Friday, September 5, 2014

Japanese Particles

Scanning - ugh.  I don't know if I can say enough bad things about scanning this week.  It wasn't just mindless, it was frustrating.  You had to scan a group of documents and then count them to make sure it matched with what you had in your pdf because the scanner was liable to skip pages.  And if it did skip pages you had to redo it and sometimes scan each page by hand.  It took hours and hours and hours and every time I got near an end, my desk would get piled up with more scanning.  I learned to work faster and faster but I also got more and more frustrated and so quickly descended to the point that today, I was doing nothing more than spinning in circles and jumping up and down to burn out my frustrated and nervous energy while waiting for the scanner to run through the pages.

During my healthier mental moments of scanning though, I used my time to study Japanese particles using a workbook I picked up at the library.  I've spent the last two or three years in my self-taught Japanese state thinking that verbs were the key to understanding Japanese properly.  I'm starting to change my tune - particles make a world of difference and understanding particles will help you progress from the ".... is" speech pattern to meaningful conversation.

Example:

Who did she/he kiss last night?
Kinou dare ga kisu o shimashita ka?

He/she kissed no one last night
Kinou dare mo kisu o shimashita.

She/he kissed someone last night
Kinou dare ka kisu o shimashita.

He/she kissed more than anyone else last night.
Kinou dare yori kisu o shimashita.

Ok, so funny weird made up examples (that may or may not be correct - but I think they're correct) but you can see how one word change can a person's dating reputation pretty quickly.

 But in all seriousness, I went from being able to say, "I bought a book at the store" (mise de hon o kaimashita) to "I bought a book called Persuasion at the store" (mise de Persuasion to iu hon o kaimashita) to "I went to the store to buy a book called Persuasion something or other"  (Persuasion to ka iu hon o kai ni mise ni ikimashita) I could keep going.  I feel like my narrative ability in Japanese has been thrown wide open.

The moral of this story then is this: scanning is not as evil as I originally thought before beginning this post.  :)

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