Japanese nouns or 名詞 (meishi) can be expressed in the past tense! Did you know that? I was quite surprised when I first found out.
This is different from English, where tenses are not required for nouns.
Having said that, Japanese nouns have no plural form nor gender, which often cause confusion in other languages.
So actually, nouns in Japanese are really quite simple.
You can form a simple sentence using the nouns which you will learn in this lesson.
Let's take a look at the following sentence pattern using nouns:
Noun A は Noun B です
Noun A wa Noun B de su
Meaning: Noun A is Noun B
Particle は (wa) indicates that the Noun A before it is the topic of the sentence. By adding は to Noun A to make it the topic (topic marker), you are then able to make a statement about the topic. For example,
Please note that は should read as wa, the same sound as わ, when it is used as a particle. See more explanations on the particle は (wa) in Japanese hiragana.
The ending word です (de su) does not have any meaning.
Now let's look at the negative form of Japanese nouns:
Noun A は Noun B ではありません
Noun A wa Noun B de wa a ri ma sen
Meaning: Noun A is not Noun B
You should be able to guess that ではありません is the negative form of です. For example,
Again, は in ではありません should read as wa.
The particle も (mo) is also a topic marker, except that it is used in place of は (wa) when the statement about the topic is the same as the previous topic in Japanese noun sentence. For example,
However if the topic is different from the previous topic, you still need to use は (wa). For example,
You can change the sentence into a question by simply adding か (ka) at the end of the sentence in Japanese nouns. This is really much simpler as compared to an English sentence where you have to change the order of the words to form a question. For example,
The particle か (ka) expresses the speaker's question, doubt and uncertainty regarding something. Take note that か should read with a rising tone to indicate it is a question.
So how do you answer to the above Japanese noun question? The question above is asking whether you agree or disagree with the statement, therefore requires you to give a 'Yes' or 'No' answer. You will normally begin the answer with 'Yes' or 'No', which is はい (ha i) or いいえ (i i e). We will call that a Yes/No question. Look at the following examples:
Do you notice that the commas used in the previous examples are different from what you normally use? In Japanese, the comma sign is "、" instead of ",".
Similarly, the full stop sign is "。" instead of ".". Moreover, with the question word か (ka), you don't really need to add the question mark sign "?" at the end of the sentence.
You can also use も (mo) together with か (ka) in a question in Japanese nouns. For example,
However, if Mary is not a teacher, you cannot use も (mo) as the topic is different from the previous topic. So the answer should be:
You can also add the question word か (ka) to a negative form sentence in Japanese nouns. For example,
But if Mike is a teacher, you should give the answer:
Please be careful not to get confused with the meanings of はい (ha i) and いいえ (i i e) with the yes and no in English. The meaning of はい (ha i) in Japanese is "I agree with what you said" and the meaning of いいえ (i i e) is "I don't agree with what you said", which are different from the plain yes/no meanings in English.
Therefore, though you responded with "No, Mike is not a teacher." to the question "Isn't Mike a teacher?", your answer in Japanese is "はい、マイクさんはせんせいではありません。". That is because the meaning of "はい" here is "I agree with what you said in that Mike is not a teacher".
If your response to the question "Isn't Mike a teacher?" is "Yes, Mike is a teacher.", your response in Japanese should be "いいえ、マイクさんはせんせいです。", because the meaning of "いいえ" here is "I disagree with what you said that Mike is not a teacher".
Similarly, adding も (mo) to the negative form question in Japanese nouns gives:
But if Alan is a teacher, you should give the answer:
Lesson 13: Nouns Part 3 - Action before and after Noun.
Lesson 27: Noun Modifier.