A big part of Sounding Like A Person is noticing differences between your base language and your target language. Last time we looked at how Japanese native speakers often use the passive voice when we wouldn't. This time we'll look at a similar phenomenon: how Japanese people use the potential form of a verb when we wouldn't! If you've ever stayed with… Continue reading SLAP#6 “Did you sleep well?” vs “Were you able to sleep well?”… how Japanese people actually use the られる potential form.
I stumbled upon the Japan Times' Bilingual series, which features articles in mostly English, but also includes key sentences in Japanese. In particular, I found this interview with Miss World Japan 2016, whose ethnicity (she is half-Indian) caused a bit of a stir! Most important for us though is that she uses the "passive tense" in Japanese when we… Continue reading SLAP#5 Miss World Japan: “People always ask if I’m pure Japanese” … in the passive voice.
Just moved to France this week! Before moving, I bought myself a new backpack. I didn't need one. But I was getting annoyed with my old one, and this sentence came to mind: 新しいリュック買っちゃった！ふふふ あたらしい りゅっく かっちゃった ふふふ new + backpack + buy + ちゃった！ + sheepish laughter I bought a new backpack. hehehe Here is the same sentence on Twitter with a… Continue reading SLAP#4 “I wasted a whole day watching that drama”…the 〜ちゃう/〜じゃう of indulging in guilty pleasures.
Most of us don't want to sound like a jerk. Especially when we're doing something like rescheduling an appointment with someone last minute. It happens to the best of us, so let's make sure we know how to do so and still sound respectful. Observe these messages I got from friends trying to reschedule something: EXHIBIT A: EXHIBIT B: My friends hedged… Continue reading SLAP #3 Rescheduling appointments without sounding like a jerk… 〜でも…?
That one sentence we use to invite our friends to eat with us. Even if we don't mean it 😉 Cynicism aside, if you're like me, you'll have wondered what is a perfectly natural way to ask your friends to a meal in Japanese. Here's one phrasing I've heard A LOT: 今度ご飯行こう！ [こんど ごはん いこう] Let's get a… Continue reading SLAP #2 “Let’s Get a Meal Sometime!” …whatご飯行こう actually means.
Not knowing how to end sentences in Japanese makes us sound rigid. Today, let's look at a very useful sentence-ender that will make our Japanese sound more natural-- んだよね〜. As featured in an utterance from a Japanese housemate: ゴミ袋探してたんだけど、ないんだよね〜 "I was looking for the garbage bags, but there weren't any (ya know)." Comparison with textbook Japanese: ゴミ袋を探していたの(ん)だけど、ないの(ん)だよね〜 Let's look at some more examples to get a… Continue reading SLAP #1 “I can’t find any garbage bags” …the んだよね〜 of regret
Despite not being a flashcards person, I am loving this app called "Flashcards Deluxe"! Read on to find out how I've converted this powerful program into a vocab notebook. From Vocab Notebook to Flashcard App When I was learning Korean, I started using pocket-sized notebooks with half of a page in my target language and half in my base language(s). I… Continue reading Learning Vocab: How to Make a Vocab Notebook on your Smart Phone