Japanese I-2

Kanjis: 1st grade + JLPT N5; Additional kanjis for lessons 1-8:

わたし – I/me きみ – you えい – Britain, British
ぼく – I/me さけ – sake 欲しい ほしい – wanted

Sample Conversation

This is not a transcript of the dialog in the recording.

A man and a woman chat in an elevator until she arrives to her floor.


English
1: man; 2: woman

2: Ah. Excuse me. Good morning.
    It’s nice weather, right?
1: Good morning. Yes, that’s right.
    The weather is nice.
    Are you American?
2: No, I’m Canadian.
1: Your Japanese is good.
2: No, no.
    It’s not good.
1: I disagree.
    You’re skilled at Japanese.
2: Thank you.
    Ah. Well then, see you.
1: Yes, see you.


romaji
1: otoko; 2: onna

2: aa. sumi-masen. ohayou gozai-masu.
    i-i o-tenki desu ne?
1: ohayou gozai-masu. hai, sou desu ne.
    tenki wa i-i desu.
    anata wa america-jin desu ka?
2: iie, canada-jin desu.
1: anata wa nihon-go ga jouzu desu ne.
2: iie, iie.
    nihon-go ga jouzu ja ari-masen.
1: iie.
    anata wa nihon-go ga o-jouzu desu.
2: arigatou gozai-masu.
    aa. dewa, mata ne.
1: hai, ja, mata.



kana
1: おとこ; 2: おんな

2: ああ。すみません。おはよう ございます。
    いい おてんき ですね。
1: おはよう ございます。はい、そうですね。
    てんきは いい です。
    あなたは アメリカじん ですか。
2: いいえ、カナダじん です。
1: あなたは にほんごが じょうず ですね。
2: いいえ、いいえ。
にほんごが じょうず じゃ ありません。
1: いいえ、
    あなたは にほんごが おじょうず です。
2: ありがとう がざいます。
    ああ。では またね。
1: はい、じゃ また。


kanji (show me)
1: 男; 2: 女

2: ああ。すみません。おはようございます。
    いいお天気ですね。
1: おはようございます。はい、そうですね。
    天気はいいです。
    あなたはアメリカ人ですか。
2: いいえ、カナダ人です。
1: あなたは日本語が上手ですね。
2: いいえ、いいえ。
    日本語が上手じゃありません。
1: いいえ、
    あなたは日本語がお上手です。
2: ありがとうがざいます。
    ああ。ではまたね。
1: はい、じゃまた。


Vocabulary


English
sky
spirit, atmosphere
weather

early
‘morning
good morning

good, agreeable
thanks

above, superior
hand
skilled (sup. hand)

And then
Then… (formal)
Then… (casual)

again
Then… again
so, appearance of
right?
! (I’d say!)

to be (arcaic)
masu (formal)
dict (casual)


romaji
ten
ki
o-tenki

haya-i
o-hayou
ohayou gozai-masu

i-i
arigatou

ue
te
jouzu-na

de
dewa
ja

mata
ja mata
sou
ne?
ne!

 
gozai-masu
gozaru


kana
てん

おてんき

はやい
おはよう
おはようございます

いい
ありがとう

うえ

じょうずな


では
じゃ

また
じゃまた
そう
ね?
ね!

 
ございます
ござる


kanji


お天気

早い
お早う
お早うございます

 
 



上手な

 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 


  • Words ending in -i and -na, like ‘haya-i’ and ‘jouzu-na’, are i-adjectives and na-adjectives.
  • Kanjis in red are correct but usually the word is written in kana.

Sample sentences

Eng: Your Japanese is good!

lit: You? Your Japanese! You are skilled at it!


formal (show me)
anata wa ni-hon-go ga jouzu desu ne!

あなたは にほんごが じょうず ですね。

あなたは日本語が上手ですね。


casual (show me)
kimi wa ni-hon-go ga jouzu da na!

きみは にほんごが じょうず だな。

君は日本語が上手だな。



Comments

The following comments explain some of the grammar in more detail.

Verbs

to be – desu

In Lesson 1 we saw ‘desu’, the formal non-past positive of the verb ‘to be’. Lesson 2 introduces ‘ja arimasen’, the formal non-past negative. All of these terms have a casual form:

  • ‘da’ is the casual form of ‘desu’,
  • ‘ja’ is the casual form of ‘dewa’, and
  • ‘nai’ is the casual form of ‘ari-masen’

Hence, the positive and negative non-past conjugations of ‘desu’ are:


 
non-past


positive
[desu/da]


negative
[dewa/ja] [ari-masen/nai]


All combinations of [dewa/ja][arimasen/nai] are valid; the longer the combination, the more formal the form, e.g.,


You? You are Japanese.
formal
casual

You? You are not Japanese.
more formal
formal
casual
more casual


anata wa nihon-jin desu.
anata wa nihon-jin da.

 
anata wa nihon-jin dewa ari-masen.
anata wa nihon-jin ja ari-masen.
anata wa nihon-jin dewa nai.
anata wa nihon-jin ja nai.


Prefixes and suffixes

o – お

‘o’ (お) is an honorific; we add it to a word to show respect. As a general rule, ‘o-‘ is used only with words of Japanese origin, like ‘o-sake’ (rice wine) or ‘o-mizu’ (water) , while the honorific ‘go-‘ is only used with words of Chinese origin, like ‘go-han’ (rice or meal), or ‘go-kazoku’ (your family); words of foreign origin, usually written in katakana, don’t take neither ‘o-‘ nor ‘go-‘ [wikibooks].


English
weather
sake
request
health


w/o honorific
tenki
sake
negai
genki


English
respected weather
respected sake
favor
respected health


w/ honorific
o-tenki
o-sake
o-negai
o-genki


An important exception to the use of honorifics depending on origin of the word that they append to is ‘o-cha’, with ‘cha’ being a word of Chinese origin; after all, tea comes from China, so there is no ‘original’ Japanese word for tea.

Honorifics are not applied to ourselves or anyone or anything related to ourselves, like our own family or company. Hence, let’s go over the last example: ‘genki’ doesn’t mean ‘health’ exactly; it is something like ‘vigor’ or ‘life energy’, and asking for someone’s ‘vigor’ is similar to the English ‘Are you well?’. Now, we’d use the ‘o-‘ honorific when we ask about how someone is faring because someone else’s well-being is very important, but when we refer to our own well-being that, politely-speaking, is not as important, we do not use the honorific:


English
Are you well?
Yes, I am well.


romaji
o-genki desu ka?
hai, genki desu.


Adjectives

Lesson 2 introduces the i-adjectives and na-adjectives. i-adjectives behave like verbs – we can conjugate them, while na-adjectives behave more like English adjectives.

i-adjectives

Lesson 2 introduces two i-adjectives: ‘haya-i’ (is early), from which we get the greeting ‘o-hayou’, and ‘i-i’ (is good), which is a special case of i-adjectives. In Lesson 7 we will see the i-adjective ‘hoshi-i’ (is desirable), which we also use here for the examples.

All i-adjectives end with an ‘-i’ that plays the role of ‘is’. The stem of an i-adjective is the adjective without this final ‘-i’, e.g., the stem of ‘hoshi-i’ is ‘hoshi’, and the stem of ‘i-i’ is ‘i’:


English
is early
is desirable
is good


romaji
haya-i
hoshi-i
i-i


i-adjectives don’t change when we use them as nouns or we use them to modify nouns; in the next example, ‘good’ works as a noun in the first sentence (‘is good’), and as an adjective in the second one (‘good weather’), but in both cases we simply write the adjective ‘i-i’:


English
It is good weather.
the weather! It is good.


romaji
i-i o-tenki desu.
o-tenki ga i-i.


kana
いい おてんき です。
おてんきが いい


In ‘i-i o-tenki desu’, ‘i-i’ is an adjective that modifies the noun ‘o-tenki’; all Japanese sentences end in a verb, so we need to add ‘desu’ to get a complete sentence:

i-i o-tenki desu ➝ good the weather is

The second sentence is different, though, because apparently it does not end in a verb, but instead ends in an adjective. However, i-adjectives work as verbs , because the final ‘-i’ works as ‘is'[stackexchange]. Hence, this sentence is correct:

o-tenki ga i-i ➝ the weather! it is good

We cannot add the verb ‘desu’ to the end of this sentence, because we end up with

o-tenki ga i-i desu ➝ the weather! it is good is

which is incorrect; basically we would have two verbs. However, we can still use ‘desu’ as a decorator that adds politeness to the sentence without conjugating it, i.e., we can add it or remove it at will:


the weather! It is good.
English
formal
casual


romaji
o-tenki ga i-i desu.
o-tenki ga i-i.


kana
おてんきが いい です。
おてんきが いい


The key is to remember that in this case, ‘desu’ is not acting as a verb, but merely as a decorator that increases the politeness of the sentence. Also, we can use ‘desu’ to raise the politeness of the casual form, but we cannot use ‘da’ to lower it. Hence, ‘-i desu’ is correct, but ‘-i da’ is not.

Since ‘desu’ works as a decoration to make the causal i-adjective formal, we can also use it to decorate the casual negative and make it formal:


non-past


positive
-i (desu)


negative
-ku [ari-masen/nai (desu)]


Again, notice that ‘-i’ was conjugated to ‘-ku [ari-masen/nai (desu)]’ but ‘desu’ remained the same, without conjugating to its negative ‘ja ari-masen’ [thoughtco]. Also, we can’t raise the politeness of ‘-ku nai’ but not that of ‘-ku arimasen’. For example:


[is/are] desired
formal
causal

I [don’t/won’t] desire
formal
casual
more casual


 
hoshi-i desu.
hoshi-i.

 
hoshi-ku ari-masen.
hoshi-ku nai desu.
hoshi-ku nai.


This grammar is different from English. In English, we would say ‘I want x’, using the verb ‘to want’ while in Japanese we say ‘x is desired’ or ‘x is desirable’, using the adjective ‘hoshi-i’.

i-i – good

‘i-i’ (is good) is an exception to the conjugation of i-adjectives. The old way to write ‘is good’ was ‘yo-i’; it later changed to ‘i-i’ so now the stem of this i-adjective is ‘i-‘, which is used for the non-past positive, but for all other tenses the old form of ‘yo-‘ is still used:


non-past


positive
i-i (desu)


negative
yo-ku [ari-masen/nai] (desu)


Hence:


It [is/will be] good
formal
causal

It [isn’t/won’t be] good
more formal
formal
casual
more casual


 
i-i desu.
i-i.

 
yo-ku ari-masen desu.
yo-ku ari-masen.
yo-ku nai desu.
yo-ku nai.


na-adjectives

na-adjectives don’t change when we use them as nouns, but we have to add the suffix ‘-na’ when we apply them to nouns. For the next example, we use the na-adjective ‘iya’ (bad, disagreeable), that we will see in Lesson 3, so we can contrast it with the i-adjective ‘i-i’ from this lesson:


English
the weather! it is bad
it’s bad weather


romaji
o-tenki ga iya desu.
iya-na o-tenki desu.


kana
おてんきが いや です。
いやな おてんき です。


Conjugate the na-adjectives using the copula, as follows:


non-past


positive
[desu/da]


negative
[dewa/ja] [ari-masen/nai]


All combinations of [dewa/ja][arimasen/nai] are valid; the longer the combination, the more formal the form, e.g.,


I [am/will be] skilled
formal
casual

I [am not/will not be] skilled
more formal
formal
casual
more casual


 
jouzu desu.
jouzu da.

 
jouzu dewa ari-masen.
jouzu ja ari-masen.
jouzu dewa nai.
jouzu ja nai.


Conjunctions

de – で

This conjunction does not appear in Lesson 2, but it is the origin of ‘dewa’, which is the formal version of ‘ja’, that does appear.

‘de’ (で), as a conjunction, means ‘so’ or ‘and then’.

dewa/jaa – では/じゃあ

‘jaa’ (じゃあ), also written as ‘ja’ (じゃ), is the contraction of the conjunction ‘de’ (で) and the particle ‘wa’ (は); this is why we can replace ‘dewa arimasen’ with ‘jaa arimasen’.

‘de’ (で) means ‘so’ or ‘and then’, and ‘wa'(は) is the question mark ‘?’, so ‘de-wa’ would mean a polite ‘Then?’. In the recordings, the contraction ‘jaa’ (じゃあ) is translated as ‘Well, then…’, but we will simply use ‘Then…’ often. Whether this ‘Then…’ is formal or casual depends on whether we use ‘dewa’ or ‘jaa’.

Particles

ne/na – ね/な

This particle seeks agreement (ne?), or provides confirmation (ne!). The formal version of the particle is ‘ne’ (ね), and the casual one is ‘na’ (な):

  • seeking agreement – ne?
    In this case, the sentence is a question, and ‘ne?’ means ‘wouldn’t you say?’, or ‘right?’:


    Nice weather, right?
    English
    formal
    casual
    more casual


    romaji
    i-i o-tenki desu ne?
    i-i o-tenki da ne?
    i-i o-tenki da na?


    kana
    いい おてんき です?
    いい おてんき だ?
    いい おてんき だ?


  • providing confirmation – ne!
    In this case the sentence is a statement, and ‘ne!’ means ‘right!’, ‘I agree!’, or “I’d say!”. We’ll translate this ‘ne!’ as a simple exclamation mark ‘!’:


    It is so!
    English
    formal
    casual
    more casual


    romaji
    sou desu ne!
    sou da ne!
    sou da na!


    kana
    そう です!
    そう だ!
    そう だ!



    It’s not so!
    English
    more formal
    formal
    casual
    more casual


    romaji
    sou dewa arimasen ne!
    sou ja arimasen ne!
    sou dewa nai ne!
    sou ja nai na!


    kana
    そう では ありません!
    そう じゃ ありません!
    そう では ない!
    そう じゃ ない!


Adverbs

mata – また

‘mata’ (また) means ‘again’; we combine it with ‘dewa’ or ‘ja’ to say ‘Then… (see you) again’, which means ‘see you later’ or ‘bye, bye’. We can append different times to change the farewell; if the time is a specific hour, day or month, we need to add the particle ‘ni’:


English
Then… (see you) again
formal
casual

Then… see you!
Then… see you later
Then… see you tonight
Then… see you tomorrow
Then… see you next week
Then… see you next month
Then… see you next year
Then… see you next time

Then… see you at 10:00
Then… see you on Monday
Then… see you in April


romaji

dewa mata
ja mata

ja mata ne!
ja mata ato de
ja mata kon-ban
ja mata ashita
ja mata rai-shuu
ja mata rai-getsu
ja mata rai-nen
ja mata condo

ja mata juu-ji ni
ja mata getsu-youbi ni
ja mata shi-gatsu ni


kana

では また
じゃ また

じゃ またね
じゃ また あとで
じゃ また こんばん
じゃ また あした
じゃ また らいしゅう
じゃ また らいげつ
じゃ また らいねん
じゃ また こんど

じゃ また じゅうじ に
じゃ また げつようび に
じゃ また しがつ に


or we can be very casual, drop the ‘mata’, smile, wave, and simply say:


English
Then…!
Then…


romaji
jaa ne!
jaa…


kana
じゃあ ね!
じゃあ…


Expressions

‘morning – おはよう, お早う

  • ‘o-‘ is the honorific
  • ‘hayou’ is a noun meaning ‘early’. Its kanji is 早う.
  • ‘gozaru’ is an old form of the verb ‘to be’, so the -masu form makes it a polite ‘is’.

Hence, ‘o-hayou’ means ‘early!’, which is used as the casual ‘morning!
When we add ‘gozai-masu’, we get ‘It’s early!’, which is used as the formal ‘Good morning!’.

Although ‘o-hayou gozai-masu’ means ‘good morning’, in certain contexts it can be used at any time. For example, in some places it is used to greet someone for the first time in a day, regardless of when the encounter takes place.

It has many shortened forms; the shorter the form, the more casual it is:


Good morning!
formal
casual
casual
more casual
very casual


romaji
o-hayou gozai-masu
o-hayossu
o-hayou
owasu
osu/ossu


kana
おはようございます
おはよっす
おはよう
おわす
おす・おっす


‘osu/ossu’ would be something like ‘hey’ or ‘sup.