〈36〉4-2 The glue of words

                        36  ◆ chap 4  Advanced, how to construct a sentence ! 

                                                           part 2.  The glue of words !?

As I mentioned in the last issue, language is a tool for us to think about things as well as for communicating our thoughts to others. So from now on, let's practice organising your thoughts and constructing sentences using Japanese together.

The glue of words (ことばの接着剤 settchakuzai)!?


    **  The first thing you need to know is how to connect words!  **

(1) noun + nounーー→ “to(と)

The first step is to glue nouns to nouns.  As you know, to connect nouns with nouns, Japanese people use 《to》.  For example, “yama to kawa (mountain and river)”, “nihonjin to chuugokujin (Japanese and Chinese)”, “sensou to heiwa (war and peace)”, etc. In English it is "and", In German "und”, in Spanish  “y”,  in French "et”, isn’t that so?


                                             Now, here comes the problem!

(2) verb + verbーー→ “te(て)”, 〈“de(で)”〉

Now let's move on to linking verbs with verbs. In English, "and" is also used to connect the two actions "drink and eat”. And In Spanish, it is expressed as "beber y comer".

However, when we say “nomu to taberu” in Japanese, it means "drinking and eating”. 

It is a combination of a noun and a noun. Sentences joined as verbs, e.g. "I ate and drank yesterday." is “kinou watashi wa tabe-te nonda” in Japanese.

                                   Yes, the glue here is either te or de!

Ha ha, what's that? Don't think about it too hard.  If the informal past tense of each verb ends with “ta(た)”, change it to “te(て)”,  and if it ends with “da(だ)”, change it to “de(で)”.  

“te(て)” also means hands, so think of it “hand-to-hand!”.


Verb-verb, or action-action connections are basically one action followed by the next action, and then the next action after that,  there is a progression to the next action. “kinou watashi wa asa oki-te, gohan wo tabe-te, gakkou ni itt-te, tomodachi to ason-de, ie ni kaerimashita. (Yesterday I got up in the morning, ate my breakfast, went to school, played with my friends and went home)” means that each action or behaviour was done in this order.  However, sometimes it is used when two or three actions are performed at the same time, without regard to order, e.g. ‘kinou watashi wa tabe-te nonda(Yesterday I ate and drank).


                                  Differences with Western languages

But there is one thing you need to be aware of. The English phrase "I ate and drank yesterday" in English, the verbs "ate" and "drank" are each in the past tense.

However, in the Japanese sentence "kinou watashi wa tabe-te nonda (I ate and drank yesterday)”, the final "nonda (drank)” is in the past tense, but there is no tense in the first “tabe-te (eat-and)”, it is just connected. It is always “tabe-te (eat-and)”, even if it is in the present tense, past tense, or future tense.

In other words, in Japanese, when you connect several actions, there is no tense except for the final verb. If the last verb is in the present tense, everything before it is also in the present tense, and if it is in the past tense, everything before it is also in the past tense, and so on. 

                                      Surprised? --- Ha ha, but isn't this reasonable?

Because how can you have a sentence where the first action is in the past tense, the next in the future tense and the next in the present tense? Hardly ever. That is why in Japanese, the tense of the last verb determines the tenses of all the verbs before it.

Finishing form decides everything !?

(3) adjective + adjectiveーー→ 《形容動詞》 “te(て)”, “de(で)”〉

What about adjectives? As you know, it is the adjective that describes the noun that follows it. So how do you connect it to the adjective that follows it? Yes, you must be changed to adjectival verbs, which serve to modify verbs and adjectives.

For example, the sentence “kare no ie wa ookiku-te kirei deshita.(His house was big and beautiful)”, the adjective “ookii(big)” should be changed to the adjectival verb “ookiku(big)” and the glue “te" should be added to it.

If the sentence is  “kare no ie wa kirei-de ookikatta desu(His house was beautiful and big)”, the copy adjective “kirei(beautiful)” should be changed to “kirei-de(beautiful and)”. The Japanese ‘be' verb “da”, which is always required for copying adjectives, can be changed to “de”, and connected to the next word.

       (Note, when connecting a ‘be'  verb, change the present tense "da" to "de", not the past tense).

                              In other words,

For the original adjective, change it to an adjectival verb and add “te".  Also, in the case of copy adjectives, the original form of the be verb "da” is changed to "de”, to connect it to the next word. Again, there is no tense in the previous word and everything follows the tense of the last word.

                                 Did you remember ? 

At all times, it is the Japanese language that requires you to hear people's stories to the end! (Laughter)

(4) sentence + sentenceーー→ “soshite(そして)”,〈“sorekara(それから)”〉

The last one is how to connect sentences. This is “soshite(そして)” or “sorekara(それから)”, as you already know.  Generally, the ending “”, called “maru” ends the previous sentence and is followed by this "soshite" or "sorekara" at the beginning of the next sentence. In informal speech, however, it is sometimes used to connect sentences such as “…te, soshite” or …te, sorekara...and then… .

Thank you very much for your time. As mentioned above, there are many kinds of glue in Japanese, but only one after the West. English "and", German "und", Spanish "y" and French has "et " is the only one, no?. Please make sure you understand the difference and learn correct Japanese!

Connecting words, connecting countries !!

Example sentences for this issue》☆☆☆☆

“ Yesterday we went to my grandfather and grandmother's house, played tennis, swam in the pool, then we drank expensive and delicious wine, had a gorgeous rich meal and laughed a lot .” 


Try writing sentences like the one above by connecting verbs and adjectives as you wish. Your Japanese language skills will surely improve rapidly. Just one more step to go!

               ——————————————《reference answer》——————————————

“kinou watashitachi wa sofu to sobo no ie ni it-te, tenisu wo shi-te, puuru de oyoi-de, sorekara takaku-te oishii wain wo non-de, goojasu-de ricchi-na shokuji wo shite, yoku waraimashita” 


                              Now, look forward to the next installment!

      ーーー  The next post will be                         


             37〉  ◆  Chapter 4:  Advanced,  how to construct a sentence !  

                                Part 3,  “…kara”, “…node”, “…kedo(keredo)” 

                                                    (+)  (+) (-)  (-), and (+)  (-) (-)  (+)

                            See you next time!

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