Moving On Up

It is always good to see progress. Since I am working with a textbook (テキストはみんなの日本語です) I get a sense of progress in moving from one chapter to the next, I guess, but, since my goal is not to finish the textbook (though I am certainly looking forward to doing that) or to get a certain grade (since I’m not taking a class in the traditional sense) but to learn the language, I kind of want something better as a sign of progress.

This week, I learned about the dictionary form of a verb and how to get there from the -増すform. I also learned how to talk about abilities and hobbies. Well, sort of learned. As it turns out, the word こと is a little complicated…at one point my Cafetalk tutor said「簡単ですね」(It’s simple, isn’t it?) and I answered 「簡単ではない!」(It is not simple!).

(By the way, though I’m not going to delve into politics here, it is always surprising to me when people in other countries know what is going in my own, but my tutor asked me about some things that she had seen on the news in Japan about goings on in the US relating to the current political races!)

And now, back to what I was actually talking about: signs of progress.

私の友達は映画館へ行くことが一番好きです。

My friend loves to go to the movies.

Why is that sentence a sign of progress for me? Because it has multiple clauses. It is a sentence that is a step up in complexity.

Let’s break it down, because I’m kind of proud of it!

私の友達 – my friend. It is always kind of surprising when something that is very short is one language is quite a bit longer in another. Yes, you could argue that “my” and “私の” are both only two characters long, but, if you do it by syllables, there’s a big difference.

は- our old friend the topic marker

映画館へ行く- to go to the movie theater (or, if you like, going to the movie theater). This is the part that I like a lot, since it uses a verb (行く), so I have constructed a sentence with multiple verbs in it. That’s a step up for me. Celebrate every accomplishment when you are learning a new language. It provides motivation to keep you going.

こと – this sets off the clause

が – another old friend: the subject marker

一番 – the best

好きです – like – another old friend.

When you learn a new thing, be happy about it!  Learning a language is hard work, so pat yourself on the back as you make progress and then make more progress so you can pat yourself on the back some more.

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