9.2. Dialogue 2


In this dialogue, Shô meets two students from overseas. One is a boy from the U.S., and the other is a girl from China.

(si)(small yo)(u) :(ha)(zi)(me)(ma)(si)(te)(period)
Romanization:Hazimemasite.
Structure:interjection
(nice to meet you)

(continued)(bo)(ku)(ha)  (su)(gi)(ya)(ma)  (si)(small yo)(u)(de)(su)(period)
Romanization:BokuwaSugiyamaShôdesu.
Structure:noun
(I)
topic
marker
noun
(Sugiyama,
a surname)
noun
(Shô,
a given name)
copula
(is + polite)

His surname is one of the hundreds of thousands of surnames in Japan. The most popular ones are (su)(zu)(ki) "Suzuki", (ta)(ka)(ha)(si) "Takahasi", (sa)(to)(u) "Satô", and (ta)(na)(ka) "Tanaka".

(bi)(ru) :(ha)(zi)(me)(ma)(si)(te)(period)
Romanization:Hazimemasite.
Structure:interjection
(nice to meet you)

(continued)(wa)(ta)(si)(ha)  (bi)(ru)  (gu)(ri)(long)(n)(de)(su)(period)
Romanization:WatasiwaBiruGundesu.
Structure:noun
(I)
topic
marker
noun
(Bill,
a given name)
noun
(Green,
a surname)
copula
(is + polite)

Since Japanese morae have a simple structure, writing pronunciations of foreign languages is sometimes difficult. In this case, Bill becomes (bi)(ru) "Biru". The sound of English "l" is changed to Japanese "r", and "u" is added to satisfy the rule that all consonants except (n) "n" must be followed by a vowel.

Foreign proper nouns such as names are written with katakana because they are imported words. You don't have to flip your name order when you speak Japanese.

(continued)(sa)(n)(de)(small i)(e)(go)(ka)(ra)  (ki)(ma)(si)(ta)(period)
Romanization:Sand'iegokarakimasita.
Structure:noun
(San Diego)
ablative
marker
(from)
verb
(came + polite)

Japanese didn't have the pronunciation of the English "di", because the Japanese "di" is pronounced as "ji". Later the combination of (de) "de" and (small i) (small (i) "i") was invented to describe the sound. See the chapter of double kana for imported words.

The ablative case marker (ka)(ra) "kara" is the postposition for the starting point of a movement. It is the same as the English preposition from, and the sentence above means "I came from San Diego."

On the other hand, the postposition for the ending point of a movement is the dative case marker (ni) "ni". It is the same as the English preposition to. I show you two examples (the word for I is omitted) :

Kana:(a)(me)(ri)(ka)(ka)(ra)  (ni)(ho)(n)(ni)  (ki)(ta)(period)
Romanization:AmerikakaraNihonnikita.
Structure:noun
(America)
ablative
marker
(from)
noun
(Japan)
dative
marker
(to)
verb
(came)
Meaning:I came to Japan from America.

Kana:(ka)(re)(ni)  (te)(ga)(mi)(wo)  (o)(ku)(small tu)(ta)(period)
Romanization:Karenitegamiookutta.
Structure:noun
(he)
dative
marker
(to)
noun
(letter)
accu-
sative
marker
verb
(sent)
Meaning:I sent a letter to him.

In both of the sentences above, the English preposition to is used for the Japanese postposition (ni) "ni". You have learned that the dative marker is also used for existence.

(re)(i)(ka) :(do)(u)(mo)(comma)(wa)(n)  (ri)(long)(ho)(wa)(de)(su)(period)
Romanization:mo,Wanhowadesu.
Structure:interjection
(hello)
noun
(Wáng,
a surname)
noun
(Lìhuá,
a given name)
copula
(is + polite)

You have already learned (do)(u)(mo) as "Thank you", but in fact you can also use it as "Hello" and "Nice to meet you", so it is a very useful phrase.

(continued)(ni)(ho)(n)(go)(no)  (ha)(tu)(o)(n)(ha)
Romanization:Nihongonohatuonwa
Structure:noun
(the Japanese language)
genitive
marker
(of)
noun
(pronunciation)
topic
marker

(continued)(o)(u)  (re)(i)(ka)(de)(su)(period)
Romanization:ÔReikadesu.
Structure:noun
(Ô,
a surname)
noun
(Reika,
a given name)
copula
(is + polite)

This sentence means "The Japanese pronunciation (of my name) is Ô Reika." Chinese and Japanese share kanji, but pronunciations are quite different. But kanji carry meanings, so they often allow themselves to be called in different pronunciation, using the same kanji. In this case, the character of her family name, which means king, is pronounced "wáng" in Mandarin and "ô" in Japanese. The first character of her given name, which means elegant, is "lì" in Mandarin and "rei" in Japanese. The second one, which means flower, is "huá" in Mandarin and "ka" in Japanese. My name "Takasugi Shinji" is pronounced "Gāoshān Qīnzhī" in Mandarin.

Also notice that katakana are used for the Chinese pronunciation of her name and hiragana are used for the Japanese pronunciation.

The suffix (go) "go" means language, and it's easy to derive the language name from its spoken area. The only exception is English, which is called (e)(i)(go) "eigo". Its origin is explained later.

CountryLanguage
(ni)(ho)(n)
Nihon
Japan
(ni)(ho)(n)(go)
Nihongo
Japanese
(a)(me)(ri)(ka)
Amerika
the United States
(e)(i)(go)
Eigo
English
(i)(gi)(ri)(su)
Igirisu
the United Kingdom
(ka)(na)(da)
Kanada
Canada
(ka)(n)(ko)(ku)
Kankoku
South Korea
(ka)(n)(ko)(ku)(go)
Kankokugo
Korean
(ta)(i)
Tai
Thailand
(ta)(i)(go)
Taigo
Thai
(ti)(small yu)(u)(go)(ku)
Tyûgoku
China
(ti)(small yu)(u)(go)(ku)(go)
Tyûgokugo
Chinese
(do)(i)(tu)
Doitu
Germany
(do)(i)(tu)(go)
Doitugo
German
(hu)(ra)(n)(su)
Huransu
France
(hu)(ra)(n)(su)(go)
Huransugo
French
(ro)(si)(a)
Rosia
Russia
(ro)(si)(a)(go)
Rosiago
Russian

Note: Not all country names are from their original pronunciations. For example, the Japanese word for the United Kingdom came from Dutch.

You have already learned the suffix (zi)(n) "zin" for people of a country. Since it is simply added after a place name, such as (i)(gi)(ri)(su)(zi)(n) "Igirisuzin" (a British person), it is much easier to derive a people's name than in English.

(continued)(si)(small yu)(small tu)(si)(n)(ha)  (si)(small ya)(n)(ha)(i)(de)(su)(period)
Romanization:SyussinwaSyanhaidesu.
Structure:noun
(hometown, native place)
topic
marker
noun
(Shànghăi)
copula
(is + polite)

You don't have to say words that are clear from context in Japanese. In this sentence, the phrase (wa)(ta)(si)(no) "watashi no" (I + genitive marker = my) before the noun (si)(small yu)(small tu)(si)(n) "syussin" (hometown) is omitted, because it is clear she talks about her hometown.

(si)(small yo)(u) :(ni)(ho)(n)(ni)  (ki)(ta)  (mo)(ku)(te)(ki)(ha)
Romanization:Nihonnikitamokutekiwa
Structure:noun
(Japan)
dative
marker
(to)
verb
(came)
noun
(purpose)
topic
marker

(continued)(na)(n)(de)(su)(ka)(period)
Romanization:nandesuka.
Structure:noun
(what)
copula
(is + polite)
question
marker

The subject, (ni)(ho)(n)(ni) (ki)(ta) (mo)(ku)(te)(ki), is a relative clause that means "the purpose you came to Japan for".

(bi)(ru) :(wa)(ta)(si)(ha)  (sa)(do)(u)(de)(su)(period)
Romanization:Watasiwasadesu.
Structure:noun
(I)
topic
marker
noun
(sadô,
Japanese
traditional art of tea)
copula
(is + polite)

Do not translate this sentence to "I am sadô." Actually it means "I came to Japan for sadô." Information clear from context is scarcely repeated in Japanese, and in this case "came to Japan for" is clear, and you don't have to say it again. But as I have explained, a predicator (either a verb, a copula, or an adjective) is necessary to form a gramatically correct sentence in Japanese, which is why the copula is just added to make the sentence grammatically correct. In addition, it is polite because the polite copula is used. You cannot use the polite mode unless you use a predicator. This structure is very common in Japanese, and you have to understand what predicator is omitted.

The topic, (wa)(ta)(si), cannot be omitted here because it is a selected topic. Shô asked their purpose to come to Japan, and Bill answers only his purpose. If the topic was omitted, he would mean their purpose.

(re)(i)(ka) :(wa)(ta)(si)(ha)  (ni)(ho)(n)(ri)(small yo)(u)(ri)(to)
Romanization:Watasiwanihonryôrito
Structure:noun
(I)
topic
marker
noun
(Japan + cuisine)
group
marker
(and)

(continued)(ma)(n)(ga)(wo)  (ma)(na)(bu)  (tu)(mo)(ri)(de)(su)(period)
Romanization:mangaomanabutumoridesu.
Structure:noun
(manga,
Japanese comic)
accu-
sative
marker
verb
(learn)
noun
(to have a plan
to do ...)
copula
(is + polite)

This sentence means "I have a plan to learn Japanese cuisines and manga". The phrase (tu)(mo)(ri)(de)(su) "tumoridesu" is commonly used to mean you have a plan to do something. Its structure is not important because it is simply added after a sentence.

The group marker (to) "to" is the same as the English word and. Even if there are more than two things in a group, all nouns are often followed by the marker like this:

Kana:(ni)(wa)(to)(ri)(to)  (ko)(to)(ri)(to)  (wa)(ni)
Romanization:niwatoritokotoritowani
Structure:noun
(chicken)
group
marker
(and)
noun
(small bird)
group
marker
(and)
noun
(crocodile)
Meaning:Chickens, small birds, and crocodiles

Just for your interest: The phrase above is a palindrome. Japanese palindromes are based on kana, not on alphabets. It's much easier to make palindromes in Japanese than in English.

(bi)(ru) :(ni)(ho)(n)(ni)(ha)  (ge)(n)(da)(i)(bu)(n)(ka)(to)
Romanization:Nihonniwagendaibunkato
Structure:noun
(Japan)
dative
marker
(to)
topic
marker
noun
(modern + culture)
group
marker
(and)

(continued)(de)(n)(to)(u)(no)  (ri)(small yo)(u)(ho)(u)(ga)
Romanization:dennoryôga
Structure:noun
(tradition)
genitive
marker
(of)
noun
(both)
nomi-
native
marker

(continued)(a)(ri)(ma)(su)(ne)(period)
Romanization:arimasune.
Structure:verb
(exist + polite)
tag
question
marker

Meaning: Japan has both modern culture and tradition, doesn't it?

(re)(i)(ka) :(e)(e)(comma)(so)(re)(ga)  (o)(mo)(si)(ro)(i)(de)(su)(period)
Romanization:Ê,soregaomosiroidesu.
Structure:noun
(yes)
demon-
strative
(that)
nomi-
native
marker
adjective
(interesting + polite)

The subject is not followed by the topic marker, so it is a focus. The translation is "That is the interesting point of Japan," not just "That is interesting."

(bi)(ru) :(wa)(ta)(si)(mo)  (i)(ro)(i)(ro)  (ma)(na)(bu)
Romanization:Watasimoiroiromanabu
Structure:noun
(I)
addition
marker
(also)
adverb
(variously)
verb
(learn)

(continued)(tu)(mo)(ri)(de)(su)(period)
Romanization:tumoridesu.
Structure:noun
(to have a plan
to do ...)
copula
(is + polite)

Meaning: (Not only Reika but also) I am planning to learn various things.

(si)(small yo)(u) :(bo)(ku)(mo)  (de)(ki)(ru)(da)(ke)
Romanization:Bokumodekirudake
Structure:noun
(I)
addition
marker
(also)
adverb
(as much as possible)

(continued)(ki)(small yo)(u)(ri)(small yo)(ku)(si)(ma)(su)(period)
Romanization:kyôryokusimasu.
Structure:verb
(cooperate, help + polite)

Meaning: (You make effort and) I also help you as much as possible.

The verb (ki)(small yo)(u)(ri)(small yo)(ku) (su)(ru) "kyôryoku suru" (cooperate) is the combination of the noun (ki)(small yo)(u)(ri)(small yo)(ku) "kyôryoku" (cooperation) and the verb (su)(ru) "suru" (do).

Remember the Japanese nonpast tense means either present or future.

(bi)(ru)(to) (re)(i)(ka) :(a)(ri)(ga)(to)(u)  (go)(za)(i)(ma)(su)(period)
Romanization:Arigagozaimasu.
Structure:interjection
(thank you very much)

The second dialogue is now over. All the sentences are shown below again.

(si)(small yo)(u) :(ha)(zi)(me)(ma)(si)(te)(period)(bo)(ku)(ha)   (su)(gi)(ya)(ma)   (si)(small yo)(u)(de)(su)(period)
(bi)(ru) :(ha)(zi)(me)(ma)(si)(te)(period)(wa)(ta)(si)(ha)   (bi)(ru)   (gu)(ri)(long)(n)(de)(su)(period)
(sa)(n)(de)(small i)(e)(go)(ka)(ra)   (ki)(ma)(si)(ta)(period)
(re)(i)(ka) :(do)(u)(mo)(comma)(wa)(n)   (ri)(long)(ho)(wa)(de)(su)(period)
(ni)(ho)(n)(go)(no)   (ha)(tu)(o)(n)(ha)   (o)(u)   (re)(i)(ka)(de)(su)(period)
(si)(small yu)(small tu)(si)(n)(ha)   (si)(small ya)(n)(ha)(i)(de)(su)(period)
(si)(small yo)(u) :(ni)(ho)(n)(ni)   (ki)(ta)   (mo)(ku)(te)(ki)(ha)   (na)(n)(de)(su)(ka)(period)
(bi)(ru) :(wa)(ta)(si)(ha)   (sa)(do)(u)(de)(su)(period)
(re)(i)(ka) :(wa)(ta)(si)(ha)   (ni)(ho)(n)(ri)(small yo)(u)(ri)(to)   (ma)(n)(ga)(wo)   (ma)(na)(bu)   (tu)(mo)(ri)(de)(su)(period)
(bi)(ru) :(ni)(ho)(n)(ni)(ha)   (ge)(n)(da)(i)(bu)(n)(ka)(to)   (de)(n)(to)(u)(no)
(ri)(small yo)(u)(ho)(u)(ga)   (a)(ri)(ma)(su)(ne)(period)
(re)(i)(ka) :(e)(e)(comma)(so)(re)(ga)   (o)(mo)(si)(ro)(i)(de)(su)(period)
(bi)(ru) :(wa)(ta)(si)(mo)   (i)(ro)(i)(ro)   (ma)(na)(bu)   (tu)(mo)(ri)(de)(su)(period)
(si)(small yo)(u) :(bo)(ku)(mo)   (de)(ki)(ru)(da)(ke)   (ki)(small yo)(u)(ri)(small yo)(ku)(si)(ma)(su)(period)
(bi)(ru)(to)   (re)(i)(ka) :(a)(ri)(ga)(to)(u)   (go)(za)(i)(ma)(su)(period)


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