Sunday, December 18, 2011

日本語 - Week 9 (Contemporary Japanese Vol. 1)

The book I am using is Contemporary Japanese Vol. 1 by Eriko Sato from the Tuttle Language Library. Volume 1 of the book has 61 lessons. Target end date is March 20, 2012.

MONDAY: Lesson Twenty One An Overview of Japanese Verb Conjugation
And so we’ve reached that part where we have to conjugate Japanese verbs. How scary. It’s inevitable though, and better to deal with it now than regret it later. Basically there are two types of verbs in Japanese: the –ru verb and the –u verb. It’s really strange because there are Japanee verbs ending in –ru but are actually –u verbs. Come to think of it, all of them are –ru verbs because they technically end in –u!!! Don’t you agree? But rules are rules, so let’s go down to business. It’s the same concept, get rid of the ending, which means throwing either –ru or –u out of the window. What’s left would be what they call the “root form”. There is another one called the “stem form” which is almost always the root form + -i. Sometimes when the “root form” ends in –e, it would also be the “stem form” like the case in TABERU. Get rid of the –ru and that leaves you with TABE- which is both the root form and the stem form of this verb.Let’s have a different example: SHINU, a –u verb which means “to die”. Harsh. The root form would be SHIN- once you get rid of the –u but the stem form should be SHIN-I- so you add an –i.

TUESDAY: Lesson Twenty One An Overview of Japanese Verb Conjugation
What do you do with the root form and the stem form then? Well, the dictionary form of the verb, which means that version of the verb with the –ru and –u still attached are actually the plain present affirmative form. What the hell does that mean? That means you could use it as is to people you are close to. If you are just talking to your sister or your friend and there is no need to be polite, just use it. 私は 行く means “I go” but if you want to mean the same thing but you are talking to someone that you have to respect, you have to use the stem form (the one ending in either –e or –i) and –masu to be polite. So to a superior you would say私は 行きます. Okay. What about the root form? You add –nai or –anai to the root form for the plain present negative. If you are telling your sister that you are not going, there is no need to be so polite so instead of sayingきません (the negative ofきます) you could just say かない which is the opposite of行く. I know it’s hard. Information overload. Let’s try to summarize. If there is no need to be polite, go vs. don’t go would be: 行くvs. 行かない. If you are talking to your boss, go vs. don’t go would be: 行きますvs. 行きません.

WEDNESDAY: Twenty Two – 今日はクラスに行きますか
Let’s focus on the three verbs of movement for now. 行く is to go and it is regular. Rejoice! Affirmative conjugations are 行く and 行きます. Negative conjugations are 行かない and 行きません. くる is to come and it is irregular. Boo! Affirmative conjugations are くる andきます. Negative conjugations are こない andきません.  帰る is to return and it is regular. Yahoo! Affirmative conjugations are 帰る and帰ります. Negative conjugations are 帰らない and帰りません.

THURSDAY: Lesson Twenty Two今日はクラスに行きますか
Friends, I’d like to introduce you to the verb わかる which means “to know/to understand”. Say hi. Hi, わかる! Hmmmkay… You only have to know two of its forms: わかります (I understand!) and わかりません (I don’t understand!). You know what particle to add if you want to turn that into a question. That’s so basic, hello! Most of the time they also use the past tense of the affirmative so you might also hear: わかりました. It’s the same verb, just in the past tense. We don’t know how to conjugate verbs in the past tense yet but what I’ve observed is that the ~ sound becomes ~した. Last grammar point for the day, the particle ~ which is attached to targets as in target location, target time, target person (indirect object). This is very useful when used with the verbs of movement. 日本に 行く means I am going to Japan.

FRIDAY: Lesson Twenty Three – デパアトにいきまえんか
The particle ~ is attached to whatever the product is to mean a store or a shop selling that product. Our best example would be 本や which means bookstore. どこここそこand あそこ mean where, here, there, and over there respectively. See the common suffix? That’s what I find cool about Japanese, hehe! If you review our demonstrative pronouns, you are bound to see similarities.
For next week I would be covering the second half of lesson twenty three until lesson twenty five. We can do this guys! The goal is to pass the N5 examination of the JLPT in December 2012! =)

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