2011年7月9日土曜日

"de" or "ni"

Everyone hits the first wall of Japanese soon after they start learning this language. That is particles such aswa, ga, o, ni de”. They are used in various ways, but today I explain the mystery for many learners of Japanese, the difference between "de" and "ni".
Often in lessons students begin to speak with “Nihon de or “Nihon ni…” and pause. Then, they ask me “Is de correct?” or “Is ni correct?” before restarting the rest of the sentence. I always answer, “If you don’t continue your sentence, I can’t tell whether your particle is correct or not. Say the sentence until the end.” We don’t know which is right, “Nihon de…” or “Nihon ni…”, before hearing the verb at the end of the sentence. In other words, you decide "de" or "ni" depending on the verb.


First of all, we divide verbs into three groups, which is an important process.
  1. three verbs: ikimas (go), kimas (come), kaerimas (return)
  2. verbs of action: tabemas (eat), mimas (see, watch, look), nomimas (drink), kaimas (buy) and so on. There are many of verbs of this kind.
  3. verbs of state: arimas, imas (be somewhere), sundeimas (live), and so on. Only these three are good to look at first.)

Next, let’s have a look at example sentences.

  1. watshi wa nihon ni ikimas. (I will go to Japan.)
  2. watashi wa nihon de hatarakimas. (I work/will work in Japan.)
  3. watashi wa nihon ni imas. (I am in Japan.)

I made a chart of these examples.

group
particle
meaning
English
1. ikimas, kimas, kaerimas

place ni
direction
to
2. tabemas, mimas, nomimas
place de
place where an action happens

at, in
3. arimas, imas, sundeimas
place ni
location or position of someone or something

at, in

If you think about it in English, group 1 is obviously different, but group 2 and 3 may be confusing since they are the same. However, throw away the English way of thinking here and acquire a way of thinking that groups Japanese verbs. I wrote this before, too, but it is important. I hope you can get to the point of distinguishing between “action” and “state”. This will really help you learn Japanese in the future.

When we speak our mother tongue, probably no one speaks while thinking of its grammar. The words come out of one’s mouth naturally. But, when it comes to a foreign language, we need to be aware of that language’s grammar. Some people think that they want to learn Japanese how kids do.” But, I believe that when adults learn Japanese, it is important to understand Japanese grammar and/or distinguish Japanese from your first language in your brain.

Of course, there is also hope. I occasionally hear some non-Japanese say “This doesn’t sound right.” while they are speaking Japanese. These people are usually advanced students and/or have lived in Japan for a long time. They have gotten this instinct/ sense naturally through a lot of study and experience. Keep on studying until you get this feeling!

9 件のコメント:

  1. would it be true if i said "Kouen de aruiteimasu" ???

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    1. Berkay san, some people may say "kouen de aruiteimas" sometimes, but I would say this is not correct.

      I should add group 4, verbs of "moving". They are aruku (walk), hashiru (run), tobu (fly), noboru (go up), kudaru (go down) and so on. This group takes a particle "o" for a place.

      examples: kouen o aruku (walk in the park), yama o noboru (climb the mountain)

      "Walk to the park" would be "kouen made aruku".

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  2. まとめありがとうございます!一点だけ、表の中kareimasになってます。

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  3. 指摘ありがとうございます。今直しました!

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  4. Hello, Okamoto san,
    I have some question hoping you can explain to me.
    日本 の 祝日 では、 多く の 人 が 踊ったり 歌ったり します.
    I know it mean "At Indian holidays, a lot of people sing and dance". But I don't understand why use "de". Can I use "ni" in this sentense, I think "At Indian holidays" It express the time so I think we can use "ni".
    Or This sentence "最高に美味しい"
    Can you introduce to me some grammar using "ni" in different situations.
    Thank you so much

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    1. Tran Tran san, Thank you for reading my blog.

      1. As you know, "ni" indicates a point of time and is used time expressions specified by date or digits.

      examples;
      5gatsu 11nichi ni watashi wa Tokyo ni kimashita.
      12:00 ni hirugohan o tabemasu.

      However, "kyo" "konshu" or "kotoshi" don't take "ni" because these words are not specified by digits.
      I think this rule is applied to "nihon no shukujitsu" (Japanese holidayS). *It's plural!
      But, you can say "Valentine's day ni Nihonjin no josei wa dansei ni chocolate o agemasu." Valentine's day is February 14, a specified date.

      2. "Saikoni" is one word which is transformed from "saiko".
      saiko: noun, saiko no: (a kind of) adjective, saikoni: adverb

      other examples;
      shizukana: adjective, shizukani: adverb
      kireina: adjective, kireini: adverb

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  5. このコメントは投稿者によって削除されました。

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  6. Minako san,

    I understood, You really explain grammar specifically and naturally. I hope you will post more useful lessons. I usually follow your blog and discover new knowledge to cultivate Japanese.
    Thank you so much

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