This page is merely a collection of knowledge snippets I’ve gathered as I’ve learned more about the Japanese language.
hiragana = cursive, native
katakana = print, foreign
kanji = chinese
Clause format: Subject – object – verb/copula/predicate
Think of particles like mathematical operators.
|ぎ gi||ぐ gu||げ ge||ご go|
|ざ za||じ ji/zhi||ず zu||ぜ ze||ぞ zo|
|だ da||(ぢ ji/dzhi)||(づzu/dzu)||で de||ど do|
|ば ba||び bi||ぶ bu||べ be||ぼ bo|
|ぱ pa||ぴ pi||ぷ pu||ぺ pe||ぽ po|
bow and arrow
Hiragana Character Pedagogy
This is my own invention — a way to classify hiragana character shapes by similarity. I imagine that learning each set might help a new hiragana writer recall the correct shapes more easily. This assumption is totally unproven as of yet.
- の no -> め me -> ぬ nu -> あ a -> お o
- い i -> け ke -> せ se
- と to -> さ sa -> き ki -> を wo
- つ tsu -> う u -> ら ra -> ち chi
- て te -> そ so
- し shi -> も mo -> む mu -> す su
- よ yo -> は ha -> な na -> ま ma -> ほ ho
- や ya -> わ wa -> ね ne -> れ re -> ん n -> え e
- こ ko -> に ni -> た ta
- ろ ro -> る ru
This is taken from WIkipedia.
bakari/bakkari/bakka/bakashi: just/only/full of
(n) Tōkyō wa hito bakari da.
Tokyo is just full of people.
(v-ta) Tabeta bakari da.
I just ate.
(v-te) Kare wa tabete bakari iru.
He’s always eating.
bakari ka: not only – may be accompanied by さえ sae (“but also”)
(n) Sofu bakari ka, sōsofu sae ikite iru.
Not only is my grandfather living, but so is my great-grandfather.
dake: only; a limit. Noun.
(n) rōmaji dake no jisho
a romaji-only dictionary
(v-v) Netai dake nereba ii.
You can sleep as much as you want [to sleep].
da no: and, things like. Often negative. Used less often than to ka.
(n,a,v) Nattō da no, shīfūdo da no, wasabi da no—nihonshoku ga nigate da.
Natto, seafood, wasabi—Japanese food isn’t my thing.
de: can be used as “at” or “by means of”. When serving as the continuative TE form of a subordinate clause, de substitutes for da/desu, carries the meaning “is, and so…”, and takes on the tense of the final verb of the sentence. Originally an alteration of ni te, later treated as a conjugation of the copula da.
(n-instrument) Jitensha de ikimashō.
Let’s go by bicycle.
(n-location) Koko de yasumitai.
I want to rest here.
(n-language) Nihongo de tegami o kaita.
I wrote the letter in Japanese.
(TE form of copula: “is, and so…”) kimi ga suki de yokatta
You are loved (and so) I am glad. / I am glad that I love you.
de mo: “even; or; but, however; also in”
(n,prt:even) Uchū kara de mo Banri-no-Chōjō ga mieru.
Even from space you can see the Great Wall of China.
(n:or something) Ocha de mo, ikaga?
Would you like tea or something?
(n:also in) Nihon de mo eigo o benkyō suru
In Japan also, we study English.
(start:but, however, even so) De mo, watashi wa sō omowanai
But I don’t think so.
dokoro ka: anything but, far from
(n) Kare wa keisatsukan dokoro ka, hanzaisha da.
He’s anything but a policeman; he’s a criminal.
e: “to, in”; direction. written with へ rather than え, reflecting old kana usage.
(n-direction) Nihon e yōkoso!
Welcome to Japan!
Stuff I learned from Langfocus
- Japanese moras have either a high or low pitch
- High pitch represents the accent of a word
- Pitch can indicate a difference in meaning
- Word order is SOV.
- だ (da) = casual form, only appears after nouns
- です (desu) = polite form, may also be used following adjectives
- Topic vs subject marker:
- Subject is the same simple concept as in English — a specific part of a sentence.
- Topic, however, is a higher-level concept as it pertains to what the sentence is truly about. The topic of a sentence may be different from the subject.
- Topic marker は (wa) is used with something that is already part of the conversation but needs to become the topic for this sentence. “Speaking of _topic_, __sentence about it__.”
- Subject marker が (ga) is used for something new being introduced to the conversation. I can also be used to emphasize or focus on a noun. You could call it a focus marker.
- However, it can also be used to mark objects of certain stative verbs.
- When the subject and topic are the same, は (wa) is used.
- から (kara) = from
- に (ni) = to
- の (no) = of, or ‘s (possessive)
- た (ta) = basic past tense suffix
- たい (tai) = want to suffix
- たくない (takunai) = don’t want to suffix. ku = connecting form, nai = negative
- たくなかった (takunakatta) = didn’t want to suffix. nakatta = past tense form of nai