Monday, October 29, 2012

X は Y です

Today's lesson is the most basic of sentences in pretty much all languages. We will cover particles later, so for now we'll practice forming the sentences and sounding them out.

"X は Y です" means "X is Y." That's it, simple. The は (ha) that you see in the sentence is not pronounced "ha," but "wa." This is a particle, and it is pronounced that way. For now, just remember that because particles are a whole new lesson themselves (and some people will argue that it is the hardest thing about learning Japanese).

です (desu) is a copula. It's kind of equivalent to the English "to be." It's not a verb though, and it connects a subject and predicate. You will be using です a lot when you speak and write. To say it fast and fluently, it sounds more like "des."

With this sentence format, you can create seemingly complex sentences. For example:

The student who goes to school is a good person.

The sentence may sound complex because there are verbs and adjectives modifying the nouns (student who goes to school, good person) but it's really just in X is Y format. X is student, and Y is person.

Congratulations on learning how to say your first sentence in Japanese. I encourage you to practice and create sentences with nouns that you may know.

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