Saturday, March 21, 2009

7 More Kanji

ZEN, MAE - before, front
This is kind of a stretch. Well, we see three parts:
1. The bottom right is "sword" or "cut", much like in 帰る.
2. Apparently the part that looks like "moon" (月) is actually "meat" in radical form.
3. The top part we can take to look like horns. I can see that.
So to remember this kanji, the mneumonic is before cutting meat, cut off the horns.
午前 (ごぜん)- A.M.
名前 (なまえ)- name

く KA(ku), SHO - write
We see the familiar hand grasping something in this kanji. In this case, it's grasping a calligraphy brush (you have to imagine the 2 traversal lines being the brush hairs). Of course, we see 日, day, underneath. So, remember to "write every day with that calligraphy brush".
ex. 辞書 (じしょ) - dictionary

 TOMO, YUU - friend
Hmm. They say this kanji is supposed to represent 2 right hands. You know, some sort of common mutual friendship.
ex. 友達 (ともだち) - friend
ex. 友人 (friend)

WA, HANASHI, HANA(su) - speak, talk/story
We see the 言 radical again in this kanji, meaning words. On the right, we see a kanji meaning tongue (see the forked tongue coming out of the mouth?). So, a wagging tongue speaks words.
ex. 会話 (かいわ) - dialogue
ex. 電話 (でんわ) - telephone

SUKO(shi), SUKU(nai), SHOU - little
Although the kanji for small 小 is similar, this takes it further, adding one more stroke to indicate an even smaller size. But in any case, this kanji refers to a small quantity, not size.
ex. 少し (すこし) - little
ex. 少ない (すくない) - few
ex. 少々 (しょうしょう) - a little

CHI, SHI(ru) - know
The part on the left is "arrow", which can kind of be remembered as "big arrow with a broken tip" (大 on the bottom, with just one side of a A-shaped tip left). Our favourite 口 (mouth) on the right indicates speaking. Thus, speaking with the speed of an arrow. You only can do that if you really know your stuff!
ex. 知人 (ちじん) - acquaintence

RAI, KU(ru) - come
We see the ever-recognizable 米 (rice) in this kanji. But it's topped by 十 (ten). We can say that ten grains come out from each rice plant, right?
ex. 来る (くる) - to come
ex. 来週 (らいしゅう) - next week, ie. the week to come

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Multiple-Adjective Descriptions

If you want to describe something with more than 1 adjective, you can use an adjective て-form.

For example, say you want to say "Kyoko is smart and pretty."
Just like verbs have te-forms, so do adjectives. Make "smart" into its adjective te-form, and add on "pretty" in normal form.

京子さんは頭がよくて、きれいです。 (いい in て-form is よくて)

So how do you make the te-form for adjectives?

For い-adjectives, take off the い and add くて。
For な-adjectives, take off the な and add で。

As with many things, noun descriptions (eg. 日本人, like 日本人です) follow the same rule as the な-adjective. Simply use で instead of です。

Some handy words

To be open: 開いてる (あいてる)
Are the department stores open?

To be closed: 閉まってる (しまってる)
No, they're closed.

Because it's already late.


Plural Form
There is also a word you can add to indicate a plural form: たち。For example, 私たち means "we", and 子供たち means "children".

Node is a conjunction. It means "as", or "since".
ex. Since tomorrow

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Six Kanji

 IN - member, official. This kanji is composed of two parts, the top resembling a mouth (口)and the bottom resembling the kanji for shell (貝). There are two interpretations for the origin of the "member" kanji. They say that the top part indicated "round", and the bottom part was a pictograph for a legged-teapot. Thus, for members who meet around a table for tea. 

 SHIN, ATARA(shi), ARA - new.  Three parts: stand (立) over tree (木)with a looming axe (斤) next to it. Standing trees get cut down with an axe to make new stuff! :P

 SHI (like shigoto), JI, TSUKA(eru) - serve. Even though the right hand part of this kanji looks like "ground", it is slightly different. In fact, 士 is the character for samurai! It's supposed to be represent a man's masculinity... use your imagination. Anyway, take the left-hand side as "person", and the right-hand side as samurai, and you have a servant doing his master's bidding!

  GOTO (like shigoto), KOTO, JI - thing. We see the recurring pitch-fork-like hand in this kanji. You can imagine a hand holding an upright flag or placard of some sort, like in a procession of soldiers marching valiantly, showing off their loyalties. Maybe they are chinese (中国)so they have 中 and 一 on top. Aha, they are marching along saying, "this THING means China is number one". Whew, that one's a toughie.

 YO(mu), DOKU - read. The first thing we see in this kanji is the radical for word (言) . Reading, words ... how relevant! Alright, now what's the other part? Well, technically as a whole it means sell (売) . You're supposed to imagine a samurai (士) behind a counter with his legs showing underneath, selling his wares. Anyway, selling doesn't seem to have any relevance at first, except that selling used to require "calling out" to sell to passerby. Thus, selling or calling out(売) words (言) is basically reading aloud. Ta da!  読 Can't you just imagine the samurai reading out his words behind the counter at the library?

 TSUGI, JI - next. Once I read the interpretation for this one, it made total sense. First we have the two dashes on the left, which originally were meant to infer two (二) . The right-hand side is a pictograph of a person (人) with a gaping mouth on top. Imagine pac-man with his mouth open to the top right. For normal people, a gaping mouth is yawning. What happens when we have two (二) people and one person yawns? Well of course, the next one does too.

I'm not good at making cakes

So I bought one for your birthday instead!

It's Kenzo's birthday soon and so we went to T&T to buy a nice fruit cake. That's not the one, but it looks similar.

How do you say "I'm not good at making cakes"?

You need to use のが which transforms a verb into a gerund. In this cake - I mean, case - we use the verb for make in short form.

to make: つくる (作る)
to make in short form: 作る (it stays the same because positive short form for verbs is the same as dictionary form)
making: 作るのが
making cakes: ケーキを作るのが

I'm not good at making cakes.


So, I buy them at T&T.
だから、T&T でかう。

Please don't buy that shirt


How do you ask someone to not do something?

For example, "Please don't buy that shirt. It's scary."

You would take the verb, transform it into short form (ending with -anai), and add でください。

to buy: かう
to buy in short form: かわない (Note that for U verbs we usually we take off the -u and add -anai, but in this case we'd end up with a double vowel, ka-anai. So we must add the わ for smoothness)
please don't buy: かわないでください

Please don't buy that shirt. It's scary.