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Thursday, February 04, 2010


Learning Japanese.
なきゃ いけない・なんない

A very typical characteristic of the Japanese is their built-in and relentless tendency to abbreviate everything.This sometimes grates - for example when my beloved homeland, New Zealand, gets abbreviated to Nyuzhi - but I know no disrespect is intended: that last "rando" is just too mendokusai (troublesome).

Let's look at an example of this tendency in a basic grammar function.

If you are a student of Japanese, you will be familiar with the Japanese for "must" or "have to":
nakereba ikenai, or nakereba naranai, a double negative literally meaning "not to do (something) won't do."

For example, the verb "to go," or iku, becomes ikanakereba ikenai ("must go"). "to read," or yomu, becomes yomanakereba ikenai "must read." "to do," or (the irregular) suru, becomes shinakeraba ikenai or "must do"

This way of forming "must" or "have to" is textbook and proper, and you will often hear it in everyday life.

However, it, too, is too long for a lot of casual speech, too troublesome, too mendokusai.

So, here's how to abbreviate it.

Simply change the "kereba" to "kya": ikanakya, yomanakya, shinakya. You will often hear the ikenai or naranai after it, although even the naranai comes out more as nannai (because of that mendokusai "ra"). However, as often as not, even the ikenai or naranai will be left off too.

So, try to practice using a few of the following common verbs:

1. taberu (to eat)
2. suwaru (to sit)
3. hashiru (to run)
4. ai suru (to love)
5. fuku (to blow)
6. haru (to stick - e.g. postage stamps)
7. kiku (to listen)
8. shaberu (to talk, chat)
9. katazukeru (to tidy up, put in order)
10. sawaru (to touch)

Now check your answers below:

1. tabenakya
2. suwaranakya
3. hashiranakya
4. ai shinakya
5. fukanakya
6. haranakya
7. kikanakya
8. shaberanakya
9. katazukenakya
10. sawaranakya

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