ＨＥＬＬＯ！ Ｉ ＡＭ ＱＵＩＺＢＯ™！Welcome to January Japanese Word of the Weekday! Every weekday in January, we are providing you with an opportunity to learn a new Japanese word or phrase. Whether you are a beginner, or you have simply fallen out of practice, this special corner is meant for you! Do not worry what time of the year or even the week it is, as the best time to start working towards your Japanese language learning goals is today.
So far, we have learnt multiple words and phrases that you can use right away to talk about your Japanese language learning journey. Learning is truly a journey, and you do not always know what is around the corner. Though we, here, at Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online would like to think that we are providing a road map for this journey, it is still impossible to see too far ahead on the path. Even the idea of fluency in another language can be hazy in the distance. It is more important to focus on each step along the way and celebrate how far you have travelled.
And, no human is perfect nor are they omniscient, so it is inevitable that at any point of your journey, you will encounter something you will not know. But, do not think of this as a road block, it is, again, an opportunity. For that is what is so exhilarating about learning, that there is always something new to learn.
So, today, we will be learning how to express when one encounters something that they do not recognise.
Word(s) of the Weekday:
（watashi wa）sore ga mada wakarimasen.
（I）do not know/understand that, yet.
Before we begin analysing this sentence, it is important to mention that Japanese sentence structure is not as strict as it may seem. So, you may see, まだ、私はそれがわかりません・私はまだそれがわかりません・それがまだ私はわかりません・It just depends on the emphasis that you want. But that is a discussion for another time, as this sentence should express what you wish to say without issue.
personal pronoun + particle「は」
As mentioned in the first Word of the Weekday instalment, Japanese language has many personal pronouns which you can read about in our lessons: 🔊 I Me Mine | Basic Personal Pronouns | SIDE A and 🔊 I Me Mine | Basic Personal Pronouns + Body Language Note | SIDE B.
This personal pronoun is paired with the particle 「は」, pronounced (わ・wa) when used as a particle, indicates the topic/subject, or in this case, who is the one that does not know/understand that, yet. Because the subject can be implied by context, the subject can be omitted.
demostrative pronoun + particle 「が」
Here, There, and Everywhere| Basics of Japanese Demonstratives (kosoado)| 指示語の基本（こそあど言葉）| PART 1 gives you the essentials on the nature of Japanese demonstratives. They are actually different to English demonstratives, but are quite organised as you will begin to see in Part 2, Pronouns| 基本的な指示語| 代名詞 and Part 3, Adverbs |基本的な指示語| 副詞. And, you can even practise these concepts with Here, There, and Everywhere| Basic Japanese Demonstratives | Practising (1-3) Pronouns and Adverbs |基本的な指示語| 代名詞と副詞の練習 and join me for a quiz with [QUIZ]📖 Practise: Demonstratives 🌌IN SPACE🌌 | (1-3) Pronouns and Adverbs|Here, There, and Everywhere.
That being said, それ in this case means, that, but there is more context, and more than one way to say, that, using Japanese language. So, please read and practise with us if you would like to know more.
This is coupled with the particle が because わかる is an intransitive verb. You can learn more about this using our essentials lesson 動詞の基本| Basics of Japanese Verbs| |（ｉｎｔｒｏ＿ｐｔ１）.
Notice that in this case, we are not using a particle, though you may encounter this alongside the particle 「に」.「それがまだわかりません」, it is innocuous. It can mean either I still do not understand, or I do not understand, yet. But, if you were to say 「それがまだにわかりません。」it would indicate surprise or even annoyance.
But, even then, that is okay. There are times that it can be frustrating or difficult when learning something new. And, it is okay to express that: 未だにわかりません, I STILL do not understand. But, it is important not to dwell on it. If you do find yourself in need of expressing this, take a break, and return to it when you are feeling less frustrated. Then, you may even see it from a different perspective. Many concepts take time to understand, just be patient with yourself.
Verb (negative form)
“do not know”/”do not understand”
There are several ways to say that you know or understand. But, this intransitive verb, わかる in its dictionary form, can mean everything from comprehend, to be known, to be realised, and more. In order to understand how this verb is conjugated, it is recommneded that you read our previous essential lessons that will guide you through verbs. Verbs in Japanese language may be the concept that you spend the most time revising/studying during your Japanese language learning journey. So, do not feel the need to fully understand these right away. Take time and take it one step at a time.
- 動詞の基本| Basics of Japanese Verbs| |（ｉｎｔｒｏ＿ｐｔ１）
- 動詞の基本| Basics of Japanese Verbs| |（ 辞書形ｉｎｔｒｏ）| dictionary form intro
- 動詞の基本| Basics of Japanese Verbs| |（ 動詞の語幹ｉｎｔｒｏ）| verb stems intro| identifying verb types & stems,
- マス形とは？｜What is Masu form? | 動詞の基本| Basics of Japanese Verbs| |（ マス形ｉｎｔｒｏ）| masu form intro| applying conjunctive form & verb types
- How to: Dictionary to Masu Form?｜ （辞書形をマス形に）|う-Verbs マス形 Crib Sheet| 動詞の基本| Basics of Japanese Verbs
- [QUIZ] Practise: Dictionary to Masu Form｜ （辞書形をマス形に）|う-Verbs +る-verbs’ マス形| 動詞の基本| Basics of Japanese Verbs
- Blast from the Past| 動詞の基本| Basics of Japanese Verbs| マス形の過去形|| Past Tense of Masu-Form Verbs
- Blast from the Past (pt 2)|動詞の基本| Basics of Japanese Verbs| マス形の否定形と過去形 | Masu-Form’s Negative Forms & Past Tense
Do not touch that dial! We will be right back with more January Japanese Word of the Weekday after these messages.
Thank you for your patience. Now, back to your regularly scheduled sound “bytes”!
Though knowing how to express this alone is very useful, you may also benefit from knowing a few more related phrase which I will show you.
（watashi wa）sono shikata ga mada wakarimasen.
（I）do not know/understand how to do that, yet.
（watashi wa）sono koto wo motto shiritai desu.
（I) want to know more (about) that
（watashi wa）sono shikata wo shiritai desu.
(I) want to know how to do that.
（わたしは） そのことを しりませんでした。
（watashi wa） sono koto wo shirimasen deshita.
（I）did not know (about) that.
So, when you use these phrases, remember that not knowing something is not a weakness, it is an opportunity to learn more and to potentially clear a view into a world that was hidden in plain sight!
And with that, we have reached the end of the eleventh instalment of Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online’s Japanese Word of the Weekday! We hope that you will continue to join us for more of this special corner as well as more of our Japanese language and culture resources. Just because the activity of today is complete does not mean that your daily learning journey has to stop here. You can have a look at previous Word of the Week articles for even more Japanese vocabulary. You can be sure that you are caught up with the latest by visiting ieindigoeast.com, and clicking the sidebar link labelled 今週の単語 | Word of the Week, or go to ieindigoeast.com/kikiandkokoletsnihongo and scroll down until you see my monitor on the Word of the Week banner, and you can access the archives.
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