Did I Open It, or Is It Just Open?

You know what?  Japanese is kind of hard…

Mind you, that’s what makes it really fun.

So, where am I?  Well, I’m struggling this week.  Chapter 30 of みんなの日本語 is kind of a bear.

First of all, it continues with transitive/intransitive verbs, which are a bit more complicated in Japanese than in English.  Then it moves into:

ーてあります which indicates, among other things, the state which results as a consequence of an action intentionally done by somebody.


まどをしまっています means The window is closed. (That’s an intransitive verb, for anyone who is keeping track.)

窓をしめました means I closed the window. (That’s a transitive verb.)

窓がしめてあります also means I closed the window, but it implies that I did for a purpose.  (For example, I closed the window because it is going to rain and I don’t want the floor to get wet.)

Oh, and we have yet another ending:

ーておきます which indicates the completion of a necessary action by a given time or in preparation for another action to follow.

And let’s not forget last week’s chapter, which included

ーてしまいました which emphasizes that the action has been completed.

宿題はしました means I did my homework.

宿題はしてしまいました also means I did my homework but includes the idea of “and it’s completely done”.

Except、of course, for when -てしまいました means something completely different.  It can also indicate regret or embarrassment.

かぎをなくしました means I lost my key

かぎをなくしてしまいました also means I lost my key but it includes the idea that I am embarrassed about it

Are we having fun yet?

And, of course, I am still working on learning transitive/intransitive verb pairs:

開きます and 開けます for example.  And I have a list of about 50 of those pairs.

I had my Cafetalk lesson with Makisan this morning.  It was excellent, as always, though I was forced to tell her that this chapter would take me two weeks instead of just one.  I have a lot to get through, and another week working on this material (and vocabulary) won’t be wasted!  This is some difficult but extremely important stuff.

The good thing is that, now, after my lesson, I’m out of the fog.  I actually understand what is going on with this stuff.  That doesn’t mean that I have it in my head, but at least I can see the light.

Oh, and this happened:

I knew the verb I needed was 入ります…then I realized that I needed the -てform.  You know what that means, right?

Yep.  I had to sing part of the -てform song to come up with 入って.  Much, I might add, to Makisan’s delight.  I believe she was proud of me for being able to do that.  That almost makes up for having that song stuck in my head again!

Seriously, though, the kind of complexities that I talked about in this post are one of the reasons that I really love learning Japanese.  I hope you do, too.





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