I gotta start by saying… from an app design stand-point. I think that Human Japanese is mostly great. The one gripe I have, is it doesn’t properly motivate me to take the tests multiple times. At first it did! You take a test, see you have to do it multiple times to get all the points… whee you click and get the points! But as the chapters go on, you end up with a larger pool of questions than each test allows. Which means you can’t max everything out in just 4 attempts anymore… which means…I’m kind of done taking it multiple times. No more dopamine hits from the tests.
I keep hearing stories about how Japanese both is and isn’t vague. The language is quite able to be expressive, but it seems that a lot of information tends to be left out intentionally. Human Japanese Chapter 7, begins by describing how “any part of a sentence can be omitted if it is understood from context. Any part, that is, except the verb. Every well-formed Japanese sentence has a verb, no exceptions. And the verb always goes last”
(That) makes sense (to me).
I’m getting bombarded with vocabulary as I learn, so of course I’ll have to try and keep track of it all here:
いぬ – dog
りんご – apple
とり – bird
うま – horse
でしょう – it will be
です – am/is/are (covered in Pimsleur already)
えんぴつ – pencil (covered in Influent already)
ペン – pen (covered in Influent already)
みず – water (covered in Influent already)
ねこ – cat (covered in Influent already)
I like that Japanese doesn’t change depending on singular, plural, or 1st person. This means that instead of am, are, is…. it’s always just です. As complicated as reading Japanese seems to be… it feels as though verbally it’s a simpler language (from the perspective of someone who is not yet fluent)… though I guess it also means you need to pay attention since ideas can be communicated more simply.
For example, there’s no word for a, an, or the either. It is an apple, simply becomes りんごです。There’s also no plurals… so that sentence could mean apple or apples! Essentially りんごです。 means “(That thing that we both understand from the context) is (an) apple(s).” Just as in English we can use the words deer, or fish to specify one or multiple deer/fish… all nouns in Japanese can specify one or more.
So while I/he/she can be specified. わたしわねこです。 For example might need to be specified if you are claiming that you, and not the cat, are a cat… but typically, you can just omit the specifics if it will be understood without. ねこです。 would obviously be referring to the fluffy thing being a cat, and not “I’m a cat”.
“For our purposes” there are only four main forms of each verb in Japanese. Present, Past, Positive, and Negative.
Present: です(p) ではありません(n) (though as we’ve learned in Pimsleur already, this can also be じゃありません)
Past: でした(p) ではありませんでした(n)
While it takes as much effort to write ではありません and it does じゃありません… じゃありません rolls off the tongue better and is more akin to “can’t” while the former is more like “cannot”. Both are fine.
でしょう can be future tense, but also has some uncertainty… meaning it can be either present or future.
アメリカじんでしょう。 For example.
Alright, so it was back to new vocabulary at the gym today: This time simply talking about when and where.
– By now it’s getting clear that the negative form of ます words is ません. This means that whether it’s はなします, たべます, or のみます… we can make it negative by changing the すto せん.
– の is a particle that represents possession
– で is a particle that represents location
– も means also
- どこで asks “Where at?”
– いつ asks “when?”
– いま means “now”
– あとで means “later”
– ところ means “place”
So some phrases include:
いつたべますか : When are you going to eat?
どこでたべますか : Where are you going to eat?
あとでたべます : I’ll eat later.
わたしのところでなにかのみませか : Won’t you drink something at my place?
しんじゅくで : At Shinjuku
わたしもはなしません : I also don’t speak