All About Japanese Verbs


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All About Japanese Verbs

  1. 1. ALL ABOUT JAPANESE VERBS<br />PART 1<br />
  2. 2. A. What is a verb?<br />Verbs are words that describe an action, a process, or state of being.<br />Verbs have different forms which enable you to express time, intention, feelings, politeness, etc.<br />Japanese verbs express these things too, but in different ways than the English language.<br />The main verb of a Japanese sentence always goes at the end of the sentence, since the Japanese word order is (SOV) subject/object/verb, where as the English sentence word order is (SVO) subject/verb/object.<br />
  3. 3. Japanese sentence word order.<br />(subject) (object) (verb)<br />1. Okaasanga pan wokaimashita. verb is at the end.<br /> (Mother bread bought.)<br />English sentence word order<br /> (Subject) (verb) (object)<br />2. Mother bought bread. verb is not at the end.<br />
  4. 4. B. Agreement<br />In English a verb must agree with it’s subject in person and number. In the present tense, for example, a subject in the first person takes a different verb form from a subject in the third person, and a plural subject in the third person takes a different verb form from a singular subject.<br />
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  6. 6. In Japanese, agreement is not an issue. Verbs do not have different forms to indicate person, number, or gender. The same verb form is used no matter what the subject. This is true for all tenses. <br />
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  8. 8. (TIP)<br />This principle is easy to understand if you remember the following : If the meaning is clear from the context in a japanese sentence, a pronoun is not necessary. Therefore, ikimasu is both a verb and a sentence.<br /><ul><li>In English, except for the imperative, or command form, a sentence consisting of a verb alone is not possible.</li></li></ul><li>C. Verb Conjugations.<br />Japanese verbs can be classified into two major groups, or conjugations. The only exceptions are two irregular verbs: suru(to do), and kuru(to come)<br />These groupings are a basic key to the Japanese verb system. They enable you to change the verb forms for different tenses and moods.<br />
  9. 9. In a dictionary, an English verb is listed in its infinitive, or “to” form: (to)go, (to) see, etc. A Japanese verb on the other hand, is listed in what is called it’s “dictionary form.” The dictionary form is the basis for categorizing a verb into one of the two major conjugations.<br />The two major groups differ in how they form their stems and their infinitives. The stem is the most important inflectional base, which may change, or to which different suffixes, or endings, are added, to show tense, mood, and politeness level. The infinitive is the second most important inflectional base.<br />
  10. 10. The consonant conjugation.<br />In this group, the verb stems end in a consonant. Therefore they may be called c-stem verbs, as we shall do here. Because the stems are formed by dropping the final u, this is also referred to as u-dropping conjugation, and the verbs may be called u-dropping verbs.<br />
  11. 11. How can you tell a consonant conjugation verb?<br /> If the dictionary form ends in anything but -eru or –iru, it belongs in this group.<br />How do you form the stem?<br /> To form the stem of the verb, drop the final –u.<br />
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  13. 13. For a few verbs, certain sound changes are necessary: <br /><ul><li> If a verb ends in –su, then the stem ends in sh before a suffix beginning with i, or s before other suffixes.
  14. 14. If a verb ends in –tsu, the stem ends in ch before a suffix beginning with i, or t before other suffixes.</li></li></ul><li>For example : <br />
  15. 15. If a verb ends in -au, -iu, or –ou, it is still considered a c-stem verb, and it belongs in this group, even though a vowel remains after the u is dropped. The reason is that a missing “w” is considered the final consonant of the stem. That w, although not used in the affirmative forms, is needed for some of the negative forms. <br />
  16. 16. For example:<br />
  17. 17. <ul><li> Some verbs that end in –eru and –iru belong to the c-stem verb group. Here are a few examples:</li></li></ul><li>Note that kiru(to cut), is a c-stem verb. When pronounced, the first syllable is stressed. The verb kiru(to wear) is a v-stem verb, when pronounced, the second syllable is stressed.<br />
  18. 18. A continuation of this lesson will be posted shortly. Look forward to part 2 of “All about verbs”.<br />