Friday, April 28, 2017

Yotsuba Notes: Pages 1-12

I've started doing lessons on the site Italki again, this time with a new sensei. It's been pretty good so far - for practice, I'm reading through the entire Yotsuba manga out loud, and we're discussing it as we go. This gets me more used to speaking, and provides me with a ton of info on grammar points, especially those found in casual speech. I need that the most right now, in my opinion.

I think my plan here is to continue these Yotsuba lessons, and note everything I learn from them in a post here. Since there's a billion small grammar points sprinkled throughout the series, these posts won't be very structured - more like random bits of info.

I'll note the range of pages for each lesson so I can always refer back to them for exact context. This chapter begins with Yotsuba and her dad moving to a new house, and first arriving there.

お父さん: もうすぐだぞー
This shows the father using the ぞ sentence-ending particle. It's similar to よ in usage but is more masculine. It's generally only used by guys.

よつば: すげぇ
This is bastardization of すごい, which can mean a number of things but is generally used to mean "awesome" or "amazing." すげぇ is more often used by guys.

よつば: ここ家がいっぱいあるな!
いっぱい literally means 1 cup (of liquid), but when it's written in hiragana, it often means "full." In this case, it's saying something like "This area is full of houses!"

お父さん: ほーら
A popular Japanese word. It can mean something like "Behold" (which we don't really say in English), but it's used to draw someone's attention to something before you.

ジャンボ: あーあいつ用が入ったからこねえって
あいつ is a word that refers to another person (in this case, "that guy" or "that girl"). It has counterparts こいつ and そいつ, and is best used with friends due to any connotations it can carry.

Need to ask sensei about the other parts in this sentence.

Finally, わ can be used to soften a sentence. It doesn't have to sound super feminine when used this way, and in this case, Jumbo is using it to soften him calling that person bad.

よつば: ジャンボ、しばらく見ないうちにまた大きくなった!
Need to double check with sensei.

お父さん: まあいいか
He's saying something like "Well, I guess it's fine." (The か makes it more questioning.) "Besides, Jumbo's doing the work of two." I know that's not a direct translation, but I believe that's what it's trying to convey. し is used like that to supply additional information.

ジャンボ: そんな事はない
This first phrase is very common and means something like "It's not like that." He wants to convey that what the dad said is not the case.

お父さん: 働いてくれ・・・
The father is basically saying "Then won't you work?" The くれ is used because working would be a favor for the father, so that action is coming in towards him, so to speak.

ジャンボ: おー! えらいぞよつば!
えらい can mean something like "great" or "remarkable" and is often used to talk about people whom you look up to. In this case, Jumbo is more saying it to humor Yotsuba. He's calling the father bad in contrast to this.

お父さん: そこおいといていいぞー
Yotsuba is moving boxes, and so he's basically telling her "You can put it there." The original verb is 置く, "to put."

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Expressing Expectations with はず

Adding the word はず to the end of a sentence in the plain form will express a meaning like "I expect that" or "It is supposed to be the case that..." はず is used as a regular noun, and so the standard grammar rules apply there (using の between a noun and はず, using な after a na-adjective).

The weather is supposed to be good tomorrow.

Lee-san's cooking is supposed to be delicious.

These sentences show things that you expect to be true based on common sense or other notions that naturally lead to such a belief. For example, perhaps I heard that Lee has taken several cooking classes, and thus I expect his cooking to be good.

はず can't be used to express things that a person is "supposed" to do because of responsibility or duty. We wouldn't want to use it to say "You're supposed to teach your kids to eat healthy" because that more refers to a parents' duty.

Since はず is a normal noun, it can also be conjugated to past tense with だった or でした to express something that was supposed to have been the case, but actually turned out otherwise. When doing this, the part before はず is in the present tense.

I expected there to be cake at the party, but there wasn't.

I was expecting to go on a run with Alice, but we went to a cafe.

Finally, to express something that was not expected, the form はずがない is used. It can also mean that something is inconceivable.

Tanaka-sensei's tests aren't supposed to be easy.

Going to the park with a hippo isn't supposed to be fun.

Giving Polite or Respectful Advice

When giving advice (well, technically commands), certain situations call for usage of the following grammatical structure:

お + verb stem + ください

In Japan, public announcements will likely be phrased in this manner, and it's also commonly used by store attendants when they address customers.

Please have a seat.

Please take a ticket.

It's important to note that, although these sentences have both the honorific お and ください and thus sound more polite, they are in fact commands. These are used for encouraging a person to perform an action for their own good, but not for commanding them to do something to help you.

With most する verbs, the honorific ご is used instead of お, and the する portion is omitted entirely.

Please watch out.

Please look.

Also note the form for the following honorific verbs. Some of them already have the お "built in" (similar to ご覧 above), and others require adding it.

Please help yourself.

Please have a good rest.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Honorific Verbs

Honorific verbs are used when talking about someone above you in the social hierarchy, or when talking to someone you don't know very well (especially with shopkeepers speaking to customers and the like). These verbs "bestow honor" upon the person performing the action, and can be very roughly translated as "Person X graciously does Y."

There are some verbs that have direct honorific forms, and some that do not. I'll list the most common ones below.

行く      -  いらっしゃる        -  いらっしゃいます

見る     -  ご覧になる

言う      -  おっしゃる          -  おっしゃいます

する     -  なさる                 -  なさいます

食べる -  召し上がる

くれる  -  くださる               -  くださいます

寝る    -  お休みになる

ている -  ていらっしゃる   -  ていらっしゃいます

The first column shows the original verbs, with the second and third showing their honorific forms and their irregular conjugations. I'm going to use some of Genki's example sentences now since I'm not at all familiar with honorific usage.

The professor will (graciously) not go to/come to/be at school.

The above sentence is ambiguous since いらっしゃる is an honorific for three different verbs that describe an action pertaining to location.

What will you (graciously) drink?

Tanaka's mother (graciously) gave me this book.

If a verb does not have an honorific counterpart, there are two ways to add the "respect factor." If the verb is in て form in the sentence, then ている is replaced with ていらっしゃいます.

The professor is (graciously) talking on the phone.

If the verb in the sentence is not in て form, then it is preceded by the honorific お and followed by になる.

The professor has already (graciously) gone home.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Giving Thanks for Specific Actions

To express gratitude for a specific action that someone has performed, the て form plus くれてありがとう can be used.

Thank you for treating me to lunch.

Thank you for helping my dog.

When speaking to someone above you in the social hierarchy, it's better to use くださってありがとうございました after the original verb's て form.

Thank you for teaching me this semester.

Thank you for caring for my sister.

Finally, this pattern can also be used with nouns to thank someone for being X, with X generally being a type of person. でいる is used, and conjugated to でいて.

Thank you for being a reliable coach.

Thank you for being a good friend.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Expressing "I'm glad that..."

The て form plus よかった can be used to state something like "I'm glad that X was the case." To say you're glad that something wasn't the case, the negative て form can be used.

I'm glad I saw Ayato last night.

I'm glad I didn't go to that drinking party at Tom's place.

I'm glad you could make chocolate cake.

I'm glad Alice didn't eat the poisoned apple.

I'm glad I found my stolen bike on the roof.

I'm glad he didn't become more immature.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Complex しまう

しまう is a special verb that, when used with another verb in て form, can express one of two meanings. The first is "to carry out [that verb] with determination. It typically involves bringing something to a culmination point. You, in other words, do something completely, or finish doing something, or have something done."

The second meaning is "lack of premeditation or control over how things turn out. This often comes with the sense of regret; something regrettable happens, or you do something which you did not intend to."

Those two meanings (quoted from Genki) are quite different, and context is key in determining which is being used. I'm also going to use Genki's example sentences here since I'm less familiar with this grammar point.

I read the book completely. / I finished reading the book.

As shown above, しまう is conjugated for tense, politeness, and all that good stuff. Note that the sentence could also convey something like "I (regrettably) read the book" if context dictated that you didn't actually want to read it.

I inadvertently left my bag on the train.

To my horror and sorrow, my professor got angry, because I had forgotten my homework.

In casual speech, ~てしまう and ~でしまう are often contracted to ~ちゃう and ~じゃう, respectively. They're conjugated as normal godan verbs.

Crap, I've lost my new watch.

っ、その トワイライト本を読んじゃった。
Ugh, I read that Twilight book.

Oh no, I forgot your present.

Note that since the affirmative て form is used here, しまう can't be used to express regret over something that you didn't do. It's only used for regrettable things that will or have occurred.

I was reading over Tae Kim's grammar guide on this point to better solidify my understanding, and he stated that it's more common to use the "regrettable" meaning of  しまう. The "do something completely" meaning is only seen occasionally. So that's good to know.

I'm extremely happy to finally learn about this word (and its slang form), because it seems to be rather common in daily speech. I often saw ちゃった conjugations and could not find any formal conjugation charts that included such a thing, but now it makes sense.