TIL: Human Japanese 39 (で)

Well… I’m no longer a part of the unemployed workforce (For those who don’t know, Friday was my last day working at The Coalition’s office). As of Monday, I am once more gainfully employed. I believe my new employer is fine with me blogging as long as I’m not giving away their precious secrets, pretending to represent them, or being a negative Nancy. These things are not all together unalike from what the previous group of people who gave me dollars thought. And so, now that I find myself with some precious, precious spare time I shall put aside thoughts of my profession and I shall examine the で particle.

Chapter 39: で

で has a couple of uses:
1.”by means of” -> if you were to say “I went by means of car” then you would say “くるまで”
2.indicates where an action happens.

1.”By means of”
ーくるまでいきました。 「I went by car.」
ーでんしゃできました。 「I came by train.」
ーでんわではなしました。 「I spoke by phone.」
ーなんでいきますか。 「You will go by means of?」
ーじてんしゃでいきます。 「I will go by bicycle.」

be sure not to reply to a “なんで” question using “に”.
In Japanese, you don’t speak “in” a language, you speak “by means of” a language.

ーまりこさんはえいごではなします。 「Mariko speaks by means of English.」
ージョンさんはフランスごではなしています。 「John is speaking by means of French.」

2.Indicating where an action happens
に can be used to indicate where something “exists” when combined with あります and います.
ージョンさんはアメリカにいます。 「John is in America.」

に cannot mark places for anything more than a simple existence. But if we want to say that John is -doing- something such as reading or studying in America, then we need to use で.
ージョンさんはえきでしんぶんをよみました。 「John read the newspaper at at the station.」
ーまりこさんはアメリカでえいごをべんきょうしています。 「Mariko is studying English in America.」
ーへよでフテルビをみました。 「I watched TV in my bedroom.」
ーいえのまいでくるまをそうじしました。 「I washed my car in front of my house.」

There are only a few verbs that work in a location that has been marked with に. Standing/sitting are two such verbs and have a rather close meaning to the word for “exist”. Any time a verb gets more involved, it must do so with the use of で
ーくるまのなかにすわっています。 「I am sitting inside the car.」
ーだいどころにたっていました。 「I was standing in the kitchen.」

に is used to indicate the direction in which the subject is moving “toward”, while で is used to indicate the location of an action.

ージョンさんはでんしゃでドイツにいきます。 「John will go to Germany by train.」
ーまりこさんはでんしゃでほんをよんでいました。 「Mariko was reading a book on the train.」
In the first case で signifies that John is using a train to go to Germany… yet in the second, で clearly means that Mariko is in the train as it is not possible to read a book with a train.

で can be matched with は. While で means “in”, は means “as for”. では therefore means “as for in”… にほんでは -> as for in Japan. It’s common to start a sentence with _____では to start a sentence when intending to make a comment about that place, as it differs from other places.

ーアメリカでは、ひとはせがたかい。 「As for in America, the people are tall.」
ーにほんでは、ガソリンがたかいです。 「As for in Japan, the gasoline is expensive.」
ーちゅうごくでは、ねこがいますか。 「As for in China, are there cats?」 
In the case of ちゅうごく, it would be better to use には instead of では due to the use of います, however people will still use では.

Word て form Meaning
ふね boat
ひこうき plane
しんかんせん bullet train
ロサンゼリス Los Angeles
シカゴ Chicago
シアトル Seattle
ロンドン London
ーしゅう suffix for states
はしります はしって to run
あるきます あるいて to walk
およぎます およいで to swim
とびます とんで to fly
うんてんします to drive

Japanese generally attempt to faithfully reproduce English city names using their own pronunciation, but it obviously will not be exact. Aside from that, しゅう is generally appended to a state such as:
“Washington State” = “ワシントンしゅう” or “New York State” = “ニューヨークしゅう”

The Japanese islands “ほんしゅう (本州)” and “きゅうしゅう (九州)” both use this same schema.

から and まで can be used not just to mean “from” and “to” in the sense of time, but also in the sense of place. シカゴからチアトルまで means “from Chicago to Seattle”.

 「Next week, I will fly by plane from Seattle to Chicago.」
 「Last year I drove from Washington State to New York State.」
 「Let’s swim from Japan to America.」
 「I went by boat from New York to London, but it wasn’t fun.」

ーあしたえいがをみませんか。 「Won’t you see a movie tomorrow?」
ーいいですね。 「Of course!」
 ーどこでみましょうか。 「Where should we see it?」
ーしんじゅくにいいえいがかんがあります。 「There is a good theater in Shinjuku.」
 ーあそこでみましょう。 「We should see it there.」
ーなんでいきましょうか。 「How should we go?」
 ータクシーでいきましょうか。 「Should we take a taxi?」
 ーでんしゃでいきましょうか。 「Or the train?」
ータクシーはたかいね。 「Taxi is expensive, isn’t it?」
 ーでんしゃでいきましょう。 「We should take the train.」
ーなんじにいきましょうか。 「When should we go?」
ーろくじさんじゅっぷんのでんしょでいきましょう。 「We should take the 6:30 train.」

タクシーでいきましょうか。でんしゃでいきましょうか。Would be a clumsy way of asking in English, but this is really how people will give options in Japanese… as separate sentences in sequence.

Eee! Only 5 full chapters remaining! It’ll be sad to be done with this for a while… but it’s also super difficult to even find the time to study right now what with the kid having to go a nanny whilst both my wife and I work full time. I’m looking forward to clearing an item off my to-do list.