Japanese I-3

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 Canadian woman chat in an elevator until she arrives to her floor. It’s 3:00 p.m. and it’s raining outside.


English
1: man; 2: woman

2: Good afternoon.
    Bad weather, right?
1: Good afternoon. Yes, that’s right!
    The weather is bad.
    Are you well?
2: Yes, I’m well. Thanks.
1: You understand Japanese well.
2: Thanks.
    However,I don’t understand it well yet.
1: I disagree.
    You’re skilled with Japanese.
2: Thank you very much.


romaji
1: otoko; 2: onna

2: kon-nichi-wa.
    iya-na o-tenki desu ne?
1: kon-nichi-wa. hai, sou desu ne.
    tenki wa iya desu.
    o-genki desu ka?
2: hai, genki desu. doumo arigatou.
1: anata wa nihon-go ga yoku wakari-masu.
2: arigatou.
    demo mada yoku wakari-masen.
1: iie.
    anata wa nihong-go ga o-jouzu desu.
2: doumo arigatou gozaimasu.



kana
1: おとこ; 2: おんな

2: こんにちは。
    いやな おてんき ですね。
1: こんにちは。はい、そう ですね。
    てんきは いや です。
    おげんき ですか。
2: はい、げんき です。どうも ありがとう。
1: あなたは にほんごが よく わかります。
2: ありがとう。
    でも まだ よく わかりません。
1: いいえ。
    あなたは にほんごが おじょうず です。
2: どうも ありがとう ございます。


kanji (show me)
1: 男; 2: 女

2: こんにちは。
    いやなお天気ですね。
1: こんにちは。はい、そうですね。
    天気はいやです。
    おげんきですか。
2: はい、げんきです。どうもありがとう。
1: あなたは日本語がよく分かります。
2: ありがとう。
    でもまだよくわかりません。
1: いいえ。
    あなたは日本語がおじょうずです。
2: どうもありがとうございます。


Vocabulary


English
now, the current
day
good afternoon

very, quite
well, skillfully

bad, disagreeable
energetic


romaji
kon
nichi
kon-nichi-wa

doumo
yoku

iya-na
genki-na


kana
こん
にち
こんにちは

どうも
よく

いやな
げんきな


kanji


今日は

 
 

 
 


  • Words ending in -i and -na are i-adjectives and na-adjectives, respectibly.
  • Kanjis in red are correct but usually the word is written in kana.

Sample sentences

Bad weather, right?
Yes, the weather is bad.


formal
iya-na o-tenki desu ne?
sou desu ne. o-tenki wa iya desu.

いやな おてんき ですね。
そう ですね。おてんきは いや です。

いやなお天気ですね。
そうですね。お天気はいやです。

casual
iya-na tenki da na?
sou da na. tenki iya da.

いやな おてんき だな。
そう だ な。てんき いや だ。

いやなお天気だな。
そうだな。てんきいやだ。


When a ‘-na’ adjective modifies a noun, we need the ‘-na’ particle, e.g., ‘iya-na tenki’, but when it works alone we drop it, e.g., ‘iya desu’. The ‘na-‘ adjectives cannot end a sentence because they don’t work as verbs; only i-adjectives play the role of verbs. Therefore, in the example, we need to use a verb, like ‘desu’, to finish the sentence, e.g., ‘iya desu’.


Comments

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

Expressions

konnichiwa – こんにちは, 今日は

  • ‘kon’ means ‘this’, or ‘the current’. Its kanji is 今, which by itself means ‘now’ and is pronounced ‘ima’ (いま)
  • ‘nichi’ means ‘day’; it uses the same kanji as Sun, i.e., 日
  • ‘wa’ is the topic marker particle は, that we translate as a question mark ’?’

Hence, ‘kon-nichi-wa’ means ‘(how are you) this day?’, i.e., ‘hello’, or ‘good afternoon’. In spite of having a kanji, ‘kon-nichi-wa’ is usually written in hiragana, i.e., 「こんにちは」.

Adverbs

yoku – よく

nicely; properly; well; skillfully

In the recording it’s not clear when we use ‘yoku’ and when we use ‘jouzu’. After all, ‘yoku’ means ‘skillfully’ or ‘well’, while ‘jouzu’ means ‘skilled’.

‘jouzu’ is a na-adjective, so to use it alone we have to be follow it with either ‘desu/da’ or ‘[dewa/ja][ari-masen/nai]’:


English
You? You are skilled (good at it).
You? You are not skilled (good at it).


romaji
anata wa jouzu desu.
anata wa jouzu ja ari-masen.


‘yoku’ is an adverb so it modifies a verb, in this case, the verb ‘wakari-masu’ (to understand):


English
You? You understand well.
You? You don’t understand well.


romaji
anata wa yoku wakari-masu.
anata wa yoku wakari-masen.


‘yoku’ works like ‘sukoshi’, which is also an adverb:


English
You understand well.
You don’t understand well.

You understand a little.
You don’t understand a little.


romaji
yoku wakari-masu.
yoku wakari-masen.

sukoshi wakari-masu.
sukoshi wakari-masen.


doumo – どうも

It means ‘very’ or ‘quite’. ‘doumo’ emphasizes a feeling. The feeling can be

  • explicit, i.e., ‘doumo arigatou’ (very grateful), or
  • implicit, i.e., we just say ‘doumo’ (very) and the context says what it is that we are ‘doumo’ about

As usual, the longer the sentence, the more formal it is, so thanking someone using ‘doumo arigatou’ (thank you) is more formal using ‘doumo’ (thanks) by itself.

Risa Sensei from JapanesePod101.com warns that ‘doumo’ is actually not very used outside TV shows, and advises to avoid it.

mada – まだ

‘mada’ (まだ) ndicates that there has not been any change in the state of something, for either positive or negative states, i.e., if something was good, it is still good, and if something was bad, it is still bad:

positive state – still:


romaji
mada jouzu desu
mada genki desu


English
I’m still skilled
I’m still healthy


meaning
I was skilled before, and I’m skilled now
I was healthy before, and I’m healthy now


negative state – not yet:


romaji
mada jouzu ja nai
mada genki ja nai


English
I’m not skilled yet
I’m not healthy yet


meaning
I wasn’t skilled before & I’m not skilled now
I wasn’t healthy before & I’m not healthy now



‘ja nai’ is a casual version of ‘ja ari-masen’.

Conjunctions

demo – でも

‘demo’ means ‘but’, but it has to be used at the beginning of a sentence, so a better translation of ‘demo’ would be ‘Nevertheless,’ or ‘However,’. Since we often use ‘but’ to make contrasts, ‘demo’ if often accompanied of ‘wa’s instead of ‘ga’s. The translation of the ‘wa’ shows its supporting role to the contrast created by the ‘demo’:


English
English? I understand it.
However, Japanese? I don’t understand it.


romaji
ei-go wa wakari-masu.
demo,
ni-hon-go wa wakari-masen.


Although it is perfectly fine to state that we understand English with ‘ei-go ga wakari-masu’, the use of ‘ga’ just doesn’t fit a contrasting situation. Hence,


English
English! I understand it.
However, Japanese! I don’t understand it.


romaji
ei-go ga wakari-masu.
demo,
ni-hon-go ga wakari-masen.


doesn’t work well because ‘ga’ is not used for contrasting.