Monthly Archives: February 2014

Conversing with native speakers and the human element

As a self-studier of a foreign language with limited exposure to native speakers of that language, I try my best to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. Recently, I briefly met several Japanese businessmen at a conference on the west coast, and after speaking of business matters for a few minutes I… Read More »

Don’t be afraid to joke around in a foreign language

Foreign language study, which can take many hundreds of hours of study and practice, is anything but a joke. But keeping things light and not being afraid to attempt a joke here or an out-of-context line there is one of the keys to increased fluency. As I mentioned in this post, language is filled with… Read More »

More uses and notes on ‘そう’ (Sou) and usage of ‘だ’ (da)

I recently wrote a post on usages of ‘そう’ coupled with a few particles, and I decided to write a second article with a few other things I thought of on this subject. In that post I mentioned the phrases そうだね and そうだよ, but what if you remove the だ from these? Well, the word… Read More »

Simple expressions with そう and a few particles

「そう」 is a very simple word in Japanese that is used extremely often for a variety of situations. It’s meaning is similar to the English “so”, as in the sentence “I told you so”. It’s a mix of the concepts “that” and “true”. This word is commonly used as a light acknowledgement to a question.… Read More »

Expressing strong feelings in Japanese, a language with less curse words

Once someone who was informally teaching me Japanese mentioned that in Japanese there are not that many strong curse words in everyday language. If you watch certain anime or dramas you might occasionally catch overdramatic words like “ちくしょ!” (negative expletive, literally ‘beast’) or “きさま!” (second person pronoun used as an insult)  but those are very… Read More »

Plurality in Japanese

It’s well known to anyone who has studied Japanese seriously that the language lacks a general concept of plurality, like English’s “-s”. However, there are some cases where a plural modifier is used, as well as some other things to keep in mind about plurality which I’ll discuss in this post. In many cases, a… Read More »