What we learnt (01/04/16)

Hi all!

This post is a summary of some of the words and phrases that came up during last Friday’s Nihongo Scotland. 

You can jump to your desired section, or scroll at your leisure 🙂

    1. Introduction
    2. Most Valuable Phrase (& it’s breakdown)
    3. 01/04/16: What we did (& why we did it)
    4. Vocabulary (assorted)
    5. Grammar (adjective conjunction)


1. Introduction

At Nihongo Scotland, in addition to welcoming complete beginners, we provide an informal setting for those with some Japanese already under their belt to use it (before they lose it).

However, whilst free-flowing conversation and games are great for improving confidence, pronunciation, and a natural flow, it can be quite difficult to maintain fluid conversation AND take notes on anything new that has cropped up.

To make sure everyone has a chance to maintain the flow of their conversations, but still has a chance to review any words, phrases, or grammar points that came up, we will be documenting the sessions from here on in!

Please note, this is in the trial and error phase, and is no way a comprehensive list of every word spoken, but hopefully it will be of some use!

Please comment if you have any questions or suggestions!

2. Most Valuable Phrase


MVP Meaning

Kanji Hiragana Romanji Meaning
食べたい物がありますか?  たべたいものがありますか? tabetaimono ga arimasu ka? Would you like anything to eat?

MVP breakdown

食べたい がありますか?
たべたい  もの がありますか?
desire to eat  thing is there?

MVP Grammar Point

ますstem + たい / masu stem + tai

In Japanese, “tai” is added to the “masu stem” of the verb to indicate a desire to perform the action of the verb.

How do you do this? Two simple steps:

      1. Choose your verb and find it’s masu stem – this just means removing the “masu” ending of the verb.
      2. Add “tai“ to the “masu stem

Let’s look at the verb “to go” – 行きます。

行きます ・ いきます ・ikimasu・ to go
Dictionary Form Masu form Masu stem (i.e. masu form without “masu”)
行く・いく・iku 行きます・いきます・ikimasu 行き・いき・iki
Examples: 私は日本へ行きたいです ・ わたしはにほんへいきたいです。 ・ Watashi wa nihon he ikitaidesu ・ I want to go to Japan.

**** Are you still unsure about this phrasing? Leave us a question in the comments!

3. What we did on 01/04/16

We played a card game, where each player took turns to challenge another player to describe (in Japanese) what they saw on the challenger’s picture card. In the event the card had been described previously, an entirely new description for the same picture card was needed.

Why do it? 

Improves vocabulary and adjective conjugation.

Adjective conjugations are one of the early lessons in most Japanese textbooks, but can still cause trouble for even more advanced learners. Don’t let yourself down with a beautiful worded sentence that is jarred by basic grammar mistakes!

4. Vocabulary

Kanji Hiragana Meaning
花瓶 かびん (flower) vase
環境 かんきょう environment
くぎ nail
経済 けいざい economy
形式 けいしき format
景色 けしき scenery
消しゴム けしごむ rubber/eraser
高級車 こうきゅうしゃ luxury car
自然 しぜん nature
失業率 しつぎょうりつ unemployment rate
消費 しょうひ consumption
手首 てくび wrist
螺子 ねじ screw
葉っぱ はっぱ petal
花びら はなびら flower vase
水色 みずいろ light blue
無職 むしょく unemployed
蝋燭 ろうそく candle
公共交通機関 こうきょうこうつうきかん public transport
にじ rainbow

**** Are you unsure about how to use any of these words? Leave us a question in the comments!

5. Grammar

When describing things in Japanese, you want to be able to do 2 things:

  1. Join 1 adjective with a noun (i.e. a brown cat)

  2. Join 2 adjectives together (i.e. a cute brown cat)

But before you do either, you need to know whether your adjective is an I-adjective, or a Na-adjective.

I-adjectives all end in ~ i, BUT – they never end in ~ ei (kirei is not an i-adjective). This site provides useful lists of common I and Na adjectives: http://rcl.pliable.us/J-adj.html

Join 1 adjective with a noun (i.e. a brown cat)

Joining an I-adjective to a noun 

No modification needed! Just put your adjective before your noun, no changes. So an expensive (takai) hat (boushi) is simply a takai boushi.

Kanji Hiragana Romanji Meaning
それは高い帽子です。 それはたかいぼうしです。 sore wa takai boshi desu. That is an expensive hat.

Joining an na-adjective to a noun 

Modification needed! Add “na” to the end of your adjective. So a safe (anzen) country (kuni) is an anzennakuni.

Kanji Hiragana Romanji Meaning
日本は安全です。 にほんはあんぜんくにです。 nihon wa anzen na kuni desu. Japan is a safe country.

Join 2 adjectives together (i.e. a cute brown cat)

Two or more adjectives can be joined together using the “Te” form of the preceding adjective (i.e. cute precedes brown, so the “te” form of cute needs to be used).

Joinining an I-adjective to another adjective

Modification needed! For the “te” form of an I-adjective, just remove the final “i”, and add “kute”.  So the cute (kawaii) brown (chairo) cat (neko) would be a kawaikute, chairona neko.

Kanji Hiragana Romanji Meaning
それは可愛くて茶色 それはかわいくてちゃいろねこです。 sore wa kawaikute, chairona neko desu. That is a cute brown cat.

Joining na-adjective to another adjective

Modification needed!  For the “te” form of a na-adjective, add “de” instead of “na”. So,  a convenient (benri) and cheap (yasui) service  (sa-bisu) would be a benride, yasui sa-bisu.

Kanji Hiragana Romanji Meaning
それは便利サービスです。 それはべんりやすさーびすです。 sore wa benride, yasui sa-bisu desu. That is a convenient and cheap service.

**** Are you unsure about adjective modifications? Leave us a question in the comments!

By | 2016-04-10T13:59:20+00:00 April 10th, 2016|Japan, Languages, Learning, Study, Travel|Comments Off on What we learnt (01/04/16)

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