Archive for the ‘grammar’ Category

I made 군만두 (goon mandu) for the first time yesterday. They are fried (and part-steamed) Korean dumplings filled with all sorts of yummy stuff. I was surprised how well they turned out. I should have taken my own photo, but here from the web is a photo of ones that look very similar…


Yummacious! Really! With some dipping sauce (soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, sliced green onion etc etc)… mmmm….

And on to grammar:


“even if, although”  – used when that which is expressed in the main clause is not what is expected from the content of the dependent clause. (huh? what? eh???)


I’ll go even if it rains


I’ll go out even if it is cold

To me, it seems almost the same as saying “despite” (though I’m sure there’s a different phrase for that in Japanese.. ^.^)

Some more examples:


Mr. Nakayama doesn’t read books even if he buys them


I didn’t get tired although I walked for four hours


^ this is an idiomatic expression used to request permission to do something.

ても can also mean “no matter what, who or where”

だれに話しても = no matter who someone talks to

何を話しても = no matter what someone talks about

どこで話しても = no matter where someone talks

It seemed a little confusing to me at first, but it is pretty easy to use this formation in every day speech. It comes quite naturally, since in English we often say “although x I still y” or “even if x I will still y”

That being said, I am going to go finish my coffee and play some pointless video games. I studied so hard for my linguistics exam (and got a 92%!!) so I feel justified in my slacking!! ^^;

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Greetings, in both Korean and Japanese, are very different to those in English. For example, usually we just say “hello!” or “How are you?” or “Nice to see you” no matter the time of day or the person we’re speaking to. In both Japanese and Korean there are many more rules about what to say and to whom.

For example, in Japanese greetings are largely dependent on the time of day:

おはようございます = good morning

こんにちは = good afternoon (said after about 11am)

こんばんは = good evening (said after about 4pm)

as well as the “level” of the person you’re talking to.

おはよう = to a friend or one of lesser standing (a senior to a junior)

おはようございます = to anyone of higher standing (boss, teacher etc)

Korean too has different ways of addressing people.

안녕하세요? = are you well? can be said to anyone, usually those of higher standing.

안녕= only to friends or those of lesser standing.

Neither language specifically addresses “you”. Often they omit “you” and “I” when it’s (supposedly) obvious. However, sometimes in conversation this can present problems. If you don’t know whether the person is of higher standing or not (are they a professor or are they a graduate student?) the best thing to do is simply opt for polite (but not overly so) address until you can discern where they lie on the “politeness-spectrum”.

And something completely unrelated:

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I saw a cute video today:

I found it while checking out マギー先生. It’s sooo cute. My dog often sleeps like that too! Anyway, back to business. I posted a question regarding how to thank a professor, for example (on the Maggie Sensei site) and got an amazingly in depth reply. It’s certainly VERY helpful. I love the site so much that I am going to print out a flier and stick it outside the 100/200 level class room this week. I think everyone can benefit from a site like this. Other education sites I’ve seen aren’t as… responsive (maybe since the site is relatively new), or they take themselves too seriously (or they cost a fortune and perhaps don’t deliver!) In fact, I find that sites tend to be for the complete beginner or aimed at upper intermediate/advanced students. It’s good to finally find a site that does a little of both. Some of the lessons I know already and can nod my head and feel smug (muhaha) but then some of the others are challenging and hard work for me to understand (which I like occasionally)!!

Random Grammar:

Question word + 〜ても

Question words such as 何、いつ、だれ、どこ、何度、followed by て-form and も indicate “no matter what/when/who/where/ how often, etc.


Mt. Fuji is beautiful no matter when we look at it


I envy people who never get fat no matter what they eat.


Tokyo is crowded with people no matter where you go.



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べき (beki)

Meaning: should do

It is incorrect to use negative+べき. eg
その本を読まないべきです。 (wrong)

if you want to use negative use ほうがいい
V-dict + べき
読むべき – should read
するべき – should do
〜べき is conjugated like this

Vruべき or すべき (for the actual verb する only, or verbs like 充分する)

例:行くべき すべき

Noun/ adj(na)であるべき   Adj(i)くべき

例:心配であるべき 例:鋭くべき

The adj(i) form is not used frequently, but you might encounter it in some books or proverbs.

Because it is considered a noun, there is also a negative form and past form of べき, you conjugate it like any other noun.

You generally end べき with だ、but you can also attach other nouns like こと、もの or even use the verbal form of べき, べく.

☆ Be careful, べき is considered very strong language in Japanese and should only be used with (or when referring to) people on your level or lower.

べき is similar to はず be cause both express expectation. However はず literally means ‘expectation’ and simply states that you expect something to (or not to) happen.

べき expresses the fact that something or someone is expected to do something based on the current situation, such as status (You should be polite because you’re younger.) For the most part you use べき when it is something that should be done because it should come naturally (or is expected to happen naturally.)

This is considered strong because the thing that is expected to happen usually carries a sense of obligation (generally social) and if what should happen doesn’t there is an implied sense of dire consequences for the person.


I missed the train. I should have come earlier.
[Related expression] 実際にこれらの目標を実現するのに欠くべからざる役割を果たしてきた。
These bodies have actually played indispensable roles in attaining these goals.

[Related expression] 好機逸すべからず。この機に一気に仕事を仕上げてしまおう。
This is a golden opportunity we’d be stupid to pass up. Let’s get to work and finish it all in one fell swoop.
We should read as many books as possible.
You shouldn’t rely on other people’s help.
How to live is an important question to young people.


べき can be replaced by (した)ほうがいい but not all the time.

I don’t think it’s not too bookish if you use a casual sentence like this. But this sounds a bit acrid compared to したほうがいい.

An important note would be to indicate that beki is used in a sense of “you should do something” as if there was an obligation involved such as attending a very imperative meeting or conference as opposed to はず which roughly means “you should do something” without an obligation, e.g. “You should read books to get good grades”
In terms of archaicness べき is moderately outdated.

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Eehh. I can’t stop yawning today. Craaaaazy! I am so tired. I don’t know why, but there’s a lot of sickness going around here lately (Swine ‘Flu being only one possible).  Right now I’m sitting in the corridor waiting for my Korean class to start. So, I thought I’d post a quick something…

I have decided (for my own learning as much as anything) to post some grammar points here so, here goes:


Meaning: if
Can also be used for soft suggestions to do something:
if you could put out your cigarette

If you go, you’ll understand.

If I read this book again, I will have read it five times.

You will soon catch up with him if you run.

If you sleep for a while, you will feel much better.

If you join this club, you will be entitled to use all of its facilities.

If you do it that way you won’t be mistaken.

If that book was cheaper , I might just buy it.

If you take this medicine, you will get well. If-conditional

えば and と both tend to be used in denoting natural / inevitable consequences.

ichidan (regular group 2) verbs replace 〜る with -れば: たべる → 食べれば
godan (regular group 1) verbs change last kana to 〜え column and add 〜ば. 行く→ 行けば
The following is not good Japanese 〜えば can’t be used in sentences of the form “If X then please do Y.”

(BAD) 彼がそちらに着けば、知らせてください。
If he arrives there, let him know.

Instead -たら can be used.

(GOOD) 彼がそちらに着いたら、知らせてください。
When he arrives there, let him know.

えば can be used if the following sentence is expressed as a likely outcome.
(GOOD) 彼がそちらに着けば、知らせてくれるでしょう。
I guess you’ll let me know if he turns up there.

simply, 〜たら seems to have more of an impression of “when”, not just if. eg:
when/if you come to Tokyo, be sure to contact me.

The command form is okay as long as the えば is not a verb.
(BAD) 田中さんが着ければ、教えてください。
(GOOD) よろしければ、食べてください。

Some more examples:
秋が来れば雨が降る。(Expresses usual occasion. In this case ‘と’ may be used, but not ‘ーたら’)
誰か寄ってくれば赤ちゃんはたいてい泣き始める。(This one expresses usual occasion too. As in above example えば may be replaced with ‘と’, but not with ーたら)

If it is not new, I will not buy it. (Expresses intention)

「えば」 and 「たら」 are similar, but 「えば」 is used to express more of a cause-and-effect sort of relationship, and that’s why it’s used to express natural consequences. 「たら」 has less of a cause-and-effect tone, and it implies “when” or “after” more than「えば」.

〜えば always indicates a positive, whereas 〜から can be positive or negative

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I have been a little… crazy lately. But, good things are happening so… =^.^=

I found another great site I want to talk to you about today. “Gimmeaflakeman” on YouTube makes a great series of videos called “Japanese for Morons”. They’re really awesome! I’ve been following him for a very long time (I’ve been on YT since 2006) and I find his lessons very funny and interesting. Right now he’s going over street kanji amongst other things, and that’s something I always have a problem with (reading it in those block print styles used for shop signs etc)… my brain seems unable to process it!!

Now, he also has a website called “Maggie先生” (and Maggie is his extremely cute dog!) The lessons on the site go into much more depth than the videos (of course) and so together they really help in learning. For example, I never knew the difference between ~おきに and ~ごとに. Thanks to Maggie 先生 I can understand now ^.^


I’m actually finding learning by myself is a lot less stressful, even though I am learning something new every day. I have to keep telling myself that I can achieve my dream if I want to… all it takes is hard work-and I’m not afraid of that!

Yeah… so if you see Maggie 先生 or gimmeaflakeman、彼奴に宜しくな!

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I found a new website, wacca.fm. It’s awesome. It has many cool Japanese bands who offer music to download. Some of it is Creative Commons licensed, which means you can use it in videos on YouTube, for example, without getting copyright violation. As the site itself says:

I have started downloading their podcast directly to iTunes and it’s SuperAwesome. =D Lots of shiny new music every week!! It’s great (and legal). I find that J-music is hard to find anywhere really. So this site fills me with random joy!!

I have been going over the new Intermediate Japanese textbook and it’s a little confusing in the layout (but most of it is in Japanese and the grammar points are limited to a sentence or two of explanation (unlike the page or half a page in Genki) and a couple of example sentences. I think I like it better–since it really taxes my brain. I also discovered that renshuu.org have the book–so I can study the lessons over there. That makes everything so much easier. A place with kanji and grammar quizzes that I can utilize without having to create those lists myself. Of course, one of the ways I study (especially kanji) is written repetition… so I’ll still be writing plenty!!!


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