Negatives and More Particles – も and か

In the previous article on basic grammar, I covered how to make simple statements that follow the pattern of “X is Y.” In it, two concepts were covered, the topic particle は and the copula です. Here we will be covering two more particles that will allow you to ask simple yes/no questions, and ask if X is also Y. Additionally, I will cover how to negate sentences and also take a brief look into the differences between informal and polite Japanese.

There are quite a few grammar points covered in this section so I would definitely recommend taking your time going through each of them and coming up with as many of your own example sentences as possible.

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Pronunciation – おう And Morphemic Boundaries

In another article on how to read HiraganaI discussed how to pronounce certain vowel combinations such as おう、えい、and いい. Most often, textbooks and other Japanese language learning resources will tell students that おう and おお are pronounced exactly the same, and the difference is merely due to historical orthography. In most cases, this is true. However, this simplification is not entirely accurate and ignores a crucial distinction that all native Japanese speakers intuitively make.

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The Many Uses of 気

One of the most versatile words in Japanese is the word 気(き・ki)which can roughly be translated to mean “mind”, “soul”, or “mood”, amongst other definitions. It is derived from the Chinese word Qi, which you may be familiar with as the energy that is traditionally considered to flow through all living things.

Over the centuries, 気 has worked itself into dozens of expressions with various meanings, to the point where it can arguably be considered part of the grammar of the language itself. As a result, it is almost impossible to speak Japanese without understanding the word 気. Here is a brief introduction to 5 of its most common uses.

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Basic Sentence Structure – X is Y

Now that we’ve covered some basic phrases it’s time to learn how to make a simple sentence. The simplest type of sentence there is in English follows the pattern of X is Y. In this kind of sentence, X is the subject, <is> is the conjugated verb <to be>, and Y is the predicate. Here, the verb <to be> is known as a copula, which is a linguistic term for a word that connects two things. That is, it is a word that states that two things are equal. Thus, in English, a copula (to be) links a subject (X) to its predicate (Y) and shows that they are equal (X = Y). In Japanese, there is also a copula, but it works quite a bit differently than in English. In this lesson we will explore these differences.

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The JLPT – Pros and Cons

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test, also known as the JLPT and in Japanese as 日本語能力試験 is a standardized test of Japanese language proficiency aimed at non-native speakers. It is broken down into 5 levels, with level N5 being the easiest and level N1 the most difficult. Thousands of Japanese language students around the world take the JLPT every year. If you’re a Japanese language student, you might be wondering whether or not it is worth taking. As someone who’s taken multiple levels of the test throughout the years and who has successfully passed level N1, I’ve learned a few things a long the way…

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Basic Greetings

There are competing ideologies when it comes to the subject of how to best teach a language. Some people think it’s best to start with useful phrases to get you “out the door” right away. Others think it’s best to start with a solid grammatical foundation and work your way up, even if it’s not immediately useful.

Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. I think a good place to start for a complete beginner is to learn a few basic greetings to give you some confidence in interacting with Japanese people, even if they are the only things you can say. In later lessons, it will become apparent exactly why these phrases mean what they do and why they have some of their characteristic quirks.

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An Introduction To Basic Grammar

Japanese is a unique language. Despite decades of research and investigation, Japanese has not been demonstrably proven beyond a doubt to be related to any other language on Earth, with the sole exception of the minority Ryukyuan languages spoken in Japan. Other than that, the language that comes closest to Japanese grammatically is probably Korean, which some linguists believe might be a distant relative of Japanese.

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Is Japanese the Fastest Spoken Language?

When learning a foreign language, there are four main skill categories: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Of these 4 skills, listening is often considered to be the hardest skill to acquire. This is because it’s the only skill where the learner doesn’t have full control of speed. You can read, write and speak however fast or slowly you are comfortable with. But when it comes to listening, you are subject to the whims of the person you are listening to.

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