ＨＥＬＬＯ！ Ｉ ＡＭ ＱＵＩＺＢＯ™！Welcome to the thirteenth instalment of Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online’s January Japanese Word of the Weekday! We have completed 65% of this month-long challenge. You do not have to begin this challenge at the beginning of the month of January, nor do you have to begin it at the beginning of any month of the year. This challenge is meant to give you the chance to begin the positive habit of learning something new everyday and working towards your Japanese language learning goals. And, the best time to begin working towards your goals is today!
During this instalment, you will learn how to say a useful phrase in Japanese that is sure to arise often during your Japanese language learning journey. Learning phrases and vocabulary will always be beneficial, but be sure that if you are planning to become serious in your Japanese language studies, that you start with the building blocks of Japanese language learning.
We, at Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online, recommend that you begin your Japanese language studies by learning how to read and write basic Japanese characters, namely 平仮名（ひらがな・hiragana）. This will assist you in grasping the sounds you will need to pronounce Japanese words. From there, it is important to start learning grammar such as sentence structure and basic particles. During this, it is essential that you have a bank of vocabulary to use whilst practising grammar. But, it is also important to undertsand what to do with those words, especially verbs and adjectives, as conjugation opens a plothora of essential ways to express everything from temporal action to intention and causation.
As in any language, there is a lot to learn ahead of you. But, that is all the more reason to begin or continue your Japanese language learning journey, now! (Yes, right this very moment. Well, your journey can begin after this introduction. Or, is this introduction part of your journey? …)
Anyway, reading is an essential part of any language, and in Japanese, this is no exception. A great deal of time is spent for native Japanese speakers, learning how to read and write properly. And, during your journey, it is very likely that you will have many questions about how words and characters you have never encountered before are read. That is where the sentence of the instalment of today will be of great use!
Word(s) of the Weekday:
(これ・それ・あれ)は 何と 読みますか？
(これ・それ・あれ)は なんと よみますか？
(kore・sore・are)wa nanto yomimasuka？
How do you read (this/that/that)?
Before we begin to analyse this sentence, it is important to note that this sentence comes with options. You can customise it to fit the scenario in which you will be using this.
（これ・それ・あれ) are こそあど言葉（こそあどことば・kosoado kotoba), or 指示代名詞（しじだいめいし・shijidaimeishi）. Our lesson 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 then, you can join me for a quiz with [QUIZ]📖 Practise: Demonstratives 🌌IN SPACE🌌 | (1-3) Pronouns and Adverbs|Here, There, and Everywhere.
That being said, you should read the lessons to fully understand, but as a very short overview for the sake of translation, you can think of これ（kore）as “this,” それ(sore), as “that”, and あれ(are) as “that over there.” It will be processed more efficiently in your mind if you experience the lesson for yourself.
As a note, you can replace this part of the sentence with the specific type of thing about which you are asking. You will see an example of this later on during the example sentence portion.
As we talked about in the first instalment of Word of the Weekday as well as in a few others, this is a topic marker, the particle 「は」. It indicates that you are speaking in regards to the subject （これ・それ・あれ)。
Question Word + Quoting Particle 「と」
This was encountered in the twelfth instalment of Word of the Weekday. But, we will reintroduce it, as it requires multiple encounters to learn a concept. 「何」is a question word with a few pronunciations, but here, it is pronounced (なん・nan). We have a thorough explanation of Japanese question words that is part of the Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Japanese Language Learning Essentials’ 「Ask me Why」series found on our website called Basic Japanese Question Words | 基本的な疑問詞 | PART 1 , PART 2, PART 3 and more!
The particle 「と」 Is often used to connect nouns, as explained in the「Come Together 」 series of Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Japanese Language Learning Essentials. This is specifically in 名詞の基本| Basics of Japanese Nouns| | Listing Nouns |Particles も + と, however in this case, this particle is being used for a different purpose.
In this sentence,「と」 is being used as one of a few ways to quote a word or a thought. You may hear 「何て」, but it is generally more polite to use 「何と」。Though it is enjoyable to use casual language with friends, it truly is important to begin learning using generally polite language in order to get in the habit.
Verb (to read) (masu form)+particle「か」
Speaking of polite, this verb is also in a basic polite form known as ます形, masukei, or masu form. In order to fully understand this conjugation, it is important to understand dictionary form, verb stems, and verb types. From there, the best way to learn is to practise. But first, you can read our lessons so far on Japanese verbs which also includes a useful crib sheet forます形, masukei, or masu form.
- 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
But, do not worry if you do not automatically understand these. Japanese verbs and their conjugation will most likely take time to fully understand and put into practice. So, be patient with yourself and do your best. You will eventually be able to understand and use them, especially with the help of Kiki and Koko, and I, ＱＵＩＺＢＯ™.
The last part of this sentence is suffixed to the verb. This is the particle か which indicates the sentence as a question. This also requires more explanation, but Word of the Weekday is not meant for such deep explanation. So, if you want to know how to really make questions in Japanese as well as get an understanding of these particles, please read: How to [really]: Make Basic Japanese Questions | Particles か+の. You will acquire much useful knowledge about the subject.
Now that this sentence has been explained, it is important to have more context to which you can attach this concept. So, it is now time for some example sentences. Let us NihonGO!!
Our lesson’s example sentences will begin shortly after this quick advertisement break.
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あのー、Bさん、このもじは なんと よみますか？
anoo, Bsan, kono moji wa nanto yomimasuka?
Erm, B, how do you read this character?
ee!? kowa!! Yomikata, zen zen wakannai.
What!? That’s so scary!! I have no idea how to read that in the slightest.
こわくないの。りゅうを よっつ ならべた かんじに すぎないわ。
kowakunai no. ryuu wo yottsu narabeta kanji ni suginai wa.
It’s not scary. It’s just a kanji with four dragons lined up.
If I’m not mistaken, it’s read as “techi” or “tetsu.”
たげんを いみするだと おもうけど、 じょうようごじゃないので、
tagen wo imi suru dato omou kedo, jyouyougo jyanai no de,
I think it means verbosity, but it’s not a common word,
あたまを なやまなくて いいよ。
atama wo nayamanakute ii yo.
so you needn’t worry your head.
a! arigatou, Csan.
Oh! Thanks, C.
Don’t mention it.
ねえ、Bさん、これを わたしに よんでくれませんか？
Nee, Bsan, kore wo watashi ni yonde kuremasen ka?
Hey, B, will you read this for me?
What is it?
これは なんと よみますか？
kore wa nanto yomimasuka?
How do you read this?
*Translation:「I want a divorce.」
A: ねえ、ねえ、Bさん、あの標識が読めない。あれは 何と 読むのですか？
ねえ、ねえ、Bさん、あのひょうしきが よめない。あれはなんと よむのですか？
Nee, nee, Bsan, ano hyoushiki ga yomenai. Are wa nanto yomu no desuka?
Hey, B, I can’t read that sign (over there). How do you read that?
azen zen yomenai. Chuugokugo de kakareta.
I totally can’t read. It’s written in Chinese.
aa, zannen desune.
Oh, that’s too bad.
iyaiya, are wa 「zenzen yomenai」no da.
No, no, It’s that “I totally can’t read” that.
wakaru wa. Nihongo de wa nai no desu.
I get it. It’s because it’s not in Japanese.
sou da ga.…owarai wo enjiru?
That’s right, but…Are you doing a bit?
・・・もういかなくちゃ。わたしの わくせいは わたしを ひつようと してるわ。
・・・mou ikanakucha. watashi no wakusei wa watashi wo hitsuyou to shiteru wa.
.…I must go. My planet needs me.
That was a very educational set of example sentences, yes? And with that, we have reached the end of the thirteenth 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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