Talking about Possession in Japanese: Basic Grammar for Beginners

Today I want to talk about possession.

I’m talking grammatical possession here, NOT the Grudge-type possession.

Yikes.

(How do people watch that sorta spooky stuff, anyways?)

the grudge

This simple intro and explanation of possession is a great early grammar lesson for beginners, even those of you still in the hiragana and katakana learning stages.  I kept this really basic, I promise.

In English, we can indicate possession by using the words, my/mine/your/yours/his/hers/ours/theirs, or adding ‘s.

But in Japanese, we use the particle:   (pronounced: no).

Particles (in case you’re familiar with them yet) are a bit like the little laundry tags attached to the neck of t-shirts.

clothing tag

Except Japanese particles at attached to the ends of Japanese words in a sentence, not the back of your shirt.

And instead of giving you care instructions for your clothes, they give you grammatical “care instructions” for Japanese words.

And instead of chaffing your tender neck flesh, they burn your precious brain cells.

patrick

At least that’s how I feel for now. Hopefully particles won’t be such a painful part of speech down the road. Only time will tell. 🙂

Let’s start with some basic possessive pronouns created with the  particle:

Yours, Mine, Ours

There’s also:

HIS: かれの (kareno – pronounced ka-ray-no_

HERS: かのじょの (kanojyono – pronounced ka-no-joe-no)

Here’s the basic sentence structure for using  の as a possessive particle.

basic possessive sentence structure

As you can see, it’s pretty simple. You can also see how to use the particle to indicate possession with ‘s, as is done in English.

Lastly, here’s how to use the  particle to indicate possession in question sentences.

basic possessive sentence structure for questions

だれ (dare – pronounced da-ray) means whose.

です (desu), which is a verb coupla meaning. it is or to be.

The  (ka) at the end of the sentence is used as a question particle. (I can go more into the ka particle later)

You could also get more specific and ask: だれのすしですか?Whose sushi is that?

And a simple response might be: わたしのです。It is mine. OR あなたのです。It is yours.

Like I said, this is just a super simple intro and explanation to some really basic possessive Japanese grammar. Nothing fancy, just another small piece of the Japanese language learning puzzle. I hope you found it helpful. 🙂

Other links for learning possessive particle and grammar in Japanese:

PuniPuni Japan 

The Japanese Page

Thanks for reading!

Shiga Shar

If you enjoyed this post or learned something new, please share it on social media and consider donating a few bucks toward my 2017 Goodwill trip to Shiga through PayPal.

ありがとう // Arigatou // Thank you!

LET’S CONNECT AT THESE PLACES TOO  🙂

Instagram

Facebook

 

Advertisements

Motivation, Meltdowns, and Motherhood Mental Health: My First Four Months of Japanese Self Study

Four months goes by fast, you guys. Not only am I four months into my Japanese studies, I’m only four months away from my big trip to Japan.

picard

I know that the trip doesn’t require any Japanese language skills, but I’m pushing myself like a crazy lady because really really REALLY want to be able to chat a bit with natives, my host family, and believe familiarity with Japanese will help enrich my overall experience in Japan.

I was doing great with my studies until February when we got our income tax returns filed in February. I was hoping to use this money to pay for my trip (including spending money), but the amount was half of what I was expecting. I dry-heaved and cried for a few days, and gave up on studying for almost a week while I wallowed in self-pity and snacks.

heartbroken

After a week, I told my husband that one way or another the rest of the money would come. I wasn’t sure how, I just believed it would. My dream was too big to me to just let it fizzle out because of stupid money. Even as I write this, I’m still short on funds. I’ve sent in my application fee of $200, and need to pay the first installment in early July, then the rest in early August.

The rest money will come. I just gotta believe.

believe

Picking up language learning after that week or so break was rough. I was surprised how much I’d forgotten. It totally bummed me out, but the experienced was good motivation for never making the same mistake again. It took around a week or two of super diligent practice to get back on track again, but I did it.

Language Learning Tip: If you can help it, don’t miss a day of practice! A few minutes of practice is better than doing nothing at all.

Once I got my groove back, I hit yet another wall in my studies. Memorizing phrases and vocabulary wasn’t enough. I needed to study grammar, but I was scared. I spent the entire month of April tearfully navigating grammar.

grammar cry

Honestly, grammar isn’t so bad once you have learning resources that bore or frustrate you. The Japanese from Zero videos (info below) and the Memrise App grammar levels (info below) have worked best for me so far. What I love most about grammar is finally being able to write and read basic sentences, not just memorizing them. It’s so rewarding!!!

So let’s move on to the tools I’ve used during my first four months of learning and my goals for the rest of the year.

Study Tools for January – April 2017

Memrise App for iPhone

I friggin’ love Memrise!!! I don’t think I’d be as far along in my learning without it.

What I completed from Jan. 2017 to April 2017:

  • Basic Katakana
  • Introduction to Japanese
  • Japanese 1
  • Japanese 2
  • Started JLPT N5 Grammar & JLPT N5 Vocab

My next Memrise App learning goals are to complete the levels listed below along with Japanese 3, JLPT N5 Readings, and Beginner’s Japanese Grammer 1 (JLPT N5 Grammar) before my trip to Japan in September.

I don’t know how or if my phone will work in Japan for the 10 days that I’m there, but I’m hoping to at least keep up with my review words while I’m there. If not, my plan is to spend the rest of September catching up on reviewing all my words.

Oct. through December goals are to get started on JLPT N4 Vocab, JLPT N4 Readings, and regularly review all completed words as needed to keep them fresh in my mind.

MLC Learning Center (Meguro Language Center) Free Online Resources

My goal for my first year of learning Japanese is to learn the first grade level kanji, along with any others that appear in my Memrise studies.

I have the Basic Kanji 120 MOSTLY memorized.

  • Basic Kanji 120 Lesson (first grade kanji). Sign up to get the e-mail lesson for free HERE. There is also an option on the page to download the whole booklet at all once.

Japanese from Zero Video Series on YouTube

I didn’t discover these until my second month or so learning Japanese. The videos are created to go along with the book series, but have a lot to offer even if don’t have the books.

View the Playlist HERE.

JISHO.ORG

Website HERE. Jisho is a free online Japanese dictionary. It’s crazy useful for learning kanji, vocabulary, and general reference. I use it a lot when I’m trying to figure out words or kanji in captions on Instagram by native Japanese speakers. It’s also useful for learning stroke order of kanji if you’re practicing handwriting.

Instagram

I wrote a post HERE about accounts to follow on Instagram if you’re learning Japanese. The other way I use Instagram is by making friends with natives speakers and other nice folks learning Japanese. I absolutely love my IG friends! 🙂

Instagram has forced me to look up kanji, read/translate, figure out how to create sentences, and have conversation with native speakers through a sort of digital immersion.

The Results (So Far)

I’m pretty darn with happy with how much I’ve learned in such a short amount of time. There is no reason to let limited funds or limited time set you back from learning a new language. I’m proof of that.

Thanks to the Internet, there are hundreds of incredible free ways to learn a new language without ever having to ever leave your house or put on pants if you don’t want to. If you have a smart phone and/or computer, you can learn a new language.

As far as finding time. Well, it really comes down to priorities. I spend WAY less time in Facebook, which has not only given me more time to practice Japanese, I feel like I have way less negativity in my daily life. I also feel like spending my last half-hour before bed practicing Japanese has helped me sleep better, too.

And as crazy as this may sound, I feel like learning Japanese is making me a better mother.  Instead of having a glass of wine at night to unwind, I practice Japanese. And to be honest, I think my nightly “wine-down” was negatively impacting my health and well-being, including my sleep habits. As of today, I’ve been “sober” for a little over two months.

I also feel like the intellectually satisfying part of learning Japanese has given me more self-confidence and self-appreciation. It’s like the self-care practice I’d been missing to help maintain daily balance in my life. If I’m feeling stressed out or in need of “me time,” I grab a cup of tea or coffee (sometimes a snack), and study Japanese. I love it.

I look forward to what the future holds for my Japanese learning experience. I’ve even recently thought about how I might be able to use my skills for some kind of job, perhaps once all my little ones are grown up and done with homeschooling. A bit of extra income around these parts would be a huge bonus, for sure.

Thanks for reading!

Shiga Shar

If you enjoyed this post or learned something new, please share it on social media and consider donating a few bucks toward my 2017 Goodwill trip to Shiga through PayPal.

ありがとう // Arigatou // Thank you!

LET’S CONNECT AT THESE PLACES TOO  🙂

Instagram

Facebook

Today’s Weather Is… {Japanese Lesson} + Free Worksheet

IMG_5016

This week we’re learning about how to talk about today’s weather in Japanese.

This is the closet door in our dining room, where I’ve set up a little sticky note station for this activity. The kids enjoy fighting over who gets to put up the daily weather sticker each morning. 🙂 And because we live in Michigan, sometimes we get to change this out multiple times a day.

mich weather

 

JAPANESE WEATHER RESOURCES

Here are a few other places to learn weather related Japanese lessons:

My Weather – Japanese Pinterest Board

Japanese Vocabulary – Weather in Japanese – Tenki 天気   (perfect for younger kids)

Waku Waku Japanese – Language Lesson 17: Weather  (older kids, teens, & adults)

Japanese Weather & Word Vocabulary

Japan Meteorological Agency   (Has both English & Japanese)

FREE WORKSHEET

I also made a worksheet for my older kids that I thought I’d share here for those interested. It’s nothing fancy. Just something I whipped up on Canva quick for my older kids. Click The Weather Is… to download the free printable .pdf worksheet.

The Weather Is...

 

See you later! またね! (matane!)

Shiga Shar

If you enjoyed this post or learned something new, please share it on social media and consider donating a few bucks toward my 2017 Goodwill trip to Shiga through PayPal.

ありがとう // Arigatou // Thank you!

 

LET’S CONNECT THESE PLACES TOO  🙂

Instagram

Facebook

 

APP REVIEW: Hiragana Touch Robo Free

IMG_4974

Hiragana Touch Robo

JAPANESE LANGUAGE SKILL LEVEL REQUIRED: Beginner

AGE: Any Age (family friendly)

COST: Free

(Do be aware that there are ads with free apps, including this one, which may occasionally not be suitable for very young children. We played this several times and did not see any inappropriate ads, though.)

Description From the Developer:

“Hiragana. It’s a Japanese curvy letter. Let’s study these letters with fun! Find a ball with Hiragana shown by Robo. (10 letters in all 46 letters will be on the test) When you correct, Robo’s power reduced. Now the time to beat the Robo!”

Review:

Hiragan Touch Robo is a super simple way to familiarize yourself with the hiragana characters. The only problem I had with this app is that the hiragana characters are difficult to read when they’re bouncing and changing directions. Obviously this is part of the challenge, but young players may struggle to identify the characters when they’re wafting about in strange directions. Overall, it’s an entertaining app, but not one we’ll probably delete after a week when the novelty wears off.

 

IMG_4974        IMG_4969        IMG_4972

 

See you later! またね! (matane!)

Shiga Shar

If you enjoyed this post or learned something new, please share it on social media and consider donating a few bucks toward my 2017 Goodwill trip to Shiga through PayPal.

ありがとう/Arigatou/Thank you!

 

How to Begin Learning Japanese

I’m not going to lie, at first glance, Japanese looked super intimidating. None of the characters seem to resemble familiar letters or make any sort of sense. I wasn’t really sure it was something I could teach myself, let alone teach my children, especially since I had no idea where to even begin learning. After about three days scouring the web, I came up with a handful of resources that are great for newbies, free, and fun to use. Hopefully, this post will prevent the newbie overload I faced when beginning my Japanese learning journey.

Before you start learning Japanese, you should know that the Japanese language is called, Nihongo. It’s made up of two main parts of the Japanese language: Kana  and Kanji.

Japanese Language MemeKana consists of Hiragana and Katakana. These are called, syllabaries, which are like alphabets made up of sounds. These should be learned BEFORE learning Kanji. They each have 48 characters, and are rather similar, but I’ll show you more about that in a moment.

 Kanji are the thousands of symbolic characters. You know, the ones you always see tattoo’d on the biceps of 20-year-olds.

And sometimes, you’ll also see Romaji, which is the English spelling/pronunciation of Japanese words, such as konnichiwa.

Here’s an example of the ‘A’ Kana.

Japanese A (1)

The A sounds like the “ah” sound you’d make when the doctor tells you to open wide to look at your tonsils.

If you look closely, you can see hidden letter A’s in the hiragana and katakana. Little tricks like this are incredibly helpful tricks for memorizing the kana.

I recommend learning both hiragana and katakana together. It helps you see similarities between characters and get through the memorization process quicker. I’d say that the average adult should be able to memorize the kana in about a month if you practice for at least 15 minutes or so a day.

Now on to the resources….

MY FAVORITE FREE JAPANESE LEARNING RESOURCES

Memrise App – The app is free, but you can upgrade the service to access other features. My 13-year-old and I both love this app!

Miraii Japanese App – The first 20 lessons are free, and super helpful for learning some basic grammar and vocab.

Puni Puni Japan – Cute videos of colorful little blob aliens who want to learn Japanese. I think it’s aimed toward younger children (my youngest adores these videos), but they’re fun for all ages. They also offer a set of free e-books to learn Kana and Kanji when you sign up for their newsletter.

Tofugu.com – This is a link to Japanese language learning resource page, which includes some of their own resources. Their Ultimate Hiragana Guide is awesome!!! Tofugu offers hilarious (sometimes a bit vulgar) articles and makes learning Japanese language and culture a lot of fun.

Japanese From Zero – I just signed my 13-year-old up for this a few days ago, but he hasn’t done a lesson yet. It’s basically a free virtual Japanese classroom, and looks pretty awesome. I’ll have to report back once my son gives it a whirl.

YouTube – There are far too many videos for me to list, but you can find a TON of helpful language learning videos on YouTube. You can check out my Resource page for a few specific channels I’ve tried and liked so far.

Have fun learning Japanese and don’t forget to

Ganbatte! Do your best! 頑張って! (がんばって!) 

Shiga Shar

If you enjoyed this post or learned something new, please share it on social media and consider donating a few bucks toward my 2017 Goodwill trip to Shiga through PayPal. Arigato/Thank you!

 

How to Count to Five in Japanese & Two Free Worksheets

Count to Five

 

A few years ago I found these cool dry erase marker boards pictured above, and they are one of my favorite homeschool tools. They allow you to put traceable worksheets underneath a clear dry erase board to save you paper and make learning easier on the go. If you don’t have these boards, a simple plastic pocket page  works just as well.

Another fun way to use these worksheets is to simply print them up and use watercolors to trace the kanji. This is also a good small motor exercise for children. Of course, you can always just use markers or crayons if you’d like, too. And adults are free to use these too, I’m just sharing how I use them as a part of homeschooling my children.

How to Count to Five in Japanese 

Here’s quick phonetic run-down of the pronunciation of 1 through 5 in Japanese.

ONE: ichi (ee chee)

TWO: ni (knee

THREE: san (sahn)

FOUR: yon (yone)

FIVE: go (go)

For the worksheets, just click and it will open up a .pdf for you to print and save. If you have any problems or questions, feel free to post them in the comments section.

1-5 number writing practice sheet

kanji 1-5

Thanks for reading,

Shiga Shar

If you enjoyed this post or learned something new, please share it on social media and consider donating a few bucks toward my 2017 Goodwill trip to Shiga through PayPal. Arigato/Thank you!