Attempting to learn Japanese...
Post Total: 29 Latest posts
Hello and welcome back to my series on the pesky に particle! Even though it seems like it has tons of uses, I hope that in Part 1 I showed a common thread between uses that express existence (whether it was as a destination, as a result of moving or as a result of moving something).
In Part 2, we talked about に in regards to the verb もらう and the receptive form of verbs. In this post, let’s look at the flip side of receiving, which is giving. Here is your vocabulary list:
【内外 and Giving Culture】
Before we get into how we use に, let’s talk about a very important part of Japanese culture. 内外 literally means “inside and outside”. It is the idea of separating the world into two groups. The inside group includes yourself and people close to you. The outside group is made up of everyone else. In my mind, I picture it something like this:
When it comes to the idea of giving (and also receiving) Japanese society is made up of a circle inside another circle inside a box. You are in the middle of your own circle (this is the 内). Outside of that is a circle made up of people that are close to you. Finally outside of these two circles is the outside world (this is 外).
People are constantly moving between the green circle and the blue box. You might go out to drink with a coworker and really connect with him or her. BOOM! They level up from the blue into the green circle. On the other hand, you might meet someone and have a really good time (innocent of course!). From their perspective, you’ve moved into their green circle. However if you don’t see them again for a year, you might end up back in the blue (again, from their perspective)! It is a complicated situation that sometimes leads to confusion and hurt feelings.
For now though, let’s just focus on the concept of giving, because that always makes people feel better, right? .
【くれる and あげる】
The two main verbs of giving are くれる and あげる. They often cause confusion but the only difference lies in the direction of the giving. くれる implies giving in the direction towards the black “self-circle” while あげる implies giving in the direction going towards the blue “outside world” .
Here are some examples with くれる.① 彼女は｛私に｝時計を｛くれた｝。*= She gave me a watch.② 友達が本を２冊｛貸してくれた｝。= My friend lent me 2 books.③ 誰が｛あなたに｝英会話を｛教えてくれる｝のですか？*= Who gave you the action of teaching English conversation?= Who taught you English conversation?
Notice that just like もらう, くれる can be used as a helping verb to show someone doing an action for you or your in-group.
* If you were to leave out the 私に bundle in example 1, the sentence would still make sense because くれる kind of assumes that you benefited from the giving. Example 3 is asking who taught you. The answer could be anyone, but the person asking the question is assuming that it is someone outside of the listener’s circle.
Now, here are some examples with あげる:④ 私が｛彼に｝漫画を｛あげた｝。= I gave him a manga.⑤ 妹が｛トムに｝プレゼントを｛あげた｝。**= My little sister gave Tom a present.⑥ 健太は｛フランコに｝腕時計を｛あげた｝。**= Kenta gave Franco a watch.⑦ 私は｛息子に｝おもちゃを｛買ってあげる｝つもりです。= I plan to give the action of buying a toy to my son.= I plan to buy a toy for my son.
While くれる shows giving in the direction towards the black self-circle, あげる is a little more flexible. It can show giving either in the direction towards the blue outside box,or between two parties in the blue outside box. You don’t always have to be involved.
*In example 5, the subject is the speaker or writer’s little sister. However, she would be in the green circle while Tom is someone in the blue box.
**In Example 6, both Kenta and Tom are simply people from the blue box. (It would be weird if Japanese could only express giving between people connected to us.)
【に With くれる and あげる】
Did you notice how に is used in these examples associated with giving? When it comes to giving, に marks the receiver of the object or the action. In a way, it’s similar to the Result of Moving Something function from the Part 1 post. に marks where the action or object stops and exists after the giving.
【くれる and あげる Verb Families】
As it turns out, both くれる and あげる have related verbs that have the same meaning but express different levels of politeness. Depending on the situation, Japanese speakers use different verbs to show appropriate politeness to either the giver or the receiver. The 5 verbs are as follows:
Giving to the Outside: あげる、差し上げる、やる
Giving towards your in-group: くれる、くださる
Here is a chart that shows how the verbs you use can change the nuance of your sentence:
While this is slightly advanced, it is a very important part of Japanese. I think it’s good to at least be aware of the different verbs that you come across when listening or reading Japanese.
【に With Verbs of Transfer】
There are many other verbs that express a form of giving in Japanese. They have different meanings but at the end of the day, something is transferred from one person to another. When you use these verbs of transfer, に will mark the destination of the item being given.⑧｛彼に｝５ドールを｛払った｝。= To him 5 dollars I paid= I paid him 5 dollars.⑨ 私は車の盗まれたことを｛警察に｝｛届けた｝。= I the stealing of my/the car to the police reported= I reported the stealing of the car to the police.⑩｛アンに｝送った本はどちらでしたか。= To Anne, the sent book was which one?= Which book did you send to Anne?
【に With Verbs of Communication】
The last type of verbs we should talk about are verbs of communication. With these verbs instead of physical items or favorable actions, it’s information that is being given or transferred. に marks the person or party that receives the communication.⑪ 誰が｛彼女に｝英語の話し方を｛教えた｝のですか？= Who taught her how to speak English?⑫ 警察が｛彼らに｝止まりなさいと｛言った｝。= The police told them “stop!”⑬ マリーは｛私に｝ドライブが楽しかったと｛話した｝。= Mary told me that the drive was fun.⑭｛彼に｝｛電話したら｝どうですか？= to him, if you called, how would it be?= How about you call him?⑮ 私が｛ジムに｝｛連絡します｝。= I, to Jim, will reach out= I will get in touch with / contact Jim.
In the above examples, the person or people marked with に are where the information or messages stop. They are in a way, the destination of the communication.
に (just like all particles) assigns a different meaning to whatever it’s attached to. This meaning comes from the verb, so I recommend thinking of verbs in terns of what they have in common. In Part 2 we looked at もらう and the receptive form of verbs. In this post we looked at くれる, あげる and 2 other kinds of verbs that can be considered as a form of giving. I hope this helps you get a better picture of how the に particle works. Here is a chart that puts all the information together for you:
In the next and last post about に, we’ll take a look at some miscellaneous but still important and common uses of the particle. As always, I want to thank you for reading, for your likes and for your reblogs! Stay safe, and see you next time!
Rice & Peace,
– AL (アル)
- 大きい【おおきい】 big
- 小さい【ちいさい】 small
- 可愛い【かわいい】 cute
- きれい（な） pretty, clean
- 素敵（な）【すてき】 lovely
- 美味しい【おいしい】 delicious
- 良い【いい】 good
- 便利（な）【べんり】 convenient
- 面白い【おもしろい】 interesting
- 丈夫（な）【じょうぶ】 robust
- 重い【おもい】 heavy
- 軽い【かるい】 light
- 厚い【あつい】 thick
- 薄い【うすい】 thin
- 安い【やすい】 cheap
- 高い【たかい】 expensive
- 難しい【むずかしい】 difficult
- 易しい【やさしい】 easy
- 珍しい【めずらしい】 rare
- おしゃれ（な） stylish
- 白い【しろい】 white
- 黒い【くろい】 black
- 赤い【あかい】 red
- 青い【あおい】 blue
- 新しい【あたらしい】 new
- 古い【ふるい】 old
- 冷たい【つめたい】 cold
- 熱い【あつい】 hot
- 暖かい【あたたかい】 warm
“what’s your name?"
⚠️We add お(o) to make it sound polite.
What’s your name?
WaniKani for Kanji Studies
WaniKani, for all your kanji learning needs~
WaniKani, the glorious, glorious site that’s been a permanent tab on my computer for years. Boy, where do I even begin to describe the wonder that is this kanji studying website and its community? Actually, other than the very basics I’ll probably stick to mentioning the things I personally love about it and let you explore the ins and outs of the page on your own, because the WK community site already has loads and loads of guides, support, and tips ‘n tricks for you if you want to give it a go and need someone to point you in the right direction. Oh, and then there’s alsothe official knowledge guide which includes FAQ, of course. Heaps of information on there. Totally recommend it. ✨
“Everything you need to know about waiting a really long time for your precious reviews”
“Okay, okay, we get it. But, what is WaniKani?” Ah. Right. Well, first things first, in Japanese ワニ (wani) means crocodile, or alligator, and カニ (kani) means crab. The mascot for the page is the
almightyCrabigator that is more or less worshipped by the community. If you venture into the weird parts of it, that is. But if you’re not into that stuff you can just. Y’know. Forget everything I just wrote and pretend it doesn’t exist.
Through WK you get to memorise both kanji and vocabulary containing the kanji you learn. 2,000 kanji may sound like intimidatingly many squiggles and lines to learn, but nope! WK’s got your back! Instead of memorising each and every line, you learn using radicals. Suddenly you’ll look at a kanji and see three radicals instead of 10+ strokes. Magic ✨ You’ll also learn the different pronunciations/readings of the kanji, and when you learn new vocabulary you’ll have a bunch of example sentences of varying difficulty help you see the word in its proper context.
Kanji readings made easy. And fun!
The learning process is separated into different levels (60 in total), each containing a certain amount of radicals, kanji, and vocabulary. There is a “Lessons” button for learning new stuff, and a “Reviews” button for reviewing the stuff you’ve previously learnt. Easy peasy, right?
Welp, that’s essentially the gist of it. I’ll now introduce some of the things I love about WK real quick:
- First few levels for free - this way you’ll get a feel for how WK works while at the same time learn some basic kanji. Then you’re free to choose which type of membership you’d like to purchase (if any). (It’s so worth it though, if you ask me)
- SRS: spaced repetition system - to optimise learning based on how human memory works. Greatly appreciated by my psychology major brain
- The design, art, layout - clean, colourful, pretty, simplistic, professional, and easy to use only begins to describe it! Besides, how could we possibly hope to learn anything at all if the page weren’t aesthetically pleasing, amirite
- Humour - good god there’s nothing worse than really dry textbook material. How about some
really dryhumour instead? Believe me, there are some GEMS in the example sentences
- Game-like - the level up system makes you want to keep going back for more so you can level up. It’s sort of like that TED-talk about the Super Mario Effect: you’re so engrossed in the “I want to level up!” mindset that you forget that you’re actually learning heaps of useful kanji in the process
- Community - whether you want someone to answer your questions about those pesky particles, want to laugh at extremely disproportionate manga drawings people have found while reading, want to practice chatting in Japanese with fellow learners, want a morale boost by checking out some wholesome doodles and gifs,
lowkey want to join a Crabigator cultor want to join a Japanese book club - the WK community is the place to go. I just wanted to learn some kanji, man. Who would’ve thought I’d make actual, solid friendships? Aw. Wholesome
And last but not least:
- The Tofugu guys who run the show - accommodating, kind, funny, professional, and quick to reply if something’s up. You see them lurking around in the community posts sometimes. You should totally consider checking out their articles about Japan and Japanese learning over on their blog, Tofugu. Super helpful! Or their podcast about the same stuff. All good times over there. (One of my personal faves is probably the one about ようかい.) They’re also currently working on developing a Japanese-learning-online-textbook-type of thing (…nailed it) called EtoEto. Super excited for that!
And that’s that on that! If you have any questions about WK just send me an ask or pop by the WK Community (my @ in case you want to say hi: Alolvovan). Happy kanji learning! 頑張って！
(ashita gakko iku?)
“ Will you go to school tomorrow?”
文法【ぶんぽう】 ・ Grammar
- Nです ・ Nでした
- V-ます ・ V-ました
- [object (complement)]を V-ます
- [place of action]で V-ます
A1(く)てA2 ・ A1でA2
N1とN2 ・ N1やN2
- Aくありません ・ Aではありません / Aじゃありません
- Aくないです ・ Aではないです / Aじゃないです
- Aかったです ・ Aでした
- Aくありませんでした ・ Aではありませんでした / Aじゃありませんでした
- Aくなかったです ・ Aではなかったです / Aじゃなかったです
- Aくない ・ Aではない / Aじゃない
- Aかった ・ Aだった
- Aくなかった ・ Aではなかった / Aじゃなかった
表現【ひょうげん】 ・ Expressions
語彙【ごい】 ・ Vocabulary
- 久しぶり【ひさしぶり】 ・ 久しぶりです【ひさじぶりです】
- 行ってまいります【いったまいります】 ・ 行ってきます【いってきます】
練習【れんしゅう】 ・ Practice
someone said you can’t have depression in japan/japanese bc you can’t spell it. ✨cured✨
I have no idea what show this is from, but it’s so cute lol
I have a thing for Japanese. As you’ve likely noticed. And there are many aspects of the language that interest me, but one area in particular is 諺 kotowaza, or proverbs.
There are many intriguing proverbs, but today I’m going to focus on those that revolve around animals. How many did you already know?
A frog’s child is a frog
Japanese pronunciation: Kaeru no ko wa kaeru
English equivalent: Like father like son.*
I put an asterisk next to the English equivalent because it is not 100% equal. The English expression “like father like son” is often used in a positive light, expressing pride in the child for taking after the parent’s good qualities. It can also be used in a negative way, but I feel that the positive nuance is stronger.
However, the Japanese expression is only negative. When a frog is born it is not a frog but tadpole, which looks like an entirely different animal. Slowly but surely, though, the frogspawn changes until it is identical to its parents. This is a metaphor for children who seem able of surpassing their parents, but who ultimately wind up just like them.
For example, say that there are a mother and father who are not artistically inclined, and their young daughter draws a pretty good picture. They think that she will become a great drawer much better than they could ever be, but as time passes they realize that she is just as mediocre at drawing as they are. They may sigh and say, “Kaeru no ko wa kaeru.”
He who chases the deer fails to see the forest
Japanese pronunciation: Shika wo ou mono wa yama wo mizu
English Equivalent: You cannot see the wood for the trees.
Imagine a hunter who chases a swift deer through the mountain forest. He is so intent on his prey that he does not realize where he going, and by the time he has caught the deer, he is completely lost and darkness is falling. This expression is about people who are so fixated on one thing that they lose sight of other important things.
This expression is very similar to the English “You cannot see the wood for the trees,” which refers to someone who does not notice small but crucial details.
Gold before cats
Japanese pronunciation: Neko ni koban
English equivalent: Pearls before swine
A “koban” is a large gold oval coin that was used for many centuries as currency in Japan. You could think of it as a hundred dollar bill in terms of worth compared to other Japanese coinage at the time.
Naturally, while a koban held a large amount of significance for any person, if you gave it to a cat the cat wouldn’t know what to do with it. It would probably give it a curious whiff and then walk away. This expression is used when someone’s gift or efforts are wasted on the recipient. It’s the exact same as the English “pearls before swine.”
Also, as a fun little side-note, anybody who’s in my generation or younger should know this, but can you name the first-generation cat Pokemon that was a Team Rocket henchman? Do you remember what he had on his forehead?
Who’s that Pokemon?! It’s Meowth! The golden coin on his forehead is shaped like a koban and is a reference to this proverb. There’s a fun fact you can share with your Pokemon-loving friends.
A tiger at the front gate, a wolf at the back gate
Japanese pronunciation: Zenmon no tora, koumon no ohkami
English equivalent: Between the devil and the deep blue sea, or, between a rock and a hard place
Imagine that you have sneaked into the enemy’s fortress but were seen by the guards. You must escape through either the front or rear gates of the castle walls, but at the front gates waits a ferocious tiger and at the rear gates snarls a hungry wolf. Either will end poorly for you, yet you must choose one or the other. This expression refers to a situation in which neither of the available options are good.
When thinking of an equivalent English expression, the first one that came to mind was “between a rock and a hard place,” but it turns out that this expression is only about 100 years old. I wanted something with a bit more seniority, and that was when I stumbled across “between the devil and the deep blue sea,” which I had only known as a lyric in an Aerosmith song until then haha. It turns out this expression was first recorded in English almost 400 years ago though.
Setting the cat to guard the dried fish
Japanese pronunciation: Neko ni katsuobushi no ban wo saseru
English equivalent: Setting the fox to guard the henhouse
I really like this one. First, you need to know what “katsuobushi” is, which I loosely translated as “dried fish.” It’s actually tissue paper-thin shavings of dried bonito, and cats absolutely love the stuff. And why wouldn’t they? It’s got the strong taste and smell of fish that they crave without the hassle of having to pick out bones or tear through scales.
Therefore, you can imagine that a cat would not a trustworthy guard make. This expression is identical to the English “setting the fox to guard the henhouse.”
They smoke the bonito for a ridiculously long time until it looks like a fossilized banana, and then they shred it up with a fancy box. Voila, katsuobushi.
This is an official advertisement for katsuobushi from about 1843. The cats are spelling out かつを (katsuo).
A duck comes bringing leeks
Japanese pronunciation: Kamo ga negi wo shottekuru
English equivalent: ??
This one is a bit of head-scratcher lol. First, you need to know that there is a Japanese dish called “kamo nabe,” which is a duck stew with leeks. If a duck comes to you on its own, that in and of itself is a good thing for you. If it is also carrying leeks, it is even better. In other words, this expression is used when two or more convenient/beneficial things happen at the same time.
However, there is another underlying message of this expression that makes it difficult to find a matching English expression. That is, that the duck who unknowingly seals his fate is naive/foolish. Also, a duck is seen as an easy-to-trick or simple-minded bird. (Think of the English expressions “sitting duck” and “lame duck.”)
Specifically, this expression is used when Person A unknowingly does something beneficial for Person B that will later come back to hurt Person A.
I hunted for an equivalent expression in English but couldn’t find one. If you know of one in English or another language, please let me know in the comments!
Also, there is another Pokemon based on this expression. Do you know which one it is?
Yep, it’s Farfetch’d! Its name in Japanese is カモネギ (Kamonegi), or Leek Duck. Two Pokemon facts in one post? How much better can it get?
取らぬ狸の皮算用Japanese pronunciation: Toranu tanuki no kawazanyou
Counting the pelts of raccoon dogs one has yet to catch
English equivalent: Counting your chickens before they’ve hatched
The Japanese version of this well-known expression is decidedly darker than the English one. Imagine a hunter laying a dozen traps for raccoon dogs (called “tanuki” in Japanese) and bragging to his friends how he was going to catch 12 in a day. Upon checking the traps, he sees that he has only caught five. His friends would say, “Don’t count your pelts before you’ve caught them.”
A bird taking flight does not foul the water
Japanese pronunciation: Tatsu tori wa ato wo nigosazu
English equivalent: Burn no bridges
This expression can be heard on an almost daily basis in Japan. When a bird takes off from the water, it leaves behind clear, clean water only. There is no trace that it was ever there once the ripples have faded.
This is most commonly used when someone quits their job. It is important to leave no unfinished business or messes for your coworkers to clean up after you, and of course you want to leave on a good note with everyone. When you depart, you should make sure that you leave no unfavorable traces of yourself behind.
I guess that the closest English expression would be “burn no bridges,” though I saw several people stating “It’s an ill bird that fouls its own nest” as an equivalent. I feel like that expression is different, though, because it focuses more on the the perpetrator and less on the people around him, while the Japanese expression is all about making sure not to inconvenience others.
A frog at the bottom of a well knows nothing of the great ocean
Japanese pronunciation: I no naka no kawazu, taikai wo shirazu
English equivalent: He that stays in the valley shall never get over the hill.
We all know at least one person who is woefully narrow-minded, not for lack of effort but simply because their world extends only to their city limit. They do not travel, do not have friends from varied backgrounds, and do not actively seek out the unfamiliar. This leaves them unaware of all the world has to offer.
The Japanese expression summarizes this predicament beautifully. A frog living in the bottom of a well may think that he is in the great expanses of the sea, but in actuality is in a prison, starved from all the wonders of light and sensation that are waiting outside the well.
I hope you guys enjoyed today’s Moderately Interesting Japanese. Work has been…absolute chaos. My old boss was moved to a new project within the company. They’re shorthanded and I’ve been asked to translate over 30,000 pages of high level tech training materials (that I have no experience/knowledge of) into Japanese…in 5 weeks…on top of my regular duties… Needless to say I am exceedingly close either to drinking enough caffeine that my third eye opens, my chakras align, and I become an omnipotent god, or a mental breakdown. But I only have 2,000 more pages to go until I’m finished!
My queue of word of the day posts is running low and it might be a few days until I can get some more ready, but please be patient. I still have tons of cool words I want to share with you! ♡
Went back to beginner duolingo just for fun lol
ｉ ａｍ ｓｐｅｅｄ