Friday, August 27, 2004

Lesson One - Bamen Ichi: Mina san, konnichiwa.

(Note: I've decided to give credit where credit is due. This lesson, and all that follow this format, are taken from the Berlitz Basic Japanese book. I do recommend, if you are serious about learning Japanese, you go out and actually buy this book, as it provides much more than this site will, such as audiotapes of the lessons, and test questions at the end of each lesson.)

Lesson One Vocabulary:

Kurasu (koo-rah-sue) - Class. A word which has been borrowed from English, and given a Japanese pronunciation.

desu (dess) - is/are. Japanese verbs do not change with the tense, so desu can mean "I am, you are, she/he/it is, we are, they are." Although pronouns such as "I, you, we," etc, exist in Japanese, they are not normally used unless the meaning of the sentence would be unclear without them. Japanese verbs always come at the end of the sentence. The final -u is almost completely silent, just barely vocalize it.

Nihon (nee-hone) - Japan. No, they don't call themselves Japan. Another alternative form is Nippon (neep-pone).

Nihongo (nee-hone-go) - The Japanese language. The suffix -go can be added to the name of any country to give that country's language, e.g. Furansugo (Foo-rahn-sue-go) - French language. An exception is the English language, which is called Eigo (eh-ee-go).

Nihon-jin (nee-hone-jeen) - A Japanese person. The suffix -jin is added to a place name to form the word for a person from that place.

no (no) - Links two nouns where the first describes the second, e.g. Nihongo no Kurasu - a Japanese class.

sensei (sen-say) - Teacher

san (sahn) - Mr, Mrs, Ms. It comes after the name, and can be used with first names as well as family names. San is a term of respect used when talking about other people, so don't use it on your own name.

hai (hi) - Yes

doozo (dooh-zoe) - If you please. This is one of the many words that means "please" in Japanese, but this one is used only in the sense of "please go first," "please continue," or "after you." (Remember the pronunciation lesson on Long Vowels? This is one, so don't forget to extend the first o sound.) Used in the lesson dialogue as in "Please, have a seat."

sa (sah) - Well, right, ok.

to (toe) - And.

Kudasai (koo-dah-sie) - Please. This word for "please" is almost never used by itself. Rather, it normall follows the command form of verbs, as in phrases like "please eat." It is also used with nouns to convey the meaning of "please bring me (something)."

wa (wah) - This word does not have any meaning itself, but is used to point out the main topic of the sentence by following directly after it.

ka (kah) - Adding ka to the end of a sentence changes it into a question. Because the final ka always indicates a question, it is not necessary to use a question mark after it.

soo Desu (sooh dess) - That's right, that's so, etc.

arigatoo (ah-ree-gah-tooh) - Thank you.

Aa (aah) - Ah, oh, an interjection.

iie (eee-ay) - No.

chigaimasu (chee-guy-mahss) - I'm not, that's wrong, etc. Literally, "it's different," or "You're mistaken." Often used with iie.

watashi (wah-tah-shee) - I, me. Pronouns are not often used in Japanese, unless the meaning of the sentence would be unclear without it, or sometimes just for emphasis.

mina (mee-nah) - All, everyone, everything. When using it to refer to people, add san after it, e.g. Mina san, konnichiwa - Hello, everyone.

kara (kah-rah) - From. Unlike in English, kara always comes after the placename, e.g. Amerika kara - from America.

soo desu ka (sooh dess kah) - I see, or, is that so?

owari (oh-wah-ree) - The end, or, finish, e.g. Kurasu wa owari desu - It's the end of the class.

Names and Placenames used in this and other lessons:

Jeemuzu Hiru (Jaay-moo-zoo Hee-roo) - The Japanese pronunciation of James Hill.

Mari Pasukaru (Mah-ree Pah-sue-kah-roo) - Marie Pascal.

Piitaa Harison (Peee-taah Hah-ree-soohn) - Peter Harrison.

Nihon (Nee-hone) - Japan.

Furansu (Foo-rahn-sue) - France.

Itaria (ee-tah-ree-ah) - Italy.

Amerika (ah-may-ree-kah) - America.

Igirisu (ee-gee-ree-sue) - England.

Doitsu (Doh-ee-tsue) - Germany. (Note: The Japanese -ts as in tsu is another sound that is difficult for English speakers to pronounce. The tongue should be in the t sound position at the beginning of the s sound. It's like a sharp s noise.)

Kanada (kah-nah-dah) - Canada.

Nyuu Yooku (nyoo yooh-koo) - New York.

Pari (pah-ree) - Paris.

Rondon (rohn-dohn) - London.

Ribapuuru (ree-bah-pooo-roo) - Liverpool.

San Furanshisuko (sahn foo-rahn-shee-sue-koh) - San Francisco. Often shortened to Sanfuran (sahn-foo-rahn). There is no si sound in Japanese, so shi is used where necessary to say foreign words.

Lesson One, Dialogue:

Sensei: Hiru san?
Hill: Hai, Hiru desu. Jeemuzu Hiru.
Sensei: Hai, Hiru san, doozo. Pasukaru san?
Pascal: Hai, Pasukaru desu. Mari Pasukaru.
Sensei: Doozo, Pasukaru san. Harison san... Harison san... Harison san?
Harrison: Hai, Harison desu. Piitaa Harison desu.
Sensei: Hai, doozo, Harison san. Sa, Hiru san to Paksukaru san to Harison san. Nihongo no kurasu desu.

Sensei: Hiru san?
Hill: Hai.
Sensei: Hiru san wa Amerika-jin desu ka.
Hill: Hai, soo desu. Amerika-jin desu.

Sensei: Arigatoo. Pasukaru san?
Pascal: Hai.
Sensei: Pasukaru san wa Furansu-jin desu ka.
Pascal: Hai, soo desu. Furansu-jin desu.
Sensei: Arigatoo, Pasukaru san. Harison san? Harison san?
Harrison: Aa, hai.
Sensei: Amerika-jin desu ka.
Harrison: Iie, chigaimasu. Igirisu-jin desu.
Sensei: Aa, Igirisu-jin desu ka. Nihongo no kurasu wa Amerika-jin to Furansu-jin to Igirisu-jin desu.
Harrison: Chigaimasu, sensei. Amerika-jin to Furansu-jin to Igirisu-jin to Nihon-jin desu. Sensei wa Nihon-jin desu.
Sensei: Hai, watashi wa Nihon-jin desu. Mina san, arigatoo.

Sensei: Hiru san.
Hill: Hai.
Sensei: Nyuu Yooku kara desu ka.
Hill: Hai, soo desu. Nyuu Yooku kara desu.
Sensei: Pasukaru san.
Pascal: Hai.
Sensei: Pari kara desu ka.
Pascal: Hai, Pari kara desu.
Sensei: Harison san. Harison san?
Harrison: Aa, hai, sensei.
Sensei: Harison san wa Rondon kara desu ka.
Harrison: Iie, chigaimasu. Ribapuuru kara desu.
Sensei: Soo, desu ka. Ribapuuru kara desu ka. Mina san, arigatoo.

Sensei: Hai, mina san, arigatoo. Owari desu. Kurasu wa owari desu.
All: Arigatoo, sensei.

End of Lesson One.