Category Archives: Learn Japanese

Lesson 17: Elementary Kanji

In Lesson 6, we learned some very basic kanji by learning how to count. Now we can expand our kanji knowledge by learning some easy elementary level kanji symbols. Kanji is very important to the Japanese language because many of the symbols are used on a daily basis in Japan, so learning this complex writing system is essential for all serious students of Japanese.

Please keep in mind that some kanji symbols have more than one reading. Sometimes they even have more than one meaning. This is especially true for words that are made up of more than one kanji. You may recognize a kanji symbol or two, but not know the symbol before them or after them. The symbol that comes either before or after the symbol you know could change the reading of the symbols or the entire meaning of the symbol phrase. For our purposes in this lesson, I will be giving you the relevant readings and translations—just keep in mind there could be others. As you will see, some of the kanji taught in this lesson have a couple of readings and meanings, so I will explain these in more depth.

Part I – The Kanji

Study the following kanji symbols, their pronunciations, and their meanings. After the chart, there are brief comments about each symbol. After you have studied, try your hand at the exercises that follow.

1. にち/び/ひ Sun, day
2. げつ/がつ Moon, month
3. fire
4. すい water
5. もく tree
6. きん gold
7. Earth, dirt
8. ほん Book
9. にん/じん Person, people

These are the nine main kanji we will be focusing on in this lesson. Here are some more detailed explanations of these symbols.

As you can see in the chart, the symbol日 has three hiragana readings. The main meaning for this kanji is “day,” even though it has several readings. The first reading is used when this kanji symbol is referring to Sunday. The second hiragana reading is used when it comes after this symbol: 曜(よう). This is used when talking about days of the week. You will be asked to write out the days of the week in a later exercise—we have already learned how to do this, but now we are learning the kanji necessary for these words! The third reading for this symbol is used when simply talking about a day or for phrases like “that day.”

月 has two readings in the chart above. The first reading is used to mean “moon” kanji used for “Monday” (since the word is げつようび). You already know that げつ appears at the front of the Japanese word for Monday, so when writing the kanji for Monday, 月 will go first. Then, use the other two symbols taught in the explanation for 日, and you have the word “Monday” written entirely in kanji. The second reading for this kanji we have also covered in an earlier lesson. This reading is used when talking about months of the year. 月appears at the end of each month’s Japanese word (Ex: 一月for January).

火 is an easier kanji since we are only concerned with one reading and one meaning at the moment. Although the kanji means “fire,” it is used to write the Japanese word for “Tuesday.” The following kanji are used similarly to火, since they appear in the first part of the word for different days of the week: 水, 木, 金, 土.

本 looks very similar to木. This is because本 means “book” and 木 means “tree,” so you can see how they are related. 本 can be used to talk about a single book, or many books. This symbol is also used in conjunction with the symbol日to write “Japan” in kanji (日本, written in hiragana asにほん). In the kanji for “Japan,” 日is only read as に, but the reading for 本 remains the same. This is just one of the many examples of how kanji can be very complicated and confusing because any symbol can have multiple readings and meanings.

人is the symbol used when talking about people. You can be talking about one person, or several people. In order to specify how many people, simply place the kanji for the number of people before this kanji. For example, to say five people, write 五人. This is read as ごにん.  This works for most numbers, but “one person” and “two people” have a different pronunciation. Although you write them like this: 一人and二人, they are readひとりand ふたり. You can also use 人 when talking about a person’s nationality. In this case, you would use the second reading of じん.

Now that the kanji symbols have been discussed in more detail, try out the exercises below. Don’t get frustrated if you don’t get them correct on your first try. Kanji is very difficult to get used to!

Exercise I – Writing Kanji

In order to remember kanji, it is important to practice writing them. Get a sheet of paper and write each symbol several times, while focusing on what the symbols mean and how to say them. Do this until you can look at each kanji symbol and translate it without needing to look at the information above!

Exercise II – Using Kanji

1. Use the kanji symbols above to write the days of the week. Each blank stands for a kanji symbol. Don’t look at the answer key (located at the bottom of the lesson) until you have finished all the exercises!

Sunday             __ __ __          Monday           __ __ __          Tuesday           __ __ __
Wednesday     __ __ __          Thursday         __ __ __          Friday              __ __ __
Saturday          __ __ __

2. Translate the following into Japanese, using kanji where appropriate.

I have a book.





That book is my book.

That day





Japanese person

Three people


Answer Key

Exercise II Part 1

日曜日            月曜日            火曜日

水曜日            木曜日            金曜日


Exercise II Part 2







Lesson 16: Arimasu / Imasu

The Japanese verbs ある and いる are very important and unique verbs. Neither of these verbs was presented in Lesson 13 (on verbs) because they require a bit more explanation.

Part One – ある

First, let’s look at ある. This is the dictionary form of the verb, and roughly means “to have” or “to exist.” When conjugated into present affirmative and negative, ある becomes あります and ありません. This verb is used when saying you or someone else possesses an inanimate object. The negative form of the verb would mean that you do not possess a specific item. For example, わたしはほんがあります(I have a book). The negation of this sentence would be わたしはほんがありません(I do not have a book). ある can also be used to simply state that an inanimate object exists somewhere. For example, あそこにくるまがあります(Over there, there is a car).

*Note that がis the particle that always appears with this verb.

ある can also be used to express experience. The form used for this type of sentence is ことがあります. This structure is more complicated and will be tackled in a later lesson. It involves the past tense of verbs, which will also be discussed later. Just keep that in mind: ある has more than one use!

Practice – Exercise One

Figure out how to say the following English sentences in Japanese. There is an answer key at the very end of this post for all of the exercises in this lesson. Don’t scroll down until you’re ready!! *Note: Some of the vocabulary in these sentences may not have been covered yet. If you run across a word you do not know, use a Japanese dictionary to look up the correct word.

  1. My little sister has an apple.
  2. My mom has a Japanese language book.
  3. I have a car.
  4. I do not have money.
  5. That person does not have a hat.
  6. There is a tree here.
  7. Is there a car over there?
  8. There is not a car over there.
  9. Do you have food?

10.  I do not have food.

Part Two – いる

Now, let’s move on to いる. This verb works as kind of a counterpart to ある.  The conjugated forms for this verb are います and いません. As stated previously, あるis used for inanimate objects. いる, on the other hand, is the verb that is used for living beings such as humans and animals. For example, わたしはねこがいます(I have a cat) and わたしはいぬがいません(I don’t have a dog). いる can also be used in conjunction with location words to talk about existence. が is always used with います and いません.

Practice – Exercise Two

  1. There is a cat over there.
  2. My dad is not over there.
  3. Is your mother here?
  4. My mother is not here.
  5. I have an older brother.

Part Three – The には Particle Cluster

The particles に and は can actually work together in the same sentence. Let’s look at this sentence construction: Yには X がいます/あります. This means that “In Y, there is X.” The purpose of placing は after the に phrase is that it makes the location the topic of the sentence. This can be used if the person being spoken to is familiar with the location.

Here are some examples:


In my room, there is a desk.


In my house, there is a cat.


In that school, there are Japanese people.


In Japanese class, there are Koreans and Americans.



Don’t read this section until you’ve done the exercises!!

*Exercise One

1. いもうとはりんごがあります。

2. おかあさんはにほんごのほんがあります。

3. わたしはくるまがあります。

4. わたしはおかねがありません。

5. あのひとはぼうしがありません。

6. ここにきがあります。

7. くるまがあそこにありますか。




*Exercise Two

1. あそこにねこがいます。

2. ちちがあそこにいません。

3. おかあさんがここにいますか。

4. おかあさんがここにいません。

5. わたしはあにがいます。

Lesson 15: Frequency Adverbs and Invitations

In the last few lessons, you learned how to conjugate verbs and use particles. Now, you can expand on that knowledge and make more complicated sentences by adding frequency adverbs. The purpose of adding frequency adverbs to your sentences is to add a description of how often you do or do not do something.

The frequency adverbs are as follows:

まいにち        every day

いつも            always

よく                often

たいてい        usually

ときどき        sometimes

あまり            not often

ぜんぜん        never

まいにち、いつも、よく、たいてい、andときどき are all positive adverbs. This means that they occur with verbs conjugated in the affirmative case. あまり and ぜんぜん are negative adverbs and must always appear with the negative conjugation of a verb.

Take a look at the following examples.

A: しゅうまつはたいていなにをしますか。

B: たいていおんがくをききます。でも、とこどきえいがをみます。

A: What do you usually do on the weekends?

B: I usually listen to music. But sometimes I watch movies.

A: にくをたべますか。

B: まいにちにくをたべます。

A: Do you eat meat?

B: I eat meat every day.

A: テレビ をみますか。

B: あまりみません。

A: Do you watch television?

B: Not very often.

A: さかなをたべますか。

B: ぜんぜんさかなをたべません。

A: Do you eat fish?

B: I never eat fish.

Previously, you learned how to form the present tense affirmative and negative forms of verbs. You can also use the negative form to invite someone to do something with you. This is known as the invitation sentence structure. Please note that you cannot use the affirmative form in order to extend an invitation.

To invite someone to an event, you must conjugate the verb into the negative form and add the question particle か.

いっしょに is a good vocabulary word to know for invitations. いっしょに means “together.”

For example:


Would you like to have dinner together at a restaurant?

ゲム をしませんか。

Would you like to play a game?

To respond to an invitation, you can say いいですね which means “That sounds good.” If you want to decline an invitation, you can do so politely by saying ちょっと。。。



Would you like to play tennis on Friday?


Um, Friday is a little… (inconvenient.)

ちょっとis a very common response when declining an invitation. The word implies the day or time is not convenient for you without giving a specific reason why. You can, if you wish, elaborate why the time is not good for you, but in most cases, ちょっとexplains enough. Japanese people are very, very polite, so that is why they reply with the politeちょっとinstead of “no,” when declining an invitation.

Check out the following invitation examples below. Try to translate them yourself before scrolling down to reveal the answers.








Would you like to eat lunch together?

Would you like to watch a movie?

Would you like to go shopping?

Would you like to study together at my house?

Would you like to study Japanese at school?

Would you like to read books at the library with me?


A note on sentence structure: Although Japanese is fairly lenient when it comes to sentence structure, there are patterns. The two most common patterns are listed below.

Topic, time, place, object, verb.


I will listen to music at home tomorrow.

Topic, frequency, time, goal, verb.


I return home around seven every day.

Lesson 14: Particles

This lesson will focus on common Japanese particles as well as vocabulary. Particles are very important to the Japanese language. They appear before many verbs and often after the subject of the sentence.

The particles covered in this lesson are:

で に へ を

で is used to talk about where an event or action takes place. It is like the English work “at.”

For example, if you read at the library, you would say:

わたしはとしょかんでよみます。 (I read at the library.)

Many sentences often use more than one particle. If you wanted to modify the above sentence to say, “I read books at the library,” you would actually use the particle を as well.

I read books at the library. わたしはとしょかんでほんをよみます。

The place where the event takes place usually appears first in the sentence, but Japanese does not have really strict rules about sentence placement.

に and へ are both used to mean “to.” If you want to say you are going somewhere or returning somewhere, you need to use に or へ. Both particles signify movement.

Examples: わたしはうちにかえります。 I will return home. (You can also use e instead of ni here).

わたしはにほんへいきます。 I am going to Japan. (You can also use ni instead of e here).

に can also be used to say “at x time” and “on x day.”

Examples: くじにクラスがあります。. I have a class at nine.

げつようびにうちへかえります。I return home Monday.

In the above sentences, に cannot be replaced by へ.

The particle を is used to indicate the direct object of a sentence. Many verbs use this particle.

Examples: みずをのみます。 (I drink water.)

えいがをみます。 (I am watching a movie.)

おんがくをききます。 (I am listening to music.)

にくをたべます。 (I eat meat.)

The particles for verbs stay the same regardless of what form the verb is in.

Below is a vocabulary list to help you form new sentences in Japanese.

Movie えいが

Magazine ざっし

Book ほん

Music おんがく

Date デート

Television テレビ

Breakfast あさごはん

Lunch ひるごはん

Dinner ばんごはん

Alcohol おさけ

Green tea おちゃ

Water みず

Coffee コーヒー

Home うち

House いえ

School がっこう

Morning あさ

Tomorrow あした

Today きょう

Tonight こんばん

Weekend しゅうまつ

But でも

*Note: For time words such as “tomorrow,” and “today,” you do not need to use a particle with the sentence (に).

Study the sentences below to become familiar with the new vocabulary.


I don’t eat breakfast.


I will eat dinner at a restaurant.


What will you do over the weekend?


I will watch a movie.


I will not go to school on Tuesday.


I will read a magazine at home.


I drink green tea.


What time will you be returning?


What time will you go to bed?


I will go to sleep at 10.


I will watch television at home.


When will you go?


I will come/arrive tomorrow.


I read the newspaper in the morning.


Do you eat lunch at school?


I eat lunch at home.


I will listen to music this weekend.

Lesson 13: Verbs

You should already know that verbs appear at the end of a sentence or phrase in Japanese. The language follows the subject-object-verb form instead of subject-verb-object form that English follows.

There are three types of verbs in Japanese: るverbs, うverbs, and irregular verbs. Verbs can be conjugated into several different forms, but for now we will stick with the dictionary form of the verb and the present tense long form.

Present tense long form demonstrates a basic level of politeness. You would use this type of speech with teachers, superiors, strangers, and elders. You can use this type of speech with almost anyone; however, Japanese people tend to use casual short form when conversing with friends or younger family members.

The dictionary form of the verb is kind of like the root. This is also the form you would come across when looking up a verb in the dictionary.


To learn how to conjugate るverbs, we will use the verb たべる.  たべる is the Japanese verb meaning, “to eat.”

The dictionary form of the verb is たべる. In order to get the present tense affirmative form, we simply replace the る with ます. たべる becomes たべます.

Example: わたしはりんごをたべます。 (I am eating an apple.)

It is important to note that not all verbs that end in る are actuallyる verbs. Some verbs that end in る, such as かえる (meaning “to return”), are actually うverbs.

In order to arrive at the present negative form of a るverb, we remove るand add ません.

たべる becomesたべません, meaning “to not eat.”

Example: わたしはにくをたべません。 (I don’t eat meat.)

るverbs are the easiest verbs to conjugate.


うverbs can sometimes be confusing. In order to conjugate an う verb into present affirmative form, you must remove the “u” part of the verb and add います。 For the negative form, you add いません instead of います.

For example: いく (“to go”) This verb ends in く, but we can still remove the u, leaving us with “ik.” Next, we add います. The verb now reads いきます.

わたしはとうきょうにいきます。 (I am going to Tokyo.)

わたしはとうきょうにいきません。 (I am not going to Tokyo.)

Another way to go about conjugating うverbs is to take the last syllable in the dictionary form of the verb and change it to the symbol that appears directly above it on the hiragana chart.

Take いく as an example again. く is the symbol at the end. Directly above く in the hiragana chart is き. We replace く with き and add ます. We still end up with いきます. For the negative, you follow the same process but add ません instead of ます.

Irregular verbs

In Japanese, there are two irregular verbs. Since they follow rules of their own, unrelated to any other verbs, you must simply memorize how they function. These verbs are also often found in compound verbs. When this is the case, they are still conjugated as irregular verbs. See the example below to learn how to conjugate the irregular verbs.

する    present affirmative: します               present negative: しません

くる    present affirmative: きます               present negative: きません

する is the verb that means “to do” andくる is the verb that means “to come/arrive.”

An example of a compound verb is べんきょうする. This means “to study.” It is conjugated like so.

べんきょうする        present affirmative: べんきょうします

present negative: べんきょうしません

Further information

Conjugating Japanese verbs is relatively simple once you understand the patterns. It may take a while to become familiar with conjugation patterns, especially with うverbs. You must watch out for うverbs that look like るverbs. Each time a new verb is taught in a lesson, the type of verb will be given.

Practice conjugating the verbs below. Don’t scroll down until you’re ready for the answers!

る verbs

Dictionary Form                      Present Affirmative                Present Negative

みる (to watch)

ねる (to sleep)

おきる (to wake)

たべる (to eat)

う verbs

Dictionary Form                      Present Affirmative                Present Negative

のむ (to drink)

よむ (to read)

はなす (to speak)

きく (to hear or listen)

いく (to go)

かえる (to buy)

Irregular verbs

Dictionary Form                      Present Affirmative                Present Negative

する (to do)

べんきょうする (to study)

くる (to come)


Answer Key:

みる                みます            みません

ねる                ねます            ねません

おきる            おきます        おきません

たべる            たべます        たべません

のむ                のみます        のみません

よむ                よみます        よみません

はなす            はなします    はなしません

きく                ききます        ききません

いく                いきます        いきません

かえる            かえります    かえりません

する                します            しません

べんきょうする        べんきょうします    べんきょうしません

くる                きます            きません


Below are some example sentences to help you become familiar with verbs. Try to translate them yourself before looking at the English.


I am going to Kyoto.


I don’t eat fish.


Miura-san is returning to Japan.


(Our) Teacher is studying Korean.

Lesson 12: Classroom Vocabulary

This lesson will provide you with a list of useful classroom vocabulary as well as some useful expressions.

Vocabulary List

でんき                        denki               light

こくばん                    kokuban           chalkboard

ほん                            hon                  book

けしゴム                    keshigomu       eraser

つくえ                        tsukue              desk

かばん                        kaban              bag/bookbag

じしょ                        jisho                 dictionary

えんぴつ                    enpitsu            pencil

いす                            isu                    chair

まど                            mado               window

きょうかしょ            kyoukasho       textbook

じゅぎょう                jyugyou            class

クラス                        kurasu             class

ドア                            doa                  door

テレビ                        terebi              television

ビデオ                        bideo               video

カーテン                    kaaten             curtain

ペン                            pen                  pen

Useful Phrases

わかりました。                                Wakarimashita.          I understand.

わかりません。                                Wakarimasen.             I don’t understand.

ゆっくりいってください。            Yukkuri itte kudasai.               Please speak slowly.

もういちどいってください。        Mou ichido itte kudasai.         Please say it again.

ちょっとまってください。            Chotto matte kudasai.            Please wait a moment.


The above vocabulary list is very useful for in the classroom, especially if you need to ask where something is. For example, if you need to know where the dictionary is, you can simply ask じしょはどこですか。This vocabulary is also useful for command sentences such as “close the door” and “open the window.” You will learn how to make command sentences in a later lesson.

The phrases in the list can be spoken to a teacher or a student. They are all given in the polite form. If someone asks you わかりますか(Do you understand?), you can reply withわかりました(Yes, I understand) or わかりません(No, I don’t understand). The bottom three phrases are especially useful when speaking with your Japanese teacher.

Please note that ちょっとまってくださいcan be used in many situations, not just in the classroom. Also note that わかりますcan also be used for “I understand.” There is not a huge difference between the two versions of the phrase.

Lesson 11: Grammar Bits

The purpose of this lesson is to teach you some “grammar bits” that will help broaden your understanding of Japanese. These structures are simple and basic, but are very important and common.

The Particle

In previous lessons, you have learned the basic sentence structure (X は Y です). This is how you say “X is Y.” Now, by changing the particle は to a new particle, you can say “Z is also Y.” This new particle is も.

Take a look at the examples below to understand how も functions in a sentence.

これはねこです。 (Kore wa neko desu.) This is a cat.

これもねこです。(Kore mo neko desu.) This is also a cat.

わたしはアメリカじんです。(Watashi wa amerikajin desu.) I am American.

わたしもアメリカじんです。(Watashi mo amerikajin desu.) I am also American.

Notice in the above sentences that when もoccurs, は is not present. はis replaced by も. もmust follow the topic of the sentence.

Negating Sentences

Now that you should have a firm grasp on the basic sentence structure, you should learn how to form the negative of this structure. In order to say “X is NOT Y,” you will need to use じゃありません.

This new sentence form is:


This negative sentence structure only works when Y is a noun. If Y is an adjective, a different sentence must be formed (you will learn more about this in later lessons).

Take a look at the following examples.

これはほんじゃありません。  This is not a book.

あれはいぬじゃありません。   That over there is not a dog.

みなみさんはせんせいじゃありません。 Mrs. Minami is not a teacher.


In Japanese, you will notice many statements end in ね or よ. ね is added to the end of the sentence when the speaker is trying to get confirmation from the listener. よ is added to the end of a sentence when the speaker wants to assure the listener of his or her statement. よ makes the statement take on an authoritative tone.

For example:


Kore wa sakana desu ne.  This is fish, right?


Sono kaban wa watashi no kaban jya arimasen ne. That bag is not my bag, right?


Sore wa inu jya arimasen yo.   I’m sure that is not a dog.


Take-san wa nihonjin desu yo.  Mr. Take is Japanese (for sure).

Lesson 10: This & That – Japanese Pronouns

This lesson will explain in better detail how to use これ それ あれ(kore, sore, are) andこの その あの (kono, sono, ano).

これ それ あれ are used on their own. They do not have to come before a noun. They will typically come before the subject marker は (wa).これmeans “this.”それ means “that.” あれ means “that over there.” The word you are using to refer to an object will depend on where that object is located. If the object is near you but far away from your speaker, you should useこれ. If the object is far away from you but close to your listener, you should use それ. If the object is far away from both the speaker and listener, あれ is the best choice.

この その あのare used before nouns. They mean the same thing as their counterparts described above, but can only be used before nouns. Which one you use depends, again, on where the object is located.

For example, say you are walking down the street and see a building. The building is far away from both you and your listener. If you wanted to know what the building was, you could say:

あれはなんですか。(Are wa nan desu ka?) What is that place over there?

あれはデパートです。(Are wa depaato desu.) That place over there is a department store.


You could say it like this:

あのビルはなんですか。(Ano biru wa nan desu ka.) What is that building over there?

あのビルはデパートです。(Ano biru wa depaato desu.) That building over there is a department store.

Both ways of asking the question and giving the answer basically mean the same thing. The difference is one is saying generally “that place over there” while the other is saying specifically “that building over there.” Either is acceptable. The most important thing to remember is that the latter of the two groups can ONLY be used before nouns.

So, you can either be general or specific. Here are some more examples:

それはなんですか。(Sore wa nan desu ka?) What is that?

これはいぬです。(Kore wa inu desu.) This is a dog.

そのとけいはいくらですか。(Sono tokei wa ikura desu ka.) How much is that watch?

このとけいはせんえんです。(Kono tokei wa sen en desu.) This watch is 1,000 yen.

あれはとしょかんですか。(Are wa toshokan desu ka?) Is that place over there a library?

いいえ、あれはデパートです。(Iie, are wa depaato desu.) No, that place over there is a department store.

Lesson 9: Shopping in Japan

The purpose of this lesson is to teach you the basic phrases needed in order to shop in Japan. First off, you need to learn some basic money phrases.

The Japanese currency is the yen. In Japanese, it is written えんand Romanized as “en.” The kanji for yen is円. 円 always appears after the amount. Roughly speaking, one hundred yen equals about one dollar (USD).

The chart below will give you some numbers to start with.

100                  ひゃく                        hyaku

200                  にひゃく                    nihyaku

300                  さんびゃく                sanbyaku

400                  よんひゃく                yonhyaku

500                  ごひゃく                    gohyaku

600                  ろっぴゃく                roppyaku

700                  ななひゃく                nanahyaku

800                  はっぴゃく                happyaku

900                  きゅうひゃく            kyuuhyaku

1000                せん                            sen

2000                にせん                        nisen

3000                さんぜん                    sanzen

4000                よんせん                    yonsen

5000                ごせん                        gosen

6000                ろくせん                    rokusen

7000                ななせん                    nanasen

8000                はっせん                    hassen

9000                きゅうせん                kyuusen

10,000             いちまん                    ichiman

20,000             にまん                        niman

30,000             さんまん                    sanman

40,000             よんまん                    yonman

50,000             ごまん                        goman

60,000             ろくまん                    rokuman

70,000             ななまん                    nanaman

80,000             はちまん                    hachiman

90,000             きゅうまん                kyuuman

If you want to ask how much something is, you should use “いくらですか” (ikura desu ka). If you know what the item is called in Japanese, you can name it. If you don’t know what it is called, you can simply point to it and say “this,” “that,” or “that over there” (“これ” “それ” “あれ” in Japanese). If you want to say “this,” “that,” or “that over there” before a noun, you must change the words to “kono,” “sono,” and “ano” (“この” “その” “あの”).

Look at the example below:







A: Kore wa ikura desu ka? (How much is this?)

B: Sore wa nanahyaku en desu. (That is 700 yen.)

A: Yasui desu ne. Ano kaban wa ikura desu ka? (Cheap, isn’t it? How much is that bag over there?)

B: Sono kaban wa gosen en desu. (That bag is 5,000 yen.)

A: Totemo takai desu! (That’s very expensive.)

In the conversation above, you see how to ask the price of something, whether you know what the noun is in Japanese or not. “Ikura desu ka?” is a very useful phrase. It can be used when shopping but also at restaurants, especially if you cannot read the kanji.

If you want to call something expensive, you use the word “たかい” (takai). You can simply say “たかいです” (takai desu) for “It’s expensive.” The word for cheap is “やすい” (yasui), which can be used the same way. Both words can function with just “desu” or in a full sentence like “sono kaban wa takai desu” (そのかばんはたかいです) which means “That bag is expensive.” Totemo (とても) is a modifier that means “a lot” or “very.”

Lesson 8: Supplementary Vocabulary

This lesson will focus on teaching you vocabulary. The best way to learn vocabulary for a foreign language is to simply try and memorize it. Using flash cards can help you easily memorize many vocabulary words. Also, practicing your new vocabulary on a daily basis will help ingrain the words into your brain. Take a look at the supplementary vocabulary listed below and the example sentences (some of this vocabulary may be a review).

Hiragana/Katakana Romaji English
いま ima now
あの ano um
えいご eigo English
がくせい gakusei student
せんせい sensei teacher
こうこう koukou high school
がっこう gakkou school
だいがく daigaku college
だいがくせい daigakusei college student
Xねんせい X-nensei year of school (Replace X with a number)
Xさい X-sai year of age (Replace X with a number)
Xじ X-ji time (Replace X with a number)
Xじん X-jin nationality (Replace X with country)
せんもん senmon major (in college)
ともだち tomodachi friend
なまえ namae name
でんわ denwa telephone (landline)
ばんごう bangou number
りゅうがくせい ryuugakusei international student
かがく kagaku science (major)
れきしがく rekishigaku history (major)
けいざい keizai economics (major)
せいじ seiji politics (major)
ぶんがく bungaku literature (major)
しごと shigoto job, occupation
かいしゃいん kaishain company employee, general term
こうこうせい koukousei high school student
だいがくいんせい daigakuinsei graduate student
べんごし bengoshi lawyer

Once you have reviewed the above vocabulary, take a look at the practice sentences below. These sentences include some of the words listed above.

わたしはだいがくせいです。(Watashi wa daigakusei desu.)

I am a college student.

わたしはじゅうななさいです。(Watashi wa jyuunana sai desu.)

I am 17 years old.

でんわばんごうはなんですか。(Denwa bangou wa nan desu ka.)

What is your phone number?

わたしはにほんじんです。(Watashi wa nihonjin desu.)

I am Japanese.

しごとはどうですか。(Shigoto wa dou desu ka.)

How is your job?

せんもんはなんですか。(Senmon wa nan desu ka.)

What is your major?

わたしのせんもんはれきしがくです。(Watashi no senmon wa rekishigaku desu.)

My major is history.

えいごをはなしますか。(Eigo wo hanashimasu ka.)

Do you speak English?

にほんごをはなしますか。(Nihongo wo hanashimasu ka.)

Do you speak Japanese?いまなんじですか。(Ima nanji desu ka.)

What time is it right now?