Lesson#6 – Adjectives (Part 1)

In japanese Language there are 2 big families of adjectives:
I-Adjectives (i-Adj from now on)
Na-Adjectives (na-Adj from now on)

They are called like that cause they respectively ends with “i” and “na” in their attributive form. (You didn’t expect it, right? 😀 )

Some examples of I-Adj:

atarashii 新しい new
furui 古い old
atsui 暑い hot
samui 寒い cold
oishii おいしい delicious
mazui まずい bad tasting
ookii 大きい big
chiisai 小さい small
osoi 遅い late, slow
hayai 早い early, quick
omoshiroi 面白い interesting, funny
tsumaranai つまらない boring
muzukashii 難しい difficult
yasashii 優しい easy
ii いい good
warui 悪い bad
takai 高い tall, expensive
yasui 安い cheap

Some examples of na-Adj:

kantanna 簡単な easy
henna 変な weird
chiisana 小さな small
okina 大きな big
ijiwaruna 意地悪な mean
shinsetsuna 親切な kind
kiraina 嫌いな distasteful
sukina 好きな favorite
shizukana 静かな quiet
kikenna 危険な dangerous
anzenna 安全な safe
benrina 便利な convenient
fubenna 不便な inconvenient
kireina きれいな pretty
genkina 元気な healthy, well
yuumeina 有名な famous
shoujikina 正直な honest

Japanese adjectives has no gender or number (just like in english), but they have 5 so called conjugated forms (B1-B2-B3-B4-B5) that are used to express different meaning and functions adding to them different auxiliaries. I will try do make it simple with a pair of examples, but first.. just a little explanation..
Under the column “Possible forms” you will read a “complete form”. This complete form is made by desinence+auxiliary.. you can find them in every book but to me.. it’s simply better to learn them as they are and do not bother to know anything else. Maybe in the future you will get to know more by yourself 🙂

kawaii (cute)

Conjugated formsStemPossible forms —– Functions
B1……………………….kawai…….kawaikarou…………….uncertainty
B2……………………….kawai…….kawaikatta……………..past
…………………………..kawai…….kawaikute……………..-te form
…………………………..kawai…….kawaiku………………..adverb/coordination
…………………………..kawai…….kawaikunai…………….negative
…………………………..kawai…….kawaiku naru/suru…..to become/to make
B3……………………….kawai….. ..kawaii……………………predicative
B4……………………….kawai…… .kawaii……………………attributive
B5……………………….kawai……..kawaikereba……………If is/was

benrina (useful)

Conjugated formStem —- Possible forms —– Functions
B1………………………benri………benri darou…………….uncertainty
B2………………………benri………benri datta……………..past
………………………….benri………benride………………….-te form
………………………….benri………benride…………………adverb/coordination
………………………….benri………benri dewanai………….negative
………………………….benri………benri ni naru/suru……to become/to make
B3……………………….benri………benri da…………………predicative
B4……………………….benri………benrina…………………attributive
B5……………………….benri………benri naraba……………If is/was

Attributive function (B4)
Let’s start with the easier function.. the attributive one!
It’s easy cause it exactly works like in english.
The adjective precedes the noun it has to describe:

atarashii kuruma—> new car
oishii tabemono—> delicious food
kantanna mondai—> easy problem
kireina onna—> beautiful woman

Predicative function
In this case, i-Adj and na-Adj works a bit different.

For this function, the conjugated form B3 is used.
i-Adj’s B3 is the same as B4 so you won’t have problems

X wa I-Adj —> X is Adj
X wa I-Adj desu —> X is Adj (polite)

kuruma wa atarashii –> the car is new
kuruma wa atarashii desu –> the car is new (polite)

As you can see in the first sentence, “to be” verb is not needed. Japanese adjectives are a predicate without the need of a verb. Desu is added only to express politeness.
Telling “kuruma wa atarashii da” IS WRONG!

As i said, for na-Adj it works a bit different. First, na-adj’s B3 is different from B4.
To obtain it, you have to get the stem of the adjective “cutting” the final “na” and adding “da” (or “desu” to make it polite)

kantanna (B4)—-> kantan da (B3) (kantan desu)
kireina (B4)—-> kirei da (B3) (kirei desu)

mondai wa kantan da —> the problem is easy
mondai wa kantan desu —> the problem is easy (polite)
onna wa kirei da —> the woman is beautiful
onna wa kirei desu —> the woman is beautiful (polite)

I said before that japanese adjectives are a predicate without the need of a “to be” verbs.. and here we use “da” and “desu”??!?!
Eheh, japanese is a magic language 🙂 the stem of a na-adj is gramatically considered a noun and that’s why they need “desu” to become a predicate.. but well.. this is another thing you don’t need to know 🙂

Past form
Past form is built using B2 with desinence “kat-” for i-adj or “dat-” for na-adj and adding the auxiliary “ta”

atarashi – kat – ta —–> atarashikatta —> was new
kantan – dat – ta —–> kantan datta —> was easy

kuruma wa atarashikatta —> the car was new
mondai wa kantan datta —> the problem was easy

To obtain polite forms you have to add “desu” for i-adj and use “deshita” instead of “datta” for na-adj

kuruma wa atarashikatta desu —> the car was new (polite)
mondai wa kantan deshita —> the problem was easy (polite)

Negative form

Negative form is built using B2 with desinence “ku” for i-adj and “de” for na-adj and adding the auxiliary “nai” (or “wanai”)

atarashi – ku – nai —-> atarashikunai —> not new

kuruma wa atarashikunai —–> the car is not new

kantan – de – wanai —-> kantan dewanai —-> not easy

mondai wa kantan dewanai —-> the problem is not easy

To make this sentences polite you can simply add “desu” or conjugate the auxiliary “nai” into its polite form “arimasen”

kuruma wa atarashikunai desu —–> the car is not new (polite)
kuruma wa atarashiku arimasen —–> the car is not new (polite)
mondai wa kantan dewanai desu —–> the problem is not easy (polite)
mondai wa kantan dewa arimasen —–> the problem is not easy (polite)

Negative past form

you can get this form taking the present negative form and conjugating the auxiliary “nai” into its past form “nakatta”

atarashikunai —> atarashikunakatta —-> was not new

kuruma wa atarashikunakatta —-> the car was not new

kantan dewanai —> kantan dewanakatta —> was not easy

mondai wa kantan dewanakatta —> the problem was not easy

To make them polite you can add “desu” as usual, or use the polite past form of “nai”

kuruma wa atarashikunakatta desu —–> the car was not new (polite)
kuruma wa atarashiku arimasen deshita —–> the car was not new (polite)
mondai wa kantan dewanakatta desu —–> the problem was not easy (polite)
mondai wa kantan dewa arimasen deshita —–> the problem was not easy (polite)

The lesson is over! but the subject is not :D
In the next lesson we’ll see other forms and function.. but if you get what it’s explained in this lesson.. the hardest part is done!

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Posted on 10 December 2015, in Japanese, Learning Japanese, Lesson and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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