Chapter One: Explanation

Explanation image

  • こんにちは konnichi wa – (Good afternoon) Here we have our first greeting. It is used from the afternoon until evening. It really means ‘this day’ but is used idiomatically as a greeting. As mentioned before, the wa is a hiragana ha but is pronounced as wa when used as a particle (see below for more on wa)
  • です desu – (copula, to be) When you want to say, "A = (or relates to) B" desu is used. For example, I am Clay. watashi wa kurei desu. That is a TV. kore wa terebi desu. More on this later!
  • ka – In most cases simply putting a ka at the end of a regular sentence turns it into a question. Consider this example: anata wa nihonjin desu. (You are Japanese.) – add kaanata wa nihonjin desu ka? (Are you Japanese?) Presto! Instant questions! MORE ON THIS…
  • ええと・・・ eeto – (let me see…, hmmm) eeto is used quite frequently by Japanese speakers. It is uttered to buy time while thinking of just what to say. Just like "uhmmm" it can be extend eeeeto
  • wa – Particles in Japanese are placed after the word it modifies. This one makes the word it modifies the ‘over all topic.’ I know this sounds confusing at first and it is still confusing at second too. But don’t despair there is more to confuse you later… This is pronounced as wa even though it uses the hiragana ha
  • WORDS– These are Japanese quotation marks (" ") used to mark what is said. During the Edo Period Japanese had no punctuation. 「」,,,,, were not used
  • あなたは? anata wa – Literally this means, "You" and sets "you" as the main topic [see above] Often in Japanese things are left out when the listener can understand what is meant. What the Obaasan means here is, "And you, what is your name?" But simply saying , "you?" is sufficient and more natural.
  • さん san – As mentioned before this is not used when refering to oneself. Other titles for people include kun (usually with boys) chan (usually with girls) sama (usually with customers and kings)

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