Japanese Grammar Lesson 1: Self-presentation

As I said in last Japanese Lesson, today I’m going to teach you how to make a simple self-introduction. Here is the text I will be explaining:

Hello. My name is André. I’m Portuguese.
Nice to meet you!

So first off, we have “hello”. This hello is not actually “hello”, but yes “nice to meet you”, but as we already have “nice to meet you” in the end, I wrote “hello”. I’ll explain it better at the end. Anyway, as I explained in last lesson, in Japanese it’s “hajimemashite“!

Now to build a simple phrase. “My name is André.” We need the word “I” here. There are many ways to say “I” in Japanese (I’ll explain them later!) but the most common is watashi. Now we want to refer to our name. The name is something that belongs to the speaker, so we need to use a possessive particle here. It’s “no“! Please remember this little particle! It’s really important and very very used in daily Japanese. If you want to say that A belongs to B, you say “B no A”. Simple! So to say “my name” we say “watashi no namae“. Of course namae means name.

Now we want to say what is the name. So here, “my name” is the subject of the phrase, the main part. When we build a simple phrase like this, usually we put “wa” after the subject. Also do remember this particle! It’s very used too. It’s something not that difficult because it applies almost everywhere.

The verb “to be” in Japanese is “desu“.
So now we have all the words, but what is their order?
In Japanese, most of the times, the verb comes at the end, so the result of this phrase is: “watashi no namae wa André desu“. Always try tu push the verb to the end.

Now to say “I’m Portuguese”. This time the subject is “I”, so you are already guessing the beginning of the phrase right? “Watashi wa“! To say a nationality we use two parts: the name of the country, and “jin“. “Jin” is one way to say “person” so it basically means “person from that country”. Portugal in Japanese is “Porutogaru”. So we have “Watashi wa Porutogarujin desu“!

I’ll write here a few countries so you can practice!

Japan – Nihon
France – Furansu
USA – Amerika
England – Igirisu
Germany – Doitsu
Brazil – Burajiru

Now to the last part. “Nice to meet you”. This translation is a little forced, because in Japanese it’s a bit different. When doing a self-introduction, the phrase they always use at the end is “yoroshiku onegaishimasu“. It doesn’t mean “nice to meet you”, but yes something like “I’m counting on you” or “I’m looking forward to our relationship”. It’s an interesting cultural point, I think! So to be correct, the “nice to meet you” is in the beginning of the self-introduction.

So, as a result we have the following text:

Hajimemashite. Watashi no namae wa André desu. Watashi wa Porutogarujin desu.
Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!

With this simple lesson you have tools to build many phrases! Start practicing! 😉

In next lesson, I’ll explain how to build simple phrases!


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