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Japanese Journey 七 — Adjectives, Asking Questions

As mentioned in Japanese Journey 六, there are two types of adjectives in Japanese language: い-adjective and な-adjective. The example in adjective conjugation, 高い, is an い-adjective.

All い-adjectives end with い. Some of the “famous” い-adjectives that you may hear from Japanese drama series are 可愛い (cute)、優しい (gentle)、美味しい (delicious) and 素晴らしい (fabulous).

To describe a noun, you just need to add the noun after the い-adjective, for examples, 可愛い子供、優しい人、美味しい寿司。

Although some な-adjectives end with い, you add な in between the adjective and the noun to describe the noun. Are な-adjectives confusing? No. From the examples below, although the pronunciation ends with い, they are kanji that does not end with い alone like  い-adjectives. It takes a lot of learning to differentiate な-adjectives from い-adjectives, but it is not confusing.

Examples of な-adjective and its usage:

(a) 綺麗 (きれい) — 綺麗な女の子

(b) 有名 (ゆうめい) — 有名な人

Asking questions

Asking questions in Japanese is easy. Once you have learnt sufficient grammar and vocabulary to form sentences, you just need to add か (ka) at the end of the sentence to make it a question sentence. Let’s look at two examples:

(a) 高いですか?— Is it expensive?

(b) あなたは行きますか?— Are you going?

Lesson learnt

1. Start a diary to write in the language that you are learning. The more you use the language in your daily life, the more your brain can retain what you have learnt.

Next lesson here

Chinese Language Grammar 3

This is a continuation from Chinese Language Grammar 2. In this station, we are going to explore adjectives (形容词) and how to indicate time in a Chinese language sentence.

Adjectives (形容词)

List of adjectives to be learnt: 小 (small)、黑色 (black)、顽皮 (naughty)。

Let’s take a dog (狗) as our model today. You can describe a dog in different ways:

1. 这只狗是黑色的。— This dog is black.

2. 这是一只小狗。— This is a puppy.

3. 这是一只黑色的小狗。— This is a black puppy.

4. 小狗很顽皮。— The puppy is naughty.

5. 那只黑色的小狗很顽皮。— That black puppy is naughty.

As you can see, the style is quite free, you can “mix and match” different adjectives in a sentence. As long as you follow the grammar rules, you can make many different sentences with few simple adjectives.

Time and Tenses (时间)

Another good news for Chinese language learners: there are no tenses to be remembered in Chinese language.

We can use the day to indicate when you did, do or will be doing an action or other words to indicate time.

1. Days — 大前天、前天、昨天、今天、明天、后天、大后天 (In the same order: two days before yesterday, the day before yesterday, yesterday, today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, two days after tomorrow)

Though we seldom use 大前天 and 大后天, the vocabulary is there for you to express different days and time. When you are speaking of different times of the day, you can use 早上、中午、下午、傍晚、晚上 and 午夜 (morning, noon, afternoon, evening, night and midnight).

(a) 今天早上我在公园跑了一圈。— I ran one round in the park this morning.

(b) 今天下午我去图书馆。— I am going to the library this afternoon.

(c) 今天晚上我早一点睡。— I will sleep earlier tonight.

With the use of different times of the day, we know whether something happened in the past or going to happen.

2. Use of different words to indicate time

(i) 刚刚,刚才 (just)

我刚刚吃饱。— I have just eaten.

(ii) 已经 (already)

我已经吃饱了。— I have eaten already. (It means “I am full.”)

(iii) 还没有 (not … yet)

我还没有洗澡。— I have not taken a shower yet.

(iv) 正在 (-ing)

我正在做功课。— I am doing homework.

What other words that you use to indicate time in Chinese language?

Next station is about 数量词