Pimsleur Japanese I: 1-8, summary

# pronouns nouns adverbs verbs adject. particles pre/suffix. conjun.
1 watashi ei sukoshi desu ka (?)
anata nihon wakaru wa
amerika sumu ga
jin
go
2 tenki yoku i(i) ne/na o jaa
mata jouzu(na)
sou
3 doumo iya(na) demo
mada genki(na)
4 doko eki hanasu ni ko
koko kouen a
asoko do
5 nani taberu kekkou(na)
nomu
6 itsu ima no
ato mo
tokoro de (at)
koura
7 sake hoshi(i) wo
biiru
resutoran
8 dare hirugohan suru to (with) san
negai kau ka (or) hon
hoteru

Pronouns

watashiわたし, 私
I, me (formal)

anataあなた, 貴方 (honorific + lady/gentleman)
you (formal); it is also a way to address someone dear in private, e.g., ‘dear’, ‘darling’

dokoどこ,何処 (what + place)
where?
doko-de means ‘where at?’

kokoここ,此処 (this + place)
here
a place near the speaker, or where the speaker is pointing to on a map.

asokoあそこ,彼処 (that + place)
over there
somewhere far from both speaker and listener but that it can be pointed to

naniなに, 何

nani and nan are the two basic forms of ‘what’; they have the same kanji, 何, which appears as part of many question words:


English
what?
where? (what place)
when?
what hour?


romaji
nani
doko
itsu
nanji


kana
なに
どこ
いつ
なんじ


kanji

何処
何時
何時


dareだれ, 誰
who?
dare-to (だれと, 誰と) means ‘who with?’, i.e., ‘with whom?’

Nouns

eiえい, 英
British, Britain

nihonにほん, 日本 (sun + origin)
Japan

amerikaアメリカ, 亜米利加
United States

jinじん, 人
person
nihon-jin (にほんじん, 日本人) means ‘Japan person’, i.e., Japanese

goご, 語
language
eigo (えいご, 英語) means ‘British language’, i.e., English

tenkiてんき, 天気 (heaven + atmosphere)
weather
o-tenki (おてんき, お天気) means ‘respectable weather’

ekiえき, 駅
station

kouenこうえん, 公園 (public + garden)
public park

imaいま, 今
now

atoあと, 後
later
ato-de (あとで, 後で) means ‘afterwards’

tokoroところ, 所
place

kouraコーラ
cola, soda

sakeさけ, 酒
rice wine
o-sake (おさけ, お避け) means ‘respectable rice wine’

biiruビール
beer

resutoranレストラン
restaurant

hirugohanひるごはん, 昼ご飯 (noon + rice)
lunch

negaiねがい, 願い
desire, request, wish
o-negai (おねがい, お願い) means ‘favor’
o-negai shimasu (おねがいします, お願いします) means ‘do me the favor’


Adverbs

sukoshiすこし, 少し
a little

yokuよく, 良く
nicely; properly; well; skillfully

mataまた
again; and; also; still (doing something)​

souそう
so; having the appearance of

doumoどうも
Its a placeholder word that adapts to any situation respectfully:

  • hello – in person and on the phone
  • goodbye
  • please
  • thank you
  • You’re welcome
  • sorry
  • quite
  • really

madaまだ

Indicates that there has not been any change in the state, for either positive or negative states:

  • positive state – still:
    mada jouzu desu – I’m still skilled (I was skilled before, and I’m skilled now)
    mada genki desu – I’m still healthy (I was healthy before, and I’m healthy now)
  • negative state – not yet:
    mada jouzu ja arimasen – I’m not skilled yet (I wasn’t skilled before, and I’m not skilled now)
    mada genki ja arimasen – I’m not healthy yet (I wasn’t healthy before, and I’m not healthy now)

Verbs

to be – desu


 
present / future


positive
[desu/da]


negative
[dewa/ja] [arimasen/nai]


All combinations of [dewa/ja][arimasen/nai] are valid, but the longer the combination, the more formal the form. Hence, we would say the formal ‘dewa arimasen’ to our boss, and the causual ‘ja nai’ to a sibling. For example,


You are Japanese. (formal)
You are Japanese. (casual)
You aren’t Japanese. (most formal)
You aren’t Japanese. (formal)
You aren’t Japanese. (casual)
You aren’t Japanese. (most casual)


anata wa nihon-jin desu
anata wa nihon-jin da
anata wa nihon-jin dewa arimasen
anata wa nihon-jin ja arimasen
anata wa nihon-jin dewa nai
anata wa nihon-jin ja nai


the masu form


 
present / future


positive
-masu (-ます)


negative
-masen (-ません)


The masu form is always formal, e.g.,


I [do/will] understand
I [don’t/won’t] understand
I [do/will] feel at ease
I [don’t/won’t] feel at ease


wakarimasu
wakarimasen
sumimasu
sumimasen


わかります
わかりません
しむます
すみません



# verb masu kanji
1 to understand wakarimasu 分かります
to feel at ease sumimasu 済みます
4 to talk hanashimasu 話なします
5 to eat tabemasu 食べます
to drink nomimasu 飲みます
8 to do shimasu します
to buy kaimasu 買います

Adjectives

There are two types of adjectives in Japanese: i-adjectives and na-adjectives.

i-adjectives

i-adjectives do not change when used as nouns or when applied to nouns:


the weather is good, right?
it’s good weather, right?


otenki wa ii desu ne?
ii otenki desu ne?


おてんきは いいです。
いいおてんき ですね。


The stem of an i-adjective is the adjective without the final i, e.g., the stem of hoshii is hoshi


i-adjectives
present / future


positive
-i


negative
-ku [arimasen/nai]


For example:


I [do/will] want
I [do/will] not want (formal)
I [do/will] not want (casual)


hoshii desu.
hoshiku arimasen.
hoshiku nai.



An exception to the conjugation of i-adjectives is ii (good). This stem of this i-adjective for the present positive is i-, but for other tenses is yo-.


It [is/will] be good
It [isn’t/won’t] be good (formal)
It [isn’t/won’t] be good (casual)


ii desu.
yoku arimasen.
yoku nai.


iiよい, 良い
good; excellent; fine; nice; pleasant; agreeable

hoshiiほしい, 欲しい
wanted; wished for; in need of; desired

na-adjectives

na-adjectives don’t change when used as nouns, but we have to add the suffix ‘na’ when we apply them to nouns:


the weather is bad, right?
it’s bad weather, right?


otenki wa iya desu ne?
iya na otenki desu ne?


おてんきは いやですね。
いやなおてんき ですね。


Conjugate the na-adjectives as follows:


na-adjectives
present / future


positive
[desu/da]


negative
[dewa/ja] [arimasen/nai]


All combinations of [dewa/ja][arimasen/nai] are valid, but the longer the combination, the more formal the form. Hence, we would say the formal ‘dewa arimasen’ to our boss, and the causual ‘ja nai’ to a sibling. For example:


I [am/will be] skilled (formal)
I [am/will be] skilled (casual)
I [am not/will not be] skilled (most formal)
I [am not/will not be] skilled (formal)
I [am not/will not be] skilled (casual)
I [am not/will not be] skilled (most casual)


jouzu desu.
jouzu da.
jouzu dewa arimasen.
jouzu ja arimasen.
jouzu dewa nai.
jouzu ja nai.


jouzuじょうず, 上手
skillful; skilled; proficient; good (at); adept; clever

iyaいや, 嫌
disagreeable; detestable; unpleasant; reluctant

genkiげんき, 元気
energetic, healthy

kekkouけっこう, 結構
sufficient; fine (in the sense of “I’m fine”); (by implication) no thank you​

Particles

ka – か

  • written question mark

    here ?


    koko ka


    ここ


  • or

    I’ll drink beer or sake


    biiru ka osake wo nomimasu


    ビール おさけを のみます


wa – は

The particle は used to be pronounced ‘ha’; later the pronunciation changed to ‘wa’, but the writing of the particle remained ‘ha’. は is the ‘topic marker’; although it emphasizes the topic of the conversation, the focus of the sentence is what comes after は, e.g.,

watashi wa nihon-jin desu

Here ‘wa’ indicates that the topic of the sentence is ‘watashi’, i.e., is ourselves, but what is important is that “watashi” happens to be Japanese.

‘wa’ is often translated as ‘Speaking of..’, but a better translation is just a question mark [Rubin], e.g.,


watashi wa nihon-jin desu.


Me? I’m Japanese. (instead of “Speaking of me, I’m Japanese.”)


Either way, the part that precedes は is secondary to the point that we can remove it if we can determine it from the context:

watashi wa nihon-jin desu.

The translation using the ? is natural and fits well with other uses of は:


nihon-jin desu. anata wa?


I’m Japanese. You?


ga – が

In the same way that wa (は) can be translated as ?, in many cases ga (が) can be translated as ! [Rubin]. が is used in different ways.

  • It is the ‘topic’ marker, i.e., it introduces something to talk about; in this case, the focus of the sentence is what comes before が, e g.,

    eigo ga wakarimasu


    English! That I understand. (I understand English)



    The subject that が introduces cannot be determined by context, so it cannot be removed.
  • In the same way that を marks the direct object of a verb, が marks the direct object of an adjective. In this example, sake is the direct object of the verb ‘to drink’, so it is marked with を, and of the adjective ‘to be desirable’, so it is marked with が:

    osake wo nomimasu
    osake ga hoshii desu


    I drink sake
    beer! That I want. (I want beer)


The following example shows the difference between ha and ga when they play the roles of subject and topic markers, respectively (from [Rubin]). When using は, the important thing is the part that follows the marker, e.g, what ‘watashi’ did was to go. When using が, the important thing is the part that precedes the marker, e.g., the person that went was ‘watashi’.


watashi wa ikimashita
watashi ga ikimashita


Me ? I went. (no big deal.. yes, I went)
Me ! That is who went. (It was me! I was the one that went!)


ne/na – ね/な

The formal version is ‘ne’ (ね), and the casual version is ‘na’ (な). This particle seeks agreement or confirmation.

  • seeking agreement
    In this case, the sentence is a question, and ‘ne’ means ‘right?’, or ‘don’t you agree?’

    Nice day, wouldn’t you agree?


    ii otenki desu ne


  • providing confirmation
    In this case the sentence is a statement, and ‘ne’ means ‘you are correct’, or ‘I agree’.

    That is so, I agree.


    sou desu ne


ni – に

ni (に) has many different uses: if you do not know what particle to use, chances are it is に.

In the following example, yoku and sukoshi are adverbs, while genki and jouzu are na-adjectives. In this case, ni works a little bit like ‘with’:


I understand well
I speak a little
Become with health (“get better”)
Speak with skill (“speak well”)


yoku wakarimasu
sukoshi hanashimasu
genki ni narimasu
jouzu ni hanashimasu


no – の

  • possessive

    My sake.
    Ms. Tanaka’s place.


    watashi no osake
    Tanaka san no tokoro


  • place of origin/manufacturing

    American beer (America’s beer)
    Japanese car (Japan’s car)


    america no biiru
    nihon no kuruma


  • location

    inside the car (car’s middle)
    in front of my eyes (eye’s front)


    kuruma no naka
    me no mae


mo – も

Indicates ‘as well’ in both positive and negative contexts, i.e., it means ‘too’ in a positive context, and ‘neither’ in a negative one.


I want a beer. Me too.
I don’t want a beer. Me neither.


biiru ga hoshii desu. Watashi mo.
biiru ga hoshiku arimasen. Watashi mo.


de – で

Means ‘at’ a given location.


at my place
at Ueno park
I’m eating at the hotel
at a later moment


watashi no tokoro de
Ueno kouen de
hoteru de tabemasu
ato de


wo – を

を marks the direct object of a verb. In spite that it is written as ‘wo’, it is pronounced ‘o’ when it is used as a particle, which is almost always.


I drink sake
I eat sushi


osake wo nomimasu
sushi wo tabemasu


おさけ のみます
すし たべます


to – と

と means ‘with’, or ‘in the company of’:


Won’t you eat with me?
I am drinking with you.


watashi to tabemasenka
anata to nomimasu



Prefixes and suffixes

o – お

お is a honorific; it’s added to a word to show respect.


weather
sake
request


tenki
sake
negai


respected weather
respected sake
favor


otenki
osake
onegai


ko-so-a-do

These prefixes appear in many words indicating distances from the speaker and the listener.


meaning
here, near the speaker
there, near the listener
over there, away from both
where?


prefix
ko
so
a
do


romaji
koko
soko
asoko
doko


san – さん

さん is a honorific for a person, that often can be translated as Mr., Mrs., or Ms.


Mr./Mrs. Tanaka


Tanaka san


たなかさん


田中さん


hon – ほん, 本

Hon is a counter for things that are thin and long, like bottles, pencils, or cigarettes.


ni hon


two long thin things


two bottles


The counter is pronounced ‘bon’ or ‘ppon’ for some quantities, but the kanji remains 本:

romaji kana kanji
ippon いっぽん 一本
nihon にほん 日本
sanbon さんぼん 三本
yonhon よんぼん 四本
gohon ごほん 五本
roppon ろっぽん 六本
nanahon ななほん 七本
happon はっぽん 八本
kyuhon きゅうほん 九本
jyuppon じゅっぽん 十本

Conjunctions

dewa/ja – では/じゃ

じゃ/じゃあ is the combination of the particles de (て) and wa (は); that is why we can replace ‘dewa arimasen’ with ‘ja arimasen’.
They mean “Well then..”.


dewa mata (formal)
Ja mata (casual)


well then.. (see you) again
well then.. (see you) again


demo – でも

It’s one of the many ways of saying ‘but’. It has to be used at the beginning of a sentence.


demo mada jouzu ja arimasen
tabemasen. demo osake wo nomimasu.


But I am not skilled yet.
I am not eating, but I am drinking sake.