Post Reply Particles in Japanese Speech + Verb forms
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Posted 2/3/08 , edited 3/11/08
Useful Vocab
Days of the week: (these didn't make it into lesson 3)
nichiyoubi = "Sunday" (the day of the Sun)
getsuyoubi = "Monday" (the day of the Moon)
kayoubi = "Tuesday" (the day of Mars, "Kasei", planet of the fire)
suiyoubi = "Wednesday" (the day of Mercury, "Suisei", planet of the water)
mokuyoubi = "Thursday" (the day of Jupiter, "Mokusei", planet of the tree)
kinyoubi = "Friday" (the day of Venus, "Kinsei", planet of the metal)
doyoubi = "Saturday" (the day of Saturn, "Dosei", planet of the soil)

terebi = "Television"
bideo = "video" can also mean "VCR"
eiga = "film/movie"
ongaku = "music"
zasshi = "magazine"
teppu = "[audio] tape"

tabemono = "food(s)"
niku = meat
hanbaagaa = "hamburger"

nomimono = "drink(s)"
osake = "alcoholic beverage"
koucha = "black/European tea"
ocha = "green tea"
ko-hi- = "coffee"
bi-ru = "beer"

ie = "house/home" (a bit more ambiguous)
uchi = "[my] house/home"
kissaten = "cafe"
ginkou = "bank"
toshokan = "library"

iku = "to go"
kaeru = "to go back/return"
kiku = "to listen"
nomu = "to drink"
hanasu = "to speak/talk"
yomu = "to read"
wakaru = "to understand"

okiru = "to get up"
taberu = "to eat"
neru = "to sleep"
miru = "to see/watch"

ii = "good"
warui = "bad"
hayai = "early"

mainichi = "everyday"
maishuu" = "every week"
maiban = "every night"

There are two major sets of verbs, plus two kinds of irregular verbs. (A note: the present forms can also be used for [not too distant] future tense)

First, there are Ru-verbs. You will notice that the dictionary forms, or the unconjugated forms (the format shown in the vocab list) all end in "iru" or "eru." As a rule of thumb, this is quick way of identifying ru-verbs. As such, "wakaru" is not a ru-verb because it ends in "-aru." Others, like "kaeru" you will just have to memorize.

Conjugating ru-verbs is actually quite simple. You simply drop the "-ru" ending. Then you add the suffixes shown in the example:

dictionary: taberu
present affirmative: tabemasu (add "-masu")
present negative: tabemasen (add "-masen")
past affirmative: tabemashita (add "-mashita")
past negative: tabemasen deshita (add "-masen deshita")

U-verbs are a bit more complicated. Basically, an u-verb is everything else besides a ru-verb or irregular verb. You must change the "_u" segment and change it to its "_i" form. then you add on the same suffixes as above. See the example below:

dictionary: iku
present affirmative: ikimasu ("ku" changes to "ki"
present negative: ikimasen
past affirmative: ikimashita
past negative: ikimasen deshita

As such:
"u" -> "i"
"su" -> "shi"
"tsu" -> "chi"

Making Sentences:


"De" is an indication of where something takes place. It basically means "at."
EX: toshokan _de_ hon o mimasu. = "I [will] read books _at_ the library."

The verb in the example talks about what is to be done at the place. The sentence itself does not involve moving towards the place.

Ni (part 1)
"Ni" has multiple meanings.

1 The first is regarding a destination. Iku and kaeru use this definition. It more or less means "to."
The format typically goes as follows:
"[X wa] Y _ni_ iku." or "[X wa] Y ni kaeru" (where iku and kaeru conjugate as necessary)
"Y" must be a place where you will be going.
EX: "[watashi wa] kissaten _ni_ ikimasu. = " [will] go _to_ a/the cafe"

In this case, the verb involves moving towards the place.

2 "Ni" is also used for rather explicit times. Thus, any exact time of day has "ni" after it (while "gorai," does not). The system is a bit relative, "tomorrow (ashita)," "today (kyou)," "yesterday (kinou)," and "every-(mai-)," do not require "ni. Things like "morning (asa)" sometimes vary and is a stylistic choice. However, a specific day of the week (or month) must have "ni" after it.
EX: [watshi wa] gozen hachiji _ni_ okimasu = "I wake up at 8:00 AM."
[watshi wa] getsuyoubi _ni_ kyouto ikimasu = " [will] go to Kyoto on Monday."

"E" (which is the hiragana character "he") serves as a substitute for the first definition of "ni" It can _NOT_ be used for a replacement of the second meaning. Just be aware of it when it appears in senences.
EX: [watshi wa] ginkou e ikimashita. = " went to the bank."

"O," for the most part links a noun to an associative verb
For the most part, the sentence structure is:
"[X wa] Y _o_ [verb]."

Taberu, nomu, miru, kiku, and yomu follow the format relating to their respective verbs:

nomu: Misato-san wa bi-ru _o_ nomimasu = "Misato drinks beer."
kiku: Shinji-san wa teepu _o_ kikimasu ne. "Shinji listens to tapes, right?"

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