English speakers wanting to learn Japanese: EN for JPN course Basics 1 review
My series of reviews are discontinued in favor of Demon-Kiyomi's skill reviews Here :)
English Vocabulary, Grammar, and Notes
(Use Google Translate to copy and paste the kanji in order to view pronunciation represented by roman (English) characters.) Eventually, I will put together a pronunciation guide and link it here. Until then, use tutorials on YouTube.)
Basic Japanese sentence structure:
The Topic will be followed by the particle は. See comments below and this discussion for が vs は?.
No Time references yet.
No Place references yet.
The Object will be followed by the particle を.
The Verb ends the sentence.
MAN: おとこ・男・Otoko、おとこのひと・男の人・Otoko no hito、だんせい・男性・Dansei、だんし・男子・Danshi (young man).
WOMAN: じょし・女子・Joshi、 じょせい・女性・Josei、おんなのひと・女の人・Onna no hito、 おんな・女・Onna
BOY: おとこのこ・男の子・Otoko no ko、しょうねん・少年・Shounen (boy between 7 and 18)
GIRL: おんなのこ・女の子・Onna no ko、しょうじょ・少女・Shoujo (girl between 7 and 18)
AM/IS/ARE: the particle は・Ha (pronounced "wa")
EAT/EATS：たべる・食べる・Taberu (Dictionary form)、たべます・食べます・Tabemasu (Affirmative: Indicative formal/Long form/Masu form).
DRINK/DRINKS： のむ・飲む・Nomu (Dictionary form)、のみます・飲みます・Nomimasu (Affirmative: Indicative formal/Long form/Masu form).
A/AN/ONE: General (ひとつ・一つ・Hitotsu), Person (ひとり・一人・Hitori), Apple (いっこ・一個・Ikko）Book (いっさつ・一冊・Issatsu) These counters are followed by the particle の・No which is followed by the object being counted.
THE その・Sono In Japanese, その + noun = that noun. It can also be used for the article "the".
AND: Between Nouns use と (For a complete list)、Between examples of nouns (objects/people) use や (as opposed to a complete list)、Between Verbs use て・Te OR で・De for a complete list of activities. (See Te-Form/Gerund to determine whether or not the verb will be followed by て・Te OR で・De)、Between examples of activities (as opposed to a complete list) use たり・Tari (Verb) たりする・TariSuru.
NOT GOOD: This involves conjugating an adjective. For now, I'll just tell you what the course will ask for よくない・良くない・Yokunai. The sentence is: "No, I am not fine." "いいえ、わたし は ちょうし が よくないです・いいえ、私は調子が良くないです。・Watashi ha choushi ga yokunai desu. （です・Desu is a verb meaning "it is")
I think that's all. I might have missed stuff. I suspect this discussion will be under construction for a while as I add to it and correct any mistakes I've made. There are still pieces I don't understand myself, such as when to use Joshi, Danshi, and Dansei as opposed to the other options.
If you spot errors, please let me know!
Need to back up and learn something even more basic? HERE are some study material recommendations.
If you want, I will continue making these as I go through the course. :)
Oh,this is amazing!!!!!I also upload discussions where I teach my mother tongue and help people with their French!!!!And another duolingoer uploads discussions about Maltese!!!I hope that all these courses will come to duolingo soon!!!!! :)
Same here! I already use Memrise and Human Japanese, but it'd be great to have it on Duo.
I think 女性 is supposed to refer an adult woman, while 女子 can be safely used no matter talking about a girl or a mom. In addition different compounds formed with them particularly, e.g.: 女性語 and 女性的, but 女子力, and 女子大生. I have no idea about whether it is rude to call a JK 女性, as I am not a Japanese native speaker.
I'm not a native speaker either, but as I remember it, 女性 indeed refers to an adult woman whereas 女子 emphasises that it's about females in general, as opposed to males in general (such as in 女子トイレ / 男子トイレ). I think a JK would be in the realm of 女の子.
It's a fairly good summary of the basics.
The main thing I've had issue with as I work through the course is the number of kanji that is assumed the learner knows, which makes sense as it is for Japanese speakers.
I think if someone is going to take on the course as a native English speaker, it would be good (or at least less frustrating for them) to learn some basic kanji as well.
Then again, that could be out of the basics. I'm not sure, I tested out. >,<
I'm using Google Translate (cautiously) to show me pronunciation for kanji. (I don't recommend using it to put together sentences, that's for sure. Online translators really stink with Asian languages >_<)
Actually, it's not so bad if you use Google Translate Japanese <> Korean. I'll assume you don't have that option though.
So far the only (what I consider to be) weird instance has been with "apple". I've had to insert it as りんご, リンゴ, and 林檎!
Naver Translate is better, and it supports English, Korean, and Japanese. So far, English translations have been superb.
Not only english speakers who want to learn Japanese, but the rest of the world mostly became interested in Japanese language :)
This is making me desperately want the Japanese for English speakers course. It's gonna be so much fun when it finally comes out.
If you're interested in learning Japanese. Don't wait for a course. You can learn and practice the kana now or just tackle 2,000+ kanji.
Actually, I know Chinese, so the kanji are the least of my problems. I'm just too busy and already working on other languages, so I'm waiting for the Duolingo course because it makes learning much faster and more efficient than figuring it out on my own.
Awesome, thanks a lot, うさぎさん！ I'd love to see more of these, it makes me very eager for the Japanese course.
There's one thing this made me remember (if I remember it correctly): もの (mono) means "thing," and if you add it to the end of たべる (taberu), to eat, it becomes たべもの (tabemono) which means "food."
I see that man is おとこ and boy is おとこのこ。 Is のこ added to the end of things to mean offspring or something like that?
The second こ in the おとこのこ is usually written as 子 which means child. The の indicates a modifying relationship between nouns. Here, おとこ makes a limit on 子's gender. So it is literally means a male child, who is a boy.
Rhythmialex explained it well, but potentially a further clarification on the の relationship (via Human Japanese) is that の marks possession, like わたしの へや would be 'my room' or 'room of mine'. In English, we represent possession in two ways and the example given in HJ is the King of Egypt. You can say this is as 'the King of Egypt' or 'Egypt's King'. Japanese only uses one way, analogous to the latter. It would sound a little odd in English to say Egypt's King, but that's how it would be in Japanese.
So, おとこのこ would be something like 'male's child' or in a better sounding way 'child of [the] male [sex]'. おんなのひと would be 'person (ie adult) of [the] female [sex]'.
Apologies if I'm wrong about this or if this is confusing, but this is the way I learned it.
you put いつさつ instead of いっさつ(i'satsu)
I don't know if you wanted to include おれ(ore) which is an informal/slang way of saying 'I' (more masculine so generally used by males more than females. More often used by the youth) Also ぼく is also used more than males than females and more informal than わたし but わたし can be used by anyone and is more commonly used in a more formal conversation. You also missed わたくし which is the most formal way of saying 'I'.
I also think わたしのちょうしがよくないですis better. because のshows possession and it is YOUR feeling.
Other than that this is accurate and I congratulate you on finding the time to make something like this ^_^
@Islacom, thank you for catching the typo I made with the book counter! I have edited the main post.
As for the other words, I only added what I saw coming up in the course. I didn't encounter おれ(ore).
you're welcome. and its okay i suppose おれis slang/informal so they wouldn't include it. Keep up with the good work! ^_^
ano..."tanoshikatta" to iu tsumori deshita ka? ummm, I mean 楽しかったというつもりでしたか。Finally got around to figuring out how to do the Japanese on the laptop. Thanks for the link above. :)
楽しかった had fun という that (or is と on it's own?) いう to say つもりでした Planned か ？
That is the best I could do for now ^^'
Sorry...I was just trying to see if your "tanoshitatta" was a typo for "tanoshikatta." So I was trying to say, "did you intend to say 'tanoshikatta' [rather than 'tanoshitatta']?"
It works well when you type the romaji script but the kana will be almost impossible for someone without a Japanese keyboard to do. But I am currently learning to speak Japanese and this has me very excited :-)
Are these notes that you will be posting from time to time, or are you creating the Japanese for English speakers course.
I'm not a course contributor. These are my personal notes as I make my way through the course. I will continue to post these if there is an interest. :)
What course is it, Usagiboy? I don't see Japonese in the incubator at all. Your work shows dedication.
I think you should definitely keep posting these. I'd love to try and help, and it would be a good way to learn the things that wouldn't be explained in a reverse course.
Hi, Usagiboy7, you wrote that:
The Topic will generally be followed by the particle は but in rare circumstances が.
Could you give some instances using が to indicate a topic which is not a subject? Since I was taught that が is used to indicate a subject. Thank you.
Hi Rhythmialex, as I continue this series (if I do) you'll notice that my grasp of how to talk about grammar is sorely lacking. So, I use topic/subject interchangeably, even though that might not be correct. I am using topic to describe Mary in this sentence: メアリさんは先生です。
Thank you for commenting!
You really did a hard work (it is clear by your notice so far). I am not trying to clarify the terminology, but a misunderstanding which may raise because of it. I would like you to see the sentences below:
All of them are correct for "John has this camera.", but show a difference between subject and topic.
Though it is really hard for non native speaker to distinguish between topic and subject, I recommend you to try to feel the distinction between them. That, I believe, would help a lot as you continue your progress. Thank you!
I am just taking guesses here,
John has this camera. (simple fact)
John has this camera (as opposed to a different camera)
This camera, John has it. (Emphasizing that John does indeed have it.)
I welcome your instructions. I am just a beginner (not even conversational yet) and I am not skillful when it comes to acquiring languages. Please feel welcome and encouraged to post helpful comments and critiques in the future. ^_^
Thank you for your appreciation and ligots. :)
My mother tongue is Chinese, which is also a topic related language. Since they are very different from each other, I cannot guarantee my guess is correct. This is my guess:
- The information is about John, but not anyone else. And John is introduced before.
- Without a topic, it implicates that the info is new to the audience.
- The info is about this camera (or this kind of camera).
If I misunderstood, any correction from a native speaker is welcome.
@Yoruji It seems I ran out of my reply button, so I reply you here.
I think that I and you are always have been introduced before a conversation can be done. So, 「私はあんまり興味ないと思う」seems to be agreed with me. Maybe another example can serve your idea much better.
You are right about the emphasis made by が. Besides, I found that the new info are somehow emphasized a bit in Japanese, although not as much as in English. (For a really desired emphasis, I'd like to use ～こそ instead.)
好きだ is not a verb, but an adjective indeed. There are two types of adjectives in Japanese: ending in い or だ. 好きだ is a 形容動詞 or adjectival noun or quasi adjective or -na adjective, whose ending is だ. Since it express a feeling of the speaker, it is also recognized as a 感情形容詞 (adjectives describing feelings). The object of a 感情形容詞 is indicated by が regularly. We can give more 感情形容詞, such as: 怖い、恐ろしい、懐かしい、悲しい、うれしい、つらい、苦しい、痛い、眠い、嫌い、心配だ、苦手だ, etc. I assume that が is used because of the logic that the subject is in the state described by the adjectives, and the state itself is raised by the one indicated by が. Therefore, I can explain 「私は猫が好きです。」like this: I am falling in the situation of feeling favorite which is caused by cats, i.e.: I like cats. Hope it helps. :)
I'm not a native speaker, but for the first case (ジョンは) John does not have to be introduced before, because は can be used to introduce new topics. E.g., after a conversations about your friend's new hobby, you might say 私はあんまり興味ないと思う。(In my case, I don't think I'm that interested) to switch the topic to your interests. Some people therefore translate this as "As for me, ..."
If I remember correctly, が can be used to emphasise that John is the one, and not someone else (as opposed to what you put under は). This works for both the second and the third case, but the third case puts more emphasis on the camera (The owner of this camera is John, not someone else), whereas the second case puts more emphasis on John (John, not someone else, is the owner of this camera).
Note が is also used for some "weird" types of adjective-like constructions, such as 私は猫が好きです (I like cats) or 私はあのゲームが好きです (I want that game). In this case, answering the initial question, the subject is the speaker, but が marks that which is liked/wanted. 私は猫を好きです, however, is wrong. To the best of my understanding this is because 好き is not a verb, but I'm not sure why this construction works like this.
You are close. 1 and 3 are correct but 2 is more a case of John is the one who has the camera. I think the simplest way to explain it is that は puts the emphasis on what comes after it, where as が emphasises what's before it.
The way my Japanese teacher explains it is this: は is the topic marker, が is the subject marker. So while these are often interchangeable, they aren't always. There are certain cases where you need to use both. The most basic case of that would be liking something. The Japanese set up literally translates (as literally as you can translate between Japanese and English, anyways) as something like "As for me, cake is likable." Kind of.
Thank you for your hint for comprehension.
Your Japanese teacher is right about は and が generally. The translation you gave for 「私はケーキが好きです。」looks quite straightforward and easy to comprehend, therefore may help a lot to master the syntax. But for clarification, it is, unfortunately, NOT as literally as it seems. For:
The logical subject of likable is cake, not I.
好きだ is derived from the verb 好く, which means to be fond of. The conjugation form sometimes serves a bit like the present participle of the verb. (In many cases, it does not serve as the present participle does in English.) Since 好く require its subject to be the one who is font of, the same one should be the subject for 好きだ, in your case, it should be I.
Now you may find why I say it is not a literal translation, for they do not share a same subject. If we further use 好きだ as an modifier, things get clearer. 「好きな人」means the person who the subject (clear with a certain context) loves, not a likable person.
I am sorry that I pushed so many things maybe new to you. But I think make it as clear as possible at the beginning is helpful in a long run. Thank you. :)
Well, likable isn't a perfect choice of word, but we really don't have a perfect equivalent to 好き. Liked, maybe? As for me, cake is liked. The liked person.
I've been studying Japanese for seven years now, so no worries about new things! Other than the etymology, of course. On that topic, could you technically use 好く exactly like the English "to like?" Of course it wouldn't sound as natural, (I expect I would have come across it by now if it was a natural thing to say) but as a more literal translation, maybe?
Liked seems to be better, but not perfect either, for liked describes the modified thing/person, while 好きだ shows a feeling. I am sorry that I cannot give an easy equivalent for it.
好く is used mostly in passive or negative expressions in Modern Japanese. You may encounter 好く and 好かん as well as 嫌う in Osaka dialect, and 好かれる in some instances, such as 「誰からも好かれる人」. So it is not usual to use it as to like in English. Technically, you can use it, but not recommended as you have already known well.
What do the course's tips and notes look like? I assume you can't read them yet, but does it generally look like they're doing a lot of explaining? Because some of the word translations seem pretty tenuous, not that much can be done about that given Duo's format. The is in no way used like その, は isn't even a verb, and English uses pronouns way more than Japanese. Both of my Japanese teachers have said, for instance, that 彼/彼女 are only ever used to mean boyfriend/girlfriend, not he/she, by actual Japanese speakers.
I was thinking the same thing about kane/kanojo. Technically they do literally mean he and she, but I have NEVER heard it used that way. I have heard kanojo used often as girlfriend though.
Also, sono is more accurately translated as "that" than "the". Its actually a pretty consistent pattern:
kono = this (modifier),
kore = this (noun),
koko = here
sono = that (modifier),
sore = that (noun),
soko = there
I have really struggled with the gender words in the course. I've taken some Japanese a number of years ago and describing gender wasn't really prioritized. I learned onna no hito/ko and otoko no hito/ko. I am only guessing that it is because dominant English dialects are constantly reminding people to do gendered thinking.
As for The vs That, I've never learned a word for "The" in Japanese. So, I'm guessing "This" and "That" work for specifying that it isn't just an apple, it is That apple or This apple.
There are no articles at all in Japanese. I'm sure a reverse course wouldn't translate "the," but instead just explain that Japanese doesn't distinguish between an apple and the apple (or apples and the apples, while we at it). But since here the course needs to teach Japanese people how to use the, その is the closest thing Japanese has. Same thing with the way they teach a/an. Japanese doesn't go around specifying number very often, so, say, 一つの really is only used when we would also specify one in English, not every time we would say a.
In general, I would say Japanese might be one of the harder languages to learn through the reverse course. English and Japanese just function very, very differently, but the course doesn't bother teaching you how to properly use Japanese.
Describing gender isn't really a thing in Japanese, I guess because gender can be conveyed via the name-suffixes it isn't really needed in the grammar? I dunno...
As for This and That, you're pretty much dead on.
I thought is/am/are was represented by the verb です.
私は少年です。 - or is the です optional?
です is technically optional. It doesn't really mean "to be" and there isn't really an equivalent to "to be" in japanese. If you want more information, look at http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/stateofbeing
です is probably the best translation for "is". If you want to get technical there are nuanced differences but yeah, basically.
は better translates as "with regard to (the thing before it)". Also, がmeans much the same, but with different emphasis. They are used with about equal frequency, but they are different and they do change the meaning of the sentence.
I wouldn't say that です is optional, at least if you want to speak correctly. If you're being informal sure, but informal speech often doesn't have correct grammar.
です isn't translated in English but if you were to, as others have said, it would mean is in some sort of way. ですand だ are both ways to end a sentence, ですbeing the more formal version. However, native Japanese speakers often drop ですand だ when talking informally among their friends. In a way it is optional in the sense that you can choose which you use but it is mainly controlled by the formality of the sentence. Also, if, in a piece of writing, you choose to use です, use ですthroughout because switching between ですand だ isn't right.
in my teach yourself japanese book it says that the word "ha" is actually "wa" and the spelling of "ha" is a common mistake. Can someone help explain this to me to see if I missed something? are there multipal words or something?
The hiragana and katakana character is ha. Using Romaji, which is a phonetic writing system (using roman characters to express Japanese sounds), use wa if it sounds like wa, use ha if it sounds like ha. I hope that helps!
The short answer is that pronunciation has changed over time and that's why the topic marking particle 'wa' is represented by は.
A longer answer (check the link) is that the pronunciation was purposely changed over time and it was changed to 'wa' before the hiragana character, わ, existed. When わ was introduced, は was left to represent 'wa' when used as a topic marker because of how frequently it is used. In other words, it was left that way to avoid having to overhaul too much.
First and foremost, speaking Japanese does not require reading katakana or hirigana as both are exceptionally difficult to read. Romanji is perfectly acceptable, so the installation of a Japanese keyboard and the forced reading of traditional Japanese writing is unnecessary for beginners.
I sort of disagree. Kanji is difficult; hiragana/katakana are not. You can learn them both in a couple of weeks (there are a lot of great apps for this) and through repetition/seeing them often really nail them down while you learn the language. Helps immensely.
I need to learn Japanese ASAP. I hope that this course will come because I have searched all over the Internet for Japanese learning courses, but none of them help me learn languages as much as Duolingo. I really hope that I can start learning Japanese on here soon! :)
Hello! I'm learning Japanese while I wait for this as well. I'm going to copy-paste a comment I left to someone else on a different forum who is also just starting out. Here's a few suggestions, mostly apps (I have a droid/use Google Play, so YMMV):
-To start, I'd highly recommend learning at least Katakana/Hiragana. I learned using 'Hiragana - Learn Japanese' and 'Katakana - Learn Japanese' apps, both by Legendarya. Neither have descriptive titles, but they should be one of the first results when you search the Play store. They're free. Let me know if you have trouble locating them. Should be a character with a blue background as the icon. Both apps have a flash card interface as well as a very good touch-screen finger-drawing section to learn how to write the characters. Very strict on stroke order.
-In this vein, the app Obenkyo is very good as well.
-Human Japanese. This app is incredible. To date, it's the only app I've ever actually bought and paid full price for. There's a trial version of it, but you'll probably quickly want to buy the whole thing. There's a beginner and an intermediate app. HJ is textbook-style, but not dry and always compares ideas and grammar back to the way English functions. It's fun, brisk, and teaches you a lot. Each chapter has Review quizzes and Vocabulary quizzes. The early chapters also teach you Hiragana/Katakana and has a matching game. Seriously, I love this app.
-Memrise. Flashcard-style memory tool. I thoroughly recommend the app versus the web interface for Japanese, as the website is finicky about romanji typing.
-There are other apps/websites like Tae Kim, Kanji Sempai, EasyKanji, etc. A good thing to do is to search the free apps and check out some of the higher rated ones.
-Also, if you're willing to throw down a little money, japanesepod101.com is a pretty great resource. Their podcast is great. You could do their free trial and download as much of the podcast as you can to check it out. Further, some of the expensive programs are good, too, but there's so much free/cheap information out there, you probably won't need them. Check youtube, check Amazon for used/old textbooks. The resources are endless!
-Once you get going, the site italki is good for connecting with native speakers to test out your Japanese and be sort of pen pals with people.
Hope this helps!
Thanks for the suggestions! I have tried a few apps like Tae Kim and Obenkyo and they didn't seem very helpful, but that's just my opinion :). I will definitely try out those others, though. But anyway, I really appreciate the help!
There is no course for it yet. This was a review of the English for Japanese speakers course, done for English speakers who want to learn Japanese. I recommend checking out the lessons done by https://www.duolingo.com/Demon-Kiyomi. They started doing great reviews of the course so I stopped making them.
arigatou gozaimashita!!! This kind of helped but if you are looking for some practise on japanese you should visit this website: http://www.digitaldialects.com/Japanese.htm it does help a bit and is very good to practise, it has forms of Romaji, Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. Hope you found this a bit helpful! Don't know if it helped with anybody but oh well. ￣_(シ)_/￣
I really hope they make this course official! It would make my life so much easier! Rosetta Stone is nice for learning on, but not as convienant as a Duolingo course would be. :)
Hmm, We need to find people are willing to contribute to a course. i barely know anything in japanese, much less can type in it.
Can you do that in the incubator. I can help you, i'm french but i speak english and japanese.
i really need japanese course because i have no idea about anything during the japanese class :( please help please please pleaseee
I wonder if they'll develop Japanese lessons for Duolingo and if they do, when it'll come out and how long it'll take.
ohh great! I want it available right now....well, my native tongue is Spanish but if it comes EN to JP, i'm OK with it. Just need it!!!!
Correct me if i'm wrong, because i'm just thinking out loud here, but if Duolingo does decide to add Japanese, should they include all of the writing systems starting with Hiragana? The reason I mention that is because, I've read that kids start out using Hiragana before learning to write with Katakana and Kanji. I think it would be more practical for Japanese learners to learn how to use Hiragana first because it's written and read left-to-right like English or Chinese. That's my opinion. After all, I think we all know that Japanese is considered one of the hardest languages to learn. Especially for English speakers. But hey! it's not impossible, it's just hard to do.
I can't wait until the japanese course comes out! Until then, I'm going to work on how to read it.
ahhh i want an actual japanese for english users! ;-;
i hope it goes into incubation, beta, etc soon..
I am happy to know that Japanese is coming out for English speakers! People like me who are Japanese and don't know, can learn it when it comes out.
Hey this is pretty good even though learning Japanese will be a hard to do, but I still want to learn more about the language itself. I can't wait until it's in beta.
It is Phase 1 nearly Phase 2 for Japanese for english speakers already, if you know Japanese contribute please, I want Japanese for english speakers to go live.. I want to teach my 3yr old.