Japanese Step 01

Step 1

Let’s learn the simplest sentence of Japanese language, here. See the following sentences. The sentence structure is very simple, but you can tell many information.

Kore wa keitai desu

Kore wa keitai desu.

This is a mobile phone.

Watashi wa Susan desu

Watashi wa Susan desu.

I’m Susan.

Greg-san wa Kanada-jin desu

Greg-san wa Kanada-jin desu.

Greg-san is a Canadian.

Grammar Notes

This structure is called Wa-Desu structure. This simply means [Noun A] is [Noun B].

Kore means “this”.

Keitai means “mobile phone”.

Watashi means “I”.

-san is a honorific title like “Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms.” This can be added to either a family name or a first name, of a male or a female. When we talk with another person face to face, we do not use Anata “You”. We omit the subject “You” or we call his/her name with -san.

Kanada means “Canada”. One’s nationality such as a Japanese or an American is made by adding -jin to a country name. Kanada-jin means “a Canadian person”.

Wa is a particle and follows the subject of a sentence. The particle wa has various roles in a sentence. You should learn it step by step.

Put simply, Desu corresponds to the English, “is/are/am.”

Although some words have plural form, Japanese nouns generally do not have plural form. Kore wa keitai desu can be “This is a mobile phone” or “These are mobile phones”.

Practice 1

Let’s practice the following words.

keitai mobile phone
jisho dictionary
chizu map
koohii (a cup of) coffee
gakusei (school) student

Practice 2

Nihon Japan Nihon-jin a Japanese
Amerika America, USA Amerika-jin an American
Kanada Canada Kanada-jin a Canadian
Furansu France Furansu-jin a French

Practice 3

Let’s make sentences and speak it.

Kore wa jisho desu.
This is a dictionary.
Kore wa chizu desu.
This is a map.
Kore wa koohii desu.
This is (a cup of) coffee.

Practice 4

Let’s make sentences and speak it.

Greg-san wa Kanada-jin desu.
Greg-san is a Canadian.
Tanaka-san wa Nihon-jin desu.
Tanaka-san is a Japanese.
Smith-san wa Amerika-jin desu.
Smith-san is an American.
Susan-san wa gakusei desu.
Susan-san is a student.

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