maandag 17 december 2012

Let's learn Japanese! ~ Lesson 5: Conversation (1)

In the previous lessons two lessons, I explained some basic grammar and gave you a bunch of words to learn. In this lesson we're just going to do some reading/ conversation practice. I'll be giving you a few short conversations using the grammar you learned in the previous lessons. If I use any phrases, words or kanji you haven't learned yet, they'll be explained after the conversation.
It's not necessary, but try and read the conversations out loud, to practice your talking skills.

Meeting someone for the first time

マリア:          こんにちは。                                             Good afternoon.            
田中:              こんにちは。                                             Good afternoon.
                          しつれいですが、誰ですか?                  Excuse me, but who are you?
マリア:          初めまして、マリアです。                      How do you do?  I'm Maria.
                          オランダから来ました。                          I came from the Netherlands.
                          どうぞよろしくお願いします。              Pleased to meet you.                     
田中:               私は田中です。                                         I'm Tanaka.
                           どうぞよろしく。                                     Please to meet you too.

Explanation of sentences:

「こんにちは」 means " Good afternoon".「おはよう(ございます )is " Good morning"  and 「こんばんは」 is "good evening". Not much to explain about this. (All of them could be translated as "hello" or "hi" as well, but you still need to pay attention to the time of the day to decide which one you use.)

「しつれいですが is one of the many ways to say "Excuse me, but...". Other ways to say this will be introduced later. It's not needed to remember them all at once.
There's not really one set translation for初めまして」 (はじめまして). Literally it means:  "I'm meeting you for the first time", but could be regarded as a combination of "How do you do?", "It's nice to meet you." and "Hello". Usually used as the opening phrase of an introduction.

「~から来ました」 means "I came from". It's used to tell people from what country or place you came.

「どうぞよろしく(お願いします) (おねがいします)」is usually used at the end of a self-introduction. Literally it means "please be nice to me", but usually translates to something along the lines of "Pleased to meet you".

Telling more about yourself (and other people)

田中:             マリアさん、何歳ですか?                             Ms. Maria, how old are you?
マリア:          私は22歳です。                                            I'm 22 years old.
田中:              学生ですか?                                                    Are you a student?
マリア:          はい、私は 学生です。                                Yes, I'm a student?
田中:              どちらの学校の 学生ですか。                     What school are you a student of?
マリア:          ライデン大学の 学生です。                         I'm a student of Leiden University.
田中:              先生は誰 ですか?                                         Who's your teacher.
マリア:          ロビンさんは 私の先生です。                     Mr. Robin is my teacher.
田中:              ロビンさんも オランダ人ですか。              Is Mr. Robin also Dutch?
マリア:          いいえ、ロビン先生は アメリカ人です。  No, Prof. Robin is American.

Explanation of sentences:

  「どちら」This will be explained in the next lesson.

「学校 (がっこう)」 translated to "school", "college", "university" or any other kind of teaching institution.

「ライデン大学 (だいがく)」or Leiden University, it's an actual university in the Netherlands. I graduated from Leiden University in September 2012.

大学 (だいがく)」translates to "university" or "college".

「~先生」can be used as an suffix after the name of someone who teaches you. (Not just school teachers, but also sports teacher, etc.) This suffix is also use for medical doctors.  For example:「中村先生 (なかむらせんせい)」would be "Dr. Nakamura".

Going to meet your neighbors for the first time

*Maria rings bell of neighbors. Neighbor Yamada opens the door.*
マリア:          こんにちは。                                                    Good afternoon.
山田:               はい。どなたですか。                                    Yes. Who are you?
マリア:          409のマリアです。                                           I'm Maria from apartment no. 409.
                          これからお世話になります。                         How do you do?
                           どうぞよろしくお願いします。                    It's nice to meet you.
山田:               こちらこそよろしく。                                    The pleasure's mine.
マリア:           あのう、これ、ほんの気持ちです。             Er, this is a little something.
山田:               どうも。何ですか。                                         Thanks. What is it?
マリア:           チョコレートです。どうぞ。                         It's chocolate. Please.
山田:               どうもありがとうございます。                     Thank you very much.

Explanation of sentences:

「これからお世話になります(これからおせわになります)」 literally translates to "I'll be taken care of by you from now on", but should be interpreted as "I hope for you kind assistance hereafter." As this is quite long, actual translation may resort to other things. You use it for example when you start a job, a class or some other social kind of activity and anticipate that the other person will be taking care of you. It's actually quite hard to explain this sentence at this point, but I'm sure you'll come to understand it better as we continue grammar lessons.

「こちらこそよろしく」also means "please to meet you", but is use as a response to (どうぞ) よろしく.

「あのう」 is used to show hesitation.

「ほんの気持ちです (ほんのきもちです)」translated to "It's nothing" or "It's a token of my gratitude". It's used when you give someone a little present.

「(どうも)ありがとう(ございます)」means "thank you". It can be shortened to either   「どうも」、「どうもありがとう」 、「 ありがとう」 or 「ありがとうございます」.  「どうもございます」 doesn't exist.

「どうぞ。」means "please" or "here you are", it's used when you offer something to someone.

Just some useless talk

ロビン:          それは何ですか。                                  What is this?
マリア:          これは冊子です。                                  It's a magazine
ロビン:          その冊子は何の冊子ですか。              What is this magazine about?
マリア:          猫の冊子です。                                      It's a magazine about cats.
ロビン:          誰の冊子ですか。                                  Who's magazine is it?
マリア:          私のです。                                               It's mine.
美加:               いいえ、違います。                              No, it's not.
(みか)          これは私の冊子です。                           This is my magazine.
                          あの冊子はマリアのです。                   That magazine over there is yours.
マリア:          そうですか、すみません。                   I see, I'm sorry.
ロビン:          猫の冊子は人気ですね。                       Magazines about cats are popular it seems.

Explanation of sentences:

「猫 (ねこ)」means "cat". 

「違います (ちがいます)」means "It's not."  or " you are wrong". 

「そうですか」is used when the speaker receives new information and shows that her or she understands it. Possible translations are "I see" or "Is that so?". 

「すみません」is one of the many way to apologize. It translates to "excuse me", "I'm sorry" or anything alike. 

「人気 (にんき)」means " popular".

Some other sentences I couldn't fit in the conversations, but are important enough to mention.

「お元気ですか?」literally means "are you healthy?", but can be interpreted as "How are you doing?".

「お名前は(なんですか)?」, 「名前」  translates to " name". Thus this sentences translated to " what is your name"  the "what is"  part 「なんですか」 can be omitted.


We didn't study any new grammar, but there's a whole lot of new standard phrases explained in this lessons. Also, there are a few new words. By sure to learn those!

Next time we'll start with some new grammar!

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