cooked rice; meal
lunch (noon’s rice)
o’clock, hour, time
at (time related)
at what time?
東京 (East capital)
- ‘noon’ or ‘midday’ has two kanjis: 午 (go) and 昼 (hiru).
- the kanji 午 (go) is used to write a.m. and p.m. (午前 – gozen, 午後 – gogo), i.e., ‘before-noon’ and ‘after-noon’.
- the kanji 昼 (hiru) is used to write lunch (昼ご飯- go-han), i.e., ‘noon-meal’
- the ‘go-‘ in go-han, used for both ‘cooked rice’ and ‘meal’, is the honorific for Chinese-origin words.
- ‘hiru’, ‘go-han’ and ‘hiru go-han’ were introduced in lesson 8, but they are so common in lessons 9-16 that we introduce their kanjis
But, won’t you drink something with me?
demo, watashi to nani-ka nomi-masen ka?
でも、わたしと なにか のみませんか。
demo, boku to nanka noma-nai?
でも、ぼくと なんか のまない？
The following comments explain some of the grammar in more detail.
Lesson 1 introduced the non-past form of the formal ‘masu’; lesson 9 introduces the past tense:
To turn the non-past -masu form of a verb to its past tense, we replace the -masu ending with the -mashita ending; the ‘i’ in ‘-mashita’ is whispered, so it actually sounds ‘-mashta’:
In Japanese, we can use the -mashita form to indicate that something is completely in the past. For example, ‘wakari-masu’ means ‘I understand’, while ‘wakari-mashita’ emphasizes that we have understood what was explained to us, i.e., the explanation has finished and we have understood it. Likewise, ‘arigatou gozai-masu’ means ‘thank you’ for some favor that someone is in the process of doing or will do for us in the future, while ‘arigatou gozai-mashita’ emphasizes that the we are thanking for a done favor.
We discuss the casual past tense in the summary. For now, enough is to say it’s called the -ta form because the verb most often ends in -ta; however, depending on the verb, the casual past tense can also end in -tta, -nda, -ita, -ida, or -shita. Some examples are:
Prefixes and suffixes
ji – じ, 時
時 (ji) means ‘time’, ‘hour’ and o’clock:
In English, instead of saying ‘a 2-hour period’ we say ‘2 hours’, but in Japanese, we have to say ‘2 hour period’ (ni-ji kan) to tell it apart from 2 o’clock (ni-ji).
ni – に
に (ni) has many different roles. Lesson 9 introduces its first role as meaning ‘at’ when we refer to time, e.g.,
At what time?
At 2:00 o’clock.
sore-tomo – それとも
One of the many ways of saying ‘or’. We can only use it at the beginning of a sentence.
Sake! That’s what I want. Or beer.
o-sake ga hoshi-i desu. sore-tomo biiru.
おさけが ほしい です。それとも ビール。