Let’s break the ice! Lesson#1!

To break the ice, I decided to start with something super basic! Even without having studied japanese, many people probably already know this. But it’s just the beginning, don’t worry 🙂

Sentence Structure and Personal Pronouns

Let’s say that there is only one strict rule about japanese sentences: the verb must be put at the end of the sentence. The other elements can be used in various orders and they are omitted when possible. The shorter the sentence.. the better!
Ok, let’s say that it’s not totally random, but since there are not strict rules.. you’ll get it with experience ^^

All the elements of the sentence are “marked” by a particle that follows them and identifies their grammatical function. We will talk about these particles later, but if you want to understand sentences.. you better know what they mean now.

“Wa” (Written with hiragana “Ha” ->は)
This particle identifies the topic of the sentence. The topic of the sentence is often the subject, but it may be any other element. If the topic is the subject or the object the particles “wa” replace the other particle, otherwise it’s postponed to the other particle.
“Ga” (が)
This particle identifies the subject of the sentence.
“Wo” (を – pronounced “o”)
This particle identifies the direct object of the sentence.
“Ni” (に)
This particle has many function like the dative case (I talk to him) or lative case (I go to Japan)
“No” (の)
Most important functions are for genitive case or to nominalize verbs and phrases.

There are other particles and these ones may have also other functions.. but for the moment it’s enough.

Just remember that the topic it’s usually put at the beginning of the sentence and that when one element of the sentence specifies something about another element, it always precedes that element.
My friend’s interesting book–> watashi no tomodachi no omoshiroi hon
The book I read yesterday–> Kinou watashi ga yonda hon
I am running fast–>> watashi wa hayaku hashitte iru

There is something else you have to know to make basic sentences: Personal Pronouns
There are A LOT of pronouns, but it’s ok if you learn the most common for the moment.

I – Me – My
Watashi [私] (formal)
Ore [俺] Boku [僕] (informal)(used by males)
Atashi [あたし] (informal)(used by females)

You – Your – singular
Anata [あなた] (formal)
Kimi [君] (informal)
Omae [お前] (very informal)

He-She / Him-Her
Kare [彼] (“He” “Him”)(formal)
Kanojo [彼女] (“She” “Her”)(formal)

To make them plural, you just need to add a suffix:
-tachi [達] and -ra [等] to make an informal pronoun or -gata [方] to make a formal one.
Example of the most used plural pronouns:
Bokura, Watashitachi, Bokutachi, Oretachi (“We” “Us”)
Anatagata, Anatatachi, Kimitachi, Kimira, Omaetachi (You – plural)
Karera, Karetachi (They – male) Kanojotachi, Kanojora (They – female)

Who watch anime in japanese surely already heard “Kisama” and “Temee”. They both mean “You” but are rude and hostile.


Posted on 26 November 2015, in Japan, Japanese, Learning Japanese and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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