Japanese verbs.

Emlyn-J

I feel that I'm doing really well with my reading of Hiragana and Katakana: consequently my ability to read build a vocabulary has picked up speed dramatically. I'm also happy with sentence structure. I feel I'm being held up by an inability to grasp what the hell is going on with Japansese verbs. The various explanations and examples I've studied don't allow me to grasp any logic. It has me exasperated. Is there an easy fix?

Pascal-P

Japanese verbs are never easy. Rocket Japanese teaches verbs by using individual rules for each form, while other text books go with changing the ending syllable of a verb to one of its neighbors in the same row of the kana table, and then adding various endings. This is generally known as "changing bases": http://ww8.tiki.ne.jp/~tmath/language/jpverbs/index.htm While Rocket Japanese seems to more emphasize different tenses and moods like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese (underscore) verb (underscore) conjugation Have a look through both and see which one suits you more. Also, could you give me an more specific example of how verbs don't make any sense? It'd be easier to help you then. :) If you want a failsafe guide to Japanese verbs, check out "The Handbook of Japanese Verbs" published by Kodansha, it's very understandable, but is a ton of information and it might be difficult to remember it all.

Emlyn-J

Hi Pascal, Your comments and advice are welcome and most helpful. I worked with RJ for about 6 weeks last year before a visit to Japan but then dropped it. I've picked it up again as a hobby and am revising what I'd previously gone over. As an exercise I'm taking each lesson and translating the English into kana with as little reference to Romaji as possible. I'm finding this is a great help in writing, vocabulary and sentence structure. I think there is also the faintest of glimmers that I'm beginning to "think" in Japanese. Doing this exercise has highlighted the fact that as far as verbs go I'm a dunce. Just can't get it. Example - in Lesson 3.1 the English word "climb"is used three times. The hiragana gives "nobori", "nobore", and "nobotte" as translations and for "Climbing" it gives "nobore". I just can't get it. I've looked at English verbs and they can go through a quite similar process. Accordingly I've reasoned that I should just plough on with things and eventually it should dawn on me what is going on. For anyone else reading this I've found that staying away from Romaji as much as possible helps a lot. I'm using "Oxford Beginner's Japanese Dictionary". This is useful and making me aware of all the nuances in the language and is a good source of reading kana.

Emlyn-J

Hello again Pascall http://ww8.tiki.ne.jp/~tmath/language/jpverbs/index.htm Seems to suit me very well in a form I can get my mind around. The other link makes very interesting reading. Many thanks

Hnrutt

Emlyn. Firstly I couldnt agree more about stay away from Romaji. Dump it ASAP & get the Japanese language packs configured on your PC, iphone etc etc. Re verbs, yes they are very confusing. People seem to learn in (at least) two different ways. Some seem to ignore the mechanics, just learn it, but dont look at 'the theory' at all. Others, me included, want to know 'why', how does that work more generally, what is the rule. Ive also found the Kodansha book useful, but it is a bit of an overload & it can be hard to find the relatively simple thing you want to know. Personally at a simple level I like the grammatical explanations in the Minna no Nihongo books. The indexing isn't great, but it does introduce the important structures systematically & explains them well. がんばってください

Tony-S10

Verbs become a lot easier when you keep playing flash cards and just go for memory retention. It then becomes easier to identify the verb conjugation. 

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