Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Japanese Lesson 1: Translate the blog title

Today we will translate the phrase:

"I am not Japanese"

  1. If the subject of the sentence can be easily guessed, then leave the subject out of sentence. However, for translation's sake we will learn how to say I in Japanese (though a future blog will discuss different ways of saying 'I').

  2. To mark that 'I' is the subject of the sentence, we must use the particle は. Though the particle itself is pronounced as 'ha', when it is being used as a subject marker particle, it is pronounced as 'wa'.

    私は
    (watashi wa)

  3. The word Japanese is literally translated as 'Japan People' so there are two parts
    • Japan is presented by the characters 日本 (Nihon - which literally means land of the sun)
    • People is represented by the character for human 人. Placing it beside 日本, makes it a nationality (which can be done with all countries).

    私は日本人 
    (watashi wa nihonjin)

  4. The verb part is usually last in the Japanese sentence structure. The verb for 'being' (ex: This is a chair, I am a 4th year university student) is です. That is in its present, long form. To speak more informally, we leave it out.

    私は日本人です。
    (watashi wa nihonjin desu)

  5. To negate the sentence, we must use the negative present form. That is じゃあありません (ja arimasen). In short form (aka:informal speech), it becomes じゃあない.

    私は日本人じゃあありません。
    (watashi wa nihonjin ja arimasen)

    or in more common speech
    日本人じゃあない。
    (nihonjin ja nai)
By the end of this lesson, you should understand the meaning behind 'japanesejanai' and the witty fusion that was intended.

If you have any questions or corrections (I am fairly new at this language), leave a comment =D

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