—Lesson 1 – Nouns and Basic Sentences—

Lesson 1 Vocabulary:

私:わたし:I, me
有名:ゆうめい:famous
剣:けん:sword
これ:this
ハンマー:hammer
弟:おとうと:little brother
マリオ:The chubby red guy in Super Mario Bros.
ルイージ:His green brother.

Let’s start by talking about particles. Particles are used to tell you things like what a word’s role is in a sentence. Let’s look at an example sentences and make some sense of them real quick.

マリオは有名です。
マリオはゆうめいです 
Mario is famous.

This is a simple sentence of AはBです。は is the particle that tells you what the topic of the sentence is. The simplest way to think of です is that it’s a polite way to connect subjects and predicates. Japanese has different ways of saying things depending on the politeness level, but that is little ways down the road. For now, we’ll keep things fairly formal by using です.

*Hot Tip

When the Hiragana character は is used as a particle, is pronounced ‘Wa’, instead of ‘Ha’.

Let’s add another particle and take another look at は.

これは私の剣です。
これはわたしのけんです。
This is my sword.

The particle this time is の and is used to show possession. You can use it like ‘Myのsword’ to show that it’s your sword or マリオのハンマー to say ‘Mario’s hammer.’

Let’s put it all together by asking a question.

ルイージはマリオの弟ですか。
ルイージはマリオのおとうとですか
Is Luigi Mario’s younger brother?

When using the AはBです pattern, it’s pretty simple to turn a sentence into a question. You just put か on the end and ta-da, a question. You can also see マリオ[の]おとうと or Mario’s younger brother.

Let’s turn our previous examples into questions.

マリオは有名ですか。
マリオはゆうめいですか。
Is Mario famous?

これは私の剣ですか。
これはわたしのけんですか。 
Is this my sword?

Now we’re grammar-ing with power!