Japanese is a language of mystery and wonder…and, for that lovely reason, it can be confusing as all get out.
Here’s what I learned this week: 欲しい
Doesn’t it look all innocent and easy sitting there like that?
On my vocabulary list is says: 欲しい – want.
It still looks all innocent, doesn’t it?
Only, it doesn’t quite look like a verb.
That’s because it isn’t a verb. It’s an ADJECTIVE. In fact, it’s an いー形容詞 – an i-adjective.
Huh? An adjective?
英語で: I want a computer.
Let’s break those down so we can see why I’m so freaked out by this:
In English was get
I (noun – subject)
a (indefinite article) (this word doesn’t exist in Japanese, by the way)
computer (noun – object).
This makes sense to me because that’s the language I grew up speaking.
In Japanese we get:
私 (I – noun – subject)
は (particle indicating the topic of the sentence – it’s a Japanese thing)
コンピューター (computer – noun – object – just sound it out if you know Katakana. If you don’t know Katakana, learn Katakana. It’s easy. You can learn it over a weekend if you want to)
を (particle indicating the object – that’s another Japanese thing)
ほしい (want…ADJECTIVE modifying…well, the object, I assume)
です (and…there’s your verb, more or less…actually, it’s called the copula, and me normally translate it using some form of the verb “to be” only there are lots of sentences where that doesn’t quite work, and, yeah, that’s another Japanese thing…and I don’t really know how to translate it in this particular case…)
I can’t quite figure out how to translate this sentence literally, so I’m not going to attempt it.
Isn’t Japanese wonderful, though?
Don’t ever think you’ve seen it all. There’s something new waiting for you!