequency, as in how often you do something.

たいてい (taitei) usually
ちょっと (chotto) a little
ときどき (tokidoki) sometimes
よく (yoku) often
あまり (amari) not much
ぜんぜん (zenzen) not at all; never

わたしはときどきがっこうにいきます。 (watashi wa tokidoki gakkou ni ikimasu)
Sometimes, I go to school.

わたしはよくケーキをたべます。 (watashi wa KEEKI wo yoku tabemasu)
I often eat cake.

For the adverbs あまり and ぜんぜん, the verb they are describing HAS to be negative.

せんせいはあまりテレビをみません。 (sensei wa amari TEREBI wo mimasen)
The teacher doesn't really watch television.

ともだちはしゅくだいをぜんぜんません。 (tomodachi wa shukudai wo zenzen shimasen)
My friend never does homework.

Just keep in mind that all positive adverbs describe a positive frequency of doing things and will be affirmative (ます), and the negative adverbs make verbs negative (ません) because they are describing how you don't really perform the verb.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A List of Verbs 1

I will begin a new set of posts every here and there just providing Japanese words. As I need an organized way of growing and adding vocabulary, I will post words, their kanji, and meaning, and I will also attach a picture that includes them for easier studying. If you ever forget a word and want to search for which post has the word, you can just use the search function.

This list includes some useful verbs to know.

Verb Kanji Romaji Meaning
いく 行く iku to go
かえる 帰る kaeru to return
きく 聞く kiku to listen; to hear
のむ 飲む nomu to drink
はなす 話す hanasu to speak; to talk
よむ 読む yomu to read
あう 会う au to meet; to see (a person)
ある - aru there is; there exists; to be (inanimate)
かう 買う kau to buy
かく 書く kaku to write
とる 採る toru to take (pictures)
まつ 待つ matsu to wait
わかる 分かる wakaru to understand
おきる 起きる okiru to get up
たべる 食べる taberu to eat
ねる 寝る neru to sleep
みる 見る miru to look; to see; to watch
いる - iru there is; there exists; to be (animate)
くる 来る kuru to come
する - suru to do
べんきょうする 勉強する benkyousuru to study

I recommend you save this picture and use it to study.

A few things to note:

- The verb ある is for inanimate (nonliving) things whereas いる is for animate (living) things. For example, if you say you have an apple, you would use ある (りんごがあります = ringo ga arimasu). If you say that you have a cat, you would use いる (ねこがいます = neko ga imasu). To use ある for living things would mean they are dead, and it is not considered grammatically correct.

-Not all verbs have kanji, such as ある, いる and する. They are usually written in kana alone. On the other hand, some verbs may have more than one acceptable kanji, such as あう (会う and 逢う).

-A lot of verbs will consist of a word, usually a noun, with する (to do) attached to it, such as べんきょうする (to study). べんきょう by itself means study, but by adding する to it, it becomes a verb.

-The particles I list is to help you as a beginner, and are not particularly the only particles that can be used for that verb. Practice these particles and remember which ones are properly used for each verb.

Friday, March 1, 2013

How to Invite (~ませんか)

Since we've just learned about the ます form, here's a quick lesson on how to use it as an invitation.

Recall that adding か to the end of a statement makes it a question. By adding か to a negative, present verb, you create an invitation.

ばんごはんをたべません。 (bangohan wo tabemasen)
I won't eat dinner.

ばんごはんをたべません。 (bangohan wo tabemasen ka)
Won't you eat dinner (with me)?

Using the above statement by itself, it is implying that you are asking the person to eat dinner with you, or to join you for dinner. If you want to specify it as together, in the sense that it is only the two of you, you can use いっしょに (issho ni = together) or わたしと (watashi to = with me):

いっしょにえいがをみませんか。 (issho ni eiga wo mimasen ka)
Won't you watch a movie (together with me)?

わたしとえいがをみませんか。 (watashi to eiga wo mimasen ka)
Won't you watch a movie (with me)?

You can even use it to ask someone out and make it official between the two of you.

(わたしと) つきあいませんか。 (watashi to tsukiaimasen ka)
Won't you go out with/date me?

(The verb つきあう tsukiau means "to date." In its ます form, it is つきあいます tsukiaimasu)

That's all there is to this lesson. Now you can invite people to do things with you.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The ます (masu) Form Part 2

We learned how to conjugate a verb from its dictionary form to its ます form, and now we'll learn a little more about how to make it past tense and negative.

Remember, conjugating a verb from its dictionary form to its ます form is simple. Just drop る for る-verbs, or replace the -u ending with -i for う-verbs, and then add ます. However, this only conjugates it into the affirmative, present tense.

To conjugate verbs from their dictionary form to negative, present tense ます form:
It's the same as conjugating to ます form, but instead of ます you use ません (masen).
たべる (taberu = to eat) becomes たべません (tabemasen = to not eat)
のむ (nomu = to drink) becomes のみません (nomimasen = to no drink)

To conjugate verbs from their dictionary form to positive, past tense ます form:
It's the same as conjugating to ます form, but instead of ます you use ました (mashita).

たべる (taberu = to eat) becomes たべました (tabemashita = to have eaten)
のむ (nomu = to drink) becomes のみました (nomimashita = to have drank)

To conjugate verbs from their dictionary form to negative, past tense ます form:
It's the same as conjugating to ません (present, negative), but you just add でした (deshita) at the end. でした is past tense version of です (desu).

たべる (taberu = to eat) becomes たべませんでした (tabemasen deshita = to have not eaten)
のむ (nomu = to drink) becomes のみませんでした (nomimasen deshita = to have not drank)

The ます form is pretty simple, and foreigners often learn about the ます form before the dictionary (short) form of verbs. For now until you begin learning how to use short forms, use ます and です so you'll become comfortable with polite speech.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The ます (masu) Form Part 1

Japanese verbs have all sorts of conjugations, but the first conjugation we'll learn is the ます (masu) form. What is the ます form? Japanese has different levels of honorific speech. Also known as the long form, the ます form is the polite way of speaking when describing actions of yourself and others. Along with ます, polite language also includes the usage of です (desu).

So, let's recall that there are two different kinds of verbs (well kinda, there's three):

- verbs: verbs ending in る (i.e. たべる taberu = to eat)
-verbs: verbs ending in う (i.e. のむ nomu = to drink)
Irregular verbs: verbs having irregular conjugation (する suru = to do, くる kuru = to come)

When we conjugate these verbs to the ますform, we use a certain method for each verb (for the irregular verbs, they have their own unique conjugation).

For る- verbs: drop , and add ます.
For example, たべ becomes たべます.

For う-verbs: drop the -u ending, and add います. *
For example, の becomes のみます.

As for irregular verbs, する becomes します, and くる becomes きます. **

*The -u ending to the う-verb is replaced with -i, and then -masu is added to it. In the example used, のむ (nomu), you remove the -u, giving you noM. You replace it with -i, making it noMI. You then add -masu, making it noMImasu. The character changes from む (MU) to み (MI) because you replaced -u with -i, thus changing the sound. Other examples of う-verb endings look like this:

becomes , such as き (kiKU = to listen) conjugating to きます (kiKImasu).
becomes , such as かえ (kaeRU = to return) conjugating to かえます (kaeRImasu).

**These are really the only two irregular verbs, so just remember them as they are.

Keep in mind though that what we've just learned is the PRESENT AFFIRMATIVE tense for the ます form. In the next lessons, we'll learn about the present negative, past affirmative, and past negative.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Asking and Telling Time Part 2

Previously, we learned how to tell time specifically by hour. To say that the time is at 30 minutes (7:30, for example) you use はん, "han" (半). 半 means "half." It is placed after じ (時), the hour.

いまはごぜんよおじはんです。 (ima wa gozen yoji han desu)
It is 4:30 AM right now.

To say a specific minute, such as 9:03, you have to use a counter for minutes. The counter for minutes is ~ぷん, "~pun" (分). However, take note of the ones pronounced differently.

1 minute                     いっぷん                     (ippun)                           一分      
2 minutes                   にふん                         (nifun)                            二分
3 minutes                   さんぷん                      (sanpun)                         三分
4 minutes                   よんぷん                      (yonpun)                       四分
5 minutes                   ごふん                          (gofun)                          五分
6 minutes                   ろっぷん                       (roppun)                       六分
7 minutes                   ななふん                       (nanafun)                      七分
8 minutes                   はっぷん, はちふん     (happun, hachifun)         八分
9 minutes                   きゅうふん                    (kyuufun)                      九分
10 minutes                 じゅっぷん                    (jyuppun)                      十分
30 minutes                 さんじゅっぷん             (sanjyuppun)               三十分

The kanji 分 is pronounced "pun" but sometimes it is read as "fun." For 2, 5, 7, and 9 minutes, 分 is pronounced "fun." For 8, both はっぷん (happun), and はちふん (hachifun) is accepted. Also, we learned that 30 minutes is はん (半). さんじゅっぷん (sanjyuppun) is also used.

Be sure to remember that 2, 5, 7, and 9 is pronounced differently from the rest!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Asking and Telling Time Part 1

To ask what the time is in Japanese, you simply say:

いまなんじですか。 (ima nanji desu ka)
What time is it now?

In this sentence, いま (今) means "now," なん (何) means "what," and じ(時) means "hour." Literally, you're asking what hour it is.

To answer this question, you simply say what hour it is, followed by じ. If it is 5 o'clock, you say 五時です (ごじです = goji desu). To specify if it is AM (ごぜん = gozen) or PM (ごご = gogo), you just place it before the time.

ごぜんろくじです。 (gozen rokuji desu)
It is 6 o'clock AM.

ごごななじです。 (gogo nanaji desu)
It is 7 o'clock PM.

How about if you want to say 7:30 or a specific minute? Well, it gets a little more complicated, so I'll explain it in the next lesson.