Kanji are Chinese characters that are used in Japanese and replace hiragana for things like nouns, verbs and adjectives. They have to be memorized, as a kanji character reflects the meaning of the word, not how it sounds! Kanji used in groups can also have meanings or pronunciations different from each kanji individually. As examples:
- 本 means "book", but in 日本 it means "origin".
- 日 is pronounced "ni" in 日本 (Japan), but "bi" in 金曜日 (Friday).
In the lesson notes, we'll have the kanji, what it means, the pronunciation and the hiragana equivalent.
です goes at the end of a positive statement (not a question, nor a statement with "not" in it). In this skill, you can treat it as some version of "be" like "I am" or "you are":
- アメリカ人です = I am an American.
If you want to ask a question where the answer has です at the end of it, end the sentence with ですか:
- 中国出身ですか = Are you from China?
The は marker
If you do want to be clear who you're talking about (the subject of a sentence), put it at the beginning of the sentence and put は (which is pronounced "wa" not "ha"!) just after it:
- 中村さんは日本人です = Mr. Nakamura is Japanese.
- はじめまして (hajimemashite) = nice to meet you (meeting for the first time)
- どうぞよろしく (douzo yoroshiku) = nice to meet you
- 人 (jin) = nationality of (じん)
- アメリカ人 (amerika-jin) = American (person) (アメリカじん)
- イギリス人 (igirisu-jin) = British (person) (イギリスじん)
- フランス人 (furansu-jin) = French (person) (フランスじん)
- 出身 (shusshin) = from, come from (しゅっしん)
- アメリカ出身 (amerika shusshin) = from the US (アメリカしゅっしん)
- イギリス出身 (igirisu shusshin) = from the UK (イギリスしゅっしん)
- です (desu) = politeness marker, affirmative, I am/is/are
- 中国 (chuugoku) = China (ちゅうごく)
- 中国人 (chuugoku-jin) = Chinese (person) (ちゅうごくじん)
- 中国出身 (chuugoku shusshin) = from China (ちゅうごくしゅっしん)
- 本 (hon) = book (ほん)
- 日本 (nihon) = Japan (にほん)
- 日本人 (nihon-jin) = Japanese (person) (にほんじん)
- 日本出身 (nihonshusshin) = from Japan (にほんしゅっしん)
- さん (san) = Mr./Mrs./Ms.
- 田中 (tanaka) = Tanaka (family name) (たなか)
- 本田 (honda) = Honda (family name) (ほんだ)
- 田中さん (tanaka-san) = Mr./Mrs./Ms. Tanaka (たなかさん)
- 本田さん (honda-san) = Mr./Mrs./Ms. Honda (ほんださん)
- 言い (ii) = call (いい)
- と言います (toiimasu) = I am called/my name is (といいます)
- は (wa) = topic marker
- はい (hai) = yes
- 学生 (gakusei) = student (がくせい)
- 村 (mura) = mura (むら)
- 中村 (nakamura) = Nakamura (family name) (なかむら)
- か (ka) = question marker