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Lesson 0 - Before you start

Okey, welcome to our online lessons for Japanese. These lessons are written by both me (ai-kun) and Seijiro and the material is taken from many different sources and of course our own knowledge. Before we dive in deeply into the Japanese language and start with weird sentences there are a few things that are good to know which we will bring up. We are trying to keep our lessons easy to understand and follow with as little technical terms as possible and hopefully good enough explanations. If there is something in these lessons which you believe does not belong to this level of learning then please send us a mail and describe what is the problem and how you'd like us to change it. Also we will try to keep these lessons as polite as possible, which means in Japanese people have words that are both polite and impolite, more or less. Well then, I guess you don't want to read crap like this and is eager to jump in, so first we gonna bring up a few good things to known then we will start.


1. Japanese nouns have neither gender nor number. But plurals of certain words can be expressed by the use of a suffix. Which means counting people for example you would have to add -nin in the end if it's three or more people. Ex:
San-nin = 3 people
Go-nin = 5 people
Juuni-nin = 12 people

While saying or counting only one or two people they don't get the -nin instead it's:
Hitori = One person
Futari = Two persons, two people

There are counters for many things such as paper (flat objects) and bottles or round things (long thin objects), for animals (large and small), for animate things and inanimate things, floors of a building, cups of liquid etc. tho we won't be taking them up here and instead we'll continue.

2. The verb generally comes at the end of the sentence or clause. Ex:
Watashi wa Nihon-jin desu. "I am a Japanese." Where here "desu" is the verb which means "is".
Watashi wa gohan o tabemasu. "I'm eating dinner." The verb here is "tabemasu" meaning "to eat".

3. Verb conjugation is not affected by the gender, number or the person of the subject.

4. Verb conjugation shows only two tenses, the present and the past form. When using the present form it can be divided in habitual action or the future while the past form is equivalent to the English past tense, present perfect or past perfect. To put this simply we can say that the past is either, "I did it" or "I didn't do it", and the present form, "I'm doing it" or "I'm gonna do it".

5. Japanese adjectives are inflected to show present and past, positive (affirmative) or negative.

6. The grammatical function of nouns is indicated by particles. Their role is similar to English prepositions, but since they always come after the word they are sometimes referred to as postpositions. Ex:
Tokyo de. "At Tokyo." Where "de" is the particle.
15-nichi ni. "On the 15 (of the month)." Where "ni" is the particle.

Alright, now that those things are pointed out let's start with the real lesson ok?

Go to Lesson 1 - Introductions


Updated 2008-09-27 19:55:51