In this lesson we will start learning Japanese grammar with the most basic form of Japanese sentences.
Let’s have a look at some very simple Japanese sentences:
ほん です。[hon desu.]
It is a book.
These are books.
やすい です。[yasui desu.]
It is cheap.
They are cheap.
Looking more closely to these two sentences shows a few characteristics of the Japanese language:
- です is the Japanese copula, which basically translates as “it is”, “they are”
- Nouns don’t have number in Japanese. ほん can mean either a book or books according to the context. There is also no indefinite article (a, an).
- Adjectives also don’t vary with the number. やすい means cheap and can be used for both singular or plural forms.
- And something more obvious, there is no subject in these sentences. The equivalent of the subject is most of the time implicit to the context of the sentence in Japanese and not expressed. Yet it can be indicated if the context requires to avoid ambiguity, we will see how to do see in a future lesson.
- Finally note that in academic Japanese the す in です is pronounced like the ending “s” in “yes”, and not “soo”. You might find it pronounced “soo” though in some Japanese dialects, or in old texts or songs…
Alright, no it is your turn to work. Make sentences with the following words by using です。:
くるま [kuruma] – car
たかい [takai] – high, expensive
いぬ [inu] – dog
げつようび [getsuyōbi] – Monday
くるま です。[kuruma desu.] – It is a car.
たかい です。[takai desu] – It is expensive or It is high.
いぬ です。[inu desu.] – It is a dog.
げつようび です。[getsuyōbi desu.] – It is Monday.
I hope you liked this lesson. This is only the first step of a new adventure, therefore be patient and get ready for it!
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See you soon,