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Conjugation In Context

Hello everyone,
For the first entry in this blog series, I'll discuss how to proceed to understand conjugation by recognize it being used in context.
What I basically do is read about a certain aspect of Japanese to understand the theory and then see how it applies in real Japanese material.
Polite Form:
Example 1:
View attachment 26675
I've highlighted a section of a dialogue which shows the verb 「見る」being used in context. In this instance, I don't try to understand the whole excerpt but rather to understand part of it by using what I know. I then take the excerpt and review the grammar associated to it.
Review:
In order to get the -masu stem of a verb (or simply stem), I need to remove the ending of the verb. The ending removed depends on the verb being used.
1. In the case of 「見る」, an 一段 verb, I simply remove the ending 「る」like so:
 -.
2. Once this is done, I simply add 「ます」to the stem to obtain the formal, affirmative polite version of it like so:
- ます.
3. In my situation however, I'm looking for the formal past affirmative. So instead of using the 「ます」suffix, I used the 「見ました」suffix. Which is why I end up with the form witnessed in the excerpt of:
ました.
4. In the current example, the speaker is saying that he saw something (judging from the kanji, a carriage).
Example 2:
I then look around the original material to find other different forms of the formal form.
View attachment 26676
This time around, I've found a verb from a different which makes it all the more interesting!
「落ち着く」is a 五段 verb which differs from 見る which was 一段.
1. In order to obtain the stem from a 五段 verb, I need to proceed differently. The last vowel sound changes from a /u/ to an /i/ vowel sound.
2. In my example, the verb is 落ち着.
So we'll proceed to make the shift /u/ /i/ :
落ち着く→落ち着き. That's it, we've got the stem for this verb!
3. Although a bit more complex than dealing with 一段 verbs, finding the stem of a 五段 verb is fairly simple. Now all we need to do is to add the negative formal ending to the stem:
落ち着きません=not to settle down/calm down.
*
So simply by applying the theory with in-context example, I can learn how to obtain the stem of verbs, a very useful grammatical tool.
Informal Past form:
In the previous part, we've seen how to deal with verb stems and the polite suffixes we can use.
Let's see how we can use authentic material for something different:
Example 3:
View attachment 26677

I fortunately found the same verb as before, only this time we'll conjugate it in the informal past negative.
1. First of all, I determine if my verb is 一段、五段 or an exception. In this case, the vowel sound preceding the る is /i/ (みる). This classifies as an 一段 verb (there are some exceptions but 見る is not part of them).
2. In order to obtain the past negative, I must first transform my verb in the negative. In order to do so, I substitute the 「る」 for 「ない」:
見る → 見ない.
It's that simple.
3. In order to obtain the past negative, I further modify my negative 見ない. I need to drop the 「い」and replace it with 「かった」:
見ない → 見なかった
4. We end up with the same result as in our example:
盗まれた馬を見なかったかって?
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