Lesson 1 Basic Grammar

The basic lesson will be taught with roman letters and Hiragana. I suggest that the best way is to learn hiragana and then follow the lesson or do both at the same time. However, if you do not wish to learn hiragana at this time you can follow this lesson as well. The hiragana script follows the roman script examples.

The most basic sentence structure will be explained. This will be the explanation of the word desu です. In normal pronunciation it is pronounced “des“. However, in politer speech you will hear the “su” すof  “desu“ です. To make it easy we will start with the sentence ” I am Taro” (Taro is a Japanese boys name).  To say this in Japanese it is:
Watashi wa Taro desu.
“I” in Japanese is “watashi” わたし.
So a pattern is:
(A) wa (B) desu.
To say  “my name is__” just say this:
Watashi wa (put your name here) desu.
わたしは(Put your name here)です。

The wa in this sentence is what is called the subject particle. It shows that the word before it is the subject of the sentence. In writing wa as a particle, the hiragana ha は is used.

This term particle will show up during your study of Japanese. It refers to a one syllable marker in a sentence that shows a certain words relation to the verb, subject etc.  Some examples of these are: wa, no, ni, (w)o, ga, ka, and de.
は、の、に、を、が、か and で.

To further expand this basic structure one must get familiar with these words: kore, sore, are, dore. In English they are (in the same order) this, that,that over there, and which one. 
Notice how they start with  ko, so, a, and do. こ、そ、あ 、ど。
This is a pattern that will been seen often with other similar words such as kokosokoasoko, and doko. Which in English are: here, there, over there, and where.

You can think of these words basically in this way, ko words are things near the speaker, so words are things near the listener, a words are things away from both the listener and speaker, and the do words that are the question words.

So to make some sentences from these we will use these examples:

This is an apple.
Apple in Japanese is ringo. りんご
Kore wa ringo desu.

That is a book.
Book in Japanese is hon. ほん
Sore wa hon desu.

That over there is a car.
Car in Japanese is kuruma. くるま
Are wa kuruma desu.

To make a question out of the basic sentence you place the particle ka か at the end. This is the question particle.
Which book is yours?
Yours in Japanese is made up of the word anata あなた meaning you and the possession particle no の.
anata no hon wa dore desu ka?

Next is how to say “what is this?” using the basic sentence pattern. The word for “what” in Japanese in nan なん or nani なに depending on what kind of sentence it is being used in.
What is this?
Kore wa nan desu ka?

Of course you can make this work with each of the ko, soa, and do words.
Here is how to say:
What is your name?
Name in Japanese is namae なまえ.
Anata no namae wa nan desu ka?

Negative Form of desu です.
The negative form of desu is dewa arimasen ではありません。Notice that the wa は in dewa では ihiragana ha は.
This is easy to use. For example to say:
I am not Taro.
You say:
watashi wa tarou dewa arimasen.
That is not an apple.
sore wa ringo dewa arimasen.

As you can see the basic grammar of Japanese is easy. Practice these sentences by making up your own.
Any mistakes or errors please e-mail to aaron@JapaneseLearning.com.