Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Japanese 〜ている form used to express a state

The progressive tense, which involves a 〜て form of a verb plus いる (ex: 食べている) is very convenient for English-speakers learning Japanese since it has similarities to the “-ing” form (ex: “I am eating”). This usage means something is actively ongoing. This is all well and good, but the fact is that there is a… Read More »

Dreaming in Japanese

Often when learning a foreign language, one has to not only learn verbs and nouns, but also natural combinations of the two which make expressions. For example, let’s take the following English sentence. Yesterday I had a good dream. If we were to translate this word-by-word to Japanese (shifting around words for correct word ordering),… Read More »

The real story on three Japanese conditionals (すると、したら、すれば) [suru to, shitara, sureba]

I think it’s fair to say that all modern languages (which the exception of those constructed by academics) grow and evolve in response to the times and the culture of the countries speaking those languages. This means that there aren’t many hard and fast rules that work 100% of the time. It’s almost as if exception… Read More »

Personal thoughts on loanword frequency in Japanese

As a follow up to my previous article as to why Japanese has so many loanwords (where I quoted a Japanese person’s opinion on this topic) I’d like to present my own thoughts here. First of all, there is the question of whether Japanese really has that many loanwords. While it is clear there is an… Read More »

Why does Japanese have so many loan words? (外来語, “gairaigo”)

Anyone who has studied Japanese knows that the language contains loanwords called 外来語 (“gairaigo”), which words ‘borrowed’ from another language and imported into Japanese. As part of this transition, the works take on a new spelling and pronunciation, which can be a shortened version or one containing syllables from multiple words. The meaning itself can… Read More »

Japanese Band highlight: “gesu no kiwami otome” (ゲスの極み乙女)

Though I am a big advocate of learning a foreign language using all possible resources, music is one part of Japanese culture I haven’t emphasized as much as manga, novels, or TV dramas. Although I’ve enjoyed songs from various Japanese genres, and there are few artists I’ve been into (Quruli, Utada Hikaru, Yui, etc.), recently… Read More »

Japanese useful word: 大変 (taihen)

The Japanese word “大変” (taihen), made out of the characters for “large” and “change”, and is typically used for two related meanings which I will go over in this post, along with example sentences. The first is to express something is extreme, and can roughly match with english “very” or “terribly”. When using it as an… Read More »

Japanese book review: 99 Tears (99のなみだ)

We received “99 Tears” as a gift and since it was a relatively thin paperback book I decided to try it out. It’s a set of 12 short stories, each written by a different Japanese author.  The settings and characters are all different, but they all share an emphasis on interpersonal relations, especially those with family.… Read More »