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Basic Lessons

Introducing People (2): At a party


Click here for the dialogue for "Introducing People."


(1) Nouns 

Japanese nouns have no gender, no singular/plural, and no articles. ("the" and "a" etc.) For example, the word "tomodachi" can be "a friend," "the friend," "friends," or "the friends." Usually the context tells the particular meaning of a word.

(2) ~ desu

"~ desu (~です)" is equivalent to English "am," "are," or "is." Unlike English, it doesn't change its form according to the subject. "~ desu" always comes at the end of a sentence.

Watashi wa gakusei desu.
I am a student.
Kochira wa Yamada-san desu. 
This is Ms. Yamada.
Watashitachi wa tomodachi desu.
We are friends.

(3) Omission of topic

When it is obvious to the other person what the topic is, it is generally omitted.

(Watashi wa) Hiroko desu.
I am Hiroko.
(Watashi wa) gakusei desu.   
I am a student.

(4) Negative form

The negative form of "~ desu (~です)" is "~ ja arimasen (~じゃありません)" or "~ dewa arimasen (ではありません)." "~ dewa arimasen" is more formal, and "~ ja arimasen" is common in casual conversation.

Gakusei dewa arimasen.
I am not a student.
Nihon-jin ja arimasen.
I am not Japanese.

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