皆様, こんにちにゃあぁ！Welcome to Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online, providing a map and topography of Japanese language for anyone who sets cursor or taps on our site. Some people wander through the winding forest of Japanese language using a map meant for English, they’ll continue for years, not understanding the vastly different tools one needs to get the same results. Some people may simply stand outside of the area, afraid to step in, not wanting to risk tripping or looking foolish. Some are stuck in the brush, unable to suss out a way to move forward. That’s when you see two plush hands reaching out to you, through the brush and trees, taking your hand and pulling you into the light where a path is visible, encouraging you to do your best and not worry about tripping because we’ll be there to help you. It’s your hosts, Kiki+Koko, your guides to Japanese language and culture.
On 【ＳＩＤＥ Ａ】and 【ＳＩＤＥ Ｂ】 of our Japanese learning mixtape that is 「I, Me, Mine」, we covered disk one. That is to say, we learned different personal pronouns which are synonymous with 「I 」and 「Me」. However, there was one important vocabulary word that we didn’t cover. No one’s frightened of saying it, everyone’s playing it, coming on strong all the time. That’s right: I, me-me,「Mine」.
In Japanese, though, the concept of 「Mine」doesn’t work exactly in the same way as in English or even in the same way as languages like Swedish. There isn’t one specific word that translates specifically as 「Mine」. And, as a matter of fact, it’s a bit easier in comparison as 「Mine」shares a similar usage as 「My」. Realising something from the previous lesson, this may not be much of a surprise that these two have similar functionality. Though, it might not always be in the same way that you would assume. 「I 」and 「Me」are homophonous if not just synonymous. You’ll use the same word for both. In the case of 「Mine」, often times, it can be the same as「My」, yet in an odd way it doesn’t exist in the same way.
In another way, they can both be the object or subject of a sentence, but 「Mine」can be both a noun phrase in some cases, and in other cases, it’s literally the same as 「My」. However, this still may not feel like it makes much sense until we get deeper into this concept.
Simple Survival Sentence Study
If you can’t create a simple sentence, it might be a bit difficult to identify what is yours, theirs, or mine. Whose line is it, anyway? In previous lessons, we’ve covered some topics essential to your survival with some tools you can be sure to store in your Japanese language survival kit. But, maybe you’ve already read these before? It’s still important to keep these concepts fresh in your mind, fresher than a cool autumn breeze or luxury brand trainers. This thumbnail links to our Japanese Language Learning Essentials section where you can learn everything from particles to vocabulary. But, you can open the basic personal pronoun lessons in a separate tab if you don’t already have these memorised as you’ll find them very handy… or more accurately: essential.
You should definitely be sure you’ve revised / reviewed the previous sections in case there is a specific personal pronoun you would like to practise with, but for now, we’ll keep things universal. This is because you will have to rely on the personal pronouns we’ve learnt together in the previous lessons along with another survival tool that you’ll see often.
It’s the 助詞, joshi, or particle, known as の, no. (If you haven’t read or don’t remember, we discuss the concept of particles here) It is so versatile like many particles that you will see this used in many different contexts. But, not to worry about confusing its usage as it often has a similar function, showing a relationship between whomever it is betwixt, even if it’s not translated the same way.
In this case, we’re focusing on の, no, as a possessive particle. In order to understand how to say, 「mine」, we’re going to first introduce you to 「my」.
If you’re applying your personal pronoun to this, it can be more accurately written as:
[singular personal pronoun]の
[singular personal pronoun]no
Replacing the singular personal pronoun with your own that is appropriate for the situation. 私, watashi, works in almost all formal and generally polite situations, so we’ll stick with this, but you can replace it mentally as we go along by keeping the other lesson open in another tab or simply memorising the pronoun you wanted to use.
「Mine」 oddly holds a similar function as in English but in a much different way as it’s used to omit the noun. So, instead of saying, this is 「my」 [noun], it can be implied by saying: this is 「mine」. This is usually in the case when the noun is obvious to the person with whom you’re speaking and/or it would just seem unnatural to repeat it.
これは 誰の シールまみれの スーツケースですか。
kore wa dare no shiiru mamire no suutsukeesu desuka?
Whose sticker-covered suitcase is this?
それは 私の です！
kore wa watashi no desu!
It is mine!
watashi no desu!
So, again, in this case, they could have repeated the object being talked about: シールまみれの スーツケース, shiiru mimire no suutsukeesu, sticker-covered suitcase. Or a shortened form like simply: suitcase, just as in English. But, in this case, as in many other cases, you can state that it’s yours using a personal pronoun and the particle の, no, as a suffix.
You’ll notice that in English, the part of speech changes when you say something is 「mine」vs saying this is 「my」something or other. This is just like the personal pronouns and pronouns in general. Though you would translate it differently, it’s unnecessary to think of the function as any different from each other in Japanese. It still shows there’s a possessive relationship between the two. But, perhaps, you would feel better if there was something that felt more like a noun? Something that formed what might feel like a more complete phrase?
Though 私の, watashi no, functions well enough on its own as both「my」and「mine」, there is also another option that allows you to say something is「mine」as a complete noun phrase or as a subject, even if you can simply omit the possession. And, this is by adding 物, mono, which is a catch-all word for any ‘thing’ which can include meaning a possession. (It has many different meanings, but you needn’t worry about that in this lesson) This would also be in the case where the subject is known already. Here’s an example:
watashi ga tsukutta bangohan wa mou tsumetakunarimashita.
The dinner I made is already cold.
watashi no mono wa mada daijoubu desu.
Mine is still fine.
Or, you could use it as a noun phrase as the object:
watashi no mono wo sagashi ni ikimasu.
I’m going to find [my stuff/mine]
This can easily be translated literally as ‘my stuff’ or ‘my possessions’ or ‘my things’ depending on the context. Though, this phrase isn’t only useful for when you’re using it as the subject. It works just as well as when you’re using 私の, watashi no, only with a complete set noun phrase.
watashi no mono desu.
So! Overall, when you say 「mine」in Japanese, it’s generally the same as「my」unless you’re using it as a noun phrase or anything other than an adjective. When you say ‘This is mine’ in English, it is still describing ‘This’, but when you are ‘going to find mine’ or ‘mine is still fine’, it turns into a noun which would require a noun phrase to work clearly.
However, when you’re more accustomed to using this, you’ll be able to apply this same concept to other nouns, pronouns, and proper nouns. So, as you learn, you’ll be able to build on what you’ve already learnt which should help you navigate the terrain. You’ll see that areas that may seem rocky might be easily scalable with practise, and that you’ll find similar rocky areas that won’t feel so rocky as you apply your knowledge.
We’ll cover more of the breadth of の, no, in another lesson, as we’re only just scratching the surface. But, we reckoned it important to complete the 「I, Me, Mine」 trilogy. And, throughout it, you may have realised just how many basic ways there are to say such simple words. But, if you want to communicate, reading and writing are other essential tools to your survival. We’ve covered the first 46-48 hiragana as of this lesson and shall continue, so be on the look out for the latest lessons in reading, writing, and recognition.
If you want to make sure your Japanese language survival kit is stocked with the latest tools, you can make sure you stay up to date by subscribing to the Electronic Mailing List of Tomorrow, today, found usually at the bottom of the site page or the sidebar on desktop. You’ll get the latest tools and resources to surviving in Japanese language in straight to your inbox. That’s articles, videos, podcasts, and more.
Also, we want to make sure we can continue to offer this and even more content for months and years to come. But, sadly, advertising alone can’t cover the cost of running this site and surviving with food and shelter. If you want to ensure our survival as well as the continuation of the creation of new and even better content, feel free to leave a TIP in the TIP♡JAR to keep it going, or for long term contributions in increments, you can join our Patreon where our gracious host, Indigo East, usually posts behind-the-scenes, sneak-peeks, exclusive content, and more. And, we join in as well! Again, if you’d like to support our survival and the creation of more content to be made available to as many people as possible, you can also share the content! You can easily share via Twitter and Pinterest where you can retweet and repin respectively without even having to type! Gestures like that go a long way, and we appreciate it.
Thank you for joining us! We hope that you continue with us on this adventure, and we appreciate that you’ve chosen us to assist you on your Japanese learning journey!