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Post Reply Particles Part 1: beginner-intermediate level (response to koutasan)
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Posted 3/9/08 , edited 3/9/08
I just read koutasan's "questions" post and thought of posting a topic solely on particles. I used Hiragana/Katakana along with Romaji to help the others practice their Kana reading.

Hope this helps. Enjoy!

Note: This lesson follows the formal/proper Japanese language. Some of the verb forms or sentence structures may/may not necessarily follow or explain that of the animé and J-drama lingo.

Source: Minna no Nihongo translation book


PARTICLES
There are many particles used in the Japanese language. While a few have one specific use or purpose, most are used for different sentences. Some particles even have the same usage and meaning!

These are the commonly used particles (basic and not-so basic) used in typical Japanese conversations.

- wa (pronounced wæ as in hat)
This particle has no meaning. It is used solely on connecting.
ex. わたし レイチ です.
Watashi wa Reiche desu.
---> I am Reiche.
Note: は(wa) connects わたし(watashi) and レイチ(Reiche). です(desu) in this sentence is actually the linking verb. It means is/are, and, in this case, am.

- to (pronounced to as in born)
This particle has two meanings.
a)It might mean "and" when used to connect two objects. It is used to enumerate items.
sentence structure: N1 と N2 に/が/で/へ V
ex. わたし は イタリア りようり にほんりようり が すき です.
Watashi wa Itaria riyouri to Nihon riyouri ga suki desu.
---> I like Italian cooking and Japanese cooking.

b) However, it might also mean "or" when the sentence asks the listener to choose between two items.
sentence structure: N1 と N2 と どちら が V
ex. コーヒー おちゃ どちら が いい です か.
Kohi to ocha to dochira ga ii desu ka?
---> What do you prefer, coffee or green tea?
Note: "Dochira" is the interrogative used if two items/objects are being compared.

- (pronunciation same with "to" particle)
Same with the particle と (to), の (no) is used for two things:
a) as a possessive marker.
sentence structure: N1(person) の N2(object)
ex. これ は わたし かばんです.
Kore wa watashi no kaban desu.
---> This is my bag.

b) as place/position marker
sentence structure: N1(thing/person/place) の N2(position)
ex. つくえ うえ に えんぴつ が あります.
Tsukue no ue ni empitsu ga arimasu.
---> There is a pencil on the desk.

- de (pronounced de as in pet)
This particle usually indicates a method or a mean used for an action.
sentence structure: N(tool/means) で V
ex. パソコン ものがたり を かきます.
Pasocon de monogatari o kakimasu.
---> I write stories with a personal computer.

However, it may also be used to ask how to say a word or a sentence in other
languages.
sentence structure: "word/sentence" は ~ご で なんです か.
ex. "Excuse me" は 日本語 なんです か.
"Excuse me" wa Nihongo de nan desu ka?
---> What is "excuse me" in Japanese?

- o (pronounced as o as in corn)
This particle is used as markers for objects of most transitive verbs, except すき (suki), きらい (kirai), じょうず (jyouzu) and へた (heta).
sentence structure: N (object) を V
dictionary:
すき/suki - like
きらい/kirai - dislike
じょうず/jyouzu - good at
へた/heta - poor at

ex. しんぶん よみません.
Shinbun o yomimasen.
---> I don't read the newspaper.

- ga (pronounced as gæ as in gap)
The particle が (ga) has different usages.
a) S1 が S2
が in this case, is used as a conjunctive particle "but" to link two sentences together.
ex. にほん の たべもの は おいしい です , たかい です.
Nihon no tabemono wa oishii desu ga, takai desu.
---> Japanese food is good, but expensive.

b) N が あります/わかります
N が すき です/きらい です/じょうず です/へた です
The particle が is used as an object marker for ONLY あります (arimasu) and わかります (wakarimasu). This particle also acts as a marker for ONLY the following adjectives: すき です (suki desu), きらい です (kirai desu), じょうず です (jyouzu desu) and へた です (heta desu).
dictionary:
あります/arimasu - have
わかります/wakarimasu - understand

ex. わたし は にほんご わかります.
Watashi wa Nihongo ga wakarimasu.
---> I understand Japanese.
かわむらさん は おべんと すき です.
Kawamura-san wa obento ga suki desu.
--->Mr. Kawamura likes obento.

c) N が あります/います
This sentence pattern is used to indicate the existence or presence of a thing(s) or person(s).
Note 1: あります(arimasu) this time is used with inanimate things (objects, plants, place).
ex. さくら あります.
Sakura ga arimasu.
---> There are cherry trees.

Note 2: います (imasu) is used with things that move by itself (people, animals)
ex. ねこ います.
Neko ga imasu.
--->There is a cat.

つづく

PREVIEW OF NEXT LESSON: particles へ(e) and に(ni)
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Posted 3/9/08
STICKYZORZ TO THE MAX, I've been too busy lately to start anything new, this helps a lot
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Posted 3/10/08
I've been looking for some particles for a while now

Doumo arigato gozaimasu
Posted 3/10/08
Aahh thnx soo much! ^_^
I understand it now =]
Still one question though...
Kohi to ocha to dochira ga ii desu ka?

the first "to" is "and" and the second "to" is "or" right or is is just the other way around ?
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Posted 3/11/08
I'm not really sure koutasan (it's not written in my material)...that's just the sentence structure. Sometimes you just need to memorize the sentence structure and not pay too much attention on the literal meaning of each particle.

But, if this explanation helps, the 1st "to" might mean "and" while the 2nd "to" acts as a connector to the question.
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Posted 5/13/08
Koutasan,
I think the first "to" means "and".

The second "to" does serve as a connector just as ehcie-utada said.

Example:
BASU to densha to docchi no houga yasui desu ka?
Which is cheaper, bus or train?
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Posted 7/3/08

ehcie-utada wrote:

- wa (pronounced wæ as in hat)

- to (pronounced to as in born)

- (pronunciation same with "to" particle)

- de (pronounced de as in pet)

- o (pronounced as o as in corn)

- ga (pronounced as gæ as in gap)


I'm not sure about your nationality, or the way your country pronounces the words, but for me the examples don't really sound like the japanese characters.

例えば:
「は」の発音 = ha / wa (as in ha-rness, when the word begins with this character, and when read as a lone hiragana. but as a particle: 'wa' as in 'wa-nt')
「と」=to (as in a short 'toe' or 'total'))
「の」=no (just your regular 'no')
「で」=de (pet is ok, but to utilise the 'de' in action: 'desk')
「を」=wo (as far as I know, this is almost always a particle. Pronounced as 'o'. 'Corn' is close, as is 'O-pen')
「が」=ga (short 'ga-rdener'. some japanese pronounce it with a more nasal sound 'nga')

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Posted 7/3/08
And the question about 'to', in that sentence structure, well, it's kind of impossible to put it in the english language context. Sometimes there's no direct translation of a particle that is fixed for all cases. In that 'Ko-hi to ocha to, docchi ga suki?'

It simply means: 'Coffee (and) tea (and)... which do you like?'
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Posted 7/4/08 , edited 7/4/08

Faeleia wrote:

I'm not sure about your nationality, or the way your country pronounces the words, but for me the examples don't really sound like the japanese characters.

例えば:
「は」の発音 = ha / wa (as in ha-rness, when the word begins with this character, and when read as a lone hiragana. but as a particle: 'wa' as in 'wa-nt')
「と」=to (as in a short 'toe' or 'total'))
「の」=no (just your regular 'no')
「で」=de (pet is ok, but to utilise the 'de' in action: 'desk')
「を」=wo (as far as I know, this is almost always a particle. Pronounced as 'o'. 'Corn' is close, as is 'O-pen')
「が」=ga (short 'ga-rdener'. some japanese pronounce it with a more nasal sound 'nga')



I just based the sounds on how my Japanese teachers said and explained those particles (both of them are pureblood Japanese and grew up in Japan).

Anyway, thanks for the comment! It will be helpful for those who would view this post.
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Posted 7/11/08
thank you so much!!!!
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Posted 8/15/08
now i noe more bout japanese. Arigato!!! XD
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Posted 8/24/08
ahhh!!!
me using the Minna no nihongo book to learn japanese....
tashikotonai kedo
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Posted 10/15/08

Arigato!!! XD

アリガトと!!! XD

now i now more about japanese!

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Posted 11/3/08
arigato gozaimasu ^_^ this helped me a lot
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