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Miscellaneous Phrases

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Miscellaneous Phrases

Postby Starfire » Thu 04.23.2009 9:10 am

Could someone kindly please check and correct my translation attempts on the following phrases. I am just starting to attempt to compose my own nihongo sentences so there may be many mistakes.

I would like to say:
“I am a student of the Japanese language.”
Is this correct?
Watashi wa nihongo no gakusei desu.


“Will you be my friend?”
The closest attempt I can make with my limited knowledge is:
Tomodachi ga kokorozashi ka.

I have no idea if that is even close to correct…


Lastly (for this post, lol) if I want to say “I am hungry” would I say the following?
Watashi wa kuufuku desu.

Thanks everyone, I appreciate your help on this!
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Re: Miscellaneous Phrases

Postby AJBryant » Thu 04.23.2009 3:27 pm

Starfire wrote:I would like to say:
“I am a student of the Japanese language.”
Is this correct?
Watashi wa nihongo no gakusei desu.


This is one of the cases where Japanese idiom does not work like English idiom. Literally, the Japanese says "I am a student of Japanese language" -- as if Japanese language itself was your teacher, or it was the name of the school. In Japanese, you would say "I am a student *studying* Japanese" or "I study Japanese."

“Will you be my friend?”
The closest attempt I can make with my limited knowledge is:
Tomodachi ga kokorozashi ka.

I have no idea if that is even close to correct…


Sorry, not even. How did you come about with kokorozashi?

In Japanese, as English, you need a verb -- specifically, "become" (in Japanese, the verb "naru").


Lastly (for this post, lol) if I want to say “I am hungry” would I say the following?
Watashi wa kuufuku desu.


Definitely not, as any dictionary should tell you if you look up the word "hungry."

"Onaka ga suita."


Tony
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Re: Miscellaneous Phrases

Postby astaroth » Thu 04.23.2009 3:32 pm

AJBryant wrote:Sorry, not even. How did you come about with kokorozashi?

I wanted to know what kokorozashi meant and looked it up on a dictionary. It's "will" as in der wille, the motive, the intention. Not will as the English future tense (I don't know the correct grammar term here).

(not telling you, Tony, who I'm sure knows about it ... just considering ...)
Last edited by astaroth on Thu 04.23.2009 10:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Miscellaneous Phrases

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 04.23.2009 4:02 pm

AJBryant wrote:
Starfire wrote:
Lastly (for this post, lol) if I want to say “I am hungry” would I say the following?
Watashi wa kuufuku desu.


Definitely not, as any dictionary should tell you if you look up the word "hungry."

"Onaka ga suita."


Actually 空腹 is a word that means "hungry", it's just not used very often.
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Re: Miscellaneous Phrases

Postby AJBryant » Thu 04.23.2009 4:21 pm

Kinda. It means *hunger*. Not what one would normally say, though, for "I'm hungry." ;)
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Re: Miscellaneous Phrases

Postby furrykef » Thu 04.23.2009 9:54 pm

Starfire - translating an English sentence word for word from a dictionary is not a good idea. Even when you don't make blunders like the "kokorozashi" one, you're very likely to end up with something unnatural, even if it's comprehensible.

The way to learn how to say things is, use a textbook, online lessons, or whatever to learn the basics of the language, and read/watch a lot of stuff written by and for native speakers, like newspapers, anime, manga, novels, dorama, etc. -- whatever interests you, then imitate the usage you see/hear (but be very careful to recognize when anime/manga characters don't talk like real people, like characters who call everybody "omae" -- it'd be very bad to imitate that).

If you're using an English->Japanese dictionary that provides example sentences, then you can also imitate the sentences. But otherwise, you shouldn't rely on the dictionary except in simple cases (like book = hon) unless you really have no alternative.

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Re: Miscellaneous Phrases

Postby AJBryant » Thu 04.23.2009 11:25 pm

furrykef wrote:Starfire - translating an English sentence word for word from a dictionary is not a good idea. Even when you don't make blunders like the "kokorozashi" one, you're very likely to end up with something unnatural, even if it's comprehensible.


A story I often tell is one from my early days as a French student. I was writing a letter in French, and I wanted to say that I was held up due to a traffic jam -- and I knew "traffic" was "trafic", so I looked up "jam," and then wrote "confiture de trafic" -- which, literally, is "traffic jelly."

It is important, when looking up unknown words, to then REVERSE look up the results, to make sure things mean what we think they do.
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Re: Miscellaneous Phrases

Postby Starfire » Thu 04.30.2009 8:09 am

Starfire wa baka desu ne.
Gomenasai!

I have very limited resources and I am trying my best to study with what little I have. I was struggling with attempting to translate these phrases because I knew that my translation attempts just didn’t seem right.

So if I want to say I am studying Japanese I would say the following?
Watashi wa nihongo o benkyou desu.


I just wanted to ask something about the “hungry” phrase
Onaka ga suita
The literal translation would be something along the lines of
‘My stomach is empty’ is this correct?

A big thanks to everyone for your posts! :D
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Re: Miscellaneous Phrases

Postby furrykef » Thu 04.30.2009 8:41 am

Starfire wrote:So if I want to say I am studying Japanese I would say the following?
Watashi wa nihongo o benkyou desu.


Not quite. First, benkyou needs to be turned into a verb by appending "suru". Then suru needs to be conjugated using the -te iru form ("X-te iru" = "I am X-ing", or of course he/she is X-ing, etc.), which is "shite iru". From there, you may change "iru" to "imasu" to get the polite form. The end result is:

私は日本語を勉強しています。
Watashi wa nihongo o benkyoushite imasu.

Another way of phrasing it is:
私は日本語を学んでいます。
Watashi wa nihongo o manande imasu.

I'm not sure what the difference between 勉強する and 学ぶ is, though.


I just wanted to ask something about the “hungry” phrase
Onaka ga suita
The literal translation would be something along the lines of
‘My stomach is empty’ is this correct?


A more literal translation would be, "My stomach has become empty." Suita is a past tense verb, not an adjective.

By the way, don't forget that "gomennasai" has two n's. :)

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