Learn to Read! Japanese Reading Lesson 00A: Random Obscurities!
Posted by meronpan on April 6, 2009
A slight detour from reviews and a little break before we finish up hiragana. This lesson is more for intermediate students or late beginner I suppose. Nevertheless it may prove interesting and perhaps be a little more practical.
Today’s topic is… all sorts of random things that you might’ve wondered about… and has nothing to do with tsukiumi ^^;; Check here to continue with the hiragana lessons, or here to go to the previous lesson.
When you see/hear っけ (kke) at the end of a sentence, it’s actually a highly informal version of the usual spoken question mark, か (ka). It’s usually used when the speaker can’t quite remember something, for example:
そうだっけ？ (sou dakke? == is that so?)
あのこ、だれだっけ？ (ano ko, dare dakke? == who’s that girl again?)
くぜきりはだよ！ (kuze kiriha da yo! == it’s kuze kiriha!)
Did you know there are different dialects of Japanese? The most well known is kansai-ben (kansai dialect), alternately osaka-ben (osaka dialect), which the words above are associated with.
ほんま ＝＝ ほんとう (honma == hontou == really)
あかん ＝＝ いけない、だめ (akan == ikenai, dame == no good, won’t do)
そや ＝＝ そうだ (soya == sou da == that’s so, that’s right)
Unfortunately I don’t have the time to go through a whole lesson, but needless to say grammar is affected as well, such as the negative form of verbs (たべへん ＝＝ たべない (tabehen == tabenai == don’t eat)、みえへん ＝＝ みえない (miehen == mienai == can’t see)）. Things like this are why you may hear people speaking and wonder why it sounds like a different language ^^;
Here’s some kansai-ben speaking characters you may be familiar with:
oosaka (azaumanga daiou)
kitsune, suu (love hina)
ruri, sango (toheart2)
kuroi-sensei (lucky star)
A fairly minor point, but for those with an eye for detail, yes your ears don’t deceive you, the ている (teiru) verb conjugation is often contracted to てる (teru) in informal speech. This can be done with both formal and informal conjugations, so it’s not out of the ordinary to see both:
はなしてる (hanashiteru) instead of はなしている (hanashiteiru)
はなしてます (hanashitemasu) instead of はなしています (hanashiteimasu)
(all the above == talking)
Ah, I should probably mention that the ている form is the … err not sure what the official term is. Continutive? Anyhow, it’s the equivalent of the -ing conjugation in english. As in, はなす(to talk) -> はなしている (talking)
Ways to say, “I”
You probably know わたし (watashi)、おれ (ore)、ぼく (boku)、and あたし (atashi) from your exposure to anime/manga/etc. Unfortunately for completionists, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I was also curious and tried to make the most complete list possible. Lots of these are archaic and no long used… then again, you never know when they’ll turn up in anime (like nagi – she uses the archaic, わらわ (warawa)).
わたし – watashi – your standard, regular polite form
あたし – atashi – a female form, perhaps sliiightly less polite than watashi. Lotsa females use this, I believe kagamin included ^^
あたしたちにらんそうせいじだからね (atashitachi niransouseiji dakara ne. == that’s ‘cuz we’re fraternal twins)
わたくし – watakushi – a highly formalized form. Tatsuki uses this form, ojyou-san that she is ^^
あたくし – atakushi – feminine form of watakushi, perhaps slightly less formal
おれ – ore – informal male form. Used by young boys, guys who are tough shit… Unfortunately I don’t watch too many J-Dramas, which might be a better source than anime (where roles are often highly exaggerated ^^;) for specific usage.
おれはだれだとおもってる？！ (ore wa dare da to omotteru?! == who the hell do you think i am?!)
ぼく – boku – slightly informal male form. I’ve seen this used anywhere from boys to business men. A safer bet in informal situations if you’re afraid of coming off as arrogant.
おら – ora – informal form that has a strong rural feel to it.
おいら – oira – (perhaps more) informal form that also has a rural feel, perhaps more casual than ore.
わし – washi – informal old man form. ^^;
I think the principal (tachibana heizou) in tsuyokiss uses this form (though perhaps wasshi)
わっし – wasshi – I believe this is just a variant of washi, above.
あっし – asshi – an archaic form used by men in the Edo period.
わがはい – wagahai – the old school (archaic) form of ore :P Use when you want to be (literally) old school + arrogant ^^;
うち – uchi – often used in kansai dialects by young girls. Litterally means ‘house’ or ‘my own’.
Konoe konoka uses this ^_^ Haven’t followed negi for a while but I loved konoka’s accent ^^
じぶん – jibun – in normal speech means, ‘myself’ but you may see some characters use it as a pronoun.
あたい – atai – very informal female form. I think the women working the factory in mononoke-hime used this form.
わたい – watai – I believe this is an archaic kansai form – watashi -> watai
わて – wate – yet another archaic kansai form – watai -> watee -> wate (from wikipedia)
あて – ate – I have no idea where this comes from but I assume it’s a derivation of wate, above ^^;
わい – wai – archaic kansai version of ore ^^; wasshi -> wai
わっち – wacchi – a derivation of watashi in the mino dialect
おのれ – onore – nowadays it’s usually used as an informal, insulting way of saying, ‘you’. If not used like that it can be similar to ‘jibun’.
せっしゃ – sessha – are you watching asu no yoichi? If so you probably knew this one ^^ Used by samurai.
それがし – soregashi – another ancient form of watashi
わらわ – warawa – as mentioned above, an archaic feminine form. Used by nagi ^^
よ – yo – archaic male form
Basically the lesson to learn here is… you’ll eventually just get used to sentence structure and be able to detect new words for “I” as they pop up. With all the dialects, male/female forms, present day and archaic forms, it’s pretty daunting to actually memorize them.
There’s an equally long list of words for ‘you’. I’ll leave those for next time :P
This really threw me off when I was beginning. うん (un) == yes. ううん (uun) == no.
Pay attention to the situational clues, intonation, and precise spelling to figure out which it is. う～～ん can be used to represent a sort of groaning sound, to confuse things further ^^;
These are informal sentence endings male characters use. Both replace ka, and かい (kai) is used for yes/no questions. だい (dai) is used for wh-questions.
ない -> ねえ
In slang you’ll often hear negative forms of verbs end in ねえ (nee) instead of ない (nai). It seems to be popular amongst young and/or thuggish boys, or just in highly informal situations.
いかねえよ。 そうゆうきらいだ。 (ikaneeyo. sou yuu kirai da. == i’m not going. i hate that kind of crap.)
そうじゃねえか。 (sou jya nee ka. == right?!)
It’s often not limited to verbs, and I haven’t yet gotten a formalized explanation for me… but asically ‘ai’ sounds become ‘ee’ sounds sometimes.
Accelerator uses this kind of talk a lot.
くさい -> くせえ (kusai -> kusee == stinks)
あぶない -> あぶねえ (abunai -> abunee == dangerous)
Males and females have different ways of speaking and this sentence ending is one of them. わ (wa) is a sentence final particle usually only used by females. It’s generally used when you would use よ (yo), although it can be conbined (わよ、わね (wayo, wane) are both common).
This one also took me a long time to get my head around. This is an informal abbreviation for というのは (to iu no wa), and basically replaces は in certain cases. Roughly translates to “speaking of ~”
あんたって本当にばかだね。 (antatte hontou ni baka da ne) ＝＝ あんたはほんとうにばかだね。 (anta wa hontou ni baka da ne)
In the above example it’s really just a stylistic difference. A common construction is when person A mentions something person B isn’t familiar with, and you get the following situation:
A: K-ON見た？ (K-ON mita? == did you see K-ON?)
B: え？ K-ONって？ (e? K-ONtte? == eh? What’s K-ON?)
It can also be used to quote someone, in this case acting as an colloquial quotation marker, or as a substitute for the と particle:
こなちゃんはくるの？ (kona-chan wa kuru no? == Is kona-chan coming?)
いや、いかないって (iya, ikanaitte == nah, she said she wasn’t coming)
In the above example, the second sentence would be as follows in it’s complete form:
いや、いかないといった。 (iya, ikanai to itta)
So what happened was that って was subbed in for と and then いった (itta == said) was just dropped. You can see how you can save a lot of time, as the formal version would be ~といいました (~to iimashita == said ~).
I’m not sure what the etymological basis for this ending is but you’ll see ってば (tteba) when characters are becoming impatient/annoyed and are trying to get their point across/get someone to pay attention.
ね~！ね~、お姉ちゃん！ねってば！ (ne~! ne~, oneechan! netteba! == hey! hey, sis! hey, listen to me! ;_;)
Hope I’m getting this right but I believe つうか (tsuuka) is a slurring of というか (toiuka).
There are no plurals ^^ No need to worry about things like goose/geese, foot/feet or whatever troublesome plurals you’ve dealt with in whatever language ^^
Because of this you have to be more specific with your wording or just accept the ambiguity.
I Should’ve Broken This Into Multiple Posts
Sorry to drone on for so long ^^; It was the insanely long list of pronouns ^^;
Next time, last hiragana lesson!