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Khengi
November 27th, 2010, 03:53 PM
http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q262/sipheria/e7a19a21.png


http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q262/sipheria/51226118.png

http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q262/sipheria/532118f7.png

[Sample of what we'll be doing]

Excerpt from first line of Prologue:

{ ここはポケモン達だけが暮らす、とくに争いもないとても平和な世界。}

ここは - As for here

ポケモン達だけが - Only Pokemon... [the 達 makes the noun before it plural; the が refers to it being the object]

暮らす - to live

とくに especially; in particularly

争いもない - No wars/strife (the も is making emphasis here, and the ない refers to there being no 争い - war. It modifies the adverb coming next)

とても平和な世界 - very peaceful world. [とても being 'very', and 平和な being a な adjective modifying 世界 - world]

=(Translation/Interpretation)=

"This is a world inhabited only by Pokemon, a peaceful world with not a single war."

(Note: The translation will never be direct. It's difficult to translate certain expressions from JP -> English and vice-versa. The translation will usually be more of an interpretation, meaning that the sentences/expression will be translated to what would make sense in English in that area, even if it doesn't mean that in Japanese. This causes some things to be lost in translations, but sure beats weird sounding Engrish).




Let's get some feedback before we get into it!



[Staff]~

Khengi (http://www.pokecommunity.com/member.php?u=242925)
Hitomi☆ (http://www.pokecommunity.com/member.php?u=242995)


[Students]

QuilavaKing (http://www.pokecommunity.com/member.php?u=136315)
EmeraldSerenade (http://www.pokecommunity.com/member.php?u=204807)
Team Fail (http://www.pokecommunity.com/member.php?u=150187)
Hairbear (http://www.pokecommunity.com/member.php?u=242842)
Zeffy (http://www.pokecommunity.com/member.php?u=141358)
Buoysel (http://www.pokecommunity.com/member.php?u=90637)

Hitomi☆
November 27th, 2010, 04:02 PM
Reading something you like is the best way to learn new language!
And this is the best story for you since you all like Pokemon.

Now Khengi are fluent in Japanese after he read lots of SHOSETSU like this(with a little bit of my help :P)
So if you are interested in learning, we are here to help you! It would be fuuuuuun!!!

Khengi
November 27th, 2010, 04:46 PM
Yup.

So! Anybody interested? We need at least 5 people to start out with, and anyone can jump on from there.

Alice
November 27th, 2010, 05:02 PM
I'm in for sure!

I had kind of given up learning awhile back, figuring that I would just do it in college later anyway... So, I've kind of forgotten some of what I learned... specifically in the grammar department. (Conjugations and sentence structure etc.)

I watch a lot of the niconico singers, so I've been constantly picking up new kanji, and my hiragana/katakana has stayed strong. (I'm always trying to talk to them. lol) I'll go back and start re-reading all of the stuff I learned about grammar though.

Khengi
November 27th, 2010, 05:05 PM
よし! 

One down, four to go.

EmeraldSerenade
November 27th, 2010, 06:58 PM
I tried learning Japanese a year or two ago, but I gave up :( I forgot mostly everything as well... aha. This seems really interesting though.

I'd LOVE to do this, although I have one question:
How often will we be translating chapters? Because I'm very busy overall and I don't really want to be wasting a spot for an eager Japanese learner..

If I can somehow fit this into my daily schedule, I'm willing to join ^_^

Khengi
November 27th, 2010, 07:07 PM
Feeeeear not, only Hitomi and I will be doing translations (mostly me, as we'll be going from Japanese to English, so we'll be going into my native language. If it was vice versa, Hitomi would be better suited for the job).

After five people sign up, I'll start a mini-lesson on what you need to do/learn before starting this project. After that, you can check up and do whatever you want! :D

Three to go! *scratches notebook*

Alice
November 27th, 2010, 07:10 PM
I have a friend who would definitely want to do this... if I can convince him to swallow his pride and join a pokemon forum. (He likes pokemon... I don't know why he won't join. lol)

Khengi
November 27th, 2010, 07:18 PM
You should definitely get him to join! If anything you'll at least learn to read Japanese. This method doesn't really help with your listening skills, though. For that, I listen to radio. Hours upon hours until I couldn't get the title out of my head (馬場章夫新大阪大発見!!)

Team Fail
November 27th, 2010, 10:14 PM
I know a few Katakana characters and some Hiragana characters, so I'll join. +1

よし!.

I know the second character is "shi".

OMG. Now, I can translate from French-Japanese if I learn it!

Hairbear
November 28th, 2010, 10:47 AM
I would gladly learn Japanese. I know the basics of how to learn a new language done 3 years of German so learning a new language will be easier than going through from scratch (well in a way :D) Please let me join I have so much free time as long as it is past 16:00 GMT from mon to fri and weekends are completely free.

Khengi
November 28th, 2010, 07:23 PM
One more to go!

後一人だけっ! Then we can start!

Zeffy
November 28th, 2010, 08:42 PM
I guess I could join. I've been bugging myself to learn Japanese for a while now. n__n

Khengi
November 28th, 2010, 09:00 PM
Alright! Let's get this started tomorrow, I've got a ton of work to do right now D:

Buoysel
November 28th, 2010, 09:04 PM
I too would like to join. I started to learn Japanese on my own. I managed to memorize most of the hiragana I was about to start the Katakana and then I got very busy. I know have more free time, and I haven't really put much effort into it since. This would be a good excuse for me to get back into the swing of things. 

おねがい

Khengi
November 28th, 2010, 09:21 PM
You got it! Let me add you too.

Kura
November 28th, 2010, 09:24 PM
How would we understand the kanji you post? Will you do like what a lot of Japanese kiddy manga does and have the kana at the top?
I was just curious.

I'd love to join.. but sadly have not much time.. plus I'd have to relearn some hiragana and katakana.. haven't used them in a long while so I forgot like half of 'em..

Team Fail
November 28th, 2010, 09:26 PM
Could I have PMs of the first lessons? I'm going to be moving soon, and my Computer is being disconnected tomorrow, and the internet is being cut off for a few days.

Khengi
November 28th, 2010, 09:40 PM
How would we understand the kanji you post? Will you do like what a lot of Japanese kiddy manga does and have the kana at the top?
I was just curious.

I'd love to join.. but sadly have not much time.. plus I'd have to relearn some hiragana and katakana.. haven't used them in a long while so I forgot like half of 'em..

Furigana? Yeah, definitely, it's actually not just for kiddies :P When you have a written language made up of symbols that can be pronounced in so many ways based on context, preference, or combination words, you have to have some pronunciation clues every now and then, especially for names!

!! lol

@Team Fail: Okay!

Team Fail
November 28th, 2010, 09:58 PM
Furigana? Yeah, definitely, it's actually not just for kiddies :P When you have a written language made up of symbols that can be pronounced in so many ways based on context, preference, or combination words, you have to have some pronunciation clues every now and then, especially for names!
That would be the stuff in this image, IIRC
http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q262/sipheria/e7a19a21.png
@Team Fail: Okay!
Thank you so much. I can say moving isn't easy.

Kura
November 28th, 2010, 10:05 PM
Furigana? Yeah, definitely, it's actually not just for kiddies :P When you have a written language made up of symbols that can be pronounced in so many ways based on context, preference, or combination words, you have to have some pronunciation clues every now and then, especially for names!

!! lol

@Team Fail: Okay!

Cool! Yeah I probably wont be taking part but I don't mind dropping by once in a while! Good luck with the lessons!

Khengi
November 28th, 2010, 10:07 PM
Definitely! The whole 'sign up' was just for me to get a tally on some interested individuals, so I wouldn't be doing this for naught.

Anybody can drop in at any time! I'll start them up tomorrow.

Alice
November 30th, 2010, 09:46 PM
You still alive khengi? lol

Tomorrow has come and gone.

Hairbear
December 1st, 2010, 09:55 AM
ok.. im back now couldn't log for a bit :P

Esper
December 1st, 2010, 06:05 PM
I don't know if this thread was where the learnin' was supposed to happen or not, but I figured no one would mind if I stepped in and tried to get something started in case anyone is itching to learn.

---------


So, you want to learn Japanese, eh? One of the first things you'll learn about the language is that it is (probably) very different from your native language. For starters, Japanese doesn't have an alphabet. What it has is something called a syllabary. Instead of single letters like A, Q, and G, it has sounds (technically they're called morae) and it's easiest to think of them as syllables. (If you forget, syllables are how many 'sounds' a word has. For example, the word 'happy' has 5 letters, but only 2 syllables.)

Most of these morae will have one of 5 vowel sounds, which it letters are written: a, i, u, e, and o, and that is their "alphabetical" order. In Japanese these five sounds can be written:

あ い う え お


For most other morae you will see that they're a combination of a vowel sound (like one of the above 5) and a consonant sound like that made by the letters S, T or K. In English (or most likely whatever your native language is) if you wanted to add a "K" sound to an "A" sound you would just put the two letters side by side - ka.

This is not how it works in Japanese. In Japanese a consonant/vowel combination has its own individual kana (a single written character that represents a mora) which includes both sounds. For example, you know that the sound "a" is written like this:




But to write the sound "ka" you don't include あ, you write it like this:




Makes sense, right? All in all there are dozens of combinations which cover nearly all of the sounds you might find in Japanese (there are sounds which aren't common for Japanese speakers and so there are a couple of tricks to get around this, but let's not worry about that now). Knowing and eventually memorizing these is important because they are going to be one of your foundations of learning Japanese.

Below is a partial list of kana with their corresponding transliterations (how they can be written in letters). These are actually from one of two syllabaries that Japanese has, this one called hiragana. Ideally you would practice writing them down over and over until you memorize them, but on the internet I suppose it's good just to familiarize yourself with them.

あ  い  う  え  お
(a i u e o)

か  き  く  け  こ
(ka ki ku ke ko)

さ  し  す  せ  そ
(sa shi su se so)

た  ち  つ  て  と
(ta chi tsu te to)

な  に  ぬ  ね  の
(na ni nu ne no)

は  ひ  ふ  へ  ほ
(ha hi fu he ho)

ま  み  む  め  も
(ma mi mu me mo)

や     ゆ     よ
(ya - yu - yo)

ら  り  る  れ  ろ
(ra ri ru re ro)

わ           を
(wa - - - wo/o)


(n)

You'll probably notice that some of them don't quite follow the pattern that most of them do. That's because there are some sounds which aren't normally a part of Japanese. There are also some gaps where you would expect to see some kana that you won't see for the same reason.

That's probably enough for now. It's going to look like really basic stuff for anyone who's already studied it, but if you haven't done this for a while or are starting out new then it's good to learn this and learn it good well.

If you would like to test yourself a little then below is a small quiz with the answers in spoilers. 1. か
2. ほ
3. へ
4. い
5. め
6. し
7. き
8. つ
9. ん
10. て
1. ka
2. ho
3. he
4. i
5. me
6. shi
7. ki
8. tsu
9. n
10. te

1. ma
2. o
3. wa
4. su
5. fu
6. re
7. to
8. ni
9. no
10 e
1. ま
2. お
3. わ
4. す
5. ふ
6. れ
7. と
8. に
9. の
10. え

Kura
December 1st, 2010, 07:38 PM
Ki, Ma, Mo, and Ho are the worst for me to get. I'm generally pretty okay with the other ones. It's the worst, though! Hahaha

Buoysel
December 1st, 2010, 07:51 PM
I'm always confusing nu, ne, me, and re. I'm going to practice those tomorrow on lunch brake.

Azumi
December 1st, 2010, 09:29 PM
I don't know if I'm allowed to do this but if you don't mind, I'm going to post up a little tip for you all.

***

Here's a way I myself identify the hiragana for re, wa and ne, as well as me and nu - usually, anyway.
First, re, wa and ne are put into one category because they look similar, while me and nu is in another.

Then, I see it this way:
れ (re) is the one that goes out;
わ (wa) is the one that goes in; and
ね (ne) is the one with the curl.

It's basically the same for me and nu:
め is the normal one; and
ぬ is the curly one.

That's all for this little tip. You don't need to use this tip if you don't want/have a pressing need to. ^^

Khengi
December 1st, 2010, 09:42 PM
Sorry, sorry, sorry! I've been busy so much this week with school that I haven't been able to log in. We'll definitely start before or on Friday.

I totally welcome any help with Japanese for people. Feel feel to post whatever you feel will help others!

Also, he's a tip for Nu and Ne (I teach children Japanese):

ぬ is the second sound of the word 'Dog', いぬ。 Try and picture a dog curled up sleeping with its tail looping.

ね is the first sound of the word 'Cat', ねこ. Try to picture a cat upright with its tail looping.

Alice
December 1st, 2010, 10:15 PM
^ No problem. I just want to get started as soon as possible. lol

chaos11011
December 9th, 2010, 01:24 PM
I would like to help. I know Katakana extremely well. (I know every letter by memory) But I just started Hirigana and Kanji.

Alice
December 22nd, 2010, 11:44 AM
This thread = meanest prank ever.

Team Fail
December 22nd, 2010, 12:34 PM
This thread = meanest prank ever.

How do you see it as a prank? No one is taking interest, so no new lessons are being posted. I'm taking the lesson, but I haven't had time to actually look.

Alice
December 22nd, 2010, 02:42 PM
^ He had tons of interest, but hasn't logged in since December 8th. He got everyone hyped up, and then never started it.

Ru-Kun
December 26th, 2010, 05:03 PM
^ He had tons of interest, but hasn't logged in since December 8th. He got everyone hyped up, and then never started it.

Well he probably has a very busy life. We can all just step up and work a little by ourselves while we wait.

Well I'd like to join. I've been learning Japanese since my freshman year (so a little less than a year) of high school, well not in school, but self teaching. Soon I'm going to order Michel Thomas because I've had some great reviews of it. So now I'll introduce myself in my limited Japanese.

こんにちはみんなさん! はじめまして. ルです. じゅうごさいです. こうこうのにねんせいです. ひらがなとかたかなをしっています. かんじをちょっとしっています. まいにち日本語をべんきょうします. 日本のうたうが大すきです. ハロ!プロのうたうが大すきです. モーニング娘は すごいです! よろしくおねがいします.

Esper
December 26th, 2010, 07:10 PM
Well, I may as well post something more since I left a few things out of my first one.

More Hiragana

Okay, so in my previous post about hiragana I showed a bunch of them. (They're in the spoiler if you want to look). But I didn't show all of them and there's a reason for that.

あ  い  う  え  お
(a i u e o)

か  き  く  け  こ
(ka ki ku ke ko)

さ  し  す  せ  そ
(sa shi su se so)

た  ち  つ  て  と
(ta chi tsu te to)

な  に  ぬ  ね  の
(na ni nu ne no)

は  ひ  ふ  へ  ほ
(ha hi fu he ho)

ま  み  む  め  も
(ma mi mu me mo)

や     ゆ     よ
(ya - yu - yo)

ら  り  る  れ  ろ
(ra ri ru re ro)

わ           を
(wa - - - wo/o)


(n)

The above hiragana cover pretty much every different shape you'll see, but there are others which take some of the above shapes and add a little something to them to make new hiragana. Once you have the above kana memorized these new ones shouldn't be as difficult to remember.

First, let's go back to a few of those groups of hiragana who will be the stars of this lesson:

か  き  く  け  こ
(ka ki ku ke ko)

さ  し  す  せ  そ
(sa shi su se so)

た  ち  つ  て  と
(ta chi tsu te to)

は  ひ  ふ  へ  ほ
(ha hi fu he ho)


These four groups are special because by adding little marks to them they become different kana. We'll add what's called a dakuten and all that really means is we'll be adding a mark that looks a lot like a quotation mark (") but that's slightly slanted, like so (゛).

か --> が


Easy. The two little lines always go in the upper right corner, usually on the outside, but depending on the shape sometimes they go slightly under. Now we'll do it to all 20 kana.

が  ぎ  ぐ  げ  ご
(ga gi gu ge go)

ざ  じ  ず  ぜ  ぞ
(za ji zu ze zo)

だ  ぢ  づ  で  ど
(da di/ji dzu/zu de do)

ば  び  ぶ  べ  ぼ
(ba bi bu be bo)


You'll see that for the most part the changes to the pronunciations follow the same consonant pattern that these kana had before we added the dakuten. The irregular kana (marked in bold, the ones whose pronunciations don't follow the predicted patterns) are in the same places as they were before with the exception of the ふ (fu) kana which becomes a regular ぶ (bu).

You'll probably also notice that ぢ (di/ji) and づ (dzu/zu) have two pronunciations, one each that is unique and one each that matches the pronunciation of the kana above them, じ (ji) and ず (zu). This is because ぢ and づ are fairly similar in pronunciation to the kana above them, so much so that their usage is pretty rare and you don't often see them used except in a few specific words. For anyone just learning hiragana it's probably enough to know that they exist and what they look like.

Linguistically, there's a fine reason for these kana with dakuten to be related to their non-dakuten base kana. The "k", "t", and "s" sounds are all what can be called voiceless sounds, meaning your vocal chords don't vibrate when you make these sounds. Similarly, "g", "d", and "z" sounds are all called voiced which, you guessed it, mean they are all pronounced by vibrating your vocal chords. Try making a "k" sound (without adding a vowel sound) and then try a "g" sound. You'll see the difference, but you'll also see that to make the "k" and "g" sounds you position your mouth and tongue in the exact same place and that is the secret connection. The dakuten means you're voicing the sounds.

I didn't include the "h"/"b" connection for a different reason. And that's because there's yet another level of changes that this group makes. So far we have these two related groups.

は  ひ  ふ  へ  ほ
(ha hi fu he ho)

ば  び  ぶ  べ  ぼ
(ba bi bu be bo)


But there is a third.

ぱ  ぴ  ぷ  ぺ  ぽ
(pa pi pu pe po)


To make this group of kana you need to add a different dakuten, a little circle instead of two small lines. This is the only group with uses the circle.

The linguistic connection here (for anyone who cares to know) is a little backwards from the other examples, but it's the same principle. "p" and "b" sounds are also voiceless (the "p" sound) and voiced (the "b" sound). There's no real linguistic reason they are both connected to the "h" sound, though.

So, now that we have those five extra groups we can enlarge our list of hiragana:

あ  い  う  え  お
(a i u e o)

か  き  く  け  こ
(ka ki ku ke ko)

が  ぎ  ぐ  げ  ご
(ga gi gu ge go)

さ  し  す  せ  そ
(sa shi su se so)

ざ  じ  ず  ぜ  ぞ
(za ji zu ze zo)

た  ち  つ  て  と
(ta chi tsu te to)

だ  ぢ  づ  で  ど
(da di/ji dzu/zu de do)

な  に  ぬ  ね  の
(na ni nu ne no)

は  ひ  ふ  へ  ほ
(ha hi fu he ho)

ば  び  ぶ  べ  ぼ
(ba bi bu be bo)

ぱ  ぴ  ぷ  ぺ  ぽ
(pa pi pu pe po)

ま  み  む  め  も
(ma mi mu me mo)

や     ゆ     よ
(ya - yu - yo)

ら  り  る  れ  ろ
(ra ri ru re ro)

わ           を
(wa - - - wo/o)


(n)


And that's pretty much it for hiragana. There are a couple of other peculiarities, but I can go over them in another post if anyone is interested.

Quiz!

If you would like to test your memory again then below is a small quiz with the answers in spoilers. 1. で
2. が
3. び
4. べ
5. ず
6. ぽ
7. ご
8. じ
9. ぷ
10. だ
1. de
2. ga
3. bi
4. be
5. zu
6. po
7. go
8. ji
9. pu
10. da

1. ze
2. pa
3. do
4. bo
5. pe
6. dzu/zu
7. gi
8. za
9. ge
10. gu
1. ぜ
2. ぱ
3. ど
4. ぼ
5. ぺ
6. づ
7. ぎ
8. ざ
9. げ
10. ぐ

yaminokaitou
December 27th, 2010, 07:46 AM
こんにちは。私も入りたいです。 大学の時日本語を勉強してて今あまり勉強できないです。日本語が少し分かっているけど、たんごと読みが下手です。どうぞよろしくね。
(Good afternoon. I would like to join too. I studied Japanese in college, but I can't study it much now. I understand a little Japanese, but I am bad at vocabulary and listening.)

EmeraldSerenade
December 27th, 2010, 07:49 AM
Much thanks for all the info/help your posting Scarf. Its been helping me quite a bit.

Esper
December 28th, 2010, 01:58 AM
Much thanks for all the info/help your posting Scarf. Its been helping me quite a bit.
You're welcome. :3 It's nice to know I'm not just repeating something everyone already knows.

Aaaannnnd to make more use of this post I guess I'll add some odds and ends about hiragana.



Odds and Ends

So there are a few more normal things we can do with hiragana to make some more sounds and they involve making pairs of kana. First we take all the kana that make the "i" sound (except for the actual "i" kana itself). For repetition's sake I've marked them in bold.

By the way, if anyone could help me find a better way to format these into nice even tables or something so it's neater looking that would be most appreciated.

あ  い  う  え  お
か  き  く  け  こ
が  ぎ  ぐ  げ  ご
さ  し  す  せ  そ
ざ  じ  ず  ぜ  ぞ
た  ち  つ  て  と
だ  ぢ  づ  で  ど
な  に  ぬ  ね  の
は  ひ  ふ  へ  ほ
ば  び  ぶ  べ  ぼ
ぱ  ぴ  ぷ  ぺ  ぽ
ま  み  む  め  も
や      ゆ     よ
ら   り  る  れ  ろ
わ            を



Now, normally when you put two kana side by side there's nothing special about that. ね (ne) next to こ (ko) is just ねこ (neko) and き (ki) next to や (ya) is just きや (kiya).

So why are those "i" sound kana special? When you take one of them you can add a small-size version of や (ya), ゆ (yu), or よ (yo) and make a new sound.

きよ --> きょ

(See how it's smaller in the example on the right?)


What we're doing is taking two sounds (in the example above "ki" and "yo") and mashing them together (making "kyo). We can do this because the sounds are similar enough that they can be combined into a single syllable. The "y" sound (in English, mind you) at the beginning of words is similar enough to an "i" sound (which, to make sure we're thinking of the same sound, is the "ee" sound in "cheese" and not the "i" sound from "pit"). Try pronouncing "yam" as "iam" or "yoke" as "ioke" without making two separate vowel sounds.

So, we can take any of the "i" sound kana (for instance, "ri")




Add one of the "y"-beginning kana ("yu")

りゆ


Shrink the "y" kana

りゅ


And we have a new and distinct sound ("ryu").

Now, some of these combinations are more common than others. A lot of words contain the sounds for "sho", "kyo", and "ju" while "hyu" and "pya" are probably going to pop up mostly as sound effects in manga and rarely, if ever, in "real" words.

I also realize that I'm being a little inconsistent (and possibly confusing) in how I'm transliterating some of these combos. In the examples I just gave I mentioned both "sho" and "ju" and the careful reader will notice that neither has a "y" in them, unlike every other example. This is a convenience issue. Ideally, for consistency's sake, we would write "shyo", "shyu", "jyo" and so on. However, it's most common (meaning easier) for English speakers/learners of Japanese to drop the "y" whenever a pairing includes the kana for shi, ji, or chi (and the di/ji kana on the rare occasions when it is used).

Other Ways to Write It

Since I brought up transliteration I should also mention that in some circles it's accepted/preferred to use a more consistent system to write Japanese than the one I originally presented. What I mean is that while most of the time you'll see the kana つ represented with the letters tsu, it is just as acceptable to write it as tu. This would give you a more streamlined way of writing Japanese so that the "t" group would be "ta ti tu te to" ("chi" becomes "ti") rather than "ta chi tsu te to". The reason you'll see "tsu" (and the others) used more often is because that's a closer approximation to how the kana are pronounced, but it does lead to some confusion when you have a kana like づ which you might see transcribed in various places as du, dzu, zu, or tzu.

Missing Kana

Another fun bit of trivia involve the "w" group of kana. There are only 2 of them, right? Well, there are now, but there were 2 more in the past. Kana for the sounds "wi" and "we" used to exist in standard Japanese, but because their pronunciations are close enough to "i" and "e" they were gradually weeded out and replaced. But you might run into them and want to know what you're looking at, so here they are:

ゐ ゑ
(wi we)

Just don't confuse them for み (mi), ぬ (nu), る (ru), or ろ (ro).

Edit: I mistakenly said the last two obscure kana were in the "y" group when they're actually in the "w" group.

Alice
December 28th, 2010, 11:16 AM
You're welcome. :3 It's nice to know I'm not just repeating something everyone already knows.
Well... I already know all this, but I guess we gotta get everyone else up to speed first.

SharKing319
December 29th, 2010, 03:27 PM
If it's possible, can I still become a student? If it'll get started (if it hasn't already), I'd like to see this. I'm quite interested in learning Japanese.

(Just so you know, I already have hiragana and katakana memorized.)

Buoysel
December 31st, 2010, 11:20 PM
I might as well throw my two cents in:

Taking the tittle of the thread literally: I am going to learn / help you learn the Katakana through Pokemon.

There is an order (an alphabet order so to speak) for the Japanese writing system but the way I am going to learn/teach does not follow said order. It is a good idea to know the order and it can be found by looking at Scarf's posts. The Kataka follow the same order as the Hiragana.

Now on to Kataka learning.

First thing first: Pokemon

As we all know Pokemon is short for Pocket Monsters. In Japanese pocket is poketto and monster is monsuta.

Write these down as you go alone, the only way to master Japanese writing is to practice it!!!!

Japanese has a stroke order for its alphabet. It is a good idea to follow said order. It makes it much easier to write the characters correctly if you use the correct stoke order. About.com has a nice article starting with “a” here (http://japanese.about.com/od/howtowritekatakana/ss/katakana2.htm)

So lets look at Pokemon first: ポケモン

The first character ポ (po), as you can see this character has a small circle on the upper right corner, there are a couple of names for it but I am going to call it the shorter name which is maru. The maru is a mark chaining the sound of the character, originally the character is ホ (ho) but when we add the maru to ho it changes to po.

The next character is ケ(ke) the rest of the characters are plain and simple

モ(mo)
ン (n)

In Japanese no syllable is stressed, so when you say Pokemon its po-ke-mo-n (When you stress the syllable like us English speaking people like to do it sounds more like po-key-mon)

Now test your self:

I can see the Japanese word Pokemon twice in this image can you?

http://news.dengeki.com/elem/000/000/167/167899/c20090529_poke_01_cs1w1_300x.jpg

Team Fail
January 1st, 2011, 02:03 AM
I might as well throw my two cents in:

Taking the tittle of the thread literally: I am going to learn / help you learn the Katakana through Pokemon.

There is an order (an alphabet order so to speak) for the Japanese writing system but the way I am going to learn/teach does not follow said order. It is a good idea to know the order and it can be found by looking at Scarf's posts. The Kataka follow the same order as the Hiragana.

Now on to Kataka learning.

First thing first: Pokemon

As we all know Pokemon is short for Pocket Monsters. In Japanese pocket is poketto and monster is monsuta.

Write these down as you go alone, the only way to master Japanese writing is to practice it!!!!

Japanese has a stroke order for its alphabet. It is a good idea to follow said order. It makes it much easier to write the characters correctly if you use the correct stoke order. About.com has a nice article starting with “a” here (http://japanese.about.com/od/howtowritekatakana/ss/katakana2.htm)

So lets look at Pokemon first: ポケモン

The first character ポ (po), as you can see this character has a small circle on the upper right corner, there are a couple of names for it but I am going to call it the shorter name which is maru. The maru is a mark chaining the sound of the character, originally the character is ホ (ho) but when we add the maru to ho it changes to po.

The next character is ケ(ke) the rest of the characters are plain and simple

モ(mo)
ン (n)

In Japanese no syllable is stressed, so when you say Pokemon its po-ke-mo-n (When you stress the syllable like us English speaking people like to do it sounds more like po-key-mon)

Now test your self:

I can see the Japanese word Pokemon twice in this image can you?

http://news.dengeki.com/elem/000/000/167/167899/c20090529_poke_01_cs1w1_300x.jpg

Yes, I can. This is what I am comfortable with, and I know at least 15 Katakana characters. I was hoping we'd start there because
A. It's the first characters that are taught to Japanese children, and
B. Most Pokemon games have mostly Kana, with a small amount of Hiragana thrown in.

If I'm correct, that translates as "Pokemon Fan Club presents Pokemon Festa 2009"

AyameHikaru
January 1st, 2011, 09:29 AM
Boku mo setsuzoku!

Poketto Monsutaa mo nihongo ga daisuki da!

Esper
January 6th, 2011, 12:44 PM
Okay, more lesson for everbody!

If you've got hiragana down then it's time to go over katakana.


Katakana

Hiragana and katakana are the two (mostly) phonetic syllabaries of Japanese. Although written differently they parallel each other in a similar way to English's capital and lower-case letters. So for us "JAPANESE" would be pronounced the same way as "japanese" and it's the same idea with hiragana and katakana.

Let's take the first row of hiragana as an example:

あいうえお


Which is katakana is written

アイウエオ


But pronounced exactly the same. There’s not much similarity with these five, is there? A few katakana are nearly identical to their hiragana counterparts, but for the most part you'll need to remember completely new kana. Here’s a comparison of the two with the hiragana equivalents in parentheses:

アイウエオ

(あいうえお)

A I U E O



カキクケコ

ガギグゲゴ

(かきくけこ)

KA KI KU KE KO

GA GI GU GE GO



サシスセソ

ザジズゼゾ

(さしすせそ)

SA SHI SU SE SO

ZA JI ZU ZE ZO



タチツテト

ダヂヅデド

(たちつてと)

TA CHI TSU TE TO

DA JI DZU DE DO



ナニヌネノ

(なにぬねの)

NA NI NU NE NO



ハヒフヘホ

バビブベボ

パピプペポ

(はひふへほ)

HA HI FU HE HO

BA BI BU BE BO

PA PI PU PE PO



マミムメモ

(まみむめも)

MA MI MU ME MO



ヤ・ユ・ヨ

(や・ゆ・よ)

YA YU YO



ラリルレロ

(らりるれろ)

RA RI RU RE RO



ワ・・・ヲ

(わ・・・を)

WA WO





(ん)

N



I should say that according to most people who study Japanese (me included), katakana is harder to learn than hiragana. Or rather, it’s harder to read. So take your time going over them because it’s easier to get confused by them. In particular be careful for:ス (su) which looks quite similar to ヌ (nu) except that with ヌ the two lines cross.

ク (ku) and ケ (ke). On ケ the horizontal line extends out to the right further.

マ (ma) and ム (mu)

ワ (wa) and ウ (u), and also フ (fu), ラ (ra) and ヲ (wo)

チ(chi) and テ (te). チ has angled parallel lines and the curved line touches both of them. テ has horizontal lines and the curved line does not reach the top line.

Also be especially careful with:
ツ(tsu) and シ (shi). They look very similar. The main difference is that with ツ the two lines are more vertical and with シ the lines are more horizontal. This is one of the instances where it’s very beneficial to know the stroke order of a kana, meaning how exactly it’s supposed to be written.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7e/%E3%83%84-bw.png

ソ (so) and ン (n). It’s the same situation as above. ソ is more vertical and ン is more horizontal.
Katakana follows the same general rules as hiragana for making combined sounds. So, if you wanted to write “kyo” (きょ) in katakana you would still make the katakana “yo” (ヨ) smaller (ョ) and end up with キョ.


Something New

There’s also something fairly common to katakana and not very common with hiragana (so much so that I didn’t bother mentioning it before). In Japanese every kana ends with a vowel sound (except ン/ん). Each one of these can be extended to create a long vowel sound. For that we use this character: ー

As you can see, it’s a line. What a long vowel sound actually means is a little more complicated. You’ll recall that Japanese is composed of morae (usually a combination of a vowel and consonant) and each mora is like a syllable. It’s a little difficult to explain so I’ll just use examples as I go along.

Let’s start with the kana と (to). Now let’s add to it the kana う (u). What we get then is とう (tou). In effect, what we have done is extend the sound と makes by adding a second kana. When spoken とう should have a noticeably longer sound than と by itself. You don’t change the sound you make; you simply hold the sound a little longer. You also (in normal speaking) don’t try to make them two separate sounds. In English we would still consider とう a single syllable, just like we would for と alone.

Each of the five vowel sounds has a particular way of extending its sound.
For “a” sounds (ka, sa, etc.) you add あ (a).

For “i” sounds (ki, shi, etc.) you add い (i).

For “u” sounds (ku, su, etc.) you add う (u).

For “e” sounds (ke, se, etc.) you add い (i), not え (e).

For “o” sounds (ko, so, etc.) you add う (u), not お (o).
What you end up with are the sounds ”_aa”, ”_ii”, ”_uu”, ”_ei”, and ”_ou” . (The underline represents the space for whatever consonant sound you’re working with.) ”_ei” and ”_ou” are the most common of these sounds in native Japanese words, but all are common with loan words.

Now back to that line I introduced. The examples I gave were all in hiragana, but something different happens when we’re using katakana. Instead of using a specific kana (ア, イ, ウ, エ, or オ) you simply add ー. So then カー would be “kaa”, キー would be “kii”, クー would be “kuu”, ケー would be “kei”, and コー would be “kou”.

Several Things to Note

Using a line (ー) rather than a kana isn’t always how you’ll see these extended vowels. You are more or less as likely to see something written like コー as you are like コウ and they would be pronounced the same way and transliterated the same way. ー is more likely to appear in loan words, which are almost always written in katakana, than in native words which are written in katakana.

The transliterations of extended vowel sounds are sometimes written with a macron over the vowel (kō) rather than with an extra letter (kou). Sometimes you’ll see different accent marks used, but it can be confusing as there isn’t always a standard of what marks mean. Sometimes you’ll see the word ‘anime’ written as ‘animé’ in which case the accent would mostly likely stand for a pronunciation mark and not to indicate that you are meant to lengthen the “e” sound.

Katakana is known for being the syllabary for writing loan, or foreign words. This is true, but it is not limited to that function. Among other things it is what Pokémon names are written with.


Quiz Yourself

1. ピカチュウ
2. ヤドン
3. エネコ
4. ルギア
5. フシギダネ
6. ストライク
7. ニドリーナ
8. リオル
9. チャーレム
10. アンノーン

1. Pikachuu (Pikachu)
2. Yadon (Slowpoke)
3. Eneko (Skitty)
4. Rugia (Lugia)
5. Fushigidane (Bulbasaur)
6. Sutoraiku (Scyther)
7. Nidoriina (Nidorina)
8. Rioru (Riolu)
9. Chaaremu (Medicham)
10. An’noun (Unown)

Team Fail
January 6th, 2011, 04:51 PM
Stuff

Yay! I can study now. I can't wait for more lessons. I know most of the symbols, more than Hiragana. I actually find Hira harder than Kana. That's because I've been around Kana more than Hira.

Esper
January 21st, 2011, 06:29 PM
(Look! it's another of those posts)

Grammar lesson time.

Now I’ll go over the basic structure of a sentence and teach you a simple example from which you can create other sentences.

Japanese uses a Subject-Object-Verb (SOV) pattern to form sentences. In English, and many other languages you might be familiar with, the general pattern is Subject-Verb-Object (SVO). An example of this in English would be “The bear eats ice cream.” The bear is the subject, eats is the verb, and ice cream is the object. In Japanese the order would go something like “The bear ice cream eats.” But don’t worry too much about that right now. Just remember that the basic rule is that in Japanese the verb goes at the end of the sentence, not in the middle.

If you think that the sentence “The bear ice cream eats” is a little confusing then you’re not alone. If someone really were to say that in English you might think they were trying to say that the bears are the ones getting eaten. In English we rely on context to understand who eats whom, that is, the order in which words are placed makes all the difference. In Japanese this is often also the case, but Japanese relies on markers to tell us what is doing an action, what is being acted upon, where the action is happening, and so on.

So let’s bring in some Japanese now. Here are three Japanese words:

くま たべる アイスクリーム
(“kuma” - bear) --- (“taberu” - eat) --- (“aisukuriimu” - ice cream)


Right now the words are in SVO form so let’s change that to SOV form like it should be.

くま アイスクリーム たべる
(“kuma” - bear) --- (“aisukuriimu” - ice cream) --- (“taberu” - eat)


That’s better. Now, there’s another difference between Japanese and your average European language: Japanese generally doesn’t use spaces between words. So now that leaves us with:

くまアイスクリームたべる


Which looks a little messy. You can still see the words in there and they’re in the right sequence, but you have to add something else to mark which words are which part of speech.

くまはアイスクリームをたべる


What I’ve done is add two kana to the sentence after the two nouns I have. First, about は.Its purpose is to mark which word is the topic. Before I continue there are some very important things to note at this point! I said that は marks the topic not the subject. The difference in meaning between these two words is subtle and they often overlap, but the simple explanation is that the topic is “the thing which we are talking about” and the subject is “the thing doing an action.” As I said, one word can be both at the same time, but isn’t always. This is more important in more complex sentences, but we’re not getting into that just now. In our example sentence they are the same thing.

The other important thing to note is that when は is being used as a topic marker it is not pronounced “ha” but as “wa”. It only changes when it’s doing this and any other time it is pronounced normally as “ha.” In transcribing Japanese it’s normal to write “wa” instead of “ha” because it’s the pronunciation which matters, but again it is は which is written and not わ.

The other marker I used is を. The pronunciation of this kana doesn’t change, but it does vary from person to person. Some people pronounce it “wo” and some without the ‘w’ sound and like “o”. (Note that you should always use を as a marker and never お regardless of how you pronounce it.) Unlike は which can be used separately from its job as a topic marker, を is almost exclusively used as a marker, in this case an object marker. In other words, を marks “the thing which is acted upon” or the thing which has something happen to it. Now let’s go back to our sentence.

くまはアイスクリームをたべる


Let’s break it down into its pieces. First we have くま (bear), the topic/subject, followed by は, the subject marker, then アイスクリーム (ice cream), the object, followed by を. Last is the verb, たべる (eat).

I wrote "bear" instead of "the bear" because Japanese does not use articles ("the" "a" and "an") so when you write くま it can mean "a bear" or "the bear" or just "bear". When we translate Japanese into English we usually add "the" and so on wherever English needs it and it's generally not too difficult to figure out.

So that's the basic structure of a sentence. You can mix and match the pieces to create new sentences. Here are a few:


ねこはアイスクリームをたべる
("neko" - cat)
"The cat eats ice cream."



ねこはアイスクリームをみる
("miru" - look, look at, see)
"The cat looks at ice cream."



ねこはくるまをみる
("kuruma" - car)
"The cat looks at the car."


Try it out

So now that you know the pattern you can try it out using a number of different words to form your own sentences. Try using some of these words and see what kind of sentences you can make:

(nouns)
いぬ - dog(s)
ねこ - cat(s)
くるま - car(s)
とり - bird(s)
わたし - I (when it's the subject), me (when it's the object)
あなた - you
やさい - vegetable(s)
ほん - book(s)
きのこ - mushroom(s)
みみ - ear(s)
コダック - Psyduck
ノコッチ - Dunsparce

(verbs)
みる - look, look at, see
たべる - eat
さわる - touch
よむ - read
てつだう - help, help out
あいする - love (in a romantic/platonic sense)



Enjoy!
http://archives.bulbagarden.net/media/upload/f/f7/Spr_5b_582.pnghttp://archives.bulbagarden.net/media/upload/d/dd/Spr_5b_614.png

Team Fail
January 24th, 2011, 09:46 AM
Stuff

You can do this with Kana as you would Hira, right? IIRC, Kana is taught to the youth in primary school, then Hira is introduced in secondary school.

あなたはてつだうをわたし!
You help me!

Google Translate says, "You Tetsudau Me!" lolwtfbbq

chaos11011
January 24th, 2011, 11:26 AM
Team Fail, go to Jisho and search Tetsudau. It means to help.

Team Fail
January 24th, 2011, 11:40 AM
Team Fail, go to Jisho and search Tetsudau. It means to help.

I know that. At the end of Scarf's post, it has,
Try it out

So now that you know the pattern you can try it out using a number of different words to form your own sentences. Try using some of these words and see what kind of sentences you can make:

(nouns)
いぬ - dog(s)
ねこ - cat(s)
くるま - car(s)
とり - bird(s)
わたし - I (when it's the subject), me (when it's the object)
あなた - you
やさい - vegetable(s)
ほん - book(s)
きのこ - mushroom(s)
みみ - ear(s)
コダック - Psyduck
ノコッチ - Dunsparce

(verbs)
みる - look, look at, see
たべる - eat
さわる - touch
よむ - read
てつだう - help, help out
あいする - love (in a romantic/platonic sense)

I was interested in what Google would say because it usually mangles translations.

Esper
January 25th, 2011, 08:15 AM
You can do this with Kana as you would Hira, right? IIRC, Kana is taught to the youth in primary school, then Hira is introduced in secondary school.

あなたはてつだうをわたし!
You help me!

Google Translate says, "You Tetsudau Me!" lolwtfbbq
Kana means both katakana (片仮名) and hiragana (平仮名), btw. And yes, you can use any noun or verb that makes sense grammatically. Obviously you couldn't use a verb like "sleep" because you can't "sleep something" ("I sleep the bed" doesn't work).

But anyway, when you're organizing your words you need to make sure your markers (は, を) are connected to the correct words. They need to come directly after the words they're marking.

あなたはてつだうをわたし! has a couple of mistakes. The words I marked in blue are the nouns "you" (あなた) and "me" (わたし). You've got the first one right by putting は after it. That makes it the topic/subject. However, you marked the verb (てつだう) with を when you want to mark the object (わたし) with it instead. So I'll do a little shuffling for ya.

あなたはてつだうをわたし!
~ becomes ~
あなたはてつだうわたしを!

And don't forget to put the verb at the end of the sentence.

あなたはわたしをてつだう!

See also how the markers help space the sentence out? That might help you remember where they go. You'll still get "You tetsudau me" in Google, but if you were to use that word's kanji it should work fine. (あなたはわたしを手伝う! if you want to try it)

Katja
January 26th, 2011, 04:12 PM
Kana means both katakana (片仮名) and hiragana (平仮名), btw. And yes, you can use any noun or verb that makes sense grammatically. Obviously you couldn't use a verb like "sleep" because you can't "sleep something" ("I sleep the bed" doesn't work).

But anyway, when you're organizing your words you need to make sure your markers (は, を) are connected to the correct words. They need to come directly after the words they're marking.

あなたはてつだうをわたし! has a couple of mistakes. The words I marked in blue are the nouns "you" (あなた) and "me" (わたし). You've got the first one right by putting は after it. That makes it the topic/subject. However, you marked the verb (てつだう) with を when you want to mark the object (わたし) with it instead. So I'll do a little shuffling for ya.

あなたはてつだうをわたし!
~ becomes ~
あなたはてつだうわたしを!

And don't forget to put the verb at the end of the sentence.

あなたはわたしをてつだう!

See also how the markers help space the sentence out? That might help you remember where they go. You'll still get "You tetsudau me" in Google, but if you were to use that word's kanji it should work fine. (あなたはわたしを手伝う! if you want to try it)

Nice! Grammar is so hard for me. I've bought a new book that is helping me a lot though. ^^ I always remember, "put verb at the end!"

Team Fail
February 6th, 2011, 12:28 PM
Nice! Grammar is so hard for me. I've bought a new book that is helping me a lot though. ^^ I always remember, "put verb at the end!"

I should keep that in mind. It might help me in the long run.

Tyrantrum
February 6th, 2011, 09:30 PM
I've wanting to learn Japanese for a while. I think it's an interesting language, and being a Pokémon lover makes me want to learn it even more. I'm in. ;D

Esper
February 8th, 2011, 08:57 AM
So I'm wondering. I could keep on posting these random lessons, which I don't mind doing, but if there's something in particular that anyone wants to learn I could try to focus on that as best I can, or at least on the foundations of whatever it is if it happens to be a little on the advanced side.

Of course, if it's too advanced I won't be able to do a thing since I'm not exactly fluent. D:

chezhead
February 11th, 2011, 01:48 PM
I've been learning Japanese in school, and have pretty much got the Hiragana and Katakana alphabets down, but will look forward to the rest of this, especially sentence structure.

Also, what kanji will be covered? Will it be in the order of schooling?

I really only know the numbers from ichi to ichiman, as well as most of the basic ones such as water (水)、 Fire, (火), and other ones (nihon, nihongo, nihon, hito, do, and other simple days of the week).

One tip to you guys learning this is that every little bit helps. While something like watching subbed anime instead of dubbed may not help a lot, it helps just the tiniest bit with native speaking, so you can see which instances sodesu and hai are used, and other pretty simple things. If you are bored in study hall or another place with pen and paper, practice some kanji. Label your homework with the class. Sugaku no shukudai, or 数学の宿題 is "Math Homework", which may help out. Just substitute sugaku with nihongo, and add no and a shukudai to the end to get your homework labeled with the correct Japanese sentence! Have assignment notebooks? Write down the classes in Japanese! ワークシート is just what it sounds like; a borrowed word for "Worksheet". "読んで'風と共に去りぬ'" is "Read 'Gone with the Wind'". Just replace the words in parentheses with the book you need to read, and label the pages in the kanji numbers!




As for Kanji, these are all the jōyō kanji, characters required for the level of fluency necessary to read newspapers and literature in Japanese.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d9/2230_Basic_Kanji.svg
Good luck.

For a simpler approach, check out this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_kanji_by_concept It lists a lot of Kanji in groups which are among the same of its type, with colors and shapes in groups. This is nice if you want to expand your knowledge when teaching yourself.

Every little bit of practice and repetition helps. 継続は力なり。

Another quick tip: Remember that our language is a SVO language, which has Subjects first, verbs, then objects. Example: I ate a rice ball.. In japanese, this would be "僕-は-おにぎり-を-食べた。" Boku, the first bolded thing, is I, a subject. The second bolded item is Ongiri, rice ball, and is the object. Tabeta, eat, is a verb. This makes Japanese a SOV language, where the order is Subject, Object, then verb.

If you are going to japan or speaking some Japanese to someone, don't sweat it too much. If you know the basic vocabulary, you could easily convey "I eat sushi.", even if you get the order wrong. Imagine someone saying to you "I sushi eat!". You would get it, even if it didn't sound proper.

Ru-Kun
February 12th, 2011, 08:10 AM
I have a few questions so please bear with me. First off are these sentances correct?
日本語を話すことができますI can speak Japanese.
日本語は話すことができません。I cannot speak Japanese.

When I use ことができません, do I use を or は to highlight the word 日本語.

My next question is, in Japanese how do you say "I need to"?

Also how do you say "I should"?

Finally how do you say "I have to"?

I don't want someone just to translate those short phrases but I want to know how to use them along with other verbs in Japanese. Lke these:
"I should eat" or
"I need to drink" or
"I have to go"

Esper
February 12th, 2011, 12:34 PM
I have a few questions so please bear with me. First off are these sentances correct?
日本語を話すことができますI can speak Japanese.
日本語は話すことができません。I cannot speak Japanese.
Well, first off I could say that you're making the sentence more complicated than it really needs to be, but I think what you have is fine:

(私は)日本語を話すことができます。 (or できません)
Which would probably translate to something like "I'm (not) able to speak Japanese."

But if it were me I would simplify things.

(私は)日本語が話せます。
"I can speak Japanese."

In my version I used the potential form (meaning adding "can") of 話す by changing the す (su) ending to せる (seru)
[for anyone else reading, you switch the 'u' sound version to the 'e' sound version, like "mu" -> "me"]


My next question is, in Japanese how do you say "I need to"?

Also how do you say "I should"?

Finally how do you say "I have to"?

I don't want someone just to translate those short phrases but I want to know how to use them along with other verbs in Japanese. Lke these:
"I should eat" or
"I need to drink" or
"I have to go"Well, "need" and "have to" and "must" are pretty much the same thing in terms of their meaning and don't have different ways of saying them in Japanese. Edit: Ignore that. I wasn't thinking properly when I wrote that.

If you wanted to say something like "I have to go" there are a few ways you can do it, but the differences are mostly to do with how formal or informal you want to be.

私は行かなければならない。
Literally, it's something like: "It won't do if I don't go." Or, more sensibly: "I must go." I've written it in plain, non-ます (masu) form, but if you're not used to that form then the polite form would be:
私は行かなければなりません。

There is also a different way you can go with.

行かなくてはいけない OR
行かなくてはならない
Please note tha the は is pronounced as "wa" in this case. It's also common to see an alternate version of these.

行かなくちゃいけない OR
行かなくちゃならない
And if so then you take off everything after ちゃ.until you're left with just 行かなくちゃ ("I must go" or probably more equivalent to "Gotta go!"). This version is more conversational and informal.

If you want to say "I should go" you would say something like: 私は行くべき。What you do is use the plain form of the verb and add べき (beki) to the end of it. One thing to keep in mind though. This version of "should" is used in the sense of what you're supposed to do, like going to school or brushing your teeth. If you want to suggest something to someone ("You should see that new movie!") then you use a totally different approach.

For suggestions you take the verb (or sometimes noun or adjective) and add 方がいい (ほうがいい / hou ga ii) to the end of it.

映画を見る方がいい
(えいがをみるほういい)
[eiga wo miru hou ga ii]

Literally, it's something like: "Choosing to see the movie is good." or even more literally "The direction (方) of seeing the movie is good."

You start with the regular sentence in its informal (non-'masu') form (in the example: 映画を見る) and add the 方がいい and that's all there really is to it.

I hope all of that was comprehensible. If not I'll try to explain better.

NatureKeeper
February 14th, 2011, 06:25 AM
I mastered the Katakana before I knew this thread, but I face problems with Hiragana and Kanji, they are so complicated. I know a few Kana and err... also like 5 Kanji. SO, I'm joining in.

chezhead
February 24th, 2011, 07:48 PM
I mastered the Katakana before I knew this thread, but I face problems with Hiragana and Kanji, they are so complicated. I know a few Kana and err... also like 5 Kanji. SO, I'm joining in.

I know I keep chiming in with my own help, even not being one of the teachers, but from my experience flash cards have been a great help. Making them yourself helps with the entire memorization as well, so just get some note cards or cut paper. Write the Hiragana Symbol on one side and the pronunciation or/and Katakana on the back. For Kanji, just write the kanji on the front and hiragana/katakana/romanji on the back.

Alice
February 24th, 2011, 08:06 PM
I mastered the Katakana before I knew this thread, but I face problems with Hiragana and Kanji, they are so complicated. I know a few Kana and err... also like 5 Kanji. SO, I'm joining in.

Hiragana, and Katakana are almost exactly the same. In fact, Hiragana is by far the easier of the two, mainly because of the lack of extremely similar characters. For example: ノンソシツ

I know I keep chiming in with my own help, even not being one of the teachers, but from my experience flash cards have been a great help. Making them yourself helps with the entire memorization as well, so just get some note cards or cut paper. Write the Hiragana Symbol on one side and the pronunciation or/and Katakana on the back. For Kanji, just write the kanji on the front and hiragana/katakana/romanji on the back.
The actual teachers disappeared ages ago. This thread is only being kept alive by random people posting help out of the kindness of their hearts. So, if you would like to help, please post away.




Personally, I've had katakana/hiragana mastered for at least a year now, so I'd like to focus on grammar. It's really not all that hard to learn Kanji... I Just haven't really done it yet, as I have no way to use it (ie grammar).

Esper
February 25th, 2011, 03:45 PM
The actual teachers disappeared ages ago. This thread is only being kept alive by random people posting help out of the kindness of their hearts. So, if you would like to help, please post away.
Goodness, yes. Please add anything you think will help. I feel a little guilty I haven't posted anything new in like two weeks. And on that note...

~*~*~*~


~It's time for another lesson~

Particles

Okay, more grammar time. This one has to do with particles. Particles are those parts of speech that let us string words together to make more complex sentences. In English you might take these examples.

The boy played in the park.
She gave an apple to me.

Particles let us know, among other things, direction, possession, and where something happens. In English some of the most common particles are of, in, at, to, with, and for. Unlike nouns and verbs which can usually translate fairly easily between languages, particles are much trickier. If you asked, for instance, what the Japanese word for “at” is I’d have to ask you which “at” you mean. There is the “at” that indicates place (I’m at the store), the “at” that indicates time (I went to the store at 3 o’clock), the “at” that indicates a state of being (I’m at ease), and so on.

There’s some good news, however. In Japanese many of its most common particles are only one kana, and here are some of them:

の で へ に

So, let’s go over each of them. First is の.

Possession

の indicates possession, or in other words that one thing belongs to another thing. In English it is more or less equivalent to of or the ‘s added to the end of words. In Japanese you use it by first taking the thing that is going the possessing. Then you add の to the end of it, and after that the thing that is being possessed. Example time. How would we say “the school’s students”?
(remember that Japanese doesn’t use articles like “the”)

がっこう (school)
せいと (student or pupil)

Answer: がっこうのせいと. You start with がっこう, the thing doing the possessing (in this case, the school) followed by the particle, の, and finally the thing possessed, せいと.

So I showed you how to use particle for ‘s, but I said that の works like of as well as ‘s. How would you say “the students of the school”?

Answer: がっこうのせいと. The exact same way. That’s because “the school’s students” and “the students of the school” have, essentially, the same meaning just with two different wordings. Japanese doesn’t distinguish between the two like English does.

Also, you can add の to pronouns. If you take the word for “I” (わたし) and add の you get “my” (わたしの). It works the same for “you”. It becomes “your”, and so on.

Place of Action

The next particle is で. This particle is used to indicate place of action, or in other words where something is happening. How it works is you take the place where something is happening and add で to the end of it. The only other important part to remember is that your sentence needs to have an action verb and something which is doing the action. Let’s try to form the sentence: “I swim at the pool.”
(remember to add は to the subject of the sentence and to put the verb at the end)

わたし (I, me)
プール (pool)
およぐ (swim; I’m getting a little out of order by not going over verbs in more detail, but just roll with it for now)

When we put it all together we get: わたしはプールでおよぐ.

Direction

The third thing we’ll go over is direction. This means exactly what it looks like, things moving toward something. If you can already guess what I’m going to say next then you’re already getting how particles work. The way you use this particle is you take the place or thing that is the ‘destination’ and add へ to the end of it. Going right to an example: “You go to school.”

あなた (you)
いく (go)
がっこう (school)

And in no time at all we get: あなたはがっこうへいく.

Note that this kana is pronounced as “e” and not “he” when it is used as a particle. I don’t really know why, but that’s how they do it.

A particle that has many uses

I’m saved this particle for last because it’s the most complicated of the four I introduced. It has some set meanings, but it really covers a whole range of uses that are too many to get into. For simplicity’s sake you can think of it as the Japanese version of “at” or “to”. I know that doesn’t sound like it makes much sense since we already went over to particles which seem to cover those words, but it’s got some subtle differences. But let’s not get bogged down by all that. I’ll use it in a few examples that are easy enough to learn. First, “at”.

Unlike で, which indicates action, に simply indicates that something is somewhere. For instance: “He is at the pool.”

かれ (he)
いる (this is the “to be” verb for living things [non-living things get a different verb] and means is, am, are, and so on.)
プール (pool)

So, let’s make the sentence: かれはプールにいる

Keep in mind that there is no action going on. Someone is there, but is not specifically doing anything. If the person were swimming, talking, or doing anything then you would want to use で.

Now, for the “to” sense. This is often used in the same sense as へ to indicate physical direction, but I’m going to go over it’s, um, social direction (for lack of a better way to describe it). I’ll use an example of someone giving something to someone else. “I give you money.”
(be careful with this one – it’s short in English but it’s longer in Japanese because of the particles)

わたし (I, me)
あなた (you)
おかね (money)
あげる (give)

And that becomes: わたしはあなたにおかねをあげる.

...

Whew.

If you want clarification, more examples, or anything really just post with you question and I'll try to answer as best I can.

NatureKeeper
March 11th, 2011, 08:58 AM
Hiragana, and Katakana are almost exactly the same. In fact, Hiragana is by far the easier of the two, mainly because of the lack of extremely similar characters. For example: ノンソシツ

In order, no, so, n, shi, tsu. The direction of the dashes. Hiragana actually looks complex in strokes and whatnot. Katakana looks rather like dashes and stuff. I will need to struggle. I am not taking Kanji seriously yet, but I do know some Kanji.



いる (this is the “to be” verb for living things [non-living things get a different verb] and means is, am, are, and so on.)


I thought "to be" was て゛す (desu).

Esper
March 11th, 2011, 04:35 PM
I thought "to be" was て゛す (desu).
There are actually three different ways for saying "to be".

いる [iru] (or it's formal version, います [imasu])
ある [aru] (or あります [arimasu])
だ [da] (or the well known です [desu])

You use だ / ですwhen equating one thing to another, when saying one thing is another thing. (I am happy.) (The weather is fine.) (They are tourists.)

If you want to state that something simply is, or exists you use いる / います for living things (mostly people and sometimes animals) and you use ある / あります for non-living things (which typically include plants and many animals - yes, I know, but that's how it works).

So, for a sentence like "Japan is in Asia." you would use ある.
With something like "I am in Japan." you would use いる.

Corvus of the Black Night
March 12th, 2011, 06:47 AM
Hmm, might come by this a little later. I've been really lazy about studying the kana o.o

.-Notched
March 12th, 2011, 05:22 PM
I want to join! This looks really fun! I can also pick up on languages easily. I have that ability over math, but still. Japanese! :)

Ru-Kun
March 25th, 2011, 12:40 PM
I have an ndesu question. Ok I am on lesson 12 of my Genki I textbook, and in this lesson is ndesu. I understand how to use it enough, but I have a question with conjugation. So are these correct? The only information that the book gave me on how to conjugate it was that ndesu doesn't change and to use nandesu with nandesu adjectives and with nouns.
With a verb:
行くんです
行かないんです
行ったんです
行かなかったんです

With an い-adjective:
甘いんです
甘くないんです
甘かったんです
甘くなかったんです

With a な-adjective:
上手なんです
上手じゃないなんです
上手だったなんです
上手じゃなかったなんです

With a noun:
気温なんです
気温じゃないなんです
気温だったなんです
気温じゃなかったなんです

Esper
March 26th, 2011, 10:24 AM
I have an ndesu question. Ok I am on lesson 12 of my Genki I textbook, and in this lesson is ndesu. I understand how to use it enough, but I have a question with conjugation. So are these correct? The only information that the book gave me on how to conjugate it was that ndesu doesn't change and to use nandesu with nandesu adjectives and with nouns.
With a verb:
行くんです
行かないんです
行ったんです
行かなかったんです

With an い-adjective:
甘いんです
甘くないんです
甘かったんです
甘くなかったんです

With a な-adjective:
上手なんです
上手じゃないなんです
上手だったなんです
上手じゃなかったなんです

With a noun:
気温なんです
気温じゃないなんです
気温だったなんです
気温じゃなかったなんです
Yes, those are mostly correct. I think. Let me explain.

Everything you wrote with verbs is good so don't worry about those. Same with い-adjectives. Where it gets a little funny is with the な-adjectives and nouns.

I'm going to claim some ignorance on part of this, but I don't think I've ever seen or heard something like 上手じゃないなんです or 上手じゃなかったなんです. As far as I know, you would (more likely? always?) see something like 上手じゃないんです or 上手じゃなかったんです. Same with nouns. The way I understand it is that the ない in じゃない acts like an い-adjective since that's how it acts in other contexts (じゃない becoming じゃなくて and so on). So if it were me I would only use ん on the end of じゃない or じゃなかった.

Side note: you can of course also use だ in place of です if you want.

Ru-Kun
March 26th, 2011, 11:43 AM
Ok but I thought that when using んです with な adjectives and nouns you should add the な in there or is that only with the present positive tense?

Esper
March 26th, 2011, 12:05 PM
Ah, sorry, I missed that. If you're using just the な-adjective in the present positive tense then you would use なんです. For past tense as well as negative present tense and negative past tense you would just use んです. Again, this is my personal understanding. I'm going to look through a book or two I have now to see if I can find some examples that would help me more confident in my response.

You could always try a google search with quotation marks if you're ever unsure. I know it's not the best way to learn things, but I just did a search for "だったなんです" and it suggested to me "だったんです". When I looked at the bolded parts of results in the sample text it shows for each result, all the "だったなんです" didn't look right since they were broken up with parentheses like "(だった)なんです". So... yeah, take from that what you will.

Alice
March 26th, 2011, 12:36 PM
I was thinking about doing some flashcard practice with Kanji, and was wondering if someone would mind if I PMed them all of my cards just to make sure I'm getting everything right. I'll just be using an online dictionary to find the words I'm going to use.

For now I'm just gonna do simple stuff like colors, animals etc... but for later on, I'd like someone to check with to make sure I've got the right stuff.

Mr Cat Dog
March 26th, 2011, 12:42 PM
There's this software called Anki that my roommate swears by whenever he's trying to learn vocabulary in a different language (he uses it for Russian and Japanese). If you go on their website, you can find more info, but basically it's an electronic flashcard system that records your progress and adjusts the cards to which ones you know and which you don't. It has loads of decks with pre-made cards on loads of subjects (identifying kana, identifying kanji, pets, numbers etc.) and in loads of languages, including Japanese. I'd certainly recommend it.

Alice
March 26th, 2011, 01:05 PM
^ Yeah, I'm already using a similar program called surusu. It doesn't have premade cards though...

Esper
March 31st, 2011, 01:50 PM
Okay, I'm not sure what the best topic to bring up next should be so I'll just throw something out there.


Kanji
Kanji is one of the most daunting things about the Japanese language, but with practice you can start to memorize and recognize simpler kanji, learn their pronunciations and meanings, and gain the skills to learn new ones on your own.


Background
There are tens of thousands of kanji out there. They say that you need to know at least 2,000 before you can read a newspaper, but your average educated native Japanese speaker knows plenty more.

So what are kanji anyway? Well I'm not going to tell you. A long time ago the Japanese had a spoken language, but no written language. Their closest literate neighbors were the Koreans who at the time used Chinese characters for all their writing. The word 'kanji' literally means 'Chinese characters'. Long story short, the Japanese adopted Chinese writing to represent their language phonetically. There's a lot more to this story, but I'll not go into that.

This is a good time to give a few examples.

日 立 休 本 飲 意


Above are some of the more common kanji you'll encounter. As you can see they range from rather simple to fairly complex, and there are others which are downright messy. You've no doubt seen things like this before, but if you normally just look over them without thinking about them then just take a moment to look at their shapes. Look at the two in the middle? Don't they look a little similar? And the two on the left, don't they have something in common with the one on the right? Kanji aren't all as difficult as they seem. There is more repetition than there might seem. Just keep that in mind in case the thought of memorizing 2,000 kanji feels overwhelming.


Reading
I said that originally Japanese used Chinese characters phonetically. They did not initially care what the meanings associated with the characters were, just the sounds. That changed over time, but kanji still retain their Chinese sounds (or as close as Japanese could get to those sounds). In modern Japanese these sounds, or readings, are called onyomi (おんよみ). Let's give an example:




In Chinese this character is pronounced xiū. In Japanese this kanji's Chinese reading, or onyomi, is kyuu (キュウ - It's common for the onyomi to be written in katakana). They aren't identical, but you can see how one derived from the other.

Now, after some time Japanese started to incorporate the meanings behind each of these kanji. Japanese has a word for 'rest' - やすむ (yasumu). Someone, somewhere decided that it would be good to attach the native Japanese word to the kanji with the same (or close to the same) meaning. This reading, the one for native Japanese words, is kunyomi (くんよみ - It's common to write the kunyomi in hiragana). This meant that 休 could now be read as either キュウ or やすむ.

The vast majority of kanji (or at least common kanji - I can't say I know too much about obscure kanji) have BOTH a kunyomi AND an onyomi. Some have only one or the other. Some have more than one of either or both.

One other *important* thing to note about kunyomi readings. Quite often they incorporate kanji AND hiragana. Because of the way that verbs change tense or level of formality then ends of verbs that have kanji in them need to have changeable stems. That sounds confusing. Example time.

休 is read as やすむ, like I said. It means "to rest". But when you see it used you won't just see 休. You might see:

* 休む - this is the standard, "dictionary" or "informal" form. It's the verb in the present tense.
* 休みます - this is the formal form of the verb (not used too often, this is just for an example). Note that む (mu) has changed to み (mu) and also added ます.
* 休んだ - this is the past tense. む has again changed, this time to んだ.

Don't worry about tenses right now. Just know that some kunyomi will include hiragana as part of their readings.


Let's Kanji
So at this point we should start learning some kanji. There is an official list that the Japanese department of education uses for teaching children (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ky%C5%8Diku_kanji) and I'm just going to pick some kanji from the beginning part of that list.

For all of the kanji below I'm going to use the following formula.

休 : キュウ - やす.む
rest, day off, retire
夏休み (なつやすみ): summer vacation

Red is this kanji itself.
Blue represents the onyomi, or Chinese reading(s).
Green represents the kunyomi, or Japanese reading(s). If the reading includes a mixture of kanji and hiragana a period (.) will indicate that everything after it should be written in hiragana.
Purple represents the gloss, or general meaning(s) of the kanji.
Brown represents examples that use the kanji, their pronunciation (in parentheses), and their definitions.


[css-div="border-style:double; border-color:#887766; width:400px; background-color:#ffffee; color:#665544; border-width:1px; padding:15px; border-radius:18px; -moz-border-radius:18px;"]一 : イチ - イツ - ひと - ひと.つ
one
一度 (いちど): once; one time
一月 (いちがつ): January
[/css-div]
[css-div="border-style:double; border-color:#887766; width:400px; background-color:#ffffdd; color:#665544; border-width:1px; padding:15px; border-radius:18px; -moz-border-radius:18px;"]二 : ニ - ジ - ふた - ふた.つ
two
二月 (にがつ): February[/css-div]
[css-div="border-style:double; border-color:#887766; width:400px; background-color:#ffffee; color:#665544; border-width:1px; padding:15px; border-radius:18px; -moz-border-radius:18px;"]三 : サン - み.つ - みっ.つ
three
三日 (みっか): the third day of the month; three days[/css-div]
[css-div="border-style:double; border-color:#887766; width:400px; background-color:#ffffdd; color:#665544; border-width:1px; padding:15px; border-radius:18px; -moz-border-radius:18px;"]日 : ニチ - ひ - か
day, sun
三日 (みっか): the third day of the month; three days
日本 (にほん or にっぽん): Japan
日よう日 (にちようび): Sunday[/css-div]
[css-div="border-style:double; border-color:#887766; width:400px; background-color:#ffffee; color:#665544; border-width:1px; padding:15px; border-radius:18px; -moz-border-radius:18px;"]月 : ゲツ - ガツ - つき
month, moon
月 (つき): the moon
一月 (いちがつ): January
月よう日 (げつようび): Monday[/css-div]
[css-div="border-style:double; border-color:#887766; width:400px; background-color:#ffffdd; color:#665544; border-width:1px; padding:15px; border-radius:18px; -moz-border-radius:18px;"]火 : カ - ひ
fire
花火 (はなび): fireworks
火よう日 (かようび): Tuesday[/css-div]
[css-div="border-style:double; border-color:#887766; width:400px; background-color:#ffffee; color:#665544; border-width:1px; padding:15px; border-radius:18px; -moz-border-radius:18px;"]水 : スイ - みず
water
水 (みず): water
水よう日 (すいようび): Wednesday[/css-div]
[css-div="border-style:double; border-color:#887766; width:400px; background-color:#ffffdd; color:#665544; border-width:1px; padding:15px; border-radius:18px; -moz-border-radius:18px;"]木 : ボク - モク - き
tree, wood
木 (き): tree
木よう日 (もくようび): Thursday[/css-div]
[css-div="border-style:double; border-color:#887766; width:400px; background-color:#ffffee; color:#665544; border-width:1px; padding:15px; border-radius:18px; -moz-border-radius:18px;"]金 : キン - コン - かね
gold
お金 (おかね): money
金よう日 (きんようび): Friday[/css-div]
[css-div="border-style:double; border-color:#887766; width:400px; background-color:#ffffdd; color:#665544; border-width:1px; padding:15px; border-radius:18px; -moz-border-radius:18px;"]土 : ド - ト - つち
soil, earth, ground
土 (つち): earth; soil; dirt
土よう日 (どようび): Saturday
[/css-div]


Other things you might also want to know
Stroke Order: Kanji, like hiragana and katakana, when written are meant to be written in a specific order or lines or strokes. It's not something I can really go into detail with for obvious reasons, but it's important to know for when you do want to get to a point where you want to start writing.

Nanori: In addition to onyomi and kunyomi, kanji often nanori readings which are used in the creation of names (for people, places, etc.). These can vary wildly and there isn't any general rule to them. Just know that you might see kanji, particular in people's names, which have pronunciations that you don't normally see for those kanji.


Uuugh... that took too much time to type out .~.

LilacArcanine
April 7th, 2011, 12:10 PM
Ah, that's the word, nanori!

For example, the character for night, 夜, is often read よる (yoru), but in names it's や(ya), as in 夜神 (やがみ Yagami). So what's the word for if a foriegn word is conveyed through kanji, for example the character for moon, 月 (つき tsuki), being read as ライト (light)?

And yes, I am referring to the protagonist of Death Note here :P Liiightoooo :3

Esper
April 7th, 2011, 04:40 PM
I don't know if there is a word for what you're talking about. Furigana refers to the little hiragana and katakana above (or next to) kanji so that you know how to pronounce them. Usually that's done with names (people, places, etc.) and in anything that's meant for children and second language learners, but it can be used to indicate that you want certain kanji to be read certain ways that they might never be read normally, like in your example.

There are also instances where you have kanji (often a pair) that have special readings you only see when those kanji are together. An example is 煙草. By themselves they're the kanji for 'smoke' and 'grass' and together they're pronounced たばこ (tabako). By themselves neither would make the sounds they make together (if they followed normal rules they'd be pronounced as ensou or kemurigua or something like that). They're a special case, maybe because the word for 'tobacco' was brought into the language a longer time ago and it's an easy word to pronounce in Japanese so they made a special kanji pairing for it. The only word I can find to describe this kind of weird kanji pronunciation thing is gikun (義訓), but it's not a word I've come across in my own studying so I can't say if it's entirely correct. Now, unlike your example たばこ is considered a standard reading for those kanji when they're together and nowadays you're probably more likely to see たばこ or タバコ written anyway.

Hope that answers your question.

chezhead
April 7th, 2011, 05:50 PM
I have a quick question: Whenever you say Bokutachi, does that mean Me(male) and my party? Or does it mean Me(male) and my male party?

Esper
April 9th, 2011, 11:41 AM
I have a quick question: Whenever you say Bokutachi, does that mean Me(male) and my party? Or does it mean Me(male) and my male party?
Well, first of all boku (ぼく, ボク, or 僕) isn't always used by males. Usually it is, but not always. It's leaning slightly toward gender-neutral.

Anyway, for people who don't know this word, when you add tachi (たち or 達) to a noun you specify that it's plural. Japanese doesn't normally differentiate between singular (meaning one of something) and plural (more than one) nouns because you're supposed to already know from context how many of something you're talking about. However, there are some words where you should always assume it's singular unless you see tachi, like pronouns.

When you use a personal pronoun ("I" "me" "my") like boku or watashi and add tachi you're just turning that pronoun into a plural so you end up with we, us, our, and so on (if you actually want to specifically say something like "me and my party" then you'd want to use some extra words). Japanese has several words for "I" which each have peculiarities like which genders normally use them. boku and ore are typically male-use words and atashi is female while watashi is gender neutral, but it doesn't really matter if you have a mixed gender group or not - although at the moment I can't recall an instance where I've heard a woman use atashi when speaking about herself and a group that included men.

Edsbob
April 15th, 2011, 04:09 PM
although at the moment I can't recall an instance where I've heard a woman use atashi when speaking about herself and a group that included men.

Hello, just popping in.
In this situation the only person whose gender can be generalised is the person saying (w)atashi/ore/boku. It doesn't matter what gender the people in the group are, the (w)atashi/ore/boku is mainly used to refer to them self and the 「達」>tachi is what influences the phrase into a group.

I have a friend (female) who is teaching ballet to men in Japan, and she said the other day 「私達まだ練習が足りないんだ...」> Watashitachi mada rennshuuga tarinainda... > "We still haven't had enough practice..."

But like Scarf has said, it needs to be kept in mind that the recent generation in Japan has especially had girls that use ore/boku. But generally you can presume that ore/boku is a male thing.

Team Fail
April 22nd, 2011, 08:42 PM
I was thinking about doing some flashcard practice with Kanji, and was wondering if someone would mind if I PMed them all of my cards just to make sure I'm getting everything right. I'll just be using an online dictionary to find the words I'm going to use.

For now I'm just gonna do simple stuff like colors, animals etc... but for later on, I'd like someone to check with to make sure I've got the right stuff.

I'm planning on using some index cards and writing Hiragana on one side and it's Katakana equivalent on the other side (ヤ on one side and や on the other side). After I get that down, I'll move on to words and other various things like so.

Esper
April 29th, 2011, 04:38 PM
Hi peoples. I'm back and, hey, I have a great idea. Why don’t we learn more about verbs? Yeah, grammar is a lot of fun. To make this easier for anyone who hasn’t gotten their hiragana and katakana down you can hover over anything in Japanese to get its pronunciation.

I think I went over sentence order before. In case you forget it’s Subject-Object-Verb (SOV) so remember to put that verb at the end. Now I’ll just talk a little about what you can do with a verb, mainly what different forms it has. I might be repeating myself some from previous posts so just skip what you know already. There's a lot ahead so maybe you'll want to read only part for now.


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First of all I hope everyone knows what a verb is because I don’t want to explain that. Japanese verbs can be written several different ways and it can get confusing remembering some of the irregularities so if you can practice using them that would be best to helping you remember them.


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The standard way a verb is written is its dictionary form, which is, you guessed it, how it would appear in a dictionary. It might also be called the simple form or informal form or standard form or plain form depending on what you’re reading and what they choose to call it, but it’s all the same thing. This is the basis from which all other forms of verbs take their shape.

Before going on there are a few things to mention about verbs. All Japanese verbs (in their dictionary forms) will end with one of nine different kana: う つ る む ぶ ぬ く ぐ and す. Notice that they’re all ‘u’ sounding kana. Notice also that some ‘u’ kana aren’t listed. Dictionary forms of verbs will never end in ふ ぷ ゆ ず or づ.

It’s also very common for verbs to have kanji in them. Almost without exception they will be at the beginning of the verb and they will absolutely never be at the end. Verbs will usually have just one kanji and one or more kana with the last kana being one of the nine listed above. Some verbs will also have no kanji. Got it? Example time. 話す: This verb has one kanji and one kana. The kana is one of the 9 used to end verbs.
食べる: This verb has one kanji and two kana. The last kana is one of the 9 kana used to end verbs.
頑張る: This verb has two kanji and one kana. The kana is one of the 9 used to end verbs.
する: No kanji. The last kana is one of the 9 kana used to end verbs.
There's a good reason the last part of a verb needs to be in kana and that's because the last kana can change.


[css-div="font-weight: bold; font-size: 100%; border-bottom: 1px dotted #555555; width: 100%; color: black;"]Ch-ch-changes[/css-div]
There are several grammatical reasons verbs need to change: tense (such as past or present), negation (whether the verb is positive or negative) and formality.


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To start off let's talk about formality because it's the easiest to understand. The Japanese language, as you might know, has different levels of politeness or formality to it. It can get quite complex, but for our purposes we'll simplify it by saying there are formal and informal ways of speaking. Some of this involves word choice, but some of it changes the structure of words entire, such as verbs.

When you want to use a verb in its formal form you change the ending kana by replacing the it with a similar kana and adding ます to the end of it. The kana you replace is the 'a' sound of whatever consonant you had. So for example, if your verb ended in む you would change it to み and add ます. If the verb has more than one kana in it you only change the last kana. Keep in mind that if the last kana is す you have to change it to し as there is no kana for 'si'.

Examples: 話す becomes 話します
飲む becomes 飲みます
掘る becomes 掘ります
Important exceptions!

Sometimes you do something different if the last kana is る. If it is preceded by a kana or kanji that ends in an 'i' or 'e' sound you often remove the る entirely. 食べる becomes 食べます and not 食べります
出る becomes 出ます and not 出ります
And right after saying that I'm going to confuse you even more with an exception to the exception. There are two particular verbs which sound the same and change differently. If the verb is いる (to be) then you change it to います. If it is いる (to need) then you change it to いります. Confused yet? There's more.

Important irregularities!

Some specific verbs have their own rules on how they become formal.
来る [kuru] (to come) becomes 来ます [kimasu]
する [suru] (to do) becomes します [shimasu]
There are also a very verbs that change completely when you want to be extra formal, but that's getting way to far ahead so I'm not even going to touch those.


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Still with me? Negation is simply whether a verb describes something as doing something or not doing something. In English we use separate words for this ("I eat cookies" / "I don't eat cookies"), but Japanese just changes the ending of the verbs again.

If you want to say that something does something normally you don't change anything, but if you want to say something doesn't do something then you have to make changes. Remember back a bit. To make verbs formal we changed their 'u' sounds to 'i' sounds and added ます to the end. To make verbs negative we change their 'u' sounds to 'a' sounds and add ない to the end.

Examples: 話す becomes 話さない
飲む becomes 飲まない
掘る becomes 掘らない
Important exceptions!

If the verb ends with う then instead of changing it to あ and adding ない you use わ and add ない.

Examples: 歌う becomes 歌わない
買う becomes 買わない
Important irregularities!

A couple of verbs become negative in special ways. They are:来る [kuru] (to come) becomes 来ない [konai]
ある [aru] (to be/to have) becomes ない [nai]
する [suru] (to do) becomes しない [shinai]
To make one of the formal, ます -verbs negative you change the ます to ません.

Examples: 食べます becomes 食べません
します becomes しません

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Have I lost you yet? This next one is the big one: tense. There are quite a few tenses out there, but I'm only going to talk about the most common ones: future, present, and past.

Future Tense

You're going to love this one because there is no future tense. Well, that's not entirely accurate. You've already been learning the future tense without realizing it. That's because all the dictionary forms you have been learning are used to indicate the future tense. "Wait!" you're thinking. "I thought those dictionary forms were, like, the regular present tense." They are. They're both. It'll make more sense when you read about the present tense, which is coming up.... now!

Present Tense

Present tense comes in two categories. I don't really know the proper terms to describe them so I'll just call them the habitual present and the ing present. What do I mean? Compare these two sentences from English: "I go to school." / "I'm going to school." Both are present tense, but their meanings are slightly different. The first one you use when you explain what you do regularly or habitually - the things you do in certain situations: "When I'm at the gym I lift weights." The other present tense, the one I call the ing present is how you talk about the things you're currently doing. "Hey, where are you going?" "I'm going to school." or "What are you doing at the gym?" "I'm lifting weights."

So where does the future tense come in? I'm getting to that, but first let me get to using the present tense in Japanese. To use the habitual present tense you use the forms you already learned. So, take for example: 話す (plain), 話さない (plain, negative), 話します (formal), 話しません (formal, negative)
All are in the present tense and all are in the habitual tense. And, get this, all are in the future tense. The only difference between habitual and future is context. Here are two examples: 明日、何するの? (What will you do tomorrow?) 学校へ行く。(I'll go to school.)
水曜日に何するの? (What do you do on Wednesdays?) 学校へ行く。 (I go to school.)
The first answer answers in the future tense, the second in the present. Both answers are written with the same tense in Japanese.

The ing present tense is a little more difficult. Like most of what we've done so far it involves replacing the last kana of the verb with something else and attaching something to the end, in this case it's いる. The difference is that there is no 1-to-1 correspondence like before. You'll need to memorize what each of the 9 ending kana turn into. So without further ado: When you have a verb that ends in う, つ, or る you replace it with って
When you have a verb that ends in む, ぶ, or ぬ you replace it with んで
If the verb ends in く you replace it with いて
If the verb ends in ぐ you replace it with いで
If the verb ends in し you replace it with して
So, for example:待つ becomes 待って and you add the ending to get 待っている
飲む becomes 飲んで and you add the ending to get 飲んでいる
書く becomes 書いて and you add the ending to get 書いている
泳ぐ becomes 泳いで and you add the ending to get 泳いでいる
話す becomes 話して and you add the ending to get 話している
It is also very common to drop the い from the いる at the end so that 待っている becomes 待ってる and so on.

Important exceptions and irregularities!(You knew it was coming) する [suru] (to do) becomes して [shite]
来る [kuru] (to come) becomes 来て [kite]
行く [iku] (to go) becomes 行って [itte]
Formal ます -ending verbs don't normally change like the above examples. Instead you change the いる at the end to います. You can still drop the い.

To make these ing tense verbs negative (oh boy, here we go!) you change the いる at the end to いない or the います at the end to いません. So let's go over what we can do so far:

話す (plain), 話さない (plain, negative), 話します (formal), 話しません (formal, negative)
話している (plain, ing), 話していない (plain, ing, negative), 話しています (formal, ing), 話していません (formal, ing, negative)
alternately -> // 話してる (plain, ing), 話してない (plain, ing, negative), 話してます (formal, ing), 話してません (formal, ing, negative) //

Okay, one more tense to go.

Past Tense

After all that work and there's still more. You use the same formula you use to make the ing verbs, but instead of changing the kana to ones that end with an 'e' sound you change them to 'a' sounds. So then: When you have a verb that ends in う, つ, or る you replace it with った
When you have a verb that ends in む, ぶ, or ぬ you replace it with んだ
If the verb ends in く you replace it with いた
If the verb ends in ぐ you replace it with いだ
If the verb ends in し you replace it with した
And the examples:待つ becomes 待っだ
飲む becomes 飲んだ
書く becomes 書いた
泳ぐ becomes 泳いだ
話す becomes 話した
Important exceptions and irregularities!

The same irregular verbs come into play here and like above you only change the last kana. する [suru] (to do) becomes した [shite]
来る [kuru] (to come) becomes 来た [kite]
行く [iku] (to go) becomes 行った [itte]
Now, to create a formal ます verb in the past tense you change it to ました.

To make a very negative and past tense you take the non-past tense version and change the ない to なかった. So for example.
話さない becomes 話さなかった
If you want to make a verb negative, past tense AND formal you take the non-past tense but still formal and still negative form of the verb (ません) and add to the end of that でした to get the combined ませんでした.
話しません becomes 話しませんでした
You can also combine the ing present tense with the past tense to make sentences like "I was doing." along with the simple past tense "I did." type of sentences. In these cases you take the ending いる or います and make them past tense. So...
話している becomes 話していた
And to make them also negative:
話している becomes 話していなかった
Are you still with me? I'm not even sure I'm still with me. Let's summarize what we know:


[css-div="font-weight: bold; font-size: 100%; border-bottom: 1px dotted #555555; width: 100%; color: black;"]Summary Example[/css-div]
All the following examples use the verb 話す: to speak or talk. I stopped adding the hover over effect on these because I lost the strength to keep going after so much typing. orz

話す (plain, present or future tense) [I talk.] / [I will talk.]

話さない (plain, negative, present or future tense) [I don't talk.] / [I won't talk.]

話します (formal, present or future tense) [I talk.] / [I will talk.]

話しません (formal, negative, present or future tense) [I don't talk.] / [I won't talk.]

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話している [or 話しる] (plain, ing present tense) [I am talking.]

話していない [or 話してない] (plain, negative, ing present tense) [I am not talking.]

話しています [or 話してます] (formal, ing present tense) [I am talking.]

話していません [or 話してません] (formal, negative, ing present tense) [I am not talking.]

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話した (plain, past tense) [I talked.]

話さなかった (plain, negative, past tense) [I did not talk.]

話しました (formal, past tense) [I talked.]

話しませんでした (formal, negative, past tense) [I did not talk.]

[css-div="font-weight: bold; font-size: 40%; border-bottom: 1px dotted #555555; width: 100%; color: black;"][/css-div]
話していた [or 話した] (plain, ing past tense) [I was talking.]

話していなかった [or 話してなかった] (plain, negative, ing past tense) [I was not talking.]

話していました [or 話してました] (formal, ing past tense) [I was talking.]

話していませんでした [or 話してませんでした] (formal, negative, ing past tense) [I was not talking.]


And don't forget about the irregular verbs!



Okay! That's it! No more... for now. If you read all of that and remembered anything then give yourself a pat on the back. If you see any errors please let me know.

Magicsaur
April 30th, 2011, 08:28 PM
私はヤドンをいま食べます。 (ため、ヤドンはバカ だ。) それはあたたかい と 大おいし よ。 それは大好きよ。。。

Esper
May 1st, 2011, 10:58 AM
私はヤドンをいま食べます。 (ため、ヤドンはバカ だ。) それはあたたかい と 大おいし よ。 それは大好きよ。。。
ハロー! ヤドンを食べちゃだめよ。 They're bad for your health. xD

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Mind if I check your grammar? (It's a compulsion. I can't stop myself! @_@) Before I do here are some words to keep in mind:

おいしい: (adjective) tasty, delicious, etc.
あたたかい: (adjective) warm
食べる: (verb) to eat
いま: (adverb) now
私: (noun) I, me
ヤドン: (noun) Slowpoke

(Hover over them for help reading them.)

So, starting with your first sentence:

私はヤドンをいま食べます。
(I eat Slowpokes now.)

Everything looks pretty good, except you'd more likely see いま at the beginning or near the beginning of the sentence instead of right before the verb. That's more of a style choice though.

Now if you want to say that you're currently eating a Slowpoke you'd want to say it like this:

私はヤドンをいま食べています。
(I'm eating a Slowpoke right now.)


My previous post talks about the differences between saying something like "I eat" and "I am eating." And for the next sentence:

(ため、ヤドンはバカ だ。)
(???, Slowpokes are stupid.)


Where it says ヤドンはバカ だ makes perfect sense (although you don't need a space). This is the basic kind of sentence that everyone will learn pretty early on: ★は△です or just ★ is △

Now ため is a word used to describe a reason or purpose or basis for something. You can say something like きみのために ("for the sake of you" / "for your sake") and it works like that, but if you want to say something like "I eat Slowpokes. It's because they're stupid." then you use a different piece of grammar.

You can add から to the end of a verb and it acts like the word "because". You can use it to join two sentences, too. Example:

私はヤドンを食べます。 おいしいです。
(I eat Slowpokes. They are tasty.)


I makes sense that the two sentences are connected, but if you want to make it perfectly clear you join them with a 'because'

私はヤドンを食べます。 おいしいですから。
(I eat Slowpokes because they are tasty.)

The Japanese version above is two sentences and the English is just one (because in English you're not supposed to start a sentence with 'because' but in Japanese you can), but the meaning is the same. So I would change your second sentence to:

(ヤドンはバカだから。)
(Because Slowpokes are stupid.)


That leaves us the third sentence:

それはあたたかい と 大おいし よ。
(They are warm and very tasty.)


First of all, それ (meaning 'this' or 'these') is used for objects. You wouldn't use it for a person, for instance. I don't know quite where a pokemon fits on that scale, but we'll just ignore it for now.

You have two adjectives in this sentence あたたかい (warm) and 大おいし (tasty). First, a correction. おいし needs another い at the end: おいしい. There are quite a few adjectives that end in しい so just keep an eye out for them. That last い is a necessary part of the word even if it seems redundant. Next, you put 大 (big, large, great) in front of おいしい. I'm guessing you want to use it like "very" or "super" or something similar. In this case you'd want to use 超 (ちょう) instead. So that gives us this sentence now:

それはあたたかいと超おいしいよ。
(They are warm and very tasty.)


There's only one other thing that needs changing now. Since you're saying that something is warm and tasty you need a word for 'and'. You used と, however と is only used with nouns. Adjectives have their own method. This requires my going into some detail on adjectives first so bear with me.

A Wild Adjectives Lesson Appeared!

Japanese adjectives come in two forms: な adjectives and い adjectives. いadjectives end in the kana い while na adjectives don't end in any specific kana and have to have な added to them in certain circumstances. So here are some examples of each.

い adjectives:
おいしい: tasty, delicious
あたたかい: warm
むずかしい: difficult
たかい: tall, expensive

な adjectives:
しずか(な): quiet
げんき(な): healthy, energetic
ゆうめい(な): famous
きれい(な): pretty, clean

As you might notice, not all adjectives that end in い are going to be い adjectives though. Knowing the difference simply comes down to remembering which are which and knowing which words are formed from kanji that derive their pronunciations from Chinese or native Japanese with い-ending Chinese-pronunciation-based adjectives usually being な adjectives. Moving along.

To create a string of い adjectives ("That person is tall and handsome and fun.") you take the adjective and replace the い with くて. In this way you're simply making an adjective like "warm" into "warm and". You do this over and over until the last adjective which you don't change. So, back to our sample sentence. We then get this:

それはあたたかくて超おいしいよ。
(They are warm and very tasty.)


And that's all you need to do. If you were dealing with な adjectives you would take the adjective (minus the な) and add で. You would string them together until the last adjective which wouldn't have anything added to it. You can also mix and match.

Okay, there's one sentence left and it's already fine so I'm going to string them all together.

私はヤドンをいま食べます。(ヤドンはバカだから。)それはあたたかくて超おいしいよ。それは大好きよ。。。


And I'll stop now, really. ^_^;

スポットライト
May 24th, 2011, 04:46 PM
I want to join!Know Hiragana,katakana,a few kanjjis,and a little grammar.

Some helpful advice, some time earlier there were the Boku and Ore thingy,well the plural for some pronouns usually is not with 達「たち」 but with ら instead there is a reason for that is that 達「たち」is formal while most of the pronouns aren't so to don't make a shock ら is used instead.

How to type in japanese

You can either get Japanese alphabet in your pc using a romaji goes kana/kanji system(on Control panel of your Pc,language and regions area) or you use a program. I use and recommend Wakan,they have a built-in dictionary however it's not perfect.If you don't want to install anything ajax Ime might work just fine for you.

Just googel Wakan and/or Ajax ime and you should find the websites

More...

I'm not sure if it was covered up before but just in case...

Do you see this small letter beween the po and to in my username?It's a small tsu that is a smal break(or you just say the consonant slightly longer).It's often used in japaense,especially with loan words such as supottoraito(spotlight) appuru(apple),or normal words ippon(one point) ippun(a minute),etc.


ね,よ and か

When you use ね it's kinda like this くまは青いですね(The bear is blue.Isn't it?)

Most of the time よ acts like an exclamation mark,giving a I'm sure feeling くまは青いですよ(The bear is blue!)

And か just make the sentence a question くまは青いですか (Is the bear blue?)