Sunday, April 15, 2012

日本語 - Week 20 (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.

MONDAY: Lesson Forty Eight – 何がーばんほしいですか
What if you want to do something but you want to express it with a verb instead of a noun? You add ~たい to the stem. I want to sleep = たいです. Yes, you use the copula to end it. Do you want to eat? = 食べたいですか. Exceptions? You could not use it in the third person, meaning you cannot ask what someone else wants unless that someone is you or the person you are talking to. They say another complicated construction is needed for third person.

TUESDAY: Lesson Forty Nine –しょうらいは何をしたいですか
The book says that there are two verbs that corresponds to the English verb to work and those verbs are はたらく and つとめる. What is the difference? The book claims that the first one emphasizes the act of working, as in the action, while the second one emphasizes your dedication to your job, or your commitment to it. If it were up to me I’d say that you use the first one if you have a job and the other one if you have a career. HAHAHA. Is this really the time to bring up this issue. Well I guess for all of us working individuals there is always that distinction. Sometimes you end up working for the pay. If you are lucky you end up working because you actually love what you are doing. Feel free to choose which verb you like, HAHAHA. I think I just messed up the definition of these two verbs. LOL!

WEDNESDAY: Lesson Forty Nine –しょうらいは何をしたいですか
We use それか to connect two sentences which are alternatives of another. The rough translation is the English conjunction or. Example. Tonight I will read a book or I will eat sushi = 今晩は本を読みますそれかすしを食べます. Of course you can eat sushi and read a book at the same time. Don’t make your life complicated over such trivial matters, but since we have to stick on topic and I can’t construct complicated sentences yet, let’s just stick to this one.

THURSDAY: Lesson Fifty –夏休みはどこかへ行きましたか
Okay, so this is the lesson where my brain almost died. NYAHAHA. Information overload it is. Let’s start with indefinite pronouns. By this, we mean: something, someone, etc. There is a reason they are called “indefinite” and that is because you are not referring to anyone or anything in particular. In Japanese, you use the appropriate question word and add the particle ~ and then you add the verb. Easy. I want to eat something = 何か食べたいです. I saw someone = だれか見ました. It gets complicated when you add particles. Subject ad object particles you could omit, but the book says that you must retain other particles that might occur such as , , and .

FRIDAY: Lesson Forty Fifty –夏休みはどこかへ行きましたか
This is where it gets complicated. What about the negatives? By this, we mean: nothing, nowhere, no one. Okay. We still use the question words but we attach ~instead. It gets complicated because we have to use the negative form of the verb. Otherwise the sentence would not be grammatical. This is counter-intuitive because in English we do not say “I did not see no one” but rather “I did not see anyone”. The first sentence reminds me of Alice in Wonderland what with the play of words. Those two do not mean the same thing. In Japanese if you want to say and mean “I did not see anyone” you would actually have to phrase your sentence like: I did not see no one = だれもみませんでした. I know, it is confusing and I am getting dizzy now because of this so we better stop here before I throw up.
For next week I would be covering lessons fifty one to fifty three. We can do this guys! The goal is to pass the N5 examination of the JLPT in December 2012! =)

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