"I live in Kyoto."
This sentence can be written that way too, but the は is not necessary. It can be added to adjust the emphasis in the sentence. For example, you can roughly think of it like:
にはすんでいます = I live in Kyoto.
にすんでいます = I live in Kyoto (because the topic isn't specified, you assume it's the speaker).
(Note: this emphasis is mostly to do with topical emphasis, or the importance of things in a conversation; your pacing and tone of voice can do a lot more to convey emotional emphasis.)
Mostly correct. Specifically, で is used as a marker for where an action happens. If you are indicating where someone is running, or reading, or working, you use で. に is used to indicate a direction, even if your action does not immediately takr place there. (Such as showing someone where a thing is). Interestingly then. Using いきます, we mark our destination with に, since that's where we're going, but clearly, our action is not taking place there (or we'd have no place to go!) Hope this makes sense.
It's strange, when I looked Tokyo up, before I got to this lessons, I thought of Kyoto would use the same kanji just with switched positions (東京 as Tokyo and 京東 as Kyoto, not like in 京都 the real writing for Kyoto), but I guess Japanese doesn't work like that. Maybe some one can explain why it is like that and not like my first thought?
Well, even though they are written as "Kyoto" and "Tokyo" in English, they are pronounced きょう
とうきょう, so just switching the sounds wouldn't make sense.
They are related though, and if you look at the meanings behind the individual kanji, you can see a bit of Japanese history.
- 京都: the former capital of Japan, and old traditional seat of the emperor; 京【きょう】= "imperial capital", 都【と】= "city, metropolis"
- 東京: the old seat of the shogunate (then called Edo), which was renamed "Tokyo" and became the new capital once the shogunate was overthrown; 東【とう】= "east", 京【きょう】"imperial capital"
Yeah, nice connection! Those two Chinese cities are another great example of the influence of history on the Japanese language.
Japanese borrowed kanji from the Chinese, and were also influenced by their pronunciation at the time. Throughout China's ancient history, there were several dynasties, each of which came from different regions and had their own dialects. As each one came into power, the dialect they brought with them became the new official "Chinese" language.
When Japan first found out about the north and south capitals of China, they were called "Peking" and "Nanking", respectively, and those pronunciations have been preserved in Japanese, even though modern Chinese pronounces them as "Beijing" and "Nanjing", respectively.
No, 生ます isn't a word in Japanese. I think you might have meant 生きる (ikiru), meaning "to live" as in "to exist/be alive". When you conjugate to ます form, it becomes 生きます.
This wouldn't work either though, because the "live" in "I live in Kyoto" means something more than simply being alive. It means "to reside", which is what 住む (sumu - the root form of 住んでいます) means.
This verb conjugation, て-form + います, indicates that the verb action is currently occurring or verb state is currently ongoing, so it is typically associated with "present continuous tense" and "present perfect tense". You could use 住んでいます in the following sentences: "I'm living in Kyoto now" and "I've lived in Kyoto my whole life".
On the other hand, 住みます is in the ます form, or verb root + ます, and typically indicates general actions/states, habitual actions or future actions. It's more commonly associated with "simple present tense", but as you can see here, it's not always the case. You could use 住みます in the following sentences: "I will live in Kyoto after I graduate" and "Most geisha live in Kyoto".
In this case, despite using simple present tense, the most common interpretation of the sentence is that you are currently residing in Kyoto. So, this conjugation is necessary to convey the correct meaning.
In fact, 住んでいます and 住みます are exactly the same level of formality.