Lesson 7.2

会話 Dialogue 2 image

Ms. Tanaka, the project leader, talks to her team members using the informal style while the members maintain the formal style.

たんじょうび
Tanaka:誕生日はいつ?Tanjoubi wa itsu?

When is your birthday?

しがつついたち
Emily:四月一日です。Shigatsu tsuitachi desu.

It’s April 1st.

なんねん う

Tanaka:何年生まれ?Nan-nen umare?

What year were you born?

ねん
Emily:1996年です。Sen-kyuuhyaku-kyuujuu-roku-nen desu.

1996.

へいせい ねん
Tanaka:ということは、平成8年ね。To iu koto wa Heisei hachi-nen ne.

That means Heisei 8, right?

• • • •

なんさい
Tanaka:何歳?Nan-sai?

How old are you?

は た ち
Michael: 二十歳です。Hatachi desu.

I’m twenty years old.

わか
Tanaka:へえ。若いわねえ。Hee, wakai wa nee.

Wow! So young.

 

単語 Vocabulary

Romanized Japanese

Hiragana

Other Japanese scripts

English

Tanjoubi

たんじょうび

誕生日

birthday

Tanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu

たんじょうびおめでとうございます

誕生日おめでとうございます

Happy birthday.

nen

〜ねん

year(s)

nan-nen

なんねん

何年

what year?

nan-nen umare

なんねんうまれ

何年生まれ

what year were you born?

umaremasu

うまれます

生まれます

be born

to iu koto wa

ということは

in another words

heisei

へいせい

平成

Heisei Era

hachi-nen

はちねん

八年

year 8

~sai

〜さい

〜歳、〜才

classifier for human age

nan-sai

なんさい

何歳、何才

how old

hatachi

はたち

二十歳

twenty years old

wakai

わかい

若い

young

toshi

とし

year(s), age

nenrei

ねんれい

年齢

age (formal)

toshi ue

としうえ

年上

older

toshi shita

としした

年下

younger

文法 Grammar Notes

7-2-1 Naming and Counting Months and Years

がつ
The naming classifier for months is 〜gatsu 月、and when naming dates, the month

かげつ
proceeds the day. The counting classifier is 〜kagetsu ヶ月. It is conventionally written

with the small katakana ヶ. Note the sound change /ka/  /kka/ with 1, 6, 8, and 10

Naming Months image

Romanized Japanese

Hiragana

Kanji

English

Ichigatsu

いちがつ

一月

January

Nigatsu

にがつ

二月

February

Sangatsu

さんがつ

三月

March

Shigatsu

しがつ

四月

April

Gogatsu

ごがつ

五月

May

Rokugatsu

ろくがつ

六月

June

Shichigatsu

しちがつ

七月

July

Hachigatsu

はちがつ

八月

August

Kugatsu

くがつ

九月

September

Juugatsu

じゅうがつ

十月

October

Juuichigatsu

じゅういちがつ

十一月

November

Juunigatsu

じゅうにがつ

十二月

December

Nangatsu

なんがつ

何月

what month?

Counting Months

Romanized Japanese

Hiragana

Kanji

English

ik-kagetsu

いっかげつ

一ヶ月

one month

ni-kagetsu

にかげつ

二ヶ月

two months

san-kagetsu

さんかげつ

三ヶ月

three months

yon-kagetsu

よんかげつ

四ヶ月

four months

go-kagetsu

ごかげつ

五ヶ月

five months

rok-kagetsu

ろっかげつ

六ヶ月

six months

nana-kagetsu

ななかげつ

七ヶ月

seven months

hachi-kagetsu

はちかげつ/はっかげつ

八ヶ月

eight months

kyuu-kagetsu

きゅうかげつ

九ヶ月

nine months

juk-kagetsu

じゅっかげつ

十 ヶ 月

ten months

juuik-kagetsu

じゅういっかげつ

十一ヶ月

eleven months

juuni-kagetsu

じゅうにかげつ

十二ヶ月

twelve months

nan-kagetsu

なんかげつ

何ヶ月

how many months?

ねんねんかん
The classifier for naming and counting years is 〜nen 年, but 〜nenkan 年間is

なんねん
often used for counting to avoid confusion. The question word is nan-nen 何年 ‘what

なんねんかん
year/how many years’ or nan-nenkan 何年間 ‘how many years?’ So, 15 nen can mean

either 15 years or the year 2015/Heisei 15 depending on the context. The existence or non-existence of the particle ni and/or the kind of approximation expression that is used with it, goro or gurai, tells you if it’s the naming expression or counting expression.

Compare the following:

ごねん い
五年に行きました.Go-nen ni ikimashita. I went there in the year 5.

五年、行きました。Go-nen ikimashita. I went there for five years.

五年ごろ行きました.Go-nen-goro ikimashita. I went there around the year 5.

五年ぐらい行きました. Go-nengurai ikimashita. I went there for about 5 years.

7-2-2 Counting age: ~sai for people and animals, ~nen for others

~sai 才 is used to express the age of people and animals while 〜 nen 年 is used to express the age of inanimate things. Note the sound change of /sai/ /ssai/ with the numbers 1, 8, and 10. People’s age are also expressed by the classifier ~tsu, and hatachi is the special form of this series for a twenty year old. To ask how old someone is you can use one of the following. The last one is polite.

何歳ですか。Nan-sai desu ka.

(年は)いくつですか(Toshi wa) ikutsu desu ka.

(お年は)おいくつですか。 (Otoshi wa) oikutsu desu ka. (Polite) Babies that are less than one year old are counted by days, weeks and months.

It’s often pointed out that Japanese society is very much age conscious. Age determines many things including interpersonal relationships. Even just one year of difference in age usually results in seniority status and affects how people talk to each other. Therefore it is not uncommon to ask someone’s age when meeting him/her for the first time. When you ask any personal questions, it’s safer to first say shitsurei desu kedoIt’s rude of me to ask this, but…’

7-2-3 Japanese Calendar

There are two systems of naming years in Japan. In addition to the western

せいれきげんごう われき
calendar (西暦), Japan uses its own calendar (元号、和暦). The latter is often used in official documents. The Japanese year designations are based on the year of the reign of the emperors. When one emperor dies and a new emperor ascends to the throne, a new

がんねん
period or era starts. The first year of a period is called gan-nen 元年. The years are

named and counted with the Chinese numbers plus 〜nen. The most recent periods include:

Era (Romanized Japanese)

Era (Japanese)

Years of Era

Meiji

めいじ

明治

1868-1912

Taisho

たいしょう

大正

1912-1926

Showa

へいせい

昭和

1926-1989

Heisei

へいせい

平成

1989-present

It may be handy to remember your birthday according to the Japanese calendar.

National Holidays

Date

English name

Official name (Japanese script)

Official name (Romanized Japanese)

January 1

New Year’s Day

元日

Ganjitsu

2nd Monday of January

Coming of Age Day

成人の日

Seijin no hi

February 11

National Foundation Day

建国記念の日

Kenkoku kinen no hi

March 20 or March 21

Vernal Equinox Day

春分の日

Shunbun no hi

April 29

Shōwa Day

昭和の日

Shōwa no hi

May 3

Constitution Memorial Day

憲法記念日

Kenpō kinenbi

May 4

Greenery Day

みどりの日

Midori no hi

May 5

Children’s Day

子供の日

Kodomo no hi

3rd Monday of July

Marine Day

海の日

Umi no hi

3rd Monday of September

Respect for the Aged Day

敬老の日

Keirō no hi

September 23 or September 24

Autumnal Equinox Day

秋分の日

Shūbun no hi

2nd Monday of October

Health-Sports Day

体育の日

Taiiku no hi

November 3

Culture Day

文化の日

Bunka no hi

November 23

Labour Thanksgiving Day

勤労感謝の日

Kinrō kansha no hi

December 23

The Emperor’s Birthday

天皇誕生日

Tennō tanjōbi

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_calendar

7-2-4 Informal Style: Noun Sentence and Adjective Sentence

All Japanese sentences take either the formal style or informal style. ~masu,

~desu, and their variants (negative forms and past forms) all designate that the sentence is in the formal style. The formal style is typically used when talking to someone who is not very close to the speaker and some formality is expected. We covered this style first in this textbook because it is socially less risky to use.

In this lesson, we introduce the informal style, which is typically used when speaking to those close to you such as friends, family, children and yourself, in casual settings. We start with the noun sentences and adjective sentences here, and the verb sentences in the next lesson. Please note the following:

  • For Adjective sentences, you just drop ~desu/~deshita to make the informal style.
  • For Noun sentences, you can replace ~desu with ~da and ~deshita with ~datta.
  • However, the ~da in the sentence final position is often dropped.
  • The question particle ka is usually dropped and replaced by a rising intonation while other sentence particles such as yo, ne, nee, ka nee, etc. remain.
  • It can be challenging for learners to figure out the right speech style for a given situation. Styles are chosen to indicate the right distance between speakers. However, distance can change even within a course of conversation, between the same pair of speakers. Each shift carries some linguistic and social meaning.

Drills and Exercises image

A.

Cue: 誕生日は六月?Is your birthday in June?

Response: はい、六月六日です。 Yes, It’s June 6th.

Cue: 誕生日は一月?Is your birthday in January?

Response: はい、一月一日です。 Yes, it’s January 1st.

B.

Cue: 一時から三時までです。It’s from one o’clock to three.

Response: じゃ、二時間ぐらいですね。Then, it’s about two hours, right?

Cue: 九月から十二月までです。It’s from September to December.

Response: じゃ、三ヶ月ぐらいですね。Then, it’s about three months, right?

C.

Say it in Japanese.

A friend has asked how old the following are.

  • Do you mean Ms. Honda? She is 21 years old.
  • Do you mean my car? It’s about 5 years old.
  • Do you mean this house? It’s about 150 years old.
  • Do you mean Senpai? She is three years older.
  • Do you mean Lucky, the dog? She is one and a half years old.

You’ve been asked when some event took place.

  1. August 15, Showa 20 (1945) 2. July 4, 1776
  2. September 11, 2001
  3. About a month ago
  4. About three years ago

D.

Act in Japanese

  • Find out the birthday of a) a classmate, b) your teacher.
  • Ask a) a friend, b) a business associate how old she is.
  • A friend is going to study in France. Find out how long she will stay there.
  • Find out who are the oldest and the youngest persons in your class. How many years older/younger are they than you?

 

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