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Basic grammar

Japanese grammar has lots of specific features, mostly because it is so scarcely related to other languages. On the other hand it is very sensible, logically very well connected. Some of its features are:

1. in Japanese the predicate always stands at the end of the sentence

2. verbs don't change depending on person, gender or number

3. nouns don't have plural froms or gender

4. the dependence between words in a sentence is expressed thru particles which follow the affected words.

Personal pronouns

First, the personal pronouns will be covered:

singular  
plural
 
I
watashi
わたし
   
we
watashitachi
わたしたち
私達
 
you
anata
あなた
   
you
anatatachi
あなたたち
あなた達
 
he
she
kare
kanojo
かれ
かのじょ 彼女
   
they
karetachi
kanojotachi
かれら 彼ら

The columns are as follows: English, romaji, hiragana and kanji.

There is no neuter gender ("it") in Japanese. There are multiple forms of personal pronouns. For example, the most polite form of "I" is "watakushi". The form "boku" can only be used by men.

For "you" males can say "kimi", informally. "Kimi" is not dependent on the gender of the person to whom it relates to, but on the gender of the one who talks. "Kimi" is mainly used by men. It's a very specific feature of the Japanese language too.

"They" has a feminine and masculine form: "kanojotachi" and "karetachi" respectively. The informal forms of these pronouns are "kanojora" and "karera".

 

Particles

Particles are suffixes which follow promptly after the word that they relate to. They determine the function of that word in the sentence. Some of the most common particles are:

WA
- determines the subject in a sentence.

Example:  
Watashiwa Nihonjin desu.
   
 日本人 です。
   
I Japanese am.

Notice, that "wa" is written as "ha" in hiragana.

O
- pinpoints the direct object

Example:  
Watashiwa kohio nomimasu.
   
 コーヒ 飲みます。
   
I coffee drink.

This is also an exception, because "wo" is written , but only "o" is pronounced.

NI
- indirect object
- place marker
- time marker

Example:  
7jini okimasu .
   
7じ おきます。
   
(I) get up at 7 o'clock.

 

E
- marks direction

Example:  
Daigakue ikimasu.
   
だいがく いきます。
   
(I am) going to the university.

Also an exception.

 

NO
- indicates possession

Example:  
Korewa anatano hon desu .
   
これは あなた ほん です。
   
This book is yours .

The main function of "no" is to mark possession.

 

MO
- inclusion, addition marker

Example:  
Karemo gakusei desu .
   
かれ がくせい です。
   
He too is a student .

"mo" replaces "wa" and indicates that the word before it also has some property.

 

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