TIL: Human Japanese 29

It’s been a rough week between getting caught up in Pokémania and… well… the rest of life being just plain old busy. So here it is 10:31pm on a Friday night. I just finished having some dinner and I figure now is a good time to crack open (is that the right term for apps?) Human Japanese and do some more learning. This Chapter is more verb work, and will be making use of を.

Chapter 29: Verbs, Part 2

Word て form Meaning
します して to do
はなします はなして to speak
ききます きいて to hear/to ask
かきます かいて to write
かいます かって to buy
たちます たって to stand
すわります すわって to sit
わかります わかって to understand

て forms serve different purposes. One function is to connect verb sentences.. ie: if there are two actions in a row, similar to how one might say “I ran to the car, then drove to the hospital”. There is no past tense for て form. The last verb in the sentence will describe the tense.

If you want to say that you talk -to- (with)someone, you use と. This is of course a particle, and like all particles, is post-positional.

ーまいにちまりこさんとはなちます。「I talk with Mariko every day.」
ーせんしゅうジョンさんとはなしました。「I talked with John last week.」
ーあしたすずきさんとはなしてください。「Please talk to Suzuki tomorrow.」

Pft. Welcome to parenthood. That’s all I got time for tonight!


Aaaaaand it’s now Saturday, a little after 1pm. The tyke is asleep, so lets see how far I can get!

ききます means both ask and listen… but it’s easy to differentiate between them as hear takes a direct object (を). You can hear the radio. while ask requires usage of the に particle ask you perform the verb to something. You can ask/inquire (to) the teacher.

ーラジオをききます。「I listen to the radio」
ーせんせいにききました。「I asked the teacher.」
ーおんがくをききました。「I listened to music.」
ーおかあさんにききます。「I will ask mother.」

わかります means something more literally along the lines of “subdivide” or “break down”. It means “understand” but it’s different in that the subject is what breaks down, you don’t do it to the subject. So すうがかがわかります means “math breaks down for me” (thus I am able to understand it).

So instead of “understand” you could think of it as “make sense”. You understand something, but something makes sense on its own, you don’t make the sense. So 日本語がわかります -> Japanese makes sense (“to me” is implied). This verb is also often past tense… as in “what you said broke down… it made sense.” or わかりました。

ーすいがくがわかりません。「Math doesn’t make sense to me.」
ーちりがわかりますか。「Does Geography make sense to you?」
ーみちがわかりますか。「Do the roads make sense to you? (Do you know the way?)」
Japanese use みち to mean not only roads, but the way to a given location.

ーあしたなにをしますか。「What will you do tomorrow?」
ーほんをかきます。「I’ll write a book.」
ーラジオをききます。「I’ll listen to the radio.」
ーみちにたちましょう。「Let’s stand in the street.」
ーいすにすわりませんか。「Won’t you sit in the chair?」
ーえいごがわかりますか。「Do you understand English?」
ー日本語にわかりません。「I don’t understand Japanese.」

します is a very convenient word as it means “to do”. Thus it can be used in combination with other verbs to say that you are doing them.

ーもしもし「hello?(phone greeting)」
Each of these (except もしもし) are nouns. You can make them into verbs using します. べんきょうします for example means to do studying. This is of course convenient for past or negative tense as you only need to recall the treatment of the します part of the phrase.

ーまいにちピアノをれんしゅうします。「Every day, I practice piano.」
ーだいどころをそうじしてください。「Please clean the kitchen.」
ーきょうなにをりょうりしますか。「What will you cook today?」
ージョンさんはまりこさんにでんわしました。「John called on the phone Mariko.」
ー日本語をべんきょうしましょう。「Let’s study Japanese.」

We call to a person in Japanese (に). If you call John, you call to John. ジョンさんにでんわします。

The only circumstance where you might say “もしもし” other than on the phone, is if you are behind them, and attempting to get their attention. You might also say it on the phone if there has been an awkward silence, and one party wants to confirm that the other is still there. (The reply would simply be はい).

-Used with sports and hobbies.

See how wonderful it is to try and learn stuff once you have a kid? He woke up from his nap, and now it’s 10:10pm on Saturday. It’s been almost 24 hours and I haven’t had the time to work through a single chapter. This is why it’s taken me since January to get as far as I have!

Shall we continue?

れんしゅうします -> To Practice
-Used with sports and hobbies.

ーテニスをれんしゅうします。「I practice tennis.」
ーまりこさんはまいしゅうやきゅうをれんしゅうします。「Every week, Mariko practices baseball.」
ージョンさんはまいにちスポーツをれんしゅうします。「John practices sports every day.」

You can also simply do (play) sports using します instead of practicing them.
ーあした、やくうをしましょう。「Tomorrow, let’s play baseball.」
ーきょうサッカーをしました。「I played soccer today.」

The particle も means “also” and is tagged onto the end of nouns. It’s used instead of は or が.
ねこがいます -> there is a cat
ねこもいます -> there is also a cat

ーあなたは日本人ですか。わたしも日本人です。「Are you Japanese? I’m also Japanese.」
ーいぬがいます。ねこもいます。「There is a dog. There is also a cat.」
ーいもがすきです。パンもすきです。「I like potatoes. I also like bread.」

While も can replace the usage of は/が, it doesn’t replace に. も comes after に.
どようびに -> On Saturday
どようびにも -> On Saturday too

ーげつようびにいきます。 かようびにもいきます。「I’m going on Monday. I’m also going on Tuesday.」
ーきっさてんにいきました。 カラオケにもいきました。「I went to the coffee shop. I also went to karaoke.」
ーいぬもねこもさかなもいました。「There were dogs, and cats, and fish.」
ーえきにもスーパーマーケットにもゆうびんきょくにもいきました。「I went to the station, and the supermarket, and the post office.」

て Forms for Multi-Functional Sentences
Used to link together verbs into longer sentences. IE: This morning I woke up, got dressed, and went to work.
Say we want to link two sentences:
ーけさあさごはんをたべました。「This morning, I ate breakfast.」
ーがっこうにいきました。「I went to school.」

These can be merged using the て form of たべます.
ーけさあさごはんをたべて、がっこうにいきました。「This morning, I ate breakfast, and went to school.」
ーがっこうにいってべんきょうしました。「I went to school, and studied.」
ーきょうテレビをみて、だいがっこにいって、ともだちにでんわしました。「Today I watched tv, went to college, and phoned my friend.」

ージョンさん、にちようびになにをしましたか。「John, what did you do on Saturday?」
ーれきしをべんきょうして、いえをそうじました。まりこさんは?「I studied history and cleaned the house. How about you, Mariko?」
ーわたしはきっさてんにいって、コーヒーをのんで、ほんをよみました。「I went to the coffee shop, drank coffee, and read a book.」
ーあしたテニスをしましょうか。「Tomorrow, should we play tennis?」
ーいいですね。よるにでんわしてくださいね。「That sounds nice! Call me in the evening, ok?」
***「ね」 sentence ending - People usually add 「ね」 to the end of their sentence when they are looking for (and expecting) agreement to what they are saying. This is equivalent to saying, “right?” or “isn’t it?” in English
ーはい、わかりました。じゃまた。「Yes, I understand. Good bye!」

Alright! My vocabulary needs work! I have to admit, that at this point, I’ve learned a bunch of sports names, place names, etc…. and I can figure some out when I see them combined with verbs, but very little is immediate at this point. I’m going to have to organize some flash cards soon to be able to force the words into long term memory. On the plus side, I’m at a point now where when I see in the chapter summary any use of romaji… it looks distinctly alien and weird. I’m feeling more comfortable at this point with kana than romaji. So that’s got to be something to feel smug about, right?

Also, it looks like I’m not 2/3 of the way through Human Japanese! Hopefully, I can finish before the end of the month!