Hello! This is Stacie, your Japanese director.
If you came to the meeting today, thanks for coming! For those who couldn’t come to the meeting today, don’t worry! I will write about what we learned in this post. Those who came today can use this to review what you learned. This was the first Japanese meeting and I didn’t know everyone’s levels so I stuck with self-introduction and some basic information on sentence structure.
自己紹介 (jikoshoukai) is the Japanese word for self-introduction. We went over things like how to ask what someone’s name is, how to say what year you are in school, and how many people are in your family.
名前 (namae) is the Japanese word for “name.” To ask someone what their name is, you would say お名前は何ですか? (onamae wa nan desu ka?). This translates to “What is your name?” To answer this question, you want to say ____です。( ____desu.) which translates to “I am ____.” So if someone asked me お名前は何ですか?, I would respond “ステイシーです. (ステイシー is how I write my name in Japanese!)
Next, we learned how to ask someone what year in school they are. 何年生ですか? (nan nensei desu ka?) translates to “What year in school are you?” You would respond by saying ___年生です。(___nensei desu.) which translates to “I am a ____.” In Japanese, we don’t have special words like freshman or sophomore. We use numbers instead. For example, if you are a freshman, you would say I am a first year. Freshman, or first year, is 1年生 (ichi nensei). Sophomore, or second year, is 2年生 (ni nensei). Junior, or third year, is 3年生 (san nensei). Senior, or fourth year, is 4年生 (yo nensei). I am a sophomore so I would respond to the question by saying 2年生です (ni nensei desu).
The last part of the 自己紹介 (jikoshoukai) was saying how many family members you have. “Family” in Japanese is 家族 (kazoku). 家族は何人いますか? (kazoku wa nan nin imasu ka?) translates to “How many people are in your family?” You would respond to this question by saying __人います。(__nin imasu.) which translates to “I have __people (in my family).” In our meeting today, everyone had 3, 4, or 5 people in their family. If you have 3 people, you would say 3人います (san nin imasu). I didn’t introduce all the numbers in club today, but here are the counters for people:
1 person – 1人 (hitori)
2 people – 2人 (futari)
3 people – 3人 (san nin)
4 people – 4人 (yo nin)
5 people – 5人 (go nin)
6 people – 6人 (roku nin)
and so on. As you can see, the counter for people is irregular when you want to say “1 person” or “2 people.” There are many irregular ways to count and say numbers in Japanese depending on the situation. I will go into more detail about this in the future!
Lastly, I explain a little bit about the basic sentence structure. The basic sentence structure looks something like this: _____は_____です。は (wa) is the topic marking particle. です (desu) is the sentence ender. If you take a look at は, some of you might notice that it is the Hiragana character for “ha.” So why is it read as “wa”? This is because it is a particle used in a sentence. When “は” is part of a word, it is read as “ha.” In this case, you would read it as “wa” because it is used in a sentence as a particle. You might also be confused on what exactly です (desu) is. There is no equivalent word in English for this and it’s not really translatable. It is normally just called a sentence ender because it usually ends a sentence. The use of です (desu) can be seen above with the sentences ___です。( ____desu) and ___年生です。(___nensei desu). Here is an example using this sentence structure: 私はステイシーです。(watashi wa Stacie desu). In this sentence, 私 (watashi / I) is the topic, は (wa) is the topic marking particle, ステイシー (Stacie) is my name, and です is the sentence ender. All together, it means “I am Stacie.”
Another thing I explained was the question marker, か (ka). Whenever you’re asking a question, your sentences will usually end with a か (ka). This can be seen above with the questions お名前は何ですか? (onamae wa nan desu ka?), 何年生ですか? (nan nensei desu ka?), and 家族は何人いますか? (kazoku wa nan nin imasu ka?). Because か (ka) is the question marker, you actually don’t need to put a question mark at the end of the sentence. For example, you can say お名前は何ですか。 (onamae wa nan desu ka。) and it would still be a question even though there is no question mark at the end. Because there is a か (ka) at the end, it becomes a question. However, this does not mean the question mark is unnecessary in the Japanese language because there are cases where a question will not end with か (ka). In these cases, you must add a question mark to let others know it is a question. I will not go into detail about different cases because this is just a simple introduction.
And that’s it! That’s all we covered in our first meeting.
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If you have any questions regarding the things I talked about, feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment down below!
Thanks and I hope I see you next meeting!