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#002: Introduction to Japanese Verbs.

Verbs
They only suck a little.


Japanese verbs are a bit crazy, because not only is the verb conjugated to reflect tense (past tense, future tense, etc), it's can also be conjugated to reflect negative, potential, causal, passive, and even things like desire. :x This will just be an introduction to verbs; that other crazy stuff can come later. 8D Yes, we will revisit verbs many different times to learn new ways to conjugate them. :x



Politeness

You know how Japanese are always sooooo polite, right? Part of that politeness is shown in which form of verbs they use. There's a "casual" form of verbs (called "plain form" or "dictionary form," as that's how they appear in the dictionary), and there's "polite form" (which is often called "masu" form, because that's how they end). Japanese texts will often teach them seperately (we didn't even learn plain form verbs until our second semester of classes), but I think I'm going to introduce them both at the same time. Don't panic 8DDDD

Let's start with plain form verbs.



Plain form!

This is how verbs appear in the dictionary, so if you happen to have a Japanese dictionary handy, this will be useful for you.

All plain form, non-conjugated verbs end in a "u" sound.. No exceptions.

Here's some relevant verbs:
する // suru // to do
いる // iru // to be/exist (animate)
ある // aru // to be/exist (non-animate)

Note that Japanese does not usually use kanji for these three verbs. Yes, there are two different "to be/exist" verbs. You use iru for things that are alive/animate: people, animals, etc. You use aru for things, objects, non-living things.

Ex:
今、ユンホは日本にいる。 // いま、ユンホは にほんに いる。
Ima, Yunho wa nihon ni iru.
Yunho is in Japan now.

Break it down:
ima // "now"
Yunho // ... Yunho
wa // particle marking the topic
nihon // "Japan"
ni // particle marking the location
iru // "is/exist" (Yunho is alive (we hope/assume), and so you use iru.)


Let's try one more:
チャンミンの部屋にポルノがある。 // チャンミンの へやに ポルノが ある。
Chanmin no heya ni poruno ga aru.
There's porn in Changmin's room.

Break it down:
Chanmin // Changmin
no // particle showing posession
heya // "room"
ni // particle showing location
poruno // Japanese butchering of "porn"
ga // particle marking the subject
aru // "is/exist" (The porn is not alive or living, so we use aru.)



Here's some more (random) verbs. :x

行く // いく // iku // to go
来る // くる // kuru // to come
帰る // かえる // kaeru // to return (home)
食べる // たべる // taberu // to eat
飲む // のむ // nomu // to drink
取る // とる // toru // to take (something)
踊る // おどる // odoru // to dance
歌う // うたう // utau // to sing
送る // おくる // okuru // to send
持つ // もつ // motsu // to have (something)
泣く // なく // naku // to cry
笑う // わらう // warau // to laugh/smile
起きる // おきる // okiru // to wake up
寝る // ねる // neru // to sleep



Verb Types

To be able to conjugate any of these verbs (and to make them polite form so you don't insult strangers on the street), you have to know how verbs behave in Japanese. Verbs basically fall into two different categories: "-ru" verbs, and "-u" verbs.

"-ru" verbs
"-u" verbs
taberu to eat
okiru to wake up
neru to sleep
miru to watch
wasureru to forget
oboeru to remember
nomu to drink
toru to take
odoru to dance
utau to sing
kaku to write
yomu to read


I didn't list all the verbs, but... what pattern do you see from the "-ru" verbs? Well, first, they all end in "-ru,' and second, the vowel sound from the previous syllable is an "i" or an "e" sound. These two requirements must hold for a verb to be a "-ru" verb. There are exceptions of course (ex: kaeru "to return" meets both requirements but is not a "-ru" verb).

And "-u" verbs? Are all the verbs that aren't "-ru" verbs. Easy enough.


So why do you need to know this "-ru" and "-u" verb BS? Because whether or not it's a "-ru" or an "-u" verb will dictate how the verb conjugates. You also need to know so you can make the polite form of the verb correctly. Let's do that now (I promise it's not hard).



Polite Form!

Polite form, like I said before, is often called "masu" form, because that's how all the verbs end. They're not hard to make. How you do it depends on if it's a "-ru" verb or an "-u" verb.


"-ru verbs"
These are easy. Simply replace the "-ru" at the end of the verb with "-masu." No, really.

taberu "to eat" | taberutabemasu たべます
okiru "to wake up" | okiruokimasu おきます
neru "to sleep" | nerunemasu ねます



"-u" verbs
These aren't too bad either. You take the last syllable of the verb, replace the "u" sound with an "i" sound, and then add "-masu."

nomu "to drink" | nomunomi + masunomimasu のみます
odoru "to dance" | odoruodori + masuodorimasu おどります
utau "to sing" | utauutai + masuutaimasu うたいます


There's a few things to take note of.

★ If the final hiragana is "tsu," it does not become "tsi" - no such syllable exists in Japanese. It becomes "chi."

motsu "to have (something)" | motsumochi + masumochimasu もちます



★ If the final syllable is "su," it does not become "si" - no such syllable exists in Japanese. It becomes "shi."

kasu "to lend (something)" | kasukashi + masukashimasu かします


kuru (to come) and suru (to do) are the two irregular verbs in Japanese. Their polite forms are:

kurukimasu きます
surushimasu します


There's no rhyme or reason. Just memorize them. :x



The Bottom Line?

What were you supposed to get from this lesson?

★ Japanese verbs have two basic forms of politeness: plain form, and polite form.
★ Japanese verbs also fall into two categories: "-ru" verbs and "-u" verbs.
★ How Japanese verbs conjugate depends on whether it's a "-ru" verb or an "-u" verb.

What should you have learned to do?

★ Distinguish between "-ru" and "-u" verbs (this can be difficult to do :/ Dictionaries will tell you what kind of verb it is.)
★ Conjugate plain form verbs into polite form verbs.



Homework!
Cause I can be an evil teacher too. 8D!

Conjugate the following plain form verbs into polite form. I've divided them up into "-ru" and "-u" verbs for you. ♥ If you post your answers I'll grade them for you.

Don't copy off your neighbor! 8DDDD Well, it's not like I'll know or not, but if you do copy, the only person you're hurting is yourself. 8DDD

"-ru" verbs
01. 起きる // おきる // okiru // "to wake up"
02. 見る // みる // miru "to watch/see"
03. 変える // かえる // kaeru // "to change (something)"
04. 決める // きめる // kimeru // "to decide (something)"
05. 生きる // いきる // ikiru // "to live"
06. 忘れる // わすれる // wasureru // "to forget"
07. 覚える // おぼえる // oboeru // "to remember"

"-u" verbs
08. 会う // あう // au // "to meet"
09. 泣く // なく // naku // "to cry"
10. 聞く // きく // kiku // "to hear/listen" or "to ask"
11. 買う // かう // kau // "to buy"
12. 作る // つくる // tsukuru // "to make"
13. 書く // かく // kaku // "to write"
14. 読む // よむ // yomu "to read"

irregular verbs REMEMBER THEM!
15. くる // kuru // "to come"
16. する // suru // "to do"


Next up? Some grammar so we can make sentences with all these verbs we just learned.
Tags: conjugation, verbs
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