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Module 2.1 – My father is a teacher

In Lesson 1, we learned わたしwatashi wa [your name] ですdesu。 This sentence use the structure of:

[A] wa [B] ですdesu

and it is one of the most basic sentence, meaning “A = B.” Please watch this video.

Talking about your family member

In the previous lesson, we learned words for family members. We use them to talk to our own family. However, when we talk about our own family to other people, we use a shorter term for each member of our family. They are the humble form and by using a humble word for our own family, we show respect to others. Young children in Japan are NOT expected to be able to differentiate between the two forms but by the time they go to high school, most of them can use the correct term in each occasion.

MaleRelationshipFemale
family
かぞくkazoku
 
Chichi
ちち
parents
りょうしんryoushin for the pair
Haha
はは
Sohu
そふ
grand -parents

そふぼsohubo
for the pair
Sobo
そぼ
Ani
あに
older siblingAne
あね
Otouto
おとうと
younger siblingImouto
いもうと
きょうだいkyoudai (brothers only or mixed)siblings as a groupきょうだいkyoudai (mixed) or しまいshimai (sisters only)
Oji
おじ
parent’s sibling
(uncle/aunt)
Oba
おば
Shujin
しゅじん
(literally “master”)
Spouse (Older generation, a bit controversial these days)Kanai
かない
(literally “inside the house”)
Otto
おっと
Spouse (Younger generation, more neutral)Tsuma
つま
Musuko
むすこ
Child
こどもkodomo for a child (gender neutral)
Musume
むすめ
Oi
おい
Your Sibling’s childMei
めい

Words that can be used to describe people

Today’s post is about adjectives that can be used to describe people. Please watch the video below. (If not showing below, please click the link.)

Here is the list of adjectives I was talking about in the video.

いadjectives

These adjectives are called いadjectives as they all end in い. These adjectives do not need anything when they are used in front of a noun but it can change its form depending on how they are used – we will talk about this later.

おおきいookiibig, older
ちいさいchiisaismall, young
わかいwakaiyoung, youthful
せがたかいsegatakaitall
せがひくいsegahikuishort (in height)
かわいいkawaiicute, adorable
うるさいurusaiannoying, noisy
あかるいakaruicheerful, bright, happy
やさしいyasashiisweet, gentle, affectionate
こわいkowaiscary, tough
きびしいkibishiistrict
おとなしいotonashiiquiet, subdued
おもしろいomoshiroifunny, amusing
いそがしいisogashiibusy, hectic

なadjectives

These adjectives are called なadjectives because they need な when they are used in front of a noun. Some なadjectives end in い, but they are still なadjectives.

きれいkireipretty
げんきgenkihealthy, lively spirited
にぎやかnigiyakalively cheerful, vivacious
しずかshizukaquiet, calm, graceful
まじめmajimeserious, honest, steady
しょうじきshoujikihonest
しんせつshinsetsukind, hospitable, obliging
ゆうめいyuumeifamous, well-known
りっぱripparespectable, outstanding

Other Vocabulary

いつもitsumoadvalways
ちゅうがくせいchuu_gaku_seinouna junior high school student (Years 7 to 9)
ちょっとchottoadva little, somewhat
はいゆうhaiyuunounan actor

Examples

あにani wa がくせいgakusei ですdesuちょっとchotto にぎやかnigiyaka ですdesu
My older brother is a student. He is rather loud.

いもうとimouto wa ちゅうがくせいchuu_gaku_sei ですdesuかわいいkawaii ですdesu
My younger sister is a junior high school student. She is cute.

ちちchichi wa けいさつかんkeisatsukan ですdesuまじめmajime ですdesu
My father is a policeman.

ははhahawa かんごしkangoshi ですdesuいつもitsumo いそがしいisogashii ですdesu
My mother is a nurse. She is always busy.

そふsohu wa げんきgenki ですdesu
My grandfather is healthy.

そぼsobo wa やさしいyasashii ですdesu
My grandmother is nice.

As you can see, we don’t use pronouns like “he” or “she” in Japanese. Instead of using them, we usually skip ~wa (the topic of the sentence) part.

Suggested activities

  • Make 5 sentences each to describe family members.
  • Describe 5 of your friends in Japanese. Don’t forget to put –さんsan after their name.

Describing other people’s family

In Japanese, while we use humble terms to refer to our own family, other people’s family are referred to using honorific terms, which are almost the same words as we talk to our family members.

 MaleRelationshipFemale
family
ごかぞくgo_kazoku/ごかていgo_katei
Otou_san
おとうさん
parents
goりょうしんryoushin for the pair
Okaa_san
おかあさん
Ojii_san
おじいさん
grand-parentsobaa_san
おばあさん
Onii_san
おにいさん
older sibling
goきょうだいkyoudai is gender/age neutral
Onee_san
おねえさん
Otouto_san
おとうとさん
younger sibling
goきょうだいkyoudai is gender/age neutral
Imouto_san
いもうとさん
ojisan
おじさん
parent’s
sibling
oba_san
おばさん
Goshujin
ごしゅじん
SpouseOku_san
おくさん
Musuko_san
むすこさん
Child
おこさんoko_san is gender neutral
Ojou_san
おじょうさん
Oigo_san
おいごさん
Your Sibling’s childMeigo_san
めいごさん
If you change the suffix -さん to -さま, that sounds even politer.

If these terms are used on their own, that suggests the family member of the person you are talking to (i.e. “your xxx”). Otherwise, you need to add the person’s name in the form of “Johnさんsan no おかあokaaさんsan (John’s mother)” or “Maryさんsan no むすこmusukoさんsan (Mary’s son).”

Examples

ジョンさんsan no おかあokaaさんsan wa やさしいyasashii ですdesu
John’s mother is nice.

Maryさんsan no むすこmusukoさんsan wa はいゆうhaiyuu ですdesuゆうめいyuumei ですdesu
Mary’s son is lively.

おくさまoku_sama wa oげんきgenki ですdesuka
Is your wife well?
The suffix –さまsama is used to make it more polite.
Sometimes the prefix o is added to make it sound even more polite.
The ending ka is a question mark.

Suggested activities

  • Make 5 sentences each to describe 5 of somebody else’s family.
Course: JLPT N5