Honorific Speech in Japanese - Kenjougo (謙譲語)

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Welcome to this other page! This article is devoted to Japanese humble language, kenjougo 謙譲語. In English, there isn't a way to humbly express an action unless you say 'I humbly...'. You use this speech when referring to yourself or inner circle, like family and close friends. When using kenjougo you are belittling yourself in order to automatically raise the person with whom you are speaking. However, this is only true if you are speaking with someone in a higher position than you. When ...

Honorific Speech - Sonkeigo (2nd Article of 3)

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Welcome to the this page! This article is on the beastly sonkeigo 尊敬語, Japanese respectful language. Sonkeigo, or keigo, is used when you are speaking with or about someone who is well respected, has your respect, or has a respectful position, such as any member of a royal family, presidents, professors/teachers, or senpai (big brother or sister in a club or company). You will often be the recipient of sonkeigo when in a Japanese restaurant. However, you never ever speak about yourself in ...

Honorific Speech - Teineigo (First Article of Three)

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Japan has an amazing history and culture, and many of its customs, such as bowing to another person, are related to the concept of respect. In Japanese, there are 4 levels of speech that reflect this concept: casual/informal speech, polite language 丁寧語 (teineigo), respectful language 尊敬語 (sonkeigo), and humble language 謙譲語 (kenjougo). The first two are pretty simple. Casual form is used with people with whom you have an intimate relationship, such as friends, family, and significant ...

Counters in Japanese

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One of the most difficult grammar points of Japanese is counters. As opposed to English, in Japanese there are only a few plural nouns, like 私たち, so you have to add number words, or counters, for the different things you want to pluralize; you can't just attach a number to a thing (well, you can but you'll be grammatically incorrect). Basically, the rule is that the thing you're pluralizing goes before its corresponding counter. For example, if you want to say '2 apples,' you do not say ...

Japanese Onomatopoeia

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Ah, onomatopoeia, the spice of life! One of the pleasures of speaking Japanese is being able to use onomatopoeia. It's everywhere - in manga, anime, television adverts, books, music, newspapers, conversations - you name it and it's there! This article will open your eyes to this beautiful world of オノマトペ! オノマトペ and Rules Giseigo Giongo Gitaigo Extras!   オノマトペ and Rules Believe it or not, English is a hard language. You can have several words that can mean the same thing. ...

What is the difference between Miru and Mirareru? 日本語の文法

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A lot of students at Hills Learning that are learning Japanese have questions on grammar. I found this question in particular to be of significance, and felt that it had been repeated quite a few times. So I decided to write an article on it! What is the difference " miru" and "mirareru"? 「見る」 と 「見られる」 見る? 見られる? For Japanese learners,  it is sometime confusing to differentiate 「見る」and 「見られる」. Here is the tip; 「見る」 (人が主語-subject) ○ 見ます  × 見ません (物が主語)例: 見えます be ...

Japanese Sentence Structure Introduction

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Probably the first thing you have to learn when learning a language (other than your native one) is sentence structure. Even if you know grammar and vocab, without knowledge of sentence structure, you can’t build a sentence properly. But before I get into Japanese sentence structure, let me delve a little into linguistics. As linguistics is the science of (human) language, it’s good to know some of the mechanics behind the language(s) you want to study. Please bear with me as I explain ...

The Art of Speaking Japanese - "Chunking" Level 2

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A few weeks ago I wrote an article on “chunking.” This was a good article, I felt, which introduced a very critical concept for native English-speakers learning Japanese. Simply put, “chunking” means to treat long strings of modifiers along with the modified noun (usually) or action as a “chunk,” a unit. Longish Japanese sentences can look complicated and complex when they’re actually very simple, structurally. Chunking is a tool I use in my daily life as a translator to really make sense of ...

The Art of Speaking Japanese - "Chunking"

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As native English-speakers learning Japanese, there are a few extra tools that’ll really help you make sense of what’s going on in the more complex Japanese sentences. In this lesson I want to introduce you to one of them l call “chunking.” Long Japanese sentences can look complicated and complex when they’re actually very simple, structurally. Chunking means to identify those inclusive “chunks” of text which’ll help you parse the sentence into more easily manageable and understandable ...