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Lesson of Japanese No.13


Junbi suru
Ryokou suru
To prepare, to get ready
Not really
It's ok, no problem
I see
Next week
To travel



- 今晩何する?

- 明日アメリカに行くから荷物の準備するよ。

- えー、オリビエさんは英語が話せる?

- うんん、あんまり。でも大丈夫、アメリカに友達がいるから。

- そっか。いつ東京に帰る?

- 来週の月曜日。
- Konban nani suru?

- Ashita Amerika ni iku kara nimotsu no junbi suru yo.

- Ê, Olibier san ha eigo ga hanaseru?

- Unn, anmari. Demo daijoubu, Amerika ni tomodachi ga iru kara.

- Sokka. Itsu Toukyou ni kaeru?

- Raishuu no getsuyoubi.
- ''Tonight, what do you do?''

- ''Tomorrow, I will go to the United States, so I prepare my luggages.''

- ''Oh yes? You speak English, Oliver?''

- ''Hum, not really. But it's ok, I have friends in the United States.''

- ''I see. When are you coming back to Tokyo?''

- ''Next Monday.''

Note : We saw earlier that the question mark "?" wasn't being used in Japanese. It is exact, meaning that it is not useful to form a question. However, we can use it to show the tone of the sentence. In other words, if we see "する" with no more information, we will pronounce it with a regular tone of voice, but if we see "する?", we will pronounce it using a question tone of voice.

Also to note : "あまり" is often replaced with "あんまり" in the informal conversations.


The informal form

In Japanese, there are many levels of politeness. At each level, the form of the verb changes.
In the previous courses, we saw the "-masu" form, which is the polite form (formal). Usually, it is the first one being taught because it can be used at any time.

For instance: 肉を食べます

The informal form doesn't imply any politeness notion. We use it among friends, with our family members and with younger people or people of a lower rank. At the present tense, we also call this form the " dictionary form" because the verbs are written at the informal form in the dictionaries. Sometimes, we also call it the ''infinitive form''. However, this expression is not exact. When it comes to the Japanese language, it is often used to refer to the informal form.

For instance: 肉を食べ

We already saw quickly this form in the course No.3 with the form "-koto". "見ます", for instance, was becoming "見ること", which is the informal form of the verb "見る" + "こと".

In this course text, "する" is the informal form of "します" ; "話せる", the informal form of "話せます"; "いる", the informal form of "います" and "帰る", the informal form of "帰ります".

In the following course, we will learn how to go from one form to the other one.

The simplified sentence

When we speak in Japanese, mostly in a familiar context, we very often won't pronounce on purpose some words or particles. Of course, this way, we speak faster, but we also give a less strict form to the sentence. We lower the politeness level. We sometimes compensate for the omitted parts by increasing our voice tone. For example, we express the surprise or ask questions with more strength, which makes the conversation a whole lot more lively and ''colourful''. We will call that the use of ''simplified sentences''.

In the previous courses, we already saw a few simplified sentences. For instance, in the lesson No.5, we had the example "今、何時。", which is the simplification of "今、何時ですか。" In the text of this lesson, we omitted the particle "を" twice. "何する" was simplified with "何する" and "準備する" became "準備する".

Some words can even be shortened. For instance, ''Monday'', which is being pronounced "getsuyoubi", can become "getsuyou". Often, the subject of the sentence itself is being omitted when the context allows to clearly guess what it is. So, a simple sentence such as "食べたい" could mean "I want to eat." as well as "What do you want to eat?", depending on the context and the tone of voice used.

In most cases, these simplifications are very easy to understand and their use quickly becomes natural.

The particle ''から'' (kara): because

The particle ''から'' is generally used in the middle of the sentence and shows the separation between the cause and the consequence. Its use is almost the same as the one of ''because'', the only difference being that this particle is used after the cause and not before.

- 安いから、買います。
- Yasui kara, kaimasu.
- Because it is cheap, I buy it.

After an "i" adjective or a verb, we generally directly use "kara", but after a "na" adjective or a noun, we use "desu kara" or its informal form, "dakara".

- かわいいから好き。

- きれいから好き。

In some cases, ''から'' can be at the end of the sentence, but it is always related to the cause.

- 英語を勉強します、アメリカに行きたいから
- Eigo wo benkyou shimasu, Amerika ni ikitai kara.
- I study English because I want to go to the United States.

Note here that the focus is being put on the information "I study English" because it is placed at the beginning of the sentence. More often, we divide the sentence into two parts:


''うんん -'' , ''えー'': the interjections

Just like we use "Hum", the Japanese use a lot of interjections. In English, the use of interjections is often rather disrespectful and we try to use them as less as possible. For example, a person who begins each of his answers with a long ''Hum...'' or an other person (or the same one) who asks you to repeat, only saying ''What?''is not polite, right? In Japanese, it is totally different, even the opposite. The use of interjections is extremely frequent and even almost mandatory because it is a way to show your interest in the conversation. Not using them can even lead to the person to whom you are talking to to be uneasy. The person to whom you are talking to might even be wondering if you are really listening to him. That is true no matter what level of politeness you are using.

''うんん'' indicates that you are thinking. It means that you are thinking about what you are going to say or that you are thinking about what the person to whom you are talking to has just said. When using a slightly different tone of voice, it might also indicate the comprehension.

''うん'' shows the confirmation. It is being pronounced with the nose and in a very clear way, contrary to ''うんん'', which lasts for very long. We can use it alone and not only at the beginning of a sentence. It is used to answer ''Yes.'' as well as to confirm what the person to whom we are talking to said while he keeps talking.

''えー'' shows the surprise. We use it even when we are not really surprised, to show that we value what the person to whom we are talking to is saying.

''え'' or ''ええ'' shows the confirmation, a bit like ''うん'', but only as an answer to a question. It is being pronounced clearly, contrary to ''えー'', which is being pronounced over a long time.