Sunday, April 8, 2012

日本語 - Week 19 (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 May 19, 2012.

Instead of doing the Kanji and the vocabulary, I have decided to focus on the exercises, at least for the video. I’ll leave the Kanji to you, hahaha.

MONDAY: Lesson Forty Six – 何がとくいですか
Today is particles galore. We have studied some of them in the past but some of them have other functions. For today let us just discuss which we know is the particle that roughly translates to but. Well, according to the book it could be used to link two sentences and turn them into a single sentence, effectively replacing でも. This means that a sentence such as: 日本語はむずかしいです。でも、楽しいです could be written as one sentence like this: 日本語はむずかしいですが、楽しいです. It does make the sentence shorter and I find this useful because it means another way to express myself. I admit that most of the time I tend to abuse でも.

TUESDAY: Lesson Forty Six –何がとくいですか
We have learned that the particle which we popularly recognize as some sort of possessive particle. The book says, however, that it has another usage. It has superpowers. It could turn a verb into a noun. Gasp! In English, we mostly do that by turning the infinitive into a gerund. Here, you just attach the particle to the plain form of the verb. Another particle, こと does the same trick, but let us not steal the spotlight from the star particle of today’s lesson! Let’s start! If you want to say that you like eating, you must turn your verb into a noun, as we did so by tossing in a gerund in there. And so, in Japanese we say: 食べる好きです.

WEDNESDAY: Lesson Forty Seven カタカナで名前が書けますか
Last particle for the week! We know as our favorite topic marker. The book says though that it also functions as a particle to denote contrast. Let us say that you like Yamada-san but you hate Tanaka-san. Surely, you should set a distinction to be able to clearly label which is which. Just add that particle to both of them and you are done: 山田さんは好きですが田中さんは好きじゃありません.

THURSDAY: Lesson Forty Seven カタカナで名前が書けますか
Let us now talk about potential! Apparently, you could change the conjugation of a verb to denote potential or ability. The sound we are looking for here is an “e” sound which they add to the stem, or use to replace it. I know, it is a bit confusing so let me explain it some more. Take for example, to write which is かく which is conjugated as かきます. If you want to alter the meaning by saying that you could write, you can change it to ます. I have not mastered this yet and I know there is a system to it but this sound change is what really got stuck in my head. This is useful for now because the affirmative conjugations for the non-past always end with –imasu so what I do is I just change it to –emasu but once you encounter other conjugations, you must stick to the rule. I guess I would just do that when I advance. For now, I stop here.

FRIDAY: Lesson Forty Eight – 何がーばんほしいですか
Last lesson for the week!!! The Japanese use ほしい and attach it to a noun to mean to want or desire that noun. Yes, it is an adjective, obviously. With this you could just mention a noun and add ~ほしいです to mean that you want it. I know though that there are other ways to express wanting something. I do not know if this expression is as common.
For next week I would be covering lessons forty six to forty eight. We can do this guys! The goal is to pass the N5 examination of the JLPT in December 2012! =)

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